Friday, November 27, 2015

What Does It Mean To Be "Good At Sex?"

I like sex. A lot. That shouldn't be much of a revelation to anyone that regularly reads this blog. But I'm not just interested in having sex. I like talking about it, too. We have a lot of primal drives, like the drive to eat, drink, seek shelter, seek belonging, etc. We tend to acknowledge and accept all those drives. Our primal drive to have sex, though, is often denied. Yet it's clear sex is among our most influential drives. It's possible to predict pretty much anyone's behaviors with a high degree of accuracy IF you can figure out their sexual strategy. 

Anyway, pretty much all of us believe we're at least above average when it comes to sexual skill. I personally have never met anyone that admitted they weren't very good at sex. In psychology, we call this an illusory superiority bias. While some people are clearly very good at sex, there's an equal number that are kinda terrible. Contrary to popular belief, there is such thing as bad sex.

I personally have always been motivated to learn more about sex because I believed it would make me a better partner, thus increasing the number of opportunities to have sex. Seems logical, right?

There's a problem with this idea. A recent Maxim article shed some light on this idea. In the article, the author discusses how being really good at one or two techniques is far better than trying to be a master at everything. While it wasn't the main point of the article, it highlights a truth I discovered far too late in life - technique is vastly overrated

Once you learn some basic anatomy, understand the importance of pressure and friction, and understand how to read your partner's physiological signals, you're pretty much good to go. Maybe develop and master one or two really good techniques (per the Maxim article.) 

So If Technique Isn't Important, What Is?

This is the part that took me wayyyy too long to discover - sex is primarily psychological, not biological. Even though I heard and thought I understood the phase "the brain is your body's most important sex organ", I didn't really get it. 

As a lifelong pro-feminist social justice warrior, I had internalized a few beliefs including:

  • Men have to be "respectful" towards women, which I understood as "men need to act like asexual beings with zero interest in sex."
  • Comfort and familiarity are prerequisites to female arousal.
  • Women require long periods of foreplay to become aroused.
  • Manly men are a turnoff for women; better to play the "metrosexual" sensitive male role.
  • Mastering anything and everything related to the technical aspects of sexual technique.
Then I started studying gender and the relationship between masculine and feminine. Slowly but surely, I started to recognize the true scope of the importance of psychology in sexual satisfaction (i.e. - "good sex.") In general, I came to see that sexual fulfillment doesn't occur as a function of technical proficiency, but rather the degree of "passion" of an encounter. So what determines passion?

  1. The passion and intimacy paradox. I've written about this phenomenon before, so I'll keep it brief (see the linked post for more detail.) In essence, passion, or the desire to have sex with someone, and intimacy, the closeness and bonding we feel with another, are mutually exclusive. Passion requires mystery and distance, intimacy requires mutual self-disclosure and vulnerability. Most importantly, they kill each other. As such, it's important to learn to alternate between the two. 
  2. Genetic dissimilarity. Okay, I've known about this one for a while. We give of pheromones that contain information about our genetic makeup. Other people detect these pheromones. The greater the difference between our genes, the stronger we "fall" for the person. "Falling" is measured by the intensity of the feelings we have for the other person, which we often call "having a spark." This is why sometimes we have incredibly powerful feelings for a person that's not our type or feel nothing for someone that's perfect on paper.
  3. Traditional gender roles. This one was tough for me to accept... until I started seeing the effect. Traditional masculinity (not to be confused with the androgyny of the modern metrosexual male) and traditional femininity are kinda like the yin and yang of sexual arousal. The stronger that difference, the greater the potential for arousal. Eliminate one or both and passion disappears. There's nothing remotely arousing about androgynous blobs. It's no surprise the men that join our male-only San Diego Man Camp group universally experience an increase in sexual frequency and quality... men that are good at being men make panties wet. 
  4. Sexual dominance. This one was another tough lesson to accept, though the runaway popularity of '50 Shades of Gray' should have been a good hint, but it took the now-rare book "The Sex God Method" to really hammer home the point - almost all women love sexually dominant men. This is obviously problematic in a society that obsesses over the silly idea of "rape culture" because it makes most men extremely wary about expressing sexual dominance. It's no surprise sexual passivity and being overly cautious is one of the most common complaints women have about their sexual partners. 
These four elements, when combined effectively, result in a far better mutually-fulfilling sex life. Learning new techniques is a good thing; it gives us a huge toolbox of technique that can help us adapt to new partners faster OR provide novelty for long-term relationships. However, it's a small piece of the puzzle compared to the psychological aspects of sex.

Thoughts? Leave a comment!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Not Happy About Your Body? Fat Batman Isn't Going to Help.

Sticking with the physical attractiveness theme from my last post, let's talk about body dissatisfaction and the "ideal" body presented in pop culture. An article form the (mostly) satirical site A.V. Club reposted some pictures from an anti-bulimia website that featured Photoshopped video game and comic characters. Their apparent goal is to represent "real life" body types in an attempt to curb our tendency to feel dissatisfaction with our bodies.

There are two serious problems with this exercise. First, the editors of the anti-bulimia website don't really seem to understand WHY we create fictional depictions of an idealized body type. Second, they don't seem to understand the root cause (or solution to) of body dissatisfaction. Let's tackle the first issue.

Why Does the Idealized Body Type Sell?

As much as we fancy ourselves (humans) as rational, logical, intellectual creatures, the survival of our species is contingent on our primal desires to reproduce and get our genes into the next generation. Furthermore, we have to have some assurance that our offspring are genetically fit, and the "fitter" the better. That's why, when given a choice, we'll always fuck the most attractive person we can land in a given situation. What we consider universally "attractive" (which differs for men and women as discussed in the last post) has evolved over countless generations as a mechanism to keep our species genetically healthy enough to survive. 

The idealized body type we see in works of fiction exaggerate those characteristics we find universally attractive, which helps them sell. That works because we like looking at that which we find universally attractive. Let's say the publishers of Tomb Raider decide to make a size 16 Lara Croft. Would people rather buy and play that version, or would they prefer the older version that featured the current version? As much as we'd love to believe we're "advanced" and would celebrate chubby Lara, we all know the game would be the next E.T.

Per the rules of capitalism, businesses don't produce products that don't sell. Some people like to suggest something along the lines of "If EVERY company dropped the use of the idealized body, THEN we'd solve this problem!" 

Nice sentiment, but that's not how capitalism works. The allure of being that lone company that would buck the rules by playing to our primal desires would be too great. Besides, most people like to frame this as "if only these big, evil corporations would do this... yadda, yadda, yadda" without seemingly understanding that, in almost every case, the profit motivation behind business directly or indirectly puts food on their table. Would you really want the person that signs YOUR paycheck to commit market suicide by producing products that would put them at a competitive disadvantage? 

Probably not.

