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What Men Want
“[Sex is] a contest to see who cares less, and guys win a lot at caring less,” Amanda says.
A brutal Vanity Fair column about the instant hookup world of Tinder shows one side of what men want and what they don’t. And it’s neither pretty nor surprising.
“When it’s so easy, when it’s so available to you,” Brian says intensely, “… it’s very hard to contain yourself.”
“I don’t want [a relationship],” says Nick. “I don’t want to have to deal with all that—stuff.”
“You can’t be selfish in a relationship,” Brian says. “It feels good just to do what I want.”
In the piece, the author asked young women what percent of young men they thought were in it just for the sex “without any intention of having a relationship with them or perhaps even walking them to the door.”
“One hundred percent,” said Meredith, 20, a sophomore at Bellarmine University in Louisville.
“No, like 90 percent,” said Ashley. “I’m hoping to find the 10 percent somewhere. But every boy I’ve ever met is [just out for sex].”
I don’t presume I know what women want, but it doesn’t seem to be this:
“… it really is kind of destroying females’ self-images,” says Fallon.
“It’s body first, personality second,” says Stephanie.
“Honestly, I feel like the body doesn’t even matter to them as long as you’re willing,” says Reese. “It’s that bad.”
“But if you say any of this out loud, it’s like you’re weak, you’re not independent, you somehow missed the whole memo about third-wave feminism,” says Amanda.
The post had me on the verge of tears for the pain of the women and for the emptiness of the men. We all know –or always knew, until recently — what men want on a primal level. That’s how we were built. But we can grow into what we’re meant to become.
Fortunately, Mona Charen’s Manliness: An Unsung Trait of the Train Heroes saved me from despair over the matter. It gives a far more inspiring view of what men could and should be, and what many men are.
Charen started from the premise that, by nature, men are rambunctious and have violent tendencies, but that Judeo-Christian culture has taught them how to channel their urges into virtuous expression. In contrast, the Vanity Fair article started from the premise that, by nature, men were like women, but the “cultural milieu” had made men pathetic jerks. That all would be good if we weren’t “censured by church or state.” “In a perfect world, we’d all have sex with whomever we want” and we wouldn’t have to worry about jealousy, sexism, or “the still-flickering chance that somebody might fall in love.”
This being Ricochet, the comments section on Charen’s piece was equal to the article. The outpouring of appreciation from men showed what they really crave but can rarely find:
- A woman praising masculinity. You can see this reaction whenever women praise men and masculinity.
- An inspiring model of who men should be. A model that celebrates masculinity in particular and gender differences in general, instead of denying and demonizing them.
Finding sexual excitement is quite easy today; far too easy. What’s hard, and infinitely more valued, is finding affirmation that women want us to complement them. That they see us not as broken women, but as their other half, appreciated both for our similarities and our differences. Men and women can give each other what they want, and what they need.
Or they can use Tinder.Published in General
Team woman has a pretty serious branding problem. Men have taken women at their word that men’s desires, wants, and needs don’t matter in relationships.
Guys don’t want to be a house pet, which is the only socially acceptable model of relationships out there.
A big dog barking is still on someone’s leash. Which is only different in degrees from a yippy little dog being carried around in a poop sack.
As George Gilder taught us a long time ago – men are barbarians that are only civilized through marriage to a woman. When men can easily get sex without marriage they have no incentive to become civilized.
I agree with much of that sentiment, but sex isn’t the only way men can motivate themselves to goodness and to greatness. Judeo-Christian society did (does) a pretty good job channeling the sexual desires into relationships that are beneficial to the people involved, their future children, and wider society. We’re going to have to do a better job finding other ways to civilize ourselves and our children.
You know, reading this VF piece, I kept having one thought:
This is the same stuff that’s always gone on. All the Internet did, all smart phones have done, is make the process more efficient by facilitating transactions.
But really, this culture isn’t anything new. I saw the same stuff, with the same downsides, the same attitudes, and the same fallout, 15 yrs ago when I was in college.
Yeah, we get it. “Men are evil”, “men are barbarians”, “all men are dogs”, “men are the cause of womyn pain”. Nothing new here, just more feminist tripe belittling men. The thing is that Tinder, dating apps, online dating would not exist if womyn did not use them. These men are not dating themselves. These sites exist because they are giving both sides of the relationship what they want.
