This is How to Change the Game

Dating, Treating Sex like a Game, Game Playing, Orgasm, Sex is a Game

While sex isn’t a game, the best solution is to make sure everyone wins.  Bex VanKoot explains how.

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The stories we tell ourselves about our shared human condition shape society in weird, and often unglamorous ways. According to modern hook-up culture mythology, unhappy young women and all-too-eager young men are at odds with each other in nearly every way.

A Game that No One Wins

Earlier this week on the New York Times blog, Natalie Kitroeff revealed the reality behind this virulent mythology: the inequality in hook-ups lies not in mismatched desire, but unequal pleasure.

Not all men desire many partners and those who do are still in the minority. And young women are nearly as likely to engage in casual sex as men. College-age adults aren’t having any more sex than they did in recent decades past. The world isn’t about to be overrun with sex-crazed college kids.

But overall, young adults are more likely to have a casual sexual encounter than a long-term committed relationship. This shift in preferences presents a different problem.

The Pleasure Problem

Guys orgasm most of the time regardless of the emotional investment and commitment. But a woman’s orgasm on the other hand, is twice as likely in a relationship as in a hook-up. Why is that? Sex scientists argue that with hook-ups, men are less likely to focus on their partner’s pleasure and women are less likely to advocate for their own pleasure. Everyone seems to know the basic skills necessary to bring most men to orgasm, but that’s just half the situation

The problem is cultural. Not only are men convinced that the female orgasm is some foreign and difficult thing to understand, women often lack the skill set to talk about making a clitoral orgasm easy. And we certainly aren’t inclined to teach it to some guy we just met either.

Because talking about sex is serious business and female orgasms are hard work, right?

Wrong. The solution is actually just a few short steps away.

No More Zero Sum Games

The idea that sex is a sport is a common but problematic metaphor used to discuss sexual experiences. We might as well try to change this culture from the inside. It’s as good a place as any to start the process.

If sex is going to continue being one of our favorite cultural pastimes, we need it to be the kind of physical “sport” where only skilled collaboration wins. Let’s ditch the games where your sexual partner is your adversary you need to win something from. Sex isn’t Dodgeball or Capture the Flag. It’s a cooperative MMORPG (like World of Warcraft) and you won’t survive alone.

Play nice. Have fun. And try to learn something!

The New Rules

I’m all about making up your own rules of engagement, but here are a few of my thoughts on forming the guidelines for a new game.

1. SHIFT YOUR PRIORITIES: think for a few moments about what might be stopping you, or your friends, or the made-up dude on TV from feeling invested in a woman’s pleasure.

If a man is bragging about his sexual achievements without actually saying anything about how much his partner enjoyed it, what does that say about his priorities? It’s like quieting a room to announce how many participation awards you’ve won—it doesn’t say much about your skill.

Kitroeff’s blog points to the lack of skills as the primary factor of orgasm inequality: both communication skills and sexual ones. We still think of female orgasm as mysterious and complicated but few people have figured out that we can talk about all orgasms in pretty much the same way.

Make sexual skill a priority. It’s actually not as difficult as it sounds.

Think about giving a woman pleasure the same way we’ve all been taught to think about pleasuring a man: get turned on, find the sensitive parts, figure out the ways to touch those parts that feel the best and do that repeatedly for a reasonable amount of time. Lather, rinse, repeat. It really is that simple.

2. LISTEN TO THE LANGUAGE OF CASUAL SEX TALK: how do we talk about our sexual experiences with and about women? And how does the way we talk perpetuate the idea that the female orgasm is less important and more difficult than the male orgasm?

Doctors and scientists claim that women have other reasons for enjoying hook-ups, suggesting that orgasm inequality isn’t such a big deal. Maybe not, but why should her orgasm be a smaller priority than his? And who gets to decide whether not having an orgasm is important or not?

I’m all for focusing on more than just the orgasm. There’s no reason why we can’t enjoy the other primal pleasures of physical affection. But that only really works if the ease with which orgasms occur remains equal and if we expect mutual pleasure to be the norm.

3. CHANGE THE LANGUAGE: what is the object of your story: the pleasure experienced or the partner who shared it with you?

Become known as a man who loves to give pleasure. Talk to your partner in the same way you expect them to talk to you. And don’t perpetuate the finicky ladygasm myth. You can use your voice to create a culture in which a woman’s orgasm is as important and expected as a man’s.

Tell a new story and make a new mythology.

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image credit:  Flickr/.reid.

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About Bex vanKoot

Bex vanKoot is a freelance lifestyle writer and published erotica author with a passion for storytelling, sensuality, sex-positive feminism... and alliteration! Bex can be found somewhere warm hiding from the cold Canadian climate --- at home by the fire or in Southern Mexico --- caressing the keyboard on her blog Sex Plus Bex or flirting with procrastination on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Hi Bex.

    We talk about adults here. I do not believe that adult men lack knowledge about women and sex.
    After all most of them are literate and have access to both books and the Internet .

    If they do not care about their hookup partners pleasure then it must their attitudes to women, and their contempt fr women that want to have causal sex.
    This is a lack of respect more than a lack of knowledge.

    • I think it’s a bit more complex than personal contempt. Indeed many adults, both those in possession a clitoris and those who have partners who do, seem to be at a loss about the most basic facts, such as its location. How many people with a penis don’t know how to find it? I’m guessing ZERO is a reasonable number.

      A culture that treats the clit and female sexual pleasure as strange and mysterious and wholeheartedly different from a man’s breeds ignorance even among the sexually educated. A lack of respect, yes, but not just that. Women’s orgasms are seen as incidental – not necessary for sex to have happened or have been enjoyable. And men aren’t the only ones who think this way.

      Because of this attitude that women’s orgasms as difficult and complicated, not only are men less likely to consider the pleasure of their casual partners, but women are less likely to advocate for their own pleasure when hooking up. The act of instructing and/or convincing a partner to be focused on the clit for the five minutes it takes the average woman to climax from direct stimulation is seen as too much effort for the short term relationship.

      I believe that the contempt towards female sexual pleasure is more cultural than personal, which is why I think changing the way we talk about it is so important. Men have the power to change how we all think about the role of the clit in casual sex, and what we can expect from a good hookup.

      • Hi Bez
        I don’t think it is nessecary for a woman to instruct a man in bed about clitoris. If he is old enough to have sex, he also must know the facts and don’t behave like an ignorant child about it.
        All this talk about instruction adult males about simple facts in biology and sex is an insult to me as a woman. He must come prepared or leave us alone!

        • @Iben

          Hello Iben!

          You state,

          “He must come prepared or leave us alone!”

          How does he come prepared? Well, it is the same as how one prepares for their math exam: knowledge and practice! Being a great lover comes from practice gained from trial and error. It does not magically fall from the sky Iben, We know most men do not get much practice. So, what do you expect?

        • Are you talking about in a general sense or in a specific “not every woman likes it the same” sense?

          If you mean the former then I’m with you but if its the latter then I think you’re being a bit unfair because you can’t expect to think that just because you’ve had sex with other women and they were pleased you can presume you can have sex with any woman and will know how to help her make it a great experience.

          (I’m wondering because I’ve been in conversations before where women have commented that “I shouldn’t have to tell him how I like it. He should already know.”. I can say its fair to expect a guy to know the basics but sometimes I think some women are just being lazy and don’t want to put in effort to make the sex enjoyable.)

          • H Danny
            You ask:
            ✺”Are you talking about in a general sense or in a specific “not every woman likes it the same” sense?”

            “I shouldn’t have to tell him how I like it. He should already know.”. ✺

            I mean in the general senseAnd I will make some angry when I say this , but I think everybody should have a test for STD when a relationship is over and before they start a new one. For me that is basic knowledge . Imagine you finally find the great love of your life and she wakes up one morning with an infection because you did not bother to have a test .
            .
            And I agree with you Danny that it is unfair to expect any man to have psychic abilities and know what different women like. But it should be possible to know how to have to have ordinary vanilla sex without needing instructions. And it is possible to be sensitive to the other persons reactions without asking for instructions.
            Let those that like to give instructions give them, and let the rest of us cope without instructions.

            Hank described it well in another thread how he made love.

            • I mean in the general senseAnd I will make some angry when I say this , but I think everybody should have a test for STD when a relationship is over and before they start a new one.
              I don’t think that is unreasonable at all. STDs are all over the place and while they don’t mean automatic death they can seriously affect a person’s life. You want to take steps to avoid them. I wouldn’t even be mad if you made that a deal breaker.

  2. Max Richards says:

    Women largely control the casual sex marketplace due to the excess of demand on the male side, but hey do not share the burden of initiation and communication, and this backfires in part because once they actually get to having sex they can’t communicate what they want in the heat of the moment. An example of this can be found in the book “Beauty Disrupted” by ex-supermodel Carie Otis. All that beauty and the hundreds of men wanting her and she doesn’t have a real orgasm until WAY late into the book. With the communication skills of a pre-schooler she could have gotten it any way she wanted it any time she wanted, but she got more out of sex as a POWER and EGO-INFLATION tool that as a means to pleasure. She loved using sex as means of feeling wanted, powerful and getting people to do what she wanted them to do, so much so that she deprioritized sexual pleasure and orgasm until much later in life. That’s what’s missing from this conversation: the large amount of non-sexual psychological pleasure get from men’s valuation of their sexuality before, during, and after sex.