I know some readers are thinking "Jesus, why are men such shallow pigs?!? If only they would stop objectifying women's bodies, we could finally solve this issue! Fucking patriarchy!!!!"

My response - which book do ya think would sell more copies:

The knife cuts both ways, ladies.

What's Really Behind Body Dissatisfaction?

The first issue is pretty simple to explain. This one? It gets a little tricky. There are all sorts of explanations that explain why we tend not to like our bodies, and the issue affects men just as much as women. 

Right now, I'm in pretty good shape due to jiu jitsu and mma training coupled with weight training and fairly strict dietary moderation. I'm pretty cut and I love it. HOWEVER, three months ago I was gravitating toward a dadbod. It sucked. I didn't like looking at myself in the mirror, felt insecure, and would get mildly depressed. I was experiencing body dissatisfaction.

So why does our self-perception of our bodies affect us so much? It's because we fear social rejection. Take a look at Maslow's hierarchy:

See that yellow middle "love and belonging" section? We need to feel a sense of connection with others, both socially and sexually. We get insecure about our perception of our body image because we know people will like us more if we're physically attractive. Here's a quick primer for the uninitiated. Want another source? Here ya go. This is a really, really hard pill to swallow and most people would prefer to pretend this isn't the case, but it's reality. It's the same primal, evolutionary mechanism described above. If this were NOT the case, any one of us would be perfectly happy having sex with a random member of the population. 

Don't think this is how us humans are hardwired? Let's hang out and we'll play that game where I get to pick someone for you to have sex with. Odds are good your resolve to deny this phenomenon is weaker than your willingness to bang someone on my municipality's equivalent of Skid Row. ;-)

Anyway, that fear and anxiety of social and sexual rejection is the underlying mechanism that fuels our body dissatisfaction. The key to that - this is a phenomenon that occurs in our own heads and is based on our own preferences for attractive people

What does that mean? I like looking at attractive people, therefore I transpose my own psychological mechanism on everyone else. I assume THEY also like looking at attractive people. If I'm not feeling attractive, I assume others aren't going to like looking at me and will experience the exact same bias I have against unattractive people. 

This is an incredibly important point; re-read it until you really understand and internalize it.

This concept gets lost in our own heads because we have a lot of other mechanisms at play. For example, we may love looking at attractive people, but if we think they're "out of our league", we tend to set up defense mechanisms to pre-disqualify them as potential mates ("he must be a douche" or "she must be a bitch".) This leads us to actually attempt to match up with people closer to our own "level" of attractiveness, but it doesn't change the primal preference for the physically attractive.

So What's the Solution?

I'd offer two pieces of advice to end body dissatisfaction, and neither involves the stupid "feel good" shit like photoshopping fictional characters. 

First, improve yourself. Nothing ends body dissatisfaction faster than making yourself more attractive to others. You can work on getting fit and all the other stuff related to physical attractiveness I discussed in my last post. You can also take a really, really easy short-cut: Learn to exude confidence. That's the single best way to improve how others see you, and it's one of the first things I recommend in my San Diego Man Camp. I'll be honest - I really like fit women with large breasts and round asses (find pics of my wife for a good example ;-) .) However, I find myself attracted to any body type if the woman is confident. 

Second, when you do experience body dissatisfaction, understand you're experiencing it because of a fear of rejection. Simply acknowledging that cognitive mechanism can do wonders, but I'd go a step further and actually boot the fear to the curb. When you're free of that fear of social and sexual rejection, you're no longer riddled with body image insecurity. 

So there you go. Now you know the problem and the solutions. Please stop posting stupid "everyone is beautiful" ego-boosting shit on Facebook. 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why Does Attractiveness Matter?

If you spend any time on social media, you probably encounter a lot of posts like this. It's a weird conflation of pro-body image and anti-fat shaming messages wrapped in overly flowery language (descriptor intentional.) While I enjoy dressing ideas in fancy wardrobes to make them more socially-palatable, it covers the the important critical concepts that actually matter. In this case, the author seems to be saying "all women, regardless of body type, are physically attractive." 

What's a better route? How about simple honestly? When it comes to physical attractiveness for men or women, all are "beautiful" if we measure beauty as "do other people find me physically attractive?" Why? Because everyone has their own special kink, and those people will seek out others that fulfill that special kink.

Rail-thin fashion model? There are dudes that find that look irresistible. 

Morbidly-obese couch potato? Some dudes can't get enough!

One-legged dude covered in a thick mane of curly body hair? There are women that salivate at the thought of riding him.

Here's the deal, though. There is an "ideal" that will appeal to the widest section of the population. Not necessarily EVERY member of the population, but most. This is primarily a function of evolution and is controlled by neurotransmitters and hormones in our nervous and endocrine system, but sociocultural factors play at least some role in interpersonal attraction. 

Getting closer to that "ideal" will make you more attractive to a wider segment of the population. In other words, it gives you more options. More importantly, it gives you better options where "better" is defined as "an option that is closer to the ideal of your preferred gender." When it comes to reaching that ideal, men and women have much different criteria, however.

How This Works for Women

Women really only have one important universal variable to consider: Fertility. While we don't usually think of fertility as being "attractive", the physical markers that indicate high fertility ARE attractive. Youth and health are the two primary components that indicate fertility, so all the female qualities guys find attractive center around those two constructs. Specifically, we (guys) look for a waist-to-hip ratio of about 0.7 (which is curiously independent of actual body size), full breasts, clear skin and shiny hair, facial symmetry, larger eyes, contrasting facial features, and, perhaps most importantly, youth. 

Think about all of the things women use to improve their appearance. Push-up bras, Spanx, breast and butt enlargement surgery, and well-fit clothing all accentuate that magical 0.7 ratio. Acne products, exfoliating products, moisturizers, spot-correcting products, concealers, highlighters, blotting papers, hydrating sprays, and powders all give the illusion of clear complexion. Hair restoration products, clarifying shampoos, and most conditioners are designed to enhance hair shininess. Products like lipstick, lip liner, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, etc. all create an effect that makes eyes appear bigger and/or increases facial feature contrast. And youth? That's the point of our obsession with "age eraser" tools like anti-wrinkle products (including the overuse of sunscreen), hair coloration, blush (which, like lipstick, also gives an illusion of sexual arousal), teeth whitening, primers, lash curlers, and, of course, plastic surgery.

So... the closer women get to the "female ideal", the more attractive they will appear to the largest number of people. In graph form, it looks like this:

Unfortunately for women, their "value" is pretty much dictated by their age. Their value increases until about the age of 24 or so, then drops as they continue to age. That's not really a politically-correct thing to say, but it's just the way our species works. Don't believe me? Ask any woman at 55 if she can attract as much male attention as she could at 25. 