1. It’s Logan’s Run.
2. What does this say about the women who participate? I understand what men get out of this. But what’s in it for the women? At least prostitutes get paid.
I don’t think the VF piece was about Men are Evil. I think it was a third-wave feminist genuinely confused by why this wasn’t working out better.
There’s a rather crude and aged aphorism that, being a sensitive type, I’m not going to repeat here, but I’m sure we all know the one about the cow and the free milk. In recent times, this saying has often been spoken in mocking tones. Still, it appears that, whoever came up with it in a past generation, well, they might have been on to something.
As far as easy sex goes, Feminism is the best thing that’s ever happened to men. Wake up, ladies.
An oldie but goodie…
The alternate title of this article could have been “Urban women like to get used as doormats,” i.e., people wipe their feet on them on their way to doing other things. Only it isn’t feet.
It’s impossible for me to feel sympathy for these women. They’re the ones who are joining these apps. They’re the ones who are putting the power over their sexual lives in the hands of these bearded, diminuitive hipsters.
Are they just idiots? Am I supposed to feel bad for them?
I want to shout at them: “Fools! You are the authors of your own destruction! Good luck ever getting married or having a normal life! You’re like a cracked bowl on the discount rack at Pottery Barn – unwanted by serious people and yet somehow still too expensive to buy.”
It has the following complaints:
1.) Men aren’t paying to entertain women (me)
2.) Hot guys with money have options (that aren’t me)
3.) Gender inequality exists because men can say no (to committing to me)
Search costs are a thing, and so is dead weight loss. None of these girls are seriously looking for a committed relationship. They are looking for a guy to buy them stuff until they get bored (serial monogamy being their preferred kind of morally acceptable promiscuity). They are absolutely mystified that guys in finance can do the math and find the NPV of this relationship and govern themselves accordingly.
I think part of the disconnect is that women like sex a heck of a lot more than they let on. They don’t like to advertise these desires because it lowers their stature in the marriage market.
What Tinder does is let women do what they want while keeping the plausible deniability that they’ve been with an inordinate amount of men.
In reality you can probably still tell a ex-Tinder user from a truly good girl by other traits, but at least the quasi-privacy of Tinder convinces a lot of women they can get away with it without harming their long term mating chances.
I think we are getting close to the place where we can just acknowledge the obvious–there is no such thing as free love or casual sex. Men and women have done each other no favors by pretending there is. Men might kind of like the idea of it, but need to be called on for a higher purpose, something their better selves craves even more. And women don’t like it but have been fed a big fat lie that they should like it. Then when other women put out, they think they must as well in order to get any male attention at all. Deep down, men want something more meaningful, which the prevailing culture doesn’t encourage, but they don’t want to marry a woman who has had sex with lots of men–duh! And women want to be loved for their whole selves–duh! Everybody knows sex is a destructive force and must be controlled in some way or other, but the progressive bargain is–you let us control most of your life and we’ll fight for you to have sex anywhere, any time with no consequences! Except they don’t live by that bargain, because it is ridiculous and because it leads to chaos they can’t control, so they make it all about consent. Except that they also make it nearly impossible to give enough consent to avoid prosecution for rape. And they suppress religious groups, on campus and in the culture at large, that have a coherent message about sex and marriage.
So there you have it folks. There’s nowhere to go but up, which is why I think we’re going to see a revival of the Judeo-Christian view of sexuality soon. I’m an optimist. And this is what I teach my teenage Sunday School class. It makes perfect sense to them, believe it or not.
The desire is the same stuff that’s always gone on. But in the US, before the 1960s, there was serious social opposition, and consequences, attached to the conduct. We are suffering from a very serious change in the culture, as shown by the decline in marriage and increase in illegitimacy. The consequences have been disastrous.
First I want to thank you for your work on The Daily Shot, your humorous style helps brand Ricochet as a fun loving and goofy site.
It may be true that 15 years ago these type of behaviors were as common as they are now, but when I was in college in the late 60’s and 70’s they were not common. As the PJ article http://pjmedia.com/blog/men-the-gender-wars-are-over-%E2%80%94-we-won/?singlepage=true, says, there was dating, courtship, a relationship which involved any greater variety of interaction. Because dating and courtship were the norm, women did not have justify modesty, and men did not have the expectation that women would have casual affairs. This type relationship between men and women is healthy for both the individual, and society. The author of the above article, Matt Peterson says that since we have convinced women to adopt the morality of men, “Civilization is in a free fall”. Being from foggyville, I agree. Also, I think that maladaptive culture can lead men and women into poor choices, from tattoos to casual affairs, and that most people make choices not based on reflection, but they copy behaviors that are common or that they think is popular.