    I knew a very attractive women who went on several dates with many men in a two week period. They wined, dined, and chaffeured her around town, she hooked up with one, said it was blah and move on. Her attention/power/self-image needs are being met, so much so, that the sex that comes and goes without effort takes a secondary place. After all, consider how much work those men were putting in for the chance of an encounter relative to her, she did not asking out, planning, etc., whereas the men did.

    Women get so much out the courtship ritual set up (lots of attention, free stuff, gratuitious ego-boosts) that men don’t get comparing their situations involves more sophisticated tools than are being employed. Being asked out on five dates and rejected five suitors who weren’t good enough for whatever reason is and feels very different than asking out five women and being rejected five times, but the differences run deeper, because one party is learning to confront their fears and building some level of courage and communication skill the other party is not.

    • Max, I don’t really find men to be that great communicators about what they want either. So I don’t think it’s for the fact that women have less pressure in the *initale* (initale being the key word) approach or communication.

      I haven’t read the book you mentioned but comparing the average woman’s experience to that of a supermodels doesn’t seem quite fair. I also suspect, as an issue for many commerically beautiful women, that Carie very well colud have been seeing out an ego boast. Use to people only caring about her physical body. Lets be hoenst, the men pursuing her most likely where only whining and dining her because she was excedingly gorgeous, not because they neccesarily cared about the merits of her heart. When you are use to people using you for something, it makes it easier to use them as well. Although I suspect you only want to talk about what you believe are Carie’s short comings in an attempt to create an imbalaned image of the situation. Many men are willing to pursue very beautiful women with no other desire to truly know who she really is as a person. Due to their own desire for power, ego-inflation and all the things you mentioned about Carie. Don’t pretend that the very attractive woman you spoke of who was being wined and dined by men was wined and dined because these men cared more about her humanity then they did her looks. These men put in so much effort nto because they necesarily cared about her, but beause of their own personal and no less selifhs desires.

      As for the rest of us ladies? The res t of us that are not super models or even “very attractice women”, god forbid we like when men treat us well. Courtship and love does not come easy to us. But that’s not a story you want to hear is it. That’s not a story you want to talk about or acknowledge because it would mess with your theory about how much attention and free stuff most of us aren’t infact getting at all. That would mess with your idea that we are all heartless man eaters. Never mind that the only examples you could contribute to this conversation included a supermodel and a “very attractive women”, the kind of women you most likely deem worthy enough while you ignore us regular ladies. But don’t worry, that’s not uncommon. Whenever these topics come up, most average guys like the ones that post here are only interested in talking about the experiences of the “most attractive” kind of ladies and don’t much care about the rest of us average girls.

      • Max Richards says:

        You’re mistaken. I’ve read blogs and books by women who are overweight and suffer from various body image issues. I read “The Ugly Woman’s Guide to Internet Dating” by a woman who suffered greatly and found that when she took her picture down she get more responses to her messages, and you know what? Her experience was about as bad as that of the average guy. I know some super overweight and very unconventionally attractive women and with a little elbow greeze they are much more successful than I or the average guy would be finding dates or sex. I don’t ignore regular women, and I know if they put in half the work I did they’d all have gotten whatever it is they wanted by now.

        • In other words, according to you every woman should have exactly what she wants in any relationship, or she’s just lazy. Ugh.

          • Max Richards says:

            Most women don’t make the same number of initial moves or overt approaches that men do, they give up or refuse to do so before they reach that number, so neither of us know what would happen if they did. If women asked men out as much as men asked women out, we have no idea what would happen, but I’d imagine they’d be more successful.

          • Bex, i don’t think that he is blaming individual women. more pointing out systemic differences that are more important then personal ones.

      • Max Richards says:

        Erin,

        You say, “Courtship and love does not come easy to us.”

        Now I must ask you, what are you doing to get it? You tell me you asked Joe and Paul for drinks, and are continuing to put in the time, and they keep turning you down, tell me that I’ll shut up, tell me that and I’ll consider you a fellow struggler in the dating game, but if you’re just waiting around and not being asked out, then I could care less about such complaints. Nobody cares about your joblessness if you’re not putting in applications.

  3. Apart from the sweeping generalizations (both in Kitroeff’s article and here) that leave a kinda stale taste to the whole debate, there’s a vital points that seems to be missing.

    Different sources of statistics say that there’s quite a number of women who have never achieved an orgasm even by themselves, and also that many women achieve their very first orgasm together with a partner. I don’t know, but for the first group I’ve heard figures ranging somewhere between 20-50%, while the corresponding figure for men supposedly is around 5%.
    Taking this into account, how is a woman suposed to communicate to a man how to give pleasure to her, if she doesn’t know that herself, and maybe even haven’t bothered to try and find out?

    • “Taking this into account, how is a woman suposed to communicate to a man how to give pleasure to her, if she doesn’t know that herself, and maybe even haven’t bothered to try and find out?”

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot today as well. The science suggests that orgasm disparity – both partnered and in masturbation – is not due to actual physiological difference between men and women. Pleasuring a woman shouldn’t be more difficult than pleasuring a man – in fact, we know that it generally is not, when the right knowledge is applied. The only thing that makes it so is our cultural attitudes toward women’s bodies and orgasms. As I brought up above, we know based on a few small studies and anecdotal evidence from questions presented to sex educators that at least some men and women are unable to identify the clitoris. Comparatively, what percentage of those same people do you think would be unable to identify a penis?

      Women are not only expected to treat male orgasm as required and the stimulation that leads to it as the standard for what “sex” is… women are also expected to take full responsibility for the effort to educate men on the very basic functions of sexual anatomy and female pleasure. Why is this? Why aren’t sex acts that actually stimulate the clit part of the “standard” of sex… and why on earth should women be responsible for changing this?

      Tracy Moore wrote about similar issues on Jezebel today and says it as well as I could:

      “If only it were that simple. JUST ASK! That’s the stuff of a campaign slogans to help more women have orgasms. JUST ASK!

      But isn’t that weird? Why do I have to ask? Why isn’t the default that we both get off? Whoever said I didn’t want to? Hint: I want to. You don’t have to ask to get off, it’s implied in the having of the sex that you want to, because it happens. Pretty much without fail.”

      http://jezebel.com/are-you-sure-you-want-an-orgasm-every-time-1465395219

      • Hi Bex

        Thank you for your answer. But I think you missed my point.
        In many ways, it’s a delicate subject to discuss. But lumping together those who achieve or are given an orgasm with those who don’t/aren’t, those who are active, educated and interested with those who are neither, makes it nigh on impossible and does nothing to bring progress to the matter.

        What’s my responsibility as a man? To do my best to bring satisfaction for the both of us.
        But if I ask the woman “What do you want to do? What feels good for you?” And she just “I don’t know…” then what? I’ve been in situations where the woman has physically stopped me from caressing her. There are men who doesn’t take directions very well, sure. But if no directions are given, then what?
        And as for the “identification” issue. The majority of sex I’ve had, the partner never touched my penis with her hand. As far as this goes, it could have been an extension placed randomly just about anywhere on my body.

  4. My answer from another thread i find this relevant to this one:

    I always thought that women’s inability or difficulty to orgasm is tied to her mindset. Guys seem more positive and liberal about their date’s behavior or looks then women are. A lot of the time we get flack for it, people say that we fuck or date anything that crawls. But I don’t think that this is a bad thing. Basically, he has developed a skill to look for the good in the people he is around. He will have turn offs, sure, but more often than not a guy will look at a girl and actively chose to see what turns him on, if he wants to. This can include everything from looks to things like her having hobbies or personal quirks that might otherwise be annoying. Guys are OK with the girl being a person, with everything that entails.

    Women, on the other hand, seem to be stuck on neutral. Not negative, because negative means that you need to actively do something. But neutral, because you guys are NOT active in the pursuit or the dating. This inactivity has a price in both dating and sex. For one you find less people sexually appealing, guys have to be actively trying or else nothing happens. And, I have a suspicion that guys only want to be charming and feel natural and sexy around girls that at least are somewhat active as well. That is the only way I can explain all of the PUA and stuff. If this state of being was how it should be then these dating advices wouldn’t exist. Also, if you are mentally passive in the sex you’ll only get as much pleasure as he can give you.

    I know that I have helped some of my lady friends out by this advice: Look for ONE thing that are positive about the men you meet in your daily life. Most have been surprised about how many attractive guys that are out there. Or, more positively, how their significant others actually are sexy, even if he doesn’t do the whole mating dance as he did when you guys met. He just is and he can be sexy just being with that mental push of just being actively appreciative of him.

    Anyway I am rambling a bit. But if women want better sex maybe it’s something that they need to figure out internally? Maybe it’s less to do with nature and more to do with nurture. Anyway I am rambling a bit.

    • Interesting perspective!

      The idea of men as pursuers and women as gatekeepers of sex is common in our culture. I don’t think that women put less effort into getting good sex than men do, but the idea that women should be passive in the dating game is pretty pervasive. I also don’t think that, all things being equal, women are attracted to fewer people than men are. I believe that if it were safe to do so, the responsibility of approaching a possible date wouldn’t fall more heavily on men.

      But all things aren’t equal. Not only is having many partners less acceptable for women, having casual sex carries more risks for women – risks that go beyond the strictly biological reproductive ones.