How This Works for Men

For men, it gets a little more complex because, well, women's preferences are a little more complex. Again, remember we're talking about universals here. Individual preferences will skew this once we drop from the "all of humanity" level to "Joe, the dude that works at Starbucks" level. Men essentially have four components that determine their value to women: 

  • Physical attractiveness
  • Confidence
  • The man's ability to protect
  • A man's ability to provide
Why exactly is this so complex? Hypergamy. Women's sexual strategy requires her mate to possess this combination of characteristics to provide good genes and give both her and her offspring the best chance at survival. Again, it's evolution in action, which produces behaviors that are controlled by the nervous and endocrine systems. When looking for a mate, the typical male is looking for a fertile woman. A woman, on the other hand, is looking for a cornucopia of qualities that are nicely summed up in one of my all-time favorite college dorm posters:

Just like women, men use this information to make ourselves as attractive to potential mates as possible. Our physical attractiveness isn't based on youth so much as it's based on good genes (because dudes can produce viable sperm pretty much until death.) The indicators of male physical attractiveness are based on healthy genes and current physical health. Things like facial symmetry, high cheekbones, a strong jaw line, and a pronounced chin are most important for genetic health. Fitness (like washboard abs) and an absence of obvious indicators of sickness (like a rash and pale skin) are the best indicators of current health. 

Confidence is a weird characteristic, but relevant. Confidence can be displayed by possessing great social skills, dominance and power, and most importantly, confidence around women. That last one is the best indicator of relative value compared to the woman. A woman, per hypergamy, is always going to seek out the highest value male. Nothing screams "high value" like confidence. Here's an example to illustrate the point:

Jane is a female with a rated attractiveness (a tool researchers use to measure a person's measurable attractiveness) value of 5 out of 10. She's always going to look for a male of higher value than herself. Specifically, she's going to search for the highest value male she can attract. She meets Bob. Bob is a 7 out of 10 when combining all four of these characteristics. Because Bob is higher value than Jane, he's not especially nervous around her. He comes off as confident. Jane is really attracted to that because his confidence is an indicator that Bob is high value relative to her own value.

Now let's look at Matilda. Matilda is a Finnish bikini model. She's a 9 out of 10. SHE meets Bob. Bob is intimidated by her beauty because he believes she's out of his league. Matilda picks up on Bob's lack of confidence, thus indicating he's low value. As such, she doesn't find him attractive.

Make sense? Weird, but that's how our species interprets male confidence as part of this "male value" formula. Sidebar - Dudes, that's one of the secrets to succeeding with women. ;-)

Next is a man's ability to protect. Men are physically bigger than women, thus serve as natural protectors. Also, when pregnant and nursing, women are more vulnerable. As such, women place a value on a man's ability to protect. This is another reason women value fitness in general and displays of athleticism or "fighting skill" in particular. 

Finally, we have a man's ability to provide. Like protecting, this is about survival. A man that can provide for his woman and their children is valued higher than a lazy, unemployed bum. It should be noted this doesn't always manifest as "making more money." If a man shows he has the potential to make money and the drive to make money, that's almost as good. 

All of these things, in graph form, looks like this:

Guys, for better or worse, aren't affected by aging so much as what they accomplish in life. Women more or less get their value simply by being youthful, then have to fight that as they age. Guys, on the other hand, don't get much other than their indicators of genetic health (assuming they're not trust fund babies.) Everything else? Guys have to earn it. That's both good and bad. It means we have incredible control over our own value, but it also means hard work is heavily rewarded and laziness is ruthlessly punished. 

Sidebar - this is the precise reason why "just be yourself" advice, when given to men, is ludicrous. If a man isn't actively improving all of these realms (thus working to increase his value), his value is dropping. You've been warned, lazy fucks. Join our San Diego Man Camp to avoid that "value dropping like Wile E. Coyote's anvil off a cliff" trap. 

So... How Do We Use This Information?

I know what some of my readers are thinking - "Wow Jason, that's a pretty harsh take on humanity!" Maybe, but it's reality. And sometimes reality kinda hurts. We can either choose to ignore it and leave our head in the clouds and become victims to our ignorance, or we can accept it and use it to make our lives better. 

I do not care to wrap ideas like physical attractiveness in flowery language that gives us the nice feelz. I want to know how shit works, then I want to hack it to figure out how to make my life better, and by extension - the lives of my family. Understanding this helps. 

A lot.

Questions? Leave a comment!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Why I Don't Care About Converting Beta Males

I was sharing a correspondence with a male friend a few days ago. He's interested in my Man Camp idea, and was asking what could be done to recruit and convert beta males to our way of thinking. He was somewhat surprised when I told him I had zero desire to do such a thing. 

Back when I promoted barefoot running, I learned a valuable lesson. If you're promoting an unconventional idea, people are naturally going to resist it unless they have a compelling reason to really listen. Trying to force the idea is not only pointless, but it raises defenses that may make it impossible for them to "come over to your side" in the future. 

Many people promoted barefoot running as a clearly superior practice to wearing shoes, and got rather militant about it. If someone objected to the idea of going unshod, their response would be to bash their opponent over the lead with questionable science and limited anecdotal evidence. That approach made barefoot running seem even more absurd than it really is.

My solution was to simply put information out there, then create a community for mutual support. At some point, many runners would experience injuries, try all the standard treatments that wouldn't solve the problem, then come to me for more information on this silly "barefoot running" thing. In short, I waited for them to come to me because they would be in a position to really appreciate the ideas. I didn't have to waste time and energy selling them on the idea; I could use my resources to actually help them overcome the injuries and become better runners.

The same thing applies to the Man Camp idea. The men that are interested thus far all fit the same basic profile. Their either alpha-ish and know that value of the Man Camp concept, or have experienced something akin to a running injury. They realized their method of operation as a beta male is ineffective and are seeking something better. They knew something wasn't quite right. They knew the narrative they've bought into their whole lives was flawed. They experienced that uncomfortable realization that they were wasting the most precious resource of them all - time. They've spent their lives building something that promised fulfillment and happiness, and that narrative has delivered the exact opposite. 

I see a lot of beta behaviors in the men around me in real life and via social media. Some seem content, but many remind me of the runners I'd see that looked like they were in perpetual pain. I know I could make a few suggestions to dramatically improve their enjoyment and fulfillment, but I know they're not ready to really listen to the message. They need the equivalent of a major running injury to be in a position to listen. 

Maybe it's a dead bedroom situation, a boring relationship, or they're tired of being disrespected and nagged by their girlfriend, wife, or kids. Maybe they're tired of being perceived as weak, indecisive, or incompetent. Maybe they're tired of lame, passionless sex. Maybe they're tired of trying to be the sweet, sensitive boyfriend or husband and getting nothing in return. Maybe their wife or girlfriend is secretly seeking out a man that knows how to act like a man. Maybe they're sick of being friendzoned or being ignored by their love interests. Maybe they're sick of feeling like they've had to abandon all of their instinctual masculine drives and defer to women just for the opportunity to maybe earn their love.

