Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11
In the previous section, I discussed the sexual marketplace, our sexual market values, and the cause of gender roles. In this section, I'm going to change gears a bit and talk about love. Specifically, how do men and women experience love, how is it different, how does it change over the course of a relationship, and can we "hack" how we love to make it better?
What Do We Want?
I believe the subjective experience of love both men and women experience is pretty much the same. We both experience the same fluttering hearts, butterflies in the stomach, and obsessive thoughts in the honeymoon phase; we both experience the same oxytocin-fueled emotional bonding afterward. We feel a somewhat similar connection to our children. However, there's a major difference between the sexes. Specifically, we acheive and maintain love for different reasons.
It's impossible to discuss the concept of love outside the framework of the previous discussions because it provides a framework for understanding. It's a little easier for me to explain men, so I'll start with my own gender. Cut out all the fluffy "things we're supposed to say", and men are really looking for one thing:
We want to relax.
I've yet to meet a woman that fully appreciates the constant pressure men in our society are under to perform and/or produce. Our self-worth is measured by what we can do. Any man that's been unemployed for more than a few weeks can tell stories of people's reactions to their unemployment. It's not pretty.
We're expected to perform for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason is to attract a mate. The more/ better you produce, the higher your sexual market value. When you're playing the field, that higher value opens up a bigger pool of candidates. When we do find that special someone, we're really looking for a person that will love us independent of our capacity to produce. We work really hard to win the girl, now we want to stop and smell the roses. Yes, that love includes things like respect, appreciation, and while-hot animal sex, but we really want that ability to escape that pressure to produce.
It's that simple.
For women, it's not much more complicated. Remember the sociobiological idea that women simultaneously want a alpha and a beta male? Remember the idea of hypergamy, or that women have a tendency to want to "marry up?" Both of these ideas factor heavily in how women love. Men produce to earn a woman's love. Her love is contingent on maintaining that production. This dynamic is most evident in the "American Dream" scenario where the man works long hours to make money while the wife shops for a bunch of crap they don't need (yes, I'm a mostly-anti materialist minimal advocate.)
Like a man's love, a woman's love is equally simple.
The Better Question: How Does Love Go Bad?
Love tends to diminish for each sex for different reasons. For men, the love they feel for their significant other usually decreases when they do not feel appreciated or respected. After all, they're expecting to be able to relax and drop the need to continually produce, yet they don't. Men see that as making a continuous sacrifice, hence the need for constant appreciation.
When a man isn't getting enough appreciation and respect for his perceived sacrifices, he tends to look elsewhere. There's a reason strippers are really good at making a man feel important. They understand most men aren't looking for tits and ass. Most men want to feel appreciated. Because this typically doesn't happen until the man reaches his 30's, odds are good he's worth more on the sexual market than he was when he got married in his 20's. He now has the capacity to "marry up", which is part of the reason under-appreciated men are so easy for high value women to steal away.
Women, on the other hand, usually experience a decrease in love when their man fails to produce. This could be a loss of a job, decrease in income, failing to protect the family from harm, etc. As long as men serve in this capacity, women continue to love them... with one exception.
Beta males have several things going against them. First, they're not as ambitious as their alpha counterparts so they don't earn as much and are less likely to rebound after a financial crisis. Second, they're not as good at protecting their family. Third, they tend to defer almost all decision-making to their female significant other. If there's one thing women hate, it's being forced to always make decisions. I've yet to meet a woman that doesn't appreciate a decisive male that's open to giving her the reins when she requests it. About the only things betas really excel at is child-rearing and chores. Contrary to what women claim, neither task is in any way sexy or arousing. My first bit of advice to new couples is "don't get in the habit of exchanging chores for sex."
Anyway, women really do not like beta male behavior. After the honeymoon phase, women tolerate betas as long as they can produce because that was the best male they could land in time to raise a family. Indeed, the most predictable end to marriages comes when a woman initiates a divorce because either:
- Her beta husband stops producing voluntarily (gets lazy, decides to become a blogger, etc.) or involuntarily (hurt, laid off, etc.)