      • i think that this goes further than just the gatekeeper dynamic. The roles we get from society shape how we think and react in different situations. The role that women have been raised up to have made them inflexible in their sexual reactions. Guys, that are the ones that need to approach, are more flexible because it benefits them as the one that approaches. Women, that have been taught not approach, are less flexible. That inflexibility hurts women’s chances to connect to different people, and if you can’t get a connection then it’s hard to have good sex.

        Basically women seem to have very inflexible triggers to what turns them on, unlike men that can adapt to the situation and look for what turns them on in all sort of women, women’s roles have made them rigid. This shows in a narrow range of what guys she might find attractive. If you don’t have the social skills to be partly responsible in easing in a unknown party, with their own quirks and triggers. Then you chose someone that can do it for you. Ergo a guy that is usually more confident than normal and let him do most of the groundwork. Let him create a comfortable environment for the both of you.

        What irks me is that even feminists seem to agree that this state of things are natural. How women see things are in some way sacred and not up for discussion. This skews the entire debate. The result of this? The problems that we have today. What is the message that we send to men?

        If you can’t read women’s subtle signals then you are not good. But if you, for some reason, are reserved and can’t openly and plainly show your desire? “Nice guy!!” also not good.

        Do you have a normal amount of confidence that makes it difficult to be that guy that is super charming? Not good. Are you the confident guy that railroads the women that throws themselves at you even if it would have been best if they got a guy with equal amount of confidence? Also not good.

        Do you not know the women’s boundaries? Not good. Are you too reserved when women steps over your own? Then how are you going to get laid? Also not good.

        Do you have any expectations of her? You are stifling her and aren’t acknowledging her individuality. Not good. Can’t you meet her expectations? Also not good.

        The whole construct is designed as a vacuum to suck all of the enjoyment out of the interaction with women. Its rote and work. And (hilariously even feminists do this when applauding “feminist friendly” dating advice for men) made the woman as the prize. It’s a soulless set of things a guy has to do and think about and not a dynamic meeting with an individual that is as responsible as him for the enjoyment of both parties.

        I don’t think that this state of things are somehow a good ground for any debate. Even if we start to talk about women’s lack of pleasure. Even if men acknowledge this, what will happen is that men will look at it another thing assignment. And when you get assignment you start to think about how to be more effective in that and not internalize the lesson from the debate and grow as a person.

        • @nistan,

          This is why many of my male friends stick to the escorts. It is sad as I do not believe in prostitution. But, they say they just don’t want to go through all this with women. It’s a hell of price ($$$) they pay just so THEY can get off.

          Personally, I think women need to take greater personal responsibility for their sexuality. Just hoping the man will know what to do is plain dumb. My approach: Ask her what she likes! But, women need to also speak up and tell their partner what they like as well.

          • I agree with you Jules – we can’t both be passive and also expect miracles to happen. We know men (on average) orgasm more quickly and that we tend to orgasm more often after emotional ties have been established and comfort levels are present.

            Use a toy, ask, take initiative, and own it.

            And don’t pretend to understand the male erogenous zones any better than they understand ours – because that too is a myth.

          • Jules, I suspect the real reason many of your male friends visit escorts or prostitutes is because they don’t want to have to care about anyone else’s needs but their own. The fact is human relationshpis are difficult. Especially the ones where we are not paid to pander to someone else’s desires. Your male friends justify their laizness and blame it on women when it’s their own fault. It’s nothign women have done. It’s the fact that your male friends want their needs catered to without having to deal with another person, a woman, on a human level. Much easier to simply pay a woman to cater to your desires then to put in the work of working with another person for both your desires.

            • Max Richards says:

              Or maybe they just have really high libidos? That would explain a lot, no? Maybe seeing an escort would help them release some tension so that when they go out and meet women they’re not going in with as strong a sense of need. Your ascriptions of malicious intent, irrespective of how true they are, are totally unnecessary, but the root of your error is simply ignorance of men, you don’t know but you don’t know you don’t know, and so project of your interiority onto us to fill in the blanks. You imagine the circumstances your or your woman friends would see an escort and presume that’s what we’re thinking. We’re horny, really horny, often so much so it’s hard to contain with no outlet available, and there’s no need to blame anyone for that.

            • Hi Max
              Personally I find prostitution problematic, but in Denmark the old persons in nursery homes can have a sex life with the help of a prostitute . I think the state paid for the help as health service . It is a welfare state.
              The rumors also so the Nederland’s help disable sexually this way.

            • Max Richards says:

              Iben,

              This may be something worth writing about, specifically, “the implications of high libido.” I have no easy way of acquiring consensual sex. I might see an escort once a month which is still a hardship because I am poor, but I want it badly enough that sometimes I fork it over anyway. I am likely to become over-excited and needy in a dating scenario if I’ve gone without for 6-9 months. Same with porn, I don’t want to want to watch porn, it’s just convenient method for easing the agitation when it arises. You can’t will my feelings away, something must be done about them. Either we go without touch for months and months or we pay, these are the only alternative to forcing oneself upon others. This is actually not true, you can lie, tell the woman what you know she wants to hear, and do things that way, and many fall into that temptation.

            • Hi Max
              Yes we should have articles about solutions to this problem.

              You write about prostitution
              ✺”This may be something worth writing about, specifically, “the implications of high libido.” I have no easy way of acquiring consensual sex.”✺
              I was probably wrong when I wrote the persons in nursery homes in Denmark get prostitutes payed by the taxpayer. My mother lives in a nursery home and I pay all the bills for hairdressing, etc. It must the same in Denmark. The patients pay themselves for extra service.

              In my mothers nursery home lives men in their thirties and forties with different disabilities. The last time I visited her , one of them broke into our conversation even though he sat in his wheel chair several yards away. And my old mother said with deep tenderness in her voice:”go and speak with him”. She knows how lonely life must be for men like him and knew he wanted to be close to a woman.
              In fact I also think she would have liked life even better in a Danish nursery home, with porn in her room and a visit from a man , once in a while :)
              She adores all men.

              ✺ “You can’t will my feelings away, something must be done about them. Either we go without touch for months and months or we pay,”✺
              Is Nevada the only state with legal prostitution?
              In my country it is illegal to buy sex but not illegal to sell sex. So prostitution is not an option here.
              But my guess is that sex is a bit more available for men here than for men in America. Some struggle here ,but I think the dating scene in America are particularly brutal to men.

              Many Scandinavia men marry women from Asia and Eastern Europe and seem to be happy with their new family. The problem is to find the right person. I can easily imagine all the problems you can get into if you choose this option, but since I meet Thai women and Russian women wherever I go, I am convinced this works out just fine for many. They look happy.

              ✺, “you can lie, tell the woman what you know she wants to hear, and do things that way, and many fall into that temptation.”✺
              Max , you do not have to lie to make a woman happy. It must be something about her you like if you want to have sex with her. And to tell her what you like about her is not a lie.
              But all that is an other theme for discussion. The men that easily get women into bed usually don’t lie.

            • Max Richards says:

              Iben,

              I’m going to show you something and you can share your interpretation of it. I’ll share mine:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JJFBtHcBnM

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHz_kjvLYA

              This is my view. In general, women are craving more validation from men of their NON-sexual value than vice versa. And it is because men generally value sex more than women that deep continuous non-sexual attention from men is more scarce a commodity just as sexual attention from women is scarce for men.

              if a woman is pursued too often for sex by men, anything they say about her non-sexual aspects (personality/intelligence) can become tainted with suspicion for flattery. High sexual attractiveness can be accompanied with a deep sense of perceived existential worthlessness (a sense of “what else am I to these guys?”).

              These are my intelligent guesses. This knowledge, if it is knowledge, comes to me through inference and not direct experience. This is because, men in general, have the opposite problem.

              “The men that easily get women into bed usually don’t lie.”

              What men get women into bed easily, period? How’s gotten you, women like you, or your friends into bed easily?

          • I can understand this. Its pretty tough out there trying to connect with other people and after you have a string of failures over a long period of time (even after trying different things) its pretty tempting to hire sex workers just to have some sort of connection, any sort of connection.

        • Max Richards says:

          Nistan,

          This is an excellent piece of writing, excellent.

        • Max Richards says:

          Nistan,

          I have been thinking about your comment. It spoke to me. It describes exactly where I am now, but I don’t know what to do about it.

          • Max Richards
            I don’t know your situation to give you good advice. I don’t even know if I CAN give you good advice.

            What I did in my youth was turn myself into dating advice. I turned my life around and all that jazz. What I realized later was, why the hell should I change myself? Was I and so many other men really that dysfunctional? Was the problem really only on our side of the court?

            After a while I realized that it wasn’t the advice or techniques that was wrong it was that I didn’t get anything back from women. So I tried to change them so that they are more egalitarian, mostly so that I could keep my sanity in check.
            For example, there is an old rule of guys needing to be an Interesting conversationalist. You need to be able to carry a conversation, make her secure, tickle her imagination, make her laugh, be attentive to her and learn of who she is, etc.
            This advice is good. But what you should do is look into is how these advice would look like from an egalitarian point of view where you are both the approacher and the chooser. What I do is I, deliberately stop talking or become a little distant. I try to, non-verbally, signal to her that it’s her turn to carry the conversation and make me feel comfortable and try to get me out of my shell.
            Most women fail, either an awkward silence settles in or she starts to brag or superficially try to impress me with stuff. In both cases she lacks the skills to make me comfortable with the interaction. Make me smile, laugh or make me interested in the interaction.