Regardless of the reason, there will be guys that reach the end of their rope and realize their worldview is horribly ineffective. Those are the men that will eventually find us. 

Of course, a lot of men won't even hit that proverbial "rock bottom." They might be perfectly content with their beta-ness. Maybe playing the subservient role is their particular kink and they're perfectly matching with a domineering woman. And that's perfectly okay. I do not care to convert these people. I don't get them and they don't get me. That doesn't mean either of us are wrong. Just like runners that are perfectly happy with their motion-control foot coffins, all of us should have the right to do as we please. We can still run the same races, then share a beer afterward.

So why bother?

After all, there are those men that suggest we shouldn't help betas at all. In the competitive landscape that is the Sexual Marketplace, career advancement, and a host of other social situations, the alphas reign king. They get the highest value girls, the jobs in upper management, and the charmed life. The more betas, the better the available choices for the alphas. Personally, I don't like this scarcity mindset. I'm as competitive as the next guy, but I'd rather compete against the best than dilute the competition. I suppose it's the teacher in me, but I'd rather help 100 men learn to be better at being men than beat out those same 100 men in competition. Those 100 men will push me to be a better man. 

Curiously, I have a fair number of beta males that routinely jump into discussions related to the Man Camp view of gender roles. Their interest is fascinating because I would expect anyone that wasn't interested would simply ignore my ramblings. But they don't. If my barefoot running experiences are an indicator, these dudes have an inkling that their worldview is causing them significant angst and feel the void, but haven't had that "major injury" experience to compel them to overcome the fear of change. Like the shod runners that would take the time and effort to belittle barefoot running, I would expect them to be asking for advice within the year. When they're ready, we'll be here.

At the end of the day, though, it's a moot point. I don't really care to convert betas because it's a waste of time helping people that don't want it and, more importantly, their beta status has absolutely no impact on my world. It's a lot like batshit-crazy religious folks, the folks that attend comic book conventions, or soccer fans... they're clearly content with their lives, why is it important for me to insist they believe what I believe? Not all men care to learn to be better at being a man. And that's okay.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Gender Role Cult Problem: How Identifying with One Particular Team Blinds Our Objectivity

"Hey Jason, why do you seem to have a disdain for feminism and all the male responses (men's rights activists, the "manosphere", The Red Pill, etc.), yet use their concepts on a regular basis?"

I've received this question a few times over the last few months, and it deserves a little explanation. I really like and can identify with a lot of the goals and ideas of both "sides" of these gender advocates, but the actual movements themselves are wayyyyy too cultish for my liking. 

Specifically, the proponents of these ideologies increasingly use the in-group/ out-group bias when considering their particular group. They start framing anything and everything as "us versus them." That leads to a tendency to stereotype "them", which is made worse by the confirmation bias

We don't know nearly as much about gender roles, relationships, and sexuality as we believe we know, so it makes sense (to me anyway) to remain as impartial as possible. The moment we identify ourselves as a member of a particular ideology, we begin losing the skepticism necessary to really investigate anything. 

For me personally, this gets annoying when discussing these issues. People that identify themselves as a feminist or as a men's rights activist have no ability to see the flaws in their own stance because their self-worth is tied to the emotional outcome of the debate. They consider themselves as part of a team and they do not want their team to lose. 

This became apparent when I recently posted about the flawed logic liberals use when considering gender. I was hoping to have an actual conversation that would discuss what I saw as hypocrisy of vilifying masculinity as a social construct while supporting transgender folks as victims of biology. As a pretty liberal person, I was curious how others logically overcame that cognitive dissonance. Instead of actually discussing the issue, it turned into a nit-picking of semantics or outright changing the subject.

When you don't play for a particular team, you don't give a fuck who wins or even if there is a winner. Instead, you can focus on what really matters - getting closer to an objective "truth" and seeing the world as it really is, not how you wish it were. 

I got a healthy dose of this phenomenon when I was actively promoting barefoot running. Scientifically, we didn't know a lot about running gait. We had some hypotheses related to the superiority of being barefoot, but simple experimentation with minimalist shoes *should* have led us to conclude our hypotheses were incorrect. The people that strongly identified themselves as "barefoot runners", however, completely ignored the obvious and continued to cling to their beliefs. Their complete inability to see what was obviously solid empirical evidence that refuted their beliefs ultimately led me to back away. They knew what they knew and could not be convinced otherwise.

I experienced the same issue with men. It's clear the alpha/beta concept plays an important role in female attraction. Beta males simply do not arouse women. Even most women tell men this. Still, the vast majority of modern men continue to believe women are aroused by sensitive, vulnerable, weak men. 

While rejecting the label and refusing to identify with one particular group does provide a degree of insulation, it's not infallible. I still fall for all kinds of cognitive biases. The difference? I expect all my thoughts and ideas are wrong and look for information that confirms my wrongness. It's a pretty simple mental game that turns the conformation bias on its head. This is also the reason I apparently change directions so often. I may promote one idea, then promote a radically different idea for what seems like no apparent reason. People have a hard time understanding that I don't tie myself down with one particular ideology. Ever. 

So what can you do?

I like this activity. Get a piece of paper. Make a list of every "group" you consider yourself to be a part of. Think globally. For me, it does something like this:

  • Male
  • Resident of USA, California, and San Diego
  • Teacher
  • Liberal
  • Libertarian
  • Father
  • Stay-at-home dad
  • Sort-of Marxist
  • Mixed martial artist
  • Husband
  • Left-handed person
  • Caucasian
  • Trail runner
  • Jiu jitsu player
  • Writer
  • Detroit Tigers fan
  • French Canadian
  • Fitness enthusiast
  • Norwegian
  • Dude with a beard
  • Entrepreneur
  • Guns rights supporter
  • Pro life supporter
...and so on. Once you make the list, think about each item. How does this affect your world view? Specifically, how does this cause you to fall for the in-group/ out-group and confirmation bias? Does membership in this particular group limit your ability to rationally consider new ideas, or are you emotionally-invested in the outcomes related to that particular group? Think about an issue related to that group. Can you compose an effective argument against your opinions? If you can't, you're too attached to that group and it blinds you to reality.

The difficult part of this exercise is this tendency to align ourselves and filter information is hard-wired into all humans. It occurs automatically in every situation. Even when we're aware of the concept, we still fall for it. That requires us to make these thought games a habit. If you're interested in trying to learn how the world really works, this is an invaluable skill that' well worth the effort.

I don't despise feminism and the male variants; I just understand the danger of identifying too closely with them. They have good ideas and should be used as resources, not as lifestyle identities. The concept of gender roles influence pretty much every aspect of our behavior. As such, understanding how they work is more important than joining a team and helping them "win."


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Operational Definitions: The Glossary of Sexpressionist Terminology

Since I started discussing gender roles, many of the discussions have devolved away from the actual concepts to arguments over semantics. This post will serve as the official Sexpressionist glossary for terms and concepts I use regularly, which will be updated periodically.