- A better beta comes along so she divorces and remarries. This is usually the stuff of fairy tales; if better options existed she would have had a shot when she was younger. If this DOES happen again, the cycle just repeats itself.
- She hooks up with an alpha (think Joe the pickup artist from No Bone Zone), falls in love, and leaves the beta husband. Of course, the alpha was probably preying on her because she's an easy mark. She won't be the highest value woman he could attract, so he'll just move on.
If a woman happens to marry an alpha at the onset, she will usually attempt to "tame" him by softening his alpha side and sharpening his beta side. The goal is to keep him exciting enough to drop her panties but stable enough for a long-term relationship. If successful, this probably results in the most stable form of a long-term relationship today. If she fails to tame him, the alpha will likely move on at some point. If she's too successful, she creates a beta and falls into the same trap discussed above.
I firmly believe this love dynamic is one of the most misunderstood, thus damaging aspects of relationships today. Men want to relax. If they can't relax, they want to feel appreciated, and hot sex makes them feel appreciated. Women want men that will provide, protect, and occasionally drive them crazy with desire. It's really quite simple, but we NEVER talk about it. As such, we tend to make the exact same mistakes again and again and again.
What About Sex?
This discussion has mostly centered around the "commitment" aspect of love... what keeps a man and a woman together? There are other elements of love, such as sexual desire. That falls a little more into my wheelhouse.
Let's start with men. Men's sex drives are pretty simple - barring a medical condition, men have a pretty consistent, constant, strong sex drive. Most men could have sex several times per day if given enough novelty. With the same person, sexual desire ebbs and flows with a very slow, steady downward trend. With novelty, men experience what is known as the "Collidge Effect." This effect basically explains that men have an almost unlimited capacity to have sex if they have different partners without the normal inhibitors like the refractory period after orgasm (it shortens considerably.) Within a committed, monogamous relationship, guys can usually be pretty content with regular sex with a little kink or role playing thrown in for variety.
Women are far more complex. First, as I mentioned in one of the previous posts in the series, women's sex drive changes depending on ovulation. Her sex drive increases around the time she can conceive. Furthermore, she's more attracted to alpha men during this time which may or may not be her husband. In fact, a relatively simple "sex hack" I forgot to add to No Bone Zone involves the male tracking his wife's ovulation, then busting out more alpha behavior around ovulation time. Instant hot sex.
Women have a stronger sexual response to alpha males than beta males, which became apparent when I started experimenting with displaying alpha traits all the time. Women that would normally just treat me like any other person were suddenly giving me "the look" along with all kinds of other signs of interest. Just because of a subtle shift in attitude. There's a little more to that, but I'll cover it in a future post.
Women also use their sexuality for utility when needed. Sex can be used to attract a man, get a man to commit to a relationship, or be exchanged for providing for her or the family. Women learn to use their sexuality to influence men at a shockingly early age, well before they're actually old enough to have sex. We tend to avoid talking about using sex for utility, however, because it feels a little too prostitute-ish.
Finally, women are beholden to the same novelty effect as men. Women love sex just as much as men, and they thoroughly enjoy the hot animal sex of the honeymoon period. They also miss that high quality sex later in the relationship, which is part of the reason they're so prone to alphas swooping in to give them a good time. This is especially true if they're committed to a beta that provides zero sexual excitement. Until recently, I always assumed women were sexually aroused by hot guys in the same way men are aroused by hot women. I assumed it was a visual response. For women, though, it's not entirely visual. It's also a healthy dose of behavioral. This is why less attractive alphas still get a lot of ass... they have the right attitude that moistens panties.
Men and women have similar but different love styles. Our differences tend to be the source of many relationship issues which can be easily fixed once we understand those differences. Sexual desire plays by similar rules. We have some similarities and some differences, and understanding those dynamics can go a long way toward understanding each other to form better relationships.
Or help us get laid more often. ;-)