            I do this kind of transformation with all of the advice that I have gotten and internalized. I do this to keep myself sane. To, at least in my head, keep the debate honest. Its easier to motivate me into dating or trying to sharpen my skills.

            sure, I have to be so forgiving against women because of their lack of skills, but it feels better and more empowering when I understand that I can set these standards and that it’s okay for me to fail women when they are not met.

  5. Max Richards says:

    Bex,

    ” I don’t think that women put less effort into getting good sex than men do, but the idea that women should be passive in the dating game is pretty pervasive. I also don’t think that, all things being equal, women are attracted to fewer people than men are.”

    Perhaps you should write a separate article about this, because I can tell you that there are tons of men on this site who disagree with you. I have made every effort to talk to men and women outside of my immediate experience and there is very clear gender disparity in level of effort made and in the # of people the other finds generally attractive. No one brainwashed me into these ideas when I was younger, I came to these conclusions when I was older.

  6. Hi Bex
    I agree with you when you say:
    ✺”But all things aren’t equal. Not only is having many partners less acceptable for women, having casual sex carries more risks for women – risks that go beyond the strictly biological reproductive ones.”✺

    But many men here on GMP reacts strongly if a woman tell them that one of the reasons why she is not open for more sex with new men is anxiety about what happens next. That list of what can happen next is long…………..and it can be very unpleasant and even dangerous.

    . It makes many men angry whensome women tell that we are a bit afraid. At once men say:” no you are not. You just don’t want ME. If you find a man attractive enough,you are not afraid of anything….”

    And we are also invalidated when we say we are sexually attracted more men than the PUA gurus teach men. No matter what women say about this issue ,we are invalidated by men that are convinced they know women better than women know themselves and their sexual desire.
    Sorry guys. I know I sound negative today,but this my opinion and my feelings.

    • Amen to above, Iben… I agree…. sexual attraction and the mysteries of connection and mutual love is not always easily figured out by some mathematical formula….it’s not as simple as spend X amount on fancy dinner and show on beautiful woman and she will fall in love immediately and have an orgasm and be grateful for all your efforts….

      Chemistry between two people is hard to quantify…only the woman knows how she really feels… and a man cannot tell her how she should feel just because he spent a fancy evening on her….

      • @Leia,

        I agree, there is not formula, mathematical or otherwise. Just who ever said there was such?

        On chemistry: I think this only matters with women. Since most men find most women attractive enough, it is women who usually get stuck on this chemistry thingy. After all, it is the women who do most of the rejecting…But it is what it is.

        Any man who feels entitled to sex because “he spent a fancy evening on her” is stupid, at best.

    • Most women I’ve had sex with, seem to have had the idea that giving a man pleasure during “foreplay” was equal to yanking around on his penis as hard as possible, like a stick-shift in a rallye car.
      And IME, most women do not react very well to receiving instructions on the matter either.

    • No matter what women say about this issue ,we are invalidated by men that are convinced they know women better than women know themselves and their sexual desire.
      Because for a lot of guys when women speak on this (whether they realize it or not) they are a small counter current against several experiences with women that have amounted to a raging river.

      That “I know women better than women know themselves” comes from a long time of women telling them how they feel. So to those guys you’re just a single exception that goes against what experience has taught them is the rule.

  7. Max Richards says:

    Iben, Leia,

    Men desperately want the knowledge that will increase reciprocity and decrease rejection from women out there, and I do suspect that often times oversimplifications are made because someone tried to sell a product or book and make a quick buck. Part of the problem is that many of our female friends/peers/ex-dates we consulted lie or misrepresent themselves when we ask them questions. Someone said, “I don’t think we’re a good match because I want someone financially and career-wise,” and the she starts dating an unemployed dead beat who’s mooches off people. I went on three dates with a girl who turned me down saying she wasn’t ready for a relationship, but she changed her Facebook status from single to in a relationship two days later. I hit a on a girl, she said she wasn’t into casual sex, then I hear and verified that she had casual sex with a guy a few days later that she met at a party.

    Any residue of confidence I had in my attractiveness has been lost over the past year, I try hear and there, but this is the longest period of involuntary celibacy I’ve ever endured. I want to know what’s going on or what I’m doing wrong and I’m frustrated with myself for never figuring this out, and I’m disappointed also because I feel that I’ve never received the blunt honest truth from the women I meet. I want the “lock room, behind closed doors” breakdown and I only get platitudes, cliches, and what I often know are outright lies.

    • @Max Richard,

      “….and I’m disappointed also because I feel that I’ve never received the blunt honest truth from the women I meet. I want the “lock room, behind closed doors” breakdown and I only get platitudes, cliches, and what I often know are outright lies.”

      My friend you are now half way home. You now know to watch what women do and not what they say. Keep it this way. Having this mentality will allow you to pretty much go after any women you so desire. Why? Because, you will now see all of them as being available. Frankly, this is really what most women do. I have always said men need to start being more like women in dating. Unlearn all the rubbish you have been taught. I really is rubbish.

    • Hi Max
      You write:
      ✺”Men desperately want the knowledge that will increase reciprocity and decrease rejection from women out there”✺

      I partly think you ask for sometime I will call instinctual behavior. My eyes were opened today while I watched the world championship in chess. Many master chess players are talents that make their draws based on instinct. And a chess historian told us this instinct is based on earlier experience. The kid learned and experienced chess at an age when his brain was developing and the ” memories of patterns ” are now instincts. I can not explain this theory well, but I think you understand.
      My hypotheses is that how we deal with the opposite sex is similar. Some persons learned at an early age some deep knowledge about the other sex, that later developed into nearly instinctual behavior.

      And for those that lack this instinct, there are loads of studies about why we are attracted to certain persons and not to others.
      Some experts say we shall look for partners with likeness to ourselves.

      But nobody can figure out why two persons have chemistry . The mysterious X.

      ✺”Any residue of confidence I had in my attractiveness has been lost over the past year, I try hear and there, but this is the longest period of involuntary celibacy I’ve ever endured. I want to know what’s going on or what I’m doing wrong and I’m frustrated with myself for never figuring this out, “✺
      Can I make you a little bit happier by telling that many women get wiser in their choice of men as they age?

      You can seek advice from a sexologist. A woman. As a professional she must be honest even if it hurts your feelings.

      ✺”and I’m disappointed also because I feel that I’ve never received the blunt honest truth from the women I meet.”✺
      Max, do not ask a women who rejects you why she rejects you,and what you are lacking.

      Women should NOT lie to you, but the question is so hard to answer. You ask her to access the deepest unconscious layers of her soul. And it will not make you much wiser to know why. Maybe you reminded her of her father . Maybe you did not remind her of her father…..

      The last man I dated asked me what he did wrong when I rejected him.
      I answered that he was not a kind man.
      The honest answer would have been that I saw a a man with psychopathic traits, evil, calculating ruthlessness.

      • Max Richards says:

        Iben,

        “Can I make you a little bit happier by telling that many women get wiser in their choice of men as they age?”

        I won’t want them by then. After I spend my 20-30s alone despite doing the best I can? No way.

        “You can seek advice from a sexologist. A woman. As a professional she must be honest even if it hurts your feelings.”

        Good idea, I’ll do that. Very good idea.

      • No, it does not make men feel a little happier when you tell them that “many women get wiser in their choice of men as they age.” The reasons why should be painfully obvious. You might view it as getting wiser, a lot of us men perceive it as people getting to have their cake and eat it to. You get your fun with your bad boys when your young and your mature, stable relationship when your older. We do not have that option and whats worse we are expected to be grateful when after missing out on all the fun in our teens and twenties or even thirities. We get much too little, much too late.

      • Hi Iben

        Some persons learned at an early age some deep knowledge about the other sex, that later developed into nearly instinctual behavior.

        Do you have any suggestion for a man who has always been rejected well into his 30’s? Even if women “wise up” with age, how is such a man supposed to develop the confidence and assertivness neccessary to keep any sexual interest alive in a relationship?

      • I’m a bit confused here.

        Max, do not ask a women who rejects you why she rejects you,and what you are lacking.

        Women should NOT lie to you, but the question is so hard to answer. You ask her to access the deepest unconscious layers of her soul. And it will not make you much wiser to know why. Maybe you reminded her of her father . Maybe you did not remind her of her father…..

        The last man I dated asked me what he did wrong when I rejected him.
        I answered that he was not a kind man.
        The honest answer would have been that I saw a a man with psychopathic traits, evil, calculating ruthlessness.

        Just a few days ago there was a post here about the app Lulu where the writer was of the opinion that this app would be great for men as it could be a forum for women to give feedback and that men should pay attention to that feedback as a way to getting along with women better.

        But at the same time its almost like you are saying that men shouldn’t get feedback from women? Maybe you are saying you don’t think men should ask for feedback directly?

        This isn’t limited to your comment here but it seems that when it comes to what women think of men there are two messages of “Guys, listen to what women are saying about you.” and “Guys don’t ask women what they think of you.”

        • Hi Danny
          Your question made me think. And it is had to answer your question.

          ✺”But at the same time its almost like you are saying that men shouldn’t get feedback from women? Maybe you are saying you don’t think men should ask for feedback directly?

          there are two messages of “Guys, listen to what women are saying about you.” and “Guys don’t ask women what they think of you.