  • Advertising Sex - Passionate, enthusiastic, uninhibited sex females engage in to either win over or "protect" their mate from being poached by another woman. 
  • Alpha Female - The one female that leads a particular group of women. Alpha females are usually the most-admired woman in a group. Identifiable based on the other women's feet; they all point towards the alpha. 
  • Alpha Male - In any given situation, the alpha is the male calling the shots. Alphas are admired by men and desired by women. Alpha status is situational - a man can be an alpha in his career but a beta in relationships. Specific to relationships, women are sexually aroused by alpha males. Beta males often mistake Pseudo-alphas for real alphas. 
  • Androgynous Female (AF) - A genetic and/or biological female exhibiting a primary androgynous gender role.
  • Androgynous Male (AM) - A genetic and/or biological male exhibiting a primary androgynous gender role.
  • Androgyny - A gender role with a balance between masculine and feminine characteristics.
  • AOS - "Art of Seduction" - a popular book by Robert Greene.
  • Beta Male - In any given situation, beta males are the males that are not calling the shots. In relationships, betas often provide material comforts but do not sexually arouse their partners. 
  • Biological Sex - Demographic category determined by either the presence or absence of ovaries and/or testes *OR* the appearance of the external genitalia. 
  • Confirmation Bias - Tendency to filter incoming information. If incoming information confirms a belief we hold, we pay attention to it. If incoming information refutes a belief we hold, we ignore it. Changing people's minds always requires us to first overcome the confirmation bias in some way.
  • Consensual Nonmonogamy - Another term for Social Sexuality.
  • Dead Bedroom - Intimate relationship where one or both partners is not getting as much sex as they'd like.
  • Desire - Used interchangeably with "Passion"; refers to the desire to have sex.
  • Dark Triad - Personality type that includes elements of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Almost all humans are weirdly aroused by people that exhibit the Dark Triad.
  • Dunbar's Number - Theory that the human brain can only maintain stable social ties with about 150 people. Once this number is surpassed, people lose the ability to related to each other on a personal level and begin relying on group stereotypes. Developed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.
  • Feminine - Gender role primarily tasked with expanding and developing society; consisting of the virtues of social facilitation (including intuitiveness, vulnerability, openness, tranquility, flexibility, cooperativeness, and prudence), nurturing (including loving, patience, kindness, cleanliness, thriftiness, and hopefulness), compassion (including empathy, altruism, thoughtfulness, graciousness, mercy, and tolerance), and beauty (including physical attractiveness, sensuality, chastity, self-respect, innocence, and flirtiness.)
  • Feminine Female (FF) - A genetic and/or biological female exhibiting a primary feminine gender role.
  • Feminine Male (FM) - A genetic and/or biological male exhibiting a primary feminine gender role.
  • Feminism - Social movement advocating for women, divided into four chronological and ideological "waves." The first wave fought for voting rights. The second wave fought for equality under the law. The third wave fought for a variety of social issues related to equality. Some third wave goals actually work towards gender equality; some work toward female superiority. The fourth wave is batshit crazy.
  • Gamma Male - Men that defer to anyone and everyone, including beta males. While I don't like the term, these men are usually considered "losers."
  • Gender - Social construct that defines a set of behavioral characteristics that are at least partially controlled by hormones and neurotransmitters; likely has a biological or genetic cause much like sexual orientation. Can be masculine, feminine, or androgynous. "Gender" is mostly independent of "sex."
  • Gender Equality - All people, regardless of sex or gender, should have equal opportunity, equal possibility, and equal responsibility. Gender equality does not mean everyone should start from the same point or should have an equal outcome.
  • Gender Role Protection Theory - My hypothesis that gender roles evolved as a mutual protection agreement between the masculine and feminine (as opposed to the popular opinion that gender roles developed as a means for men to oppress women.) This is a fundamental principle of the San Diego Man Camp.
  • Gender Roles - The practical purpose different genders play within interpersonal romantic relationships, families, and other levels of "tribes."
  • Gender Characteristics - Specific behaviors or personality dispositions that can be classified as masculine or feminine.
  • Gender Virtues - Broad groups of gender characteristics.
  • Genetic Sex - XX, XY, and all the intersex variations.
  • Honeymoon Period - Period at the beginning of a relationship where individuals are obsessed with each other. Leads to predictable behaviors like boundless energy, weight loss, extremely high sexual desire, obsessive thoughts, and an inability to see your partner's flaws. Generally lasts about 9-18 months. In the U.S., many expect this feeling to last forever. It doesn't.
  • Hypergamy - Dual female sexual strategy where women desire a mate with superior genes (alphas) and a mate that is a good provider (betas.) Often varies depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle and can be influenced by oral contraceptives, and may vary depending on age (and sexual market value.)
  • In-Group/ Out-Group Bias - Tendency to see members of our tribe as individuals and in a positive light and non-members as a stereotype and in a negative light. Fuels the confirmation bias. 
  • Intersex - Broad category of the genetic and biological gray area between "male" and "female."
  • Intimacy - The emotional closeness we feel towards our partner in a romantic relationship, which is mutually-exclusive to passion. Intimacy and passion are inversely-related. This differs from the pop psychology belief that intimacy is a prerequisite to passion. In my opinion, that particular belief is the primary reason so many long-term relationships fail.
  • Kink - Any sexual behavior that falls about one standard deviation from the norm. 
  • Madbod - Overweight male body type.
  • Maintenance Sex - Passionless, mechanical sex women engage in for a utilitarian purpose. Often occurs after the honeymoon period expires.
  • Man Camp (MC) - Abbreviation for San Diego Man Camp
  • Masculine - Gender role primarily tasked with protecting and providing for the tribe; consisting of the virtues of strength (physical capabilities), courage (willingness to face danger), mastery (developing and mastering skills useful to the tribe), and honor (respect earned from the other men in the tribe.) Includes characteristics like independence, emotionally stable, aggressive, assertive, resilient, exhibit a strong in-group/ out-group bias, competitive, confident, physically-active, sexually aggressive, rebellious, free, logical, disciplined, situationally-aware, and protective.
  • Masculine Female (MF) - A genetic and/or biological female exhibiting a primary masculine gender role.
  • Masculine Male (MM) - A genetic and/or biological male exhibiting a primary masculine gender role.
  • MRAs - Men's Rights Activists - A group of men that advocate for men's rights, especially in the legal and educational realms. 
  • NBZ - "No Bone Zone" - my sex and relationship book for curing sexual boredom in long-term relationships.
  • "Nice Guys" - A type of emotionally-manipulative male. Explained in detail here. 
  • Nonconsensual Nonmonogamy - Having sex with a partner other than your primary partner without their knowledge or consent (aka "cheating")
  • Open Relationship - General term used to describe a relationship with a consensual nonmonogamy element.
  • Pair Bond - Sciency term for a couple.
  • Passion - Uncontrollable desire to have sex with someone; marked by sexual arousal and associated thoughts and behaviors. Passion is mutually-exclusive of intimacy. 
  • Poly - Polyamory, or a particular type of social sexuality where people form multiple simultaneous emotionally-involved romantic relationships. 
  • Primary Gender Role - The gender role you exhibit most often.
  • Pseudo-alpha - Caricature of what an alpha actually is, usually manifested by loud, brash, arrogant behaviors without leadership skills (aka "douche".) 
  • Provisioning - providing for; usually used in reference to males "provisioning" for their wife and kids. 
  • Rated Attractiveness - Measure of physical beauty, determined by having a panel give a numerical rating to an individual. The larger the group, the more reliable the rating. 
  • Rats - Nonviolent social moochers; part of my Gender Role Protection Theory.
  • SDMC - San Diego Man Camp.
  • Secondary Gender Role - Gender role we utilize on occasion, usually to amplify the effectiveness of our primary gender role. For example, a masculine male may use feminine characteristics to be more "gentlemanly."
  • Serial Monogamy - Having sex only with the other person in a romantic relationship, then only switch sexual partners when we enter a new relationship. The predominant way most of us do relationships here in the United States. 
  • Sex (the demographic classification) - refers to the genetic or biological classification, can be "man", "woman" or "intersex."
  • Sex-positive Feminism - Brand of third-wave feminism that supports the free expression of sexuality. A major inspiration for my book No Bone Zone
  • Sexual Attraction - A form of attraction we feel towards another individual measured by our level of sexual arousal. 
  • Sexual Market - Term used to describe the dynamics that influence how and why particular people pair up. 
  • Sexual Market Value - our individual "value" on the sexual market. Varies depending on the "buyer" and their preferences. 
  • Sexual Orientation - Refers to the sex and/or gender that sexually arouses us. Can be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual. 
  • Sexual Orientation Plasticity - Flexibility in our sexual orientation. Depending on the environment and other conditions, our sexual orientation may change (like dudes in prison.) Women are generally considered as having greater flexibility in sexual orientation.
  • Sexual Selection - Darwinian tendency to develop or exhibit preferences that others find attractive and helps us find mates. Characteristics that arise as a result of sexual selection often do not aid (or may actually harm) survival (like a male peacock's elaborate feathers.) Muscular males or chesty females are two human examples.
  • Sheep - Nonviolent masses; part of my Gender Role Protection Theory.
  • Sheepdog - Protectors of their tribes, willing and eager to use violence in that role; part of my Gender Role Protection Theory.
  • Shit Test - Tests humans give to each other to assess their physical, emotional, psychological, and social fitness. Examples would be males teasing each other or women asking "Does this dress make me look fat?"
  • Social Justice Warrior - Beta male Sheep that advocates for the expanding of society.
  • Social Proof - Tendency to observe and utilize the behavior of others as a guide for social behavior; also refers to the tendency to use other people to assess the sexual market value of a particular individual. For example, a woman may find a married man more attractive than if he were single because at least one other woman sees value in him.
  • Social Sexuality - My preferred umbrella term for consensual nonmonogamy.
  • Sociosexual Orientation - Refers for an individual's capacity to engage in casual no-strings attached sex.
  • Swingers - Type of social sexuality where couples engage in casual sex without emotional connections with someone other than their primary partner. 
  • Till Death Monogamy - The way we used to do monogamy; we'd have one partner until one or both died.
  • Tribe - The group you identify with and causes an in-group/ out-group bias. Most people belong to multiple tribes, but one usually takes precedent over the others.
  • TRM - "The Rational Male" - A useful book by Rollo Tomassi.
  • TRP - The Red Pill - an online community dedicated to understanding male and female behaviors, especially as they relate to each other. 
  • TWoM - "The Way of Men" - a book by Jack Donovan.
  • White Knight - A beta male that provides unsolicited "protection" to women in the hopes she'll reciprocate with attention (usually in the form of sex.)
  • Wolf - Violent criminals; part of my Gender Role Protection Theory.
If I missed something, leave a comment and I'll add it ASAP.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Liberals Got This One Wrong: Why We Cannot Have Gender Equality Without Supporting Masculinity