          Here is part of the comment
          ✺”and I’m disappointed also because I feel that I’ve never received the blunt honest truth from the women I meet.”✺
          Max, do not ask a women who rejects you why she rejects you,and what you are lacking.”✺

          Danny,
          Any man can ask a woman he wants why she do not want to date him,do not want to have causal sex with him,or do not want to be his girlfriend – lady friend. If women now are willing to analyze him , themselves and share all their thoughts and feelings about a man they do not want as a partner, he can always try .

          You can try. It is a fair question but I do not think women yet have much praxis in answering that question. Actually I see you point and think a lot of good can come out of it. But the man should not ask the question as a way to pressure her or in a way that she can interpret as him beggimg for love( or sex).

          A woman can feel pressured if he say “why not. Give me a reason why you don’t want me.” There is some aggression her,and I personally do not like aggressive reactions when I set up my personal borders sexually.
          This is intimate questions a man ask. It is as intimate as any question can be.
          And her willingness to answer intimate question like that depends on several factors.

          If a man is clever in his questioning, like a journalist or a psychologist interviewing ,he might get some honest answer. I do not know how to ask such questions. And since we react to things like another persons smell and personalty , it is often impossible to say a man lack something if you don’t fancy him.
          I once dated a journalist and author and he interviewed me. It was a fun date.

          Maybe if a man takes a step back after a rejection and say ” do you have any tips for me when I go on my next date with a new woman.?”.

          Or maybe he can ask how he makes her feel, but that again is an intimate questions.

          My conclusion is that it is a good idea to ask why a person don’t want to date you. But it must be done with “fingerspitz Gefühl” . The woman must not feel obliged to give an explanation, and a man have no right to demand it, but it can be given as a gift to help him in his next date.
          Maybe she will change her mind if he get a chance to correct her impression of him that is based on misconception.
          Like she rejects him because she see he is a immigrant and think therefor he is a Muslim, while she is Jewish and want to raise her kids int that Jewish tradition.

          We have to plan for a dialogue like that Danny.
          I see it can be wise to communicate better instead of judging each other on appearance and other superficial sign about who we actually are,

          And I also love to see you have you photo :)

          • I agree that pressuring for an answer is not a good thing.

            Maybe if a man takes a step back after a rejection and say ” do you have any tips for me when I go on my next date with a new woman.?”.
            I can get along with that.

            The woman must not feel obliged to give an explanation, and a man have no right to demand it, but it can be given as a gift to help him in his next date.
            Agreed. She shouldn’t be obliged to answer anymore than he should be forbidden from asking.

            We have to plan for a dialogue like that Danny.
            I see it can be wise to communicate better instead of judging each other on appearance and other superficial sign about who we actually are,

            I can agree with that.

            And I also love to see you have you photo
            Yeah I decided to be bold enough to show my face and also in the last few weeks another user going by the name Danny has appeared here so hopefully having different images will eliminate any confusion.

    • @Max— it is hard explaining chemistry—to me, it’s that feeling when I can’t stop blushing or smiling when I am talking someone I really connect with…it can be the person’s voice, their manner, or their kind look….

      I was surprised to find out that my 13 yo son has a GF (it’s all still very platonic and they hang out in a big group of friends)….I would just say to you what I tell him: focus on yourself….just be awesome on your own terms….study hard, excel, learn guitar because you enjoy it, go hang out with your friends and have fun at the next bar mitzvah….follow your interests and passions and you will attract people into your orbit….

      If you don’t like a woman telling you stuff, then perhaps Tyler/Owen from RSD (Real Social Dynamics) [youtube] can explain it all better when he talks about inner game (in addition to the other PUA tricks)….he breaks it down for guys….

      • Max Richards says:

        I have never cared who provided me with what intel as long as it’s good. I already believe I’m awesome on my own terms, but WOMEN don’t. Guess it’s masturbation and escorts til I RIP, better to know that now then later I suppose.

  8. Hi Jules

    ✺” Being a great lover comes from practice gained from trial and error. It does not magically fall from the sky Iben, We know most men do not get much practice. So, what do you expect?”✺

    Yes Jules, I am aware not all men have a lot of practice sexually.
    When I say come prepared I mean
    seek and find some of the knowledge that is available . And I do NOT mean porn.

    I bought some good books as young woman written by sexologist and others. Later I bough more.
    If men think sex is so important for their quality of life and happiness, then why do they invest more time in learning about cars , computers and all other sort of interests the have?
    Do these men that can not tell you were the clitoris is live without a drivers license, or without any knowledge about the Internet ? I don’t think so.

    But good sex is not a technical happening. It takes more than knowledge from both the woman and the man. I am not so sure practice is the most important part. For me the most important thing is how the man show feelings,and are comfortable with emotional intimacy in bed. And how he generously shares his body with me. I can not express this in words.
    Does he make love to me with his penis or do I feel a man make love all of himself.
    Does he look straight into my eyes. Is he silent or express love with words as well as with his body.
    And how did we spend the day before we made love.

    Back to your question . How can we come prepared.
    Stay away from porn, buy some good books written by persons that have knowledge about human sexuality. Read them.
    And learn to be close to others, and show feelings .

    If you have lesbian friends, talk with them also.
    How women make love to each other should tell men something.
    Two of my lesbian friends tell me that after 17 years cohabitation they have never had penetrative sex with each other and never oral sex.
    Yes, I was surprised when I heard that.

    • @Iben,

      Hello!

      You write,

      “For me the most important thing is how the man show feelings,and are comfortable with emotional intimacy in bed. And how he generously shares his body with me. I can not express this in words.”

      Yes, that might apply in your case. But, how about the many women who have fuck buddies. There are no emotional connections at all. It all good sex for them. Most of these women do not even find such men worthy of even dating Iben. Just fucking.

  9. <Does he make love to me with his penis or do I feel a man make love all of himself.
    Does he look straight into my eyes. Is he silent or express love with words as well as with his body.
    And how did we spend the day before we made love.

    You know the saying “Why does a woman close her eyes during sex? Because she can’t stand seeing a man having a good time.”
    I had a girlfriend for 5 years who would never look into my eyes while making love..

    • Hi FlyingKal

      Find a woman that look into your eyes while you two make love.
      It is a fantastic feeling .

      • @Iben,

        You are so correct. My girlfriend and I have this emotional connection at the moment.

        But, do I believe it will endure? No.

      • Iben,
        You have a bad habit of trying to lecturing me on thigs that I already know about (as in, often repeating what I just said with some slight variation), that comes off as really condescening to me…

        • Hi FlyingKal

          OK. I promise to leave you alone from no on.

          • Iben,
            It’s just that whatever I (or any other man here, for that matter) say on the subject of having trouble finding a suitable partner, most of the times you just seem to come up with some variation of “You know, you should try finding a woman who likes you..!” Well, duh! What do you think I’ve been doing?
            Or you seem to straight up presume that we are abusive in one way or the other, like your comment to Max Richards here above.

            • FlyingKal

              Can you please how me a copy of a sentence where I say all men are abusive?

            • FlyingKal says:

              Iben,

              Max asked rhetorically why he was always rejected without an explanation, to which you replied by examplifying with a couple of your last “suitors” whom you rejected because they were aggressive, intrusive and/or (verbally) abusive. And somewhat implying that also Max carried these character traits.

              As for the connection from there to “all men are abusive”, it is purely in your own perception.

            • “✺Women should NOT lie to you, but the question is so hard to answer. You ask ho access the deepest unconscious layers of her soul. And it will not make you much wiser to know why. Maybe you reminded her of her father . Maybe you did not remind her of her father…..

              The last man I dated asked me what he did wrong when I rejected him.
              I answered that he was not a kind man.
              The honest answer would have been that I saw a a man with psychopathic traits, evil, calculating ruthlessness.”✺
              Your interpretation of others is weird. I gave one example of why I did not always told all my feelings when I rejected a man.
              If you interpret this as me saying Max is abusive, I question the state of your mental health.
              I have absolutely no idea why Max or other men do not find a girlfriend

            • FlyingKal says:

              Hi Iben,
              It’s not like I’m the only one of us prone to jumping to conclusions based on misinterpretations… :D

              But sure, I might be crazy. Either that, or maybe the words “somewhat implying” doesn’t mean what you Think they mean.

              Anyway, I bid you good night.

  10. “Perhaps you should write a separate article about this, because I can tell you that there are tons of men on this site who disagree with you. I have made every effort to talk to men and women outside of my immediate experience and there is very clear gender disparity in level of effort made and in the # of people the other finds generally attractive.”

    Thanks for the suggestion, I’m working on an article on this very topic now. I’ve asked some folks on my feed the following questions, but would love if everyone here on the comment thread could take a stab at it:

    Totally unscientific impromptu survey! Please feel free to tag your friends, or share this status somewhere else for others to see (tag me if you can!) and help me out for an article I’m working on.

    Specifically looking for answers from people in sexual relationships and/or actively desiring sexual relationships with others.

    1) How do you currently identify your gender, sexual orientation, and relationship status?

    2) How much effort do you make, on a scale of 1 to 10, to be attractive (whatever that means to you) – ie. what steps do you take to be approachable as a possible sexual partner? (BONUS: why?)

    3) How much effort do you make, on a scale of 1 to 10, to be seductive (whatever that means to you) – ie. what steps do you take to approach possible sexual partners? (BONUS: why?)

    Go!

  11. Max Richards says:

    I think numerical values are meaningless without accompanying descriptions. I could say I put in 5-6 level of effort but you have no idea what that means without elaboration.

    I’ll answer them all in one paragraph.

    I’m a guy in his mid-20s. I groom/dress/well. I make an effort empathize and show respect to others. I put a lot of effort into self-development and growing as a person but I hesitate to say that is part of my “attraction-seduction” strategy because judge in that light it’s been at utter failure and I dislike the idea of my whole life being part of some sexual vanity project.

    As far as seduction effort, I pretty much do everything. I try to establish a connection and if I’m attracted to the person I tell them so, or I ask women out, or make moves, whatever. Just being friendly and outgoing alone does nothing, they smile and make conversation and fuck/date the guys who were made their intentions clearer.

    • I actually think numerical values tell me more than a list of what the person does. If the problem you see is that men make more “effort” than women do in trying to get relationships and sex, it doesn’t really matter what a person does unless they consider those actions to require effort.

      For example, a know a ton of women who spend 1+ hours every day putting on makeup and doing their hair and don’t consider this to require any effort at all, because it’s simply the thing they do every day to make themselves acceptably beautiful to be in a public space. It is part of their routine.

      For the most part, the responses I’ve received suggest that men and women perceive the effort the expend to be about equal, though women tended to rate themselves higher in the “being approachable” category. Those who said they put less effort into active seduction, both men and women, stated their reason being that they received negative feedback (in just about every case, both men and women received this feedback from women) about being to aggressive.

      • Max Richards says:

        For myself, it comes down to this, when it comes to taking the overt risk of rejection by making the initial approach and shelling out cash or planning first dates, men pretty much monopolize that and nothing women do could equal that. You may have spent longer in the shower or doing your hair, but to me that simply doesn’t compare. So I like you, you like me, but I go out there and put myself on the line first and take you somewhere not knowing if you’re that into me, nothing you do is going to equal that.

        • In other words, you effort counts and hers doesn’t, because…. reasons?

          • Max Richards says:

            It does count, just not as much. Risking OVERT rejection is the hardest part of the mating dance, it’s harder than washing your face or getting your hair done, and men are the primary undertakers of this feat. Are you seriously going to disagree with that?

            • Yes, I am. If I can’t possibly know how difficult it is for men to try to live up to the assertive standard, you can’t possibly know how difficult it is for women to try to live up to the beauty standard. It’s harder by your perception because it’s the thing you have to do. I’m not talking about “washing my face” or doing my hair. I’m talking about: shaving, waxing, plucking, curling, exfoliating, moisturizing; base coat, concealer, foundation, bronzer, blush, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, lip liner, lipstick, nail polish; stockings, high heels, bras and thongs, manicures, pedicures, weight loss schemes and diet pills and airbrushed bodies.

              I’ve found that in relationships, the work that someone else does always seems easier than the work I have to do myself if I don’t take the time to really empathize with that person. When I get over my idea of “fairness” I don’t see the point in making it a competition. Gender norms encourage men to put a lot of effort into approaching women, and women to put a lot of effort into being approachable. What’s more important? Determining exactly how much effort every single person on earth is putting in each direction, just to make a point? Or actively trying to change the gender norms that cause the problem in the first place?

            • Max Richards says:

              Bex,

              I do 80%-90% of that stuff myself, I spend hours shaving and/or getting waxed, drop cash in spas and do more appearance-management than many women do (and by extension men, of course). I down some Tramadol before they wax my face, it hurts so bad. I work in a very “traditional masculine” environment (prison) and I would go deeper into the aesthetics stuff if I could, but I’ve already gone quite far. I tell you I much prefer this to the alternative. If I could trade the unreturned texts and brush offs and invisibility for extra few hours of grooming a week I’d happily do it, and because I’m already pretty metro I’m probably already there.

              Women are not trying to actively enforce any unfair gender norms by not asking men out. It’s just that rejection sucks enough that anyone who can get by and avoid it will. Men can’t, and they’re screwed. That’s all there is to it.

            • Max Richards says:

              To followup with my last comment, I just don’t believe there’s any need to go on a moral crusade here. **Women for whom passiveness is a reasonably successful strategy have little reason to be pro-active.** Women don’t ask men out for the same reason I won’t pay $50 for pack of gum, it’s way more than I am accustomed to paying, and therefore believe I should pay. Extended to dating, if I could be passive and get the results I wanted, I would be passive, if not, I would become pro-active to the level needed to attain the desired result. Asking people to do way more than is required to get what they want is a losing proposition.

            • Bex
              How much of these beaty standards are really for men?
              Other then dressing nice and taking care of yourself, i don’t think men have such high standards for the women that they meet. It seem that you do all that stuff for yourselves and other women then for us.

              Another thing is that this whole discussion is missing is the system inequalities that exist.
              Who approaches of who is assertive doesn’t matter because it’s higly personal how someone likes to flirt and what soemone likes to do. What I have a problem with is womens unncomital to the process as a whole and the innability to look at the man as a person. When I meet a woman I am okay with her being her own person and having her own little quirks. She can be shy, open, nervous, assertive. And I let her be that way i also let her change with the situation. Sometimes she can be this wasy sometimes she can be that way. I also let her be non sexy because thats human as well.
              I never get that back from women. I have to be on point all the time, i can’t be nervous or my own person at all. I have to carry her sexuality, because if I drop the ball there is no player to pick it up herself and keep the mood going. I don’t feel like I am allowed to be a human around women. And I think alot of guys feel the same way.

            • And I guarantee you that women feel the same way too.

              The idea that because individual men don’t create the beauty standard (instead relying on the male gaze as a cultural phenomenon to convince women they are NEVER safe being not-beautiful) doesn’t convince me. When women are taught that NOT being harassed on the street is tacit rejection, that NOT being sexually assaulted is a sign they aren’t pretty enough? GAH! You tell me that’s women’s own fault. Just try it.

              And I still am not convinced that being passive is a dating strategy that somehow “works” for women but doesn’t “work” for men – if that were true, wouldn’t all women be absolutely peachy keen happy with their dating lives? How can a dating strategy work for straight women but not for straight men? If straight women are in relationships, they’re in relationships with men, which means whatever dating strategies used, they worked – for BOTH people in the relationship.

              Here’s my problem with the competition conversation: you assume that because you feel a certain way about and around women, all men feel the same way; you assume that because you feel pressure to be someone you’re not around women, this must be women’s fault. Has it ever occurred to you that our culture creates this pressure and just about everyone feels it?

            • Max Richards says:

              “you assume that because you feel a certain way about and around women, all men feel the same way; ”

              We could say the same thing about most of your “women feel this way” and “women feel that way” statements. The sword cuts both ways. Do you see that? No one is citing any authoritative studies here, we’re all relying on anecdote. For example, the book “Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence, and Women’s Lives ” is written by two feminist professor from the University of Pennsylvania, they argue that heterosexuality is basically Stockholm Syndrome, and that most women are not really attracted to men they’re just sublimating their fear and murderous anger of men into love for the sake of survival. These women are pretty smart, but I’m guessing you don’t agree with them. Or if you look at the work of Alan Roger Currie, he interviews many working class black women who say that they LOVE it when men stare at them, and barrage them with compliments and solitications, they look forward to it even.

            • Hi Max
              Interesting theory.
              The women behind this hypotheses must be traumatized women in some way.
              I have loved some men in my life, and one of them I love until enternty.
              And it is not the Stocholm syndrome .

              The fact that a person is a professor is not a guarantee that she is emotionally sane, simply a good researcher and teacher at the university.
              Some professors have brilliant ideas , others are laughed at by their students.

            • “”””””””””“The idea that because individual men don’t create the beauty standard (instead relying on the male gaze as a cultural phenomenon to convince women they are NEVER safe being not-beautiful) doesn’t convince me. When women are taught that NOT being harassed on the street is tacit rejection, that NOT being sexually assaulted is a sign they aren’t pretty enough? GAH! You tell me that’s women’s own fault. Just try it.”””””””””””

              Do men have things that they find attractive about women? Yes of course. Does this include the massive amount of time, money and effort that women lay on makeup/ beauty articles and clothes? I am not that sure about that. That has nothing at all to do with men in my honest opinion. The people that run that show and the ones that keep up your ridiculous beauty standards (and the ones that shame women when they don’t achieve them) seem to be mostly women. If I have to keep it real, that is what I see. Fashion blogs and magazines, cheap and shaming tabloid photos of aging or makeup free celebs, etc, etc. primary market for these things? Women.

              “”””””””””“And I still am not convinced that being passive is a dating strategy that somehow “works” for women but doesn’t “work” for men – if that were true, wouldn’t all women be absolutely peachy keen happy with their dating lives? How can a dating strategy work for straight women but not for straight men? If straight women are in relationships, they’re in relationships with men, which means whatever dating strategies used, they worked – for BOTH people in the relationship.