Studying gender roles in-depth over the last few months has resulted in a great deal of reflection on my own preconceived notions about the topic. Specifically, where exactly do gender roles come from, and how can we best utilize them to make our world a better place? The older I get, the more I see my cohorts fall victim to problems associated with their misguided beliefs about gender roles. Specifically, I see:
  • People in gender and women in particular that become sexually-bored in long-term relationships (predictably after about four years) and have no idea how to resurrect the passion.
  • Women that are shamed by other men and women for openly displaying masculine characteristics.
  • Men that are shamed by other men and women for openly displaying feminine characteristics.
  • Husbands and fathers that are continually stereotyped as incompetent, bumbling idiots, which is reinforced through TV and movies.
  • Transgender friends, both male and female, shamed for choosing to live as the opposite sex.
  • Parents of elementary school-aged boys struggling to keep them interested in school. 
  • Women, as they approach their mid-thirties, becoming increasingly attracted to alpha males.
This is just a partial list of issues I've observed, most of which came from the research for No Bone Zone.

[tl:dr warning: If you don't care to read my personal account of gender roles, skip to the "The Rationale to Protect Masculinity" heading below]

How My Beliefs Regarding Gender Have Evolved

Back in college when I was studying sex and gender, the nature versus nurture debate over gender was raging. Sociologists, as they tend to do, made the claim that gender was a social construct that was born when man decided to start farming, and was generally used as a tool for men to hoard power and influence while simultaneously oppressing women (Yay nurture!

Evolutionary and biological psychologists, on the other hand, noted the physical and biochemical differences between males and females, and made the argument gender roles are mostly innate and serve a utilitarian purpose. Specifically, men played the role of protector and provider, and women played the role of nurturer and social cohesion. The tribes that best-utilized these roles survived to reproduce and send their superior genes to the next generation (Yay nature!)

At the time, I tended to buy into the first idea a little more, partially because social psychology was my primary theoretical foundation. We pretty much believe all human behavior occurs as a function of the environment. At the time, it seemed to me that traditional gender roles caused a lot of problems, so the solution was to simply alter our environment. I assumed there was a biological basis for gender roles, but I dismissed it as being relatively minor. I pretty much ignored what should have been an obvious data point in this debate - the very sad John/Joan story (if you've never heard of it, read this now; it'll change the way you think of gender.) I also ignored the behavioral effects of biologically-determined hormones like testosterone (which gives us dudes our upper body strength, aggression, competitiveness, and relentless sex drive.)