              Here’s my problem with the competition conversation: you assume that because you feel a certain way about and around women, all men feel the same way; you assume that because you feel pressure to be someone you’re not around women, this must be women’s fault. Has it ever occurred to you that our culture creates this pressure and just about everyone feels it””””””””””””””””

              I am not interested in “dating strategies”, I am OK with these being up to the individual. You can be naturally passive or aggressive, timid or bold. Be as you like.
              What I have a problem with is the inactivity of women. That is the problem. You can be passive and active. That is what I am saying. Why this is a problem? Why a lot of guys have trouble with this? Because most dating tips for guys revolve around getting around the apparent discomfort guys have with this inactivity. Most dating advice for men, PUA or feminist friendly ones, are all asking the guy to be the bearer of the whole interaction. An awkward silence, having barriers that hinders you to be the first one make an overt sexual move, are YOU not comfortable? All of these things are the men’s job to make sure that they never happen.
              this problem is worsened when we treat women sexuality as a black box that isn’t allowed to be opened. We can’t ask women to do more or take some of the brunt of activity in the interaction (remember it’s not about being passive or aggressive) because that is sacred ground. Women just are, while men should change, that is what men get out of the interaction.
              This is why these debates are frustrating. I agree with you a 100% that this is cultural. But that doesn’t change that both need to do something. Hell, you even used “the male gaze” just now. What isn’t that but part of male sexuality or the expression of the same in society deconstructed? Why can’t we deconstruct your sexuality too? We need to do so because it’s extremely one-sided right now.

            • Bex,
              How can a dating strategy work for straight women but not for straight men? If straight women are in relationships, they’re in relationships with men, which means whatever dating strategies used, they worked – for BOTH people in the relationship.

              Of course they worked, at least fairly well, for people who ARE in a relationship.
              But those are not the ones reading this article, nor was it written for them, because they are obviously in lesser need to know “how to change the game”!

          • In other words, you effort counts and hers doesn’t, because…. reasons?

            Because you don’t run the risk of being rejected by your shower…

            • No. We are simply taught that if we aren’t approached by men, we are automatically being rejected because we haven’t done enough – or worse, can never be enough – to be approachable.

              Again, I don’t see why this needs to be a competition.

            • Max Richards says:

              You’re right, this doesn’t have to be a competition, BUT…. women, as I argued, have no reason to approach men IF being passive is reasonably successful. Heart-tugging is all we’ve got. We have no means of getting women to share the burden of rejection.

            • Max Richards says:

              Also, “women have it worse” or “men are used to rejection/less sensitive” are traditional excuses for women use for not approaching men. Also, you DO believe it’s philosophically significant who has it worse otherwise you would just say “it doesn’t matter who has it worse,” but you don’t.

              It’s nearly impossible to be sexually forward without risking the creep/harasser/dog label, which women slap on men very liberally.

            • Please, tell me again how my beliefs aren’t what I say they are…. then tell me how much you respect women and “let” them be themselves.

            • Hi Bex

              Well said !

            • Max Richards says:

              I was attempting to draw an inference, do you understand that? I believe you believe who has it worse is significant otherwise you would just say it is insignificant rather than attempting to argue that it’s the same. That’s an inference, follow me?

            • Bex,
              Please, tell me again how my beliefs aren’t what I say they are…. then tell me how much you respect women and “let” them be themselves.

              You just wrote an article on how to change the game to improve it for everyone, in which you list three specific items that men ought to do to improve the situation for everyone.

            • Max Richards says:

              Flying Kal,

              Bex has never heard of shyness, social anxiety, creep shaming or the overall toxic messages men have internalized about their sexuality. Non-attraction is the only reason she and her friends can think of for why a man wouldn’t approach.

            • Because women never feel these things? I feel social anxiety every time I leave my house, because I know that my body doesn’t belong to me out there, because I know I am expected to treat my body as something available for men to look at.

            • Hi Bex

              Unfortunalty some women also feel like that in marriage. Your body no longer belong to you, and you must be sexually available , and not only to look at .
              Come up with a new model for a society that satisfies all human beeings sexual and emotional needs Bex.
              The involuntary celibat are not only some men, but large groups of people all over the world. The migrant workers that live separede from their families , inmates, many of the disable, and those that for some reason never met the right one for them. Some live most of their adult life in marriage without sex.
              Sex is not a human right. And the values and religion in our societes have lots of rules and regulations about sex, and why we must not have sex with A,or B or C……

            • Indeed. While sex with another person isn’t a human right, pleasure certainly is. I think we just learned somewhere along the line that pleasure=sex and have failed to nurture this part of ourselves on a global scale. Pleasure is seen as decadent, something to be bought and sold, a competition and something that is won by being/doing better than someone else. So many people starving for pleasure and angry with each other about it…..

            • Unfortunalty some women also feel like that in marriage. Your body no longer belong to you, and you must be sexually available , and not only to look at .

              Being to some extent sexually available to your partner, save any physical or other bodily malfunction, is pretty much implicit in any kind of marriage. It goes for both men and women and shouldn’t come as a total surprise to anyone, as it’s basically the foundation of the institution of marriage.

              I suggest that anyone not wanting in any situation to be sexually available to their legal-wedded partner make it perfectly clear from the beginning.

            • Max Richards says:

              So you know there are many reasons a man may not approach you other than non-attraction, that is my only point. No one is denying that women suffer from shyness or social anxiety. As far as our discussion, here is the primary part I’m looking for a response to:

              **t, I just don’t believe there’s any need to go on a moral crusade here. **Women for whom passiveness is a reasonably successful strategy have little reason to be pro-active.** Women don’t ask men out for the same reason I won’t pay $50 for pack of gum, it’s way more than I am accustomed to paying, and therefore believe I should pay. Extended to dating, if I could be passive and get the results I wanted, I would be passive, if not, I would become pro-active to the level needed to attain the desired result. Asking people to do way more than is required to get what they want is a losing proposition.**

              What do you think about that? Women not approaching men is less a MORAL than an economics or scarcity/abundance issue. I find panhandling embrassing but if push came to shove and I was starving I would do it, same for this. Most women have enough assurance that “something will come along” not to take action, so they don’t.

            • Max Richards says:

              You see the attitude here:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geKWH4XqfvM

              Women don’t ask men out, but the men who do it via text or not in person are “lame” or “wussies.” Ridiculous.

            • Max Richards says:

              FlyingKal,

              Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZcW1s–wR4

              She talks about modern women no longer wanting to be “passive bystanders” and “letting men do all the work,” but how could that be true if (as Bex claims) we’re doing about the same amount of work? This pretty much blows Bex’s position out of the water.

              Here’s another video:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMqyKYNg55c

              This is a very traditional heteronormative video, not an ounce of feminism in it, and yet she still agrees men are doing the heavy-lifting.

            • I’ll note that I never said “we are all doing equal amounts of work” – I said that I don’t believe that men as a group are doing more work than women as a group. Those two statements aren’t the same thing. As you pointed out, there will be women who put out lots of effort and women who don’t…. and men who put out lots of effort and men who don’t.

              My argument isn’t that women aren’t taught to be passive. My argument is that being a passive participant in the dating game also requires a great deal of effort.

              “Passive: accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance.”

              Does that sound like an easy life? Never going out looking for what you want and instead having to stuff your desires down deep and be constantly prepared to do whatever anyone else wants you to? That doesn’t sound either fun or easy to me.

            • Max Richards says:

              I see, let me put this to you, I *am* suggesting that the average man has to worker harder than the average woman to get sexual or dating opportunities. I am saying that, I am open to being proven wrong, but I can’t pretend I don’t believe that.

              With respect to passivity, the fact is you have a choice. You can be passive or pro-active, men can only be pro-active. You’re not forced to be passive, at least not anymore, no woman is anymore, you’re just looking for excuses and find them.

            • Max Richards says:

              Again, I disagree that there is any moral issue at stake here. Women aren’t approaching men because they don’t want to and they won’t until a sufficient level of scarcity and desperation forces them to do so. Men aren’t really “forced” to be pro-active either, it’s just that women’s collective inaction deprives us of the opportunity to be passive. To the woman who don’t want to approach men, all I can do is make appeals to emotion. I know getting rejected a lot has crushed myself self-esteem and I’d want to spare anyone I can that fate. As for the men who want to be approached (such as myself), the answer is “Tough shit, deal with it.” Neither women or men are trying to make things harsh or unfair directly, we’re just stuck until the ratio of men to women tips the other way and women finally have to get off the couch.

            • Hi Max
              This sounds like the hypotheses behind men on marriage strike in America, when you say:
              .✺” Women aren’t approaching men because they don’t want to and they won’t until a sufficient level of scarcity and desperation forces them to do so”✺
              Then how will you explain that women that live in welfare states like for example the Scandinavian countries do approach men, do initiate sex even though they live in one of the safest and most affluent societies on earth?
              Men can take revenge on women and think harming them will give them what they think they need desperately .
              Little do they know about women.

            • Iben,
              Then how will you explain that women that live in welfare states like for example the Scandinavian countries do approach men, do initiate sex even though they live in one of the safest and most affluent societies on earth?

              How do you know that the ratio in which women approach men in comparison to men approaching women, are in any significant way different in Scandinavia than in for example America?

  12. Max Richards says:

    Also consider the case of women who use dates as meal tickets, I’m not that this is an epidemic, but consider that the average woman has the ABILITY to do this whereas nearly all men do not.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-68eO7MIQBc

  13. I feel like the culture of this ‘tit for tat’ comment section contradicts this articles main argument.
    Most of us are trying (really hard) to please the opposite sex, and ourselves at the same time.
    It is absolutely anxiety inducing for men and women to make themselves vulnerable to near complete strangers, and often times frustrating when those strangers don’t deliver what we want them to. But, it really is not about who is trying harder, who has the power, or who benefitted the most. It is important for us to learn how to respect our differences and hold realistic expectations for each other.