I personally grew up in a household where gender roles were very fluid. Both my parents worked, and both shared in pretty much all the responsibilities of running a household and parenting. Our family had some emotional issues that were more or less passed on from generation to generation, which caused me to develop tendencies that would eventually lead me to appear to be a pretty "beta" male (sensitive, passive, empathetic, caring, etc.), which was amplified by a weird type of auditory dyslexia that caused me to be a really good listener (I have to process everything people say to give it context so I can follow a conversation... it's a useful but exhausting skill.)

When Shelly and I had kids, we more or less raised them based on the ideas in Lois Gould's semi-famous "Baby X" story (another must-read.) The goal was simple - we wanted our kids to have the freedom to express themselves as they wish. Our job as parents were to channel that into something constructive and help them understand the benefits and consequences they'd face for their various behaviors. The result - our daughter (10) has an interesting mix of feminine attractiveness and masculine aggression and competitiveness. Our middle son (9) is the most feminine kid in the family (sensitive and nurturing), yet he also has an edgy dark side that comes out on occasion. Our youngest (6) is a pretty "traditional" boy; his behaviors pretty much align with the majority of his male peers. He's hyperactive, loves rough-housing, climbing, and exploring, etc. 

For me personally, I started to realize my "beta-ishness" wasn't a function of my innate personality, but rather a collection of coping skills I had learned while growing up. That was partially tempered by pretty traditional "male" activities like hunting and fishing, playing baseball, football, and wrestling. Still, I was really good at observing women then replicating their behaviors, which gave me the appearance of a decidedly beta male.

I increasingly realized I felt like I was living a lie of sorts. When I'd talk to my gay, lesbian, or transsexual friends, their stories of feeling as though they had to bury their true self resonated with me in a weird way. About a decade ago, I took up running, which led to barefoot running and ultrarunning. Both of those activities satisfied some urge I had, but it was hard to verbalize. I now realize it was my desire to compete, to overcome, to dominate an activity. It was a socially-acceptable manifestation of my repressed masculinity.

About the only time I didn't suppress these tendencies is with the magical elixir that is alcohol. Drunk Jason became fearless leader Jason. I became assertive, confident, and protective of my tribe (my drinking friends.) 

Fast-forward a few years. We had traveled the country for about two years, met thousands and thousands of people (many of which would later inspire my rekindled interest in sex, relationships, and gender roles), and eventually settled in Southern California. We were tiring of the running scene, so Shelly decided to join an mma gym. She loved it. Within a month I joined, too. Both of us were now surrounded by what I would define as Sheepdogs and Wolves. Both of us, somewhat surprisingly, took to the violent nature of jiu jitsu, boxing, and kickboxing like fish to water. We both discovered we like violence. A lot. We like hurting people (consensually, of course.) We also don't mind getting hurt. When we train, like almost all of our gym teammates, we beg our coach to let us live spar. 

Like most things we do, we talked about it. We wrote about it. We shared our experiences far and wide. We tried to convince our runner friends to give it a try. To our surprise (then anyway), we had zero takers. In fact, of my thousands of social media friends, only about ten or twelve both run and practice a martial art that involves real sparring. That was the straw that broke the camel's back and made me fully realize I had been living a complete lie for my entire life. I had actively suppressed my masculine tendencies out of fear of social rejection from family, friends, colleagues... pretty much everyone. 

So I decided to come out of the closet. 

When phrased that way, it seems a bit silly. Still, that's exactly how I felt. I started making changes. I no longer suppressed my masculine persona. The response from others was interesting. Some friends clearly did not like the change and sort of fell by the wayside. I got a lot of "you must be trying to compensate for some hidden insecurities" comments. It was clear the detractors didn't get it in any way, shape, or form. I lost friends that loved me for my facade, but that's okay. I do not want to alter my behaviors just to win the approval of others. I spent most of my life doing that. It sucks. A lot.

Other friends loved it. It was clear a lot of men (and women) love being in the presence of masculine men. I started attracting more like-minded men and started hearing their stories. As it turns out, there are a lot of us guys that have done the exact same thing - repressed our masculine tendencies for one reason or another, usually because we believed it was the only way we'd get a woman to love us. That mentality undermined careers and relationships to the point where a lot of dudes felt completely and totally lost. It was if their world they believed existed for so long suddenly crumbled and they were left grasping for any shred of understanding. As it turns out, that's exactly what living a lie feels like. In retrospect, it was a really fucked-up thought process, but denial kinda does that.

So here I am today. For the first time in my life, I feel like the me that the world sees is the me I see on the inside. And it's fantastic; it feels as if a humongous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel a degree of freedom I've never felt before. This feeling has inspired me to continue supporting my kids and their free expression of gender roles. This feeling has inspired me to support Shelly and her free expression of gender roles (especially when it comes to the fighting hobby.) This feeling has inspired me to start the San Diego Man Camp project, which has sprouted excellent discussions in our male-only Facebook group.

The Rationale to Protect Masculinity

I'm a pretty liberal dude that believes in quite a few liberal causes. I support gay marriage. I support nationalized healthcare. I support environmentalism. I also support the free expression of gender, which includes removing any and all barriers that might prevent all of us from having equal opportunity and equal responsibility. That includes supporting women that want to do traditional "male" careers and activities. That also includes supporting men that want to do traditional "female" careers and activities. Hell, I'm a stay-at-home dad. I'm living the brand. 

However, my thoughts on gender role freedom doesn't seem to resonate very well with my liberal friends. Most will readily support gay marriage based on the premise that sexual orientation, as pretty much any gay or lesbian will confirm, is not a choice. Most will also support transgender folks (thanks Caitlyn Jenner!) on the premise the gender roles, as pretty much any transgender person will confirm, is not a choice. Yet when men (or women) make the claim that masculinity is just who they are, they're stonewalled. 

That stonewalling is almost always rationalized by making the claim that masculinity is bad. Masculinity is violent and aggressive and the reason we have murders and rapes and road rage. Masculinity is an oppressive force that subjugates women. Masculinity forces little boys that identify with more feminine gender roles to be someone they are not.

I probably don't have to point out the hypocrisy of the anti-masculine sentiment among liberals... I have a lot of faith in my readers. ;-)

The bottom line - if our society is accepting of people like Caitlyn Jenner, we cannot use the "gender roles are a socially-constructed phenomena" to rationalize anti-masculine policies and behaviors. People that identify with the masculine should have the exact same freedom as anyone that identifies with the feminine. To think otherwise is, in my mind, simply inexcusable.

My Gender Role Framework

My Utopia (aka "San Diego Man Camp") relies on a simple principle: Gender roles have a significant biological and/or genetic origin and have a profound influence on our behaviors. Anyone and everyone deserves the freedom to express whatever gender role they choose regardless of their biological or genetic sex and they should be free to express that however they wish as long as they are not infringing on the rights of others. In other words, we can't rationalize vilifying masculinity because a small percentage of dudes commit the majority of sexual assaults or murders. Blame the person committing the crime, not the gender role they're identifying with. From a purely logical point, saying we need to discourage masculinity because it harms others is the exact same bullshit excuse given for the religious right to deny gays equality.

Furthermore, I strongly believe we need to do more to support men that have a more feminine disposition and women that have a more masculine disposition. This is the gray area where I think our society fails miserably, and liberals are just as guilty as conservatives. People with masculine or feminine virtues tend to gravitate towards environments (careers, recreational activities, social groups, etc.) where they can best leverage their particular strengths. Both feminine men and masculine women can be tremendous contributors to society, but we put up a whole lotta roadblocks. That needs to end.

Specific to men (and the SDMC project), I want to create an environment for a very specific demographic - men that, like me, have long-repressed their masculinity. Through mutual aid and support, I want to help these men learn to express that masculinity in a way that's not going to make their loved ones the enemy (which is my complaint about most "pro-man" groups.) I do not wish to make men a victimized class. I do not wish to vilify feminist endeavors. I do not wish to convince men that my way is the correct way. I merely wish to create a road map to a better place where we have real gender equality, then assist those that choose to follow. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How Can We Combine Femininity and Masculinity to Become More Attractive

Sometime last year, I reignited my interest in gender roles. Specifically, I started investigating the way gender roles influenced our romantic relationships. During that time, it became apparent "feminine" and "masculine" gender roles played an integral role in long-term relationship success. Unfortunately, this realization came after I had published my book detailing strategies couples can use to spice up a dormant sex life - No Bone Zone

Initially, I made the assumption that the ideal male or the ideal female would possess both masculine and feminine virtues, and could call on them at will depending on the situation. This seemed logical, and it appeared to be confirmed by observation - people that could play both roles tended to be viewed as "high value." 

Fast-forward about a year. Over the last few weeks, we've been having gender role discussions in my San Diego Man Camp, a forerunner to the actual Man Camp project I'll be launching shortly. We were discussing an article about being a gentleman that appeared on the excellent website The Art of Manliness. The article made a case that learning to be a man is a prerequisite to learning to be a gentleman. Gentlemanly, civilized behavior is a smoothing out of the rough edges of masculinity. As such, to be a real gentleman, you must first learn to be a man. This was of interest to the Man Camp group because all of us, to one degree or another, is in the process of learning to be good at being men. 

It was also of interest because it provided a better framework for my observations about attractiveness and gender roles. Suddenly, the method of how men can combine feminine traits with masculine traits came into perfect focus. Being a "gentleman" was nothing more than using feminine traits like openness, patience, kindness, graciousness, etc. to take the rough edges off the gruffness of masculinity. 

This also explained why effeminate men, White Knights, and "Nice Guys" are so damn repulsive to most women (and many men.) They adopt these "gentlemanly" traits but have nothing underneath to back them up. They're all bark and no bite. For example, white knights love to "protect" women from the evil alpha males, but their aggressive posturing and threats are laughed off because it's just a veneer. White knights are cowards that would back down at any hint of actual confrontation because they have no actual masculine "protection" skills. And most women intuitively know this. 

But Not All Men are Betas, Right?

There are a few men that DO pick up on the failings of the beta male, then attempt to correct course by adopting a hyper-masculine persona. This is the stereotypical "douche" (think Jersey Shore.) These men kinda get it right in that they recognize women are sexually aroused by alpha males, but the unchecked masculinity a) is sort of obnoxious and interferes with their ability to function as a productive member of society, and b) pretty much assures they're going to suck at long-term relationships. At the very least, the alpha douche wins out over the wimpy beta because they actually have the skill set to protect those they love. 

Interestingly, both the beta male and the douche see that each other is ineffective, yet fail to see the same in themselves. Here's a "Nice Guy"  take on the dynamic:

If you're a regular reader of this website, you'll immediately see the humor.

So Where Did We Go Wrong?

Genetic and biological males have simply lost the desire to really embrace and develop masculine traits. It's almost like most men today have developed an allergic reaction to manliness. For whatever reason, our society has forgotten how to teach men to be men. Most men fall into some version of the beta male trap. A few "rise above" and adopt the alpha douche persona. Yet very few bother to take the time to learn how to really be good at being a man, then learn to temper that unchecked manliness with appropriate doses of femininity.

I'm finding more and more men (and a few younger women that haven't fully learned how shitty beta males are over the long haul) that buy into a much different narrative - they're trying to "redefine" masculinity. This "redefining" is a wholesale destruction of all four masculine virtues and replacing them with feminine virtues. These men are going a step further than just trying to be gentlemanly without learning the prerequisite masculine virtues; they're actually trying to redefine masculinity as femininity

This group of men fall into a special category of resentful males I'm going to call "Politically Correct Butthurt Men." These PCBM men not only reject masculinity, they actively vilify it. Why? They have zero confidence in their own ability to learn to be good at being a man. That leads these men to attack any display of masculinity as "compensating for insecurity" and other such nonsense. 

Using my Gender Role Protection Theory, these men would be the Sheepiest Sheep in the tribe with no ability to protect. In a more dangerous environment, these men would normally be welcomed into the tribe and given appropriate non-protective role. In our modern safe and prosperous society where there's little need for protection, these men have a degree of power and influence and can insist we yank the fangs from our society's Sheepdogs. 

These men can't play by the rules that have governed our species throughout our history, so they attempt to change the rules by making men act (and kinda look) like women. They're like the obese kid that lobbies to add a brownie eating contest to the third grade field day events. They can win at THAT game. The problem, of course, is that their version of masculinity is despised by almost all women. Women don't want a woman with a penis. Women want a manly man that has the ability to temper that masculinity with the social savvy of gentlemanly behaviors. That is the ideal man. That is what us men need to become. That is what we need to teach our sons.

So What Does this "Ideal Man" Look Like? 

The ideal man would possess all four of the virtues effective men possess - physical strength, courage, a mastery of a wide variety of skills that serve his tribe, and honor (defined as the admiration and respect of the other men in his tribe.) The ideal man would also possess enough feminine virtues to temper these masculine virtues in a way that allows him to be a competent social animal. The ideal man has the capacity to conjure their inner-rage if the shit hits the fan, but they also have the ability to control that rage. The ideal man has that masculine aggressiveness at his fingertips and can call on it when needed, but also has the social tools to diffuse situations in a more peaceful manner.

So how do men combine masculine and feminine virtues? Men have to learn to be good at being a man. Once that is accomplished, and ONLY when that is accomplished, they can then learn to judiciously temper that masculinity with the polish of feminine virtues. Masculinity is the sculpture we chisel out of the block of granite that is our personality. Femininity is the sandpaper we use to polish that sculpture to make us effective gentlemen. That's the explicit goal of my Man Camp tribe - we're a bunch of guys that accept this challenge because we know, at a primitive level, that this is the way of men.