    • Max Richards says:

      First, I deny that everyone is trying hard because not everyone NEEDS to try hard. However bad you think you’ve got it, some people will ALWAYS have to try way harder than you and some will not. Sexual power, or the ability to attract who you want to attract, is never distributed equally. Historical accidents, cultural values, and biological tendencies all conspire to make this so. In terms of effort required to achieve one’s desired result, there are men at the top and men on the bottom, and there are women at the top and women on the bottom.

      Second, your attempt to say we’re all in the same boat only underlines lies the seeming significance of the fact that we are not on the same boat. You’re saying “it doesn’t matter who has it worst, and by the way we all have it equally bad.”

  14. Hi Max
    Thank’s for the tips for good litterature:

    ✺”: Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence, and Women’s Lives (Feminist Crosscurrents) by Dee L.R. Graham Paperback
    Have you wondered: Why women are more sympathetic than men toward O. J. Simpson? Why women were no more supportive of the Equal Rights Amendment than men? Why women are no more likely than men to support a female political candidate? Why women are no more likely than men to embrace feminism–a movement by, about, and for women? Why some women stay with men who abuse them? Loving to Survive addresses just these issues and poses a surprising answer. Likening women’s situation to that of hostages, Dee L. R. Graham and her co- authors argue that women bond with men and adopt men’s perspective in an effort to escape the threat of men’s violence against them.”✺

  15. Max Richards says:

    Iben,

    I am not saying MATERIAL scarcity and desperation will prompt women to pursue men, but DEMOGRAPHIC scarcity. IF the rule is supposedly “men must pursue women” and there are more men than women, things aren’t going to change, but if there are more women than men, things are more likely to change. I am deeply deeply insulted by your insinuations.

  16. Max Richards says:

    Iben,

    You seem pretty smart and well-intentioned. I want to try talking honestly about my own issues for a bit. I believe my problem is that social constructionist theories led me (like it does many women) into a gender solipsist position. If you tell people “men and women are the same”, men will walk away thinking many women are more like men than they are and many women will walk away thinking men are more like women than they are. I have read about this topic to death so if you want more book recommendations I’ll happily supply them.

    I read a book by a female psychologist in which she interviewed a bunch of men who said that wanted a lot of sex, refused to believe it, and kept saying that beneath this seemingly insatiable libido they really just wanted a good woman to settle down with. Many thought this book was great but I found it be a simple case of gender solipsism. I assure you, that I am deep thoughtful ethical person, but I want or have wanted to have sex with lots of women I barely know, my eyes are constantly wandering, and it’s NOT because of misogyny or ideology or anything like that, it’s just how I am, but I often find women, feminists and non-feminists, judging on the basis of what I want and think. I want to do the same things to women sexually that the guys who hoot and holler on the street to, but ethical considerations and the social contract, which I respect profoundly. I do not see myself as intrinsically different as the supposedly bad men, “pigs” or “horndogs” or whatever sexually shaming terms are out there, I just have little more self-control, a somewhat stronger sense of consideration for others, but I’m just ravenous, just as hungry as they are. I am who I am. The only question is, what to DO with these desires, how to respond to them? Often there’s nothing one can do but suffer in frustration for months and years.

    Female gender solipsists ask, “How came this men are so fixated on sex?” and Male gender solipsists ask, “Why all this ritual, why can’t we just get down to it?” I am now more in the “men and women are different, but there is more individual variation than traditionalists have historically acknowledged” camp than in the “men and women are the same, it’s just repression that makes us different” camp.

  17. Max Richards says:

    Iben,

    If you really want to know “Why women were no more supportive of the Equal Rights Amendment than men?” Watch “Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. The Equal Rights Amendment” on Amazon. You’ll have to pay a few bucks, but you’ll know the answer.

  18. Hi Max
    You asked for my comments
    “”””I’m going to show you something and you can share your interpretation of it. I’ll share mine:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JJFBtHcBnM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHz_kjvLYA

    This is my view. In general, women are craving more validation from men of their NON-sexual value than vice versa. And it is because men generally value sex more than women that deep continuous non-sexual attention from men is more scarce a commodity just as sexual attention from women is scarce for men.”””

    Max I go away for a weeks time. Next week I will tell you about my opinion .
    And I will also ask you why you think men value sex more than women. Do not be so sure about that Max.
    Have a happy Thanksgiving !

  19. Max Richards says:

    Iben,

    If you’re going to attempt to make a case that women value sex as much or more than men, I’m going to need you to really make a case. I’ll need you to pull out all the stops. I need you to take stuff like “If women want sex much as much as we do how come they never ask guys out” or “how come men are dropping nearly all of the cash on porn/prostitution” or “what about meta-analysis by X” and do something with all that. I think it’s total crap, I’ve read on this topic to death, but if you want to go to bat here….alright, I’m here.

    • Hi Max
      I am not at war with men, and I do not see a dialogue as a battle.
      I am not in the mood to quarrel about what are the biological differences between men and women.
      I am not qualified to know the facts. Nature,nurture and all the individual differences between each one of us. To speak bombastic about anything in this field is impossible, it is not my field and even experts quarrel .
      If you want a fight I am not interested .
      And I do not see sex drive as synonym with ” value sex”.
      Anyway, enjoy Thanksgiving.

  20. Max Richards says:

    Amongst 2 men, I would say there more effort one man is WILLING to make than another to attain the same good (roughly), the more that man value that good than the other. If I am willing to put in 20 job applications and you only 3, then I want a job more. If I am willing to pay $10 for a hamburger and you $5, then I want the hamburger more. We have women who are airplane pilots, doctors, lawyers, college presidents, still to “shy” to ask a man out because or this or that hangup… they just don’t want. When women really want something, they’ll go after it. Ambivalence or indifference are the only remaining explanations. This is why the Equal Rights Amendment failed to pass. “Equal rights?” Everyone wanted equal rights, but once it got out that that meant REQUIRING women to sign up for the draft, people starting backing off in droves, and support for it went lukewarm. That women’s time is more valuable than men’s time is the clear message the traditional courtship rules send men, and we hear it loud and clear. Maybe I want talk to you, and maybe you want to talk to me, so how’s this going to get going? The man is going to have to step up and do the heavy lifting first, because her time and ego-sensitivities matter more than his, period. It’s a foregone conclusion.

    Whoever’s reading this comment, if you agree or disagree with me, let me know and let me know why, I genuinely want to understand.

    • Hi Max

      You write women are :
      ✺ “still to “shy” to ask a man out because or this or that hangup… they just don’t want. When women really want something, they’ll go after it.
      Ambivalence or indifference are the only remaining explanations. “✺

      Max you want women to ask men out,and say women are ambivalent or indifferent to men,( or maybe you think they are indifferent to sex). You actually say women value sex less than men do.

      Have you read Bex’s article Max?
      This thread is about changing the game and Bex gives her analyses.
      ✺”But overall, young adults are more likely to have a casual sexual encounter than a long-term committed relationship. This shift in preferences presents a different problem…..

      Natalie Kitroeff revealed the reality behind this virulent mythology: the inequality in hook-ups lies not in mismatched desire, but unequal pleasure.”……

      “Kitroeff’s blog points to the lack of skills as the primary factor of orgasm inequality: both communication skills and sexual ones. “…….

      Make sexual skill a priority. “✺

      You are convinced single women are not deeply interested in sex and not really interested in starting relationships with men. So in short you see WGTOW. And of course many women have periods in their life when they prefer to live alone and not be a part of a couple. Do you have any problems with that.

      And what if Bex has a point? There is more causal sex and less long term relationships ,and the majority of women women have little pleasure out of sex under those conditions.

      Why should women want sex if it gives little pleasure. And at the same time open herself up for both STD and pregnancy in a time when men want opt out if she gets pregnant. You also have to bring a stranger into your home,or visit his home. Well , maybe Americans have motels for their sex happenings.

      .
      And I agree with Bex
      Hank wrote in another thread:” fellatio is not making love to a woman.”
      Thank you Hank,for those words.

      .

    • Hi Max

      Are you still around?
      Now I have time to answer your question about my opinion of the two videos where a man and a woman ask strangers if they want to have sex with them.

  21. Max Richards says:

    That’s what actually bothers me: the perceived ideological import of many women’s principled refusal to initiate interactions with men. The idea that “yeah it hard, hurts, and sucks a lot so we’re just going to make you do it every single time because you’re the guy and it’s your job to eat shit,” that’s the thought that disgusts me. If we’re both nervous and I just happen to do the deed first that would be one thing, but there’s very often more to it than that.

  22. Max Richards says:

    Be it casual sex or a conventional relationship, I am saying that whoever is willing to put more work to get it values it more, but beyond that, I am saying that women do not initiate the conversations that make relationships or sex happen because (1) they have enough opportunity to not have to and (2) they believe their time and emotional energy is worth more than men’s.

  23. As a pure coincidence, there were two different articles I saw in the paper this weekend, citing research or interviews on this topic.

    One said that men and women react quite differently (on average of course, individual variations are likely to occur!) to abstaining to sex or celibacy, or going longer periods of time between sex. Men tended to get increased hormone production over time, that increased their readiness for sex. While women on the other hand tended to get reduces hormone levels that made them become more comfortable in their “sexless” situation and requiring more time and effort to “warm up”.

    The other study claimed that having had your expectations for sex alerted, like in being teased or flirted with, and then having your expectations shut down, could be a major source for a stress reactions, with all the malign consequences that follows.

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