I don’t care for the implication that sleeping around is the “morality of men.” Men are more likely to commit murder, but that doesn’t make murder part of men’s “morality.”
Right – I do think however that there is a more transactional element for men when it comes to sexual behavior than for women.
If men are given the opportunity to have consequence-free sex, a non-trivial number of them will choose to do so. What I’m seeing here is that the primary barrier to men engaging in that behavior (women controlling access to sex) has been lowered.
It’s classic supply/demand behavior. The price of seeking sexual gratification for men has been lowered; they are consequently consuming more of it. The demand is always there, it was previously just restrained by price.
All those sad puppies (both male and female). …
I am under the impression that sex comes for the price of dinner for two and he pays for the food and drink. Everything else is free.
I’m in your court. Women have brought much of this backlash upon themselves and it isn’t simply about having premarital sex (hook-ups and one night stands excluded of course).
Understand that men will marry when they fall in love and not before. It may take them longer to make that decision (my husband was in his thirties) but it does no good to exert undue pressure. Many Millennial women need to read that ancient book published in 1995- The Rules because everything written in those pages is sound advice.
I admired that book because it reinforced all the guidance I received from my mother (Scarlett O’Hara) throughout my young life. Her best advice was to focus on your own accomplishments, establish friends and contacts from a professional work community and let nature take its course.
I think ceteris paribus men would prefer the stable committed relationships.
But that is never a rational assumption when dealing with the real world. The search and transaction costs act like a tax and create a dead weight loss in the marriage market. Reducing the price men will pay and the quantity of marriage.
Women are delaying marriage to unreasonable points (careers, finding themselves, sampling all 31 flavors of dudes). Sorry but guys aren’t going to sit on their hands until their 30s. It also means that the value of investment in relationships early on is very very low as they have a very low expected value. It also dilutes the search costs over a longer period of time. Plus by their 30s men and women start to experience a sexual power inversion, so guys can extract a lot of price concessions as their relative status inverts.
Further, we suffer from crippling information assymetry. There is no credible mechanism for women to signal their desirablity or fitness for marriage. Typically one would go through a third party for screening. But these institutions, such as churches, no longer fulfill this role and instead are more in common with used car salesmen hustling lemons to suckers. (man up and marry those sluts!) No matter how objectively terrible the outcomes of that are for the men involved. This limits the solutions to this problem. We are left with warranties as a signaling mechanism, but good luck convincing feminists to offer a dowry.
Luckily for team woman, men are still gamblers. I bet it all on missus guru and so far its working out. I had no rational basis to believe that it should or would.
I maintain that the data supports my preference for stable relationships hypothesis based upon both stated preferences, and the speed at which men will remarry.
This is part of it. There are a lot of women who cannot understand the disconnect between the caliber of guy (in terms of career success, physical attractiveness and so forth) who will sleep with them, and the caliber of guy who would be willing to marry them.
When the sex and marriage markets were closely linked, things were clearer for women.
I don’t agree with this. Men need a paradigm and expectations like anyone else. Those are now greatly weakened. Courtship is all about, or should be, falling in love. But it really helps to take sex out of the equation to let that happen. That way women are not being exploited and men fall in love with the person. It isn’t hard for them to love the body. In other words, love does not just magically happen. The needs to be context and an understood pattern and interaction in the form of courtship. That’s what the current stupid approach has killed.
I always read these articles where these young ladies are baffled at the idea that guys have to like them. It seems the only tool in their toolbox is the honey pot, and its effectiveness in and of itself is…. inconsistent.
Of course it is but not unlike all human relationships, there is an element of manipulation that can be fun for both parties. IMHO, people are far too serious and straightforward these days; a little mystery and subterfuge adds to the thrill of the hunt!
We obviously grew up in different environments so I can only respond that this “strategy” worked well for me. I’ve been happily married for almost 20 years.
Twenty years ago the understanding of what courtship was and the expectation that people would marry was much stronger. The idea that sex came first was weaker. In other words, men and women were more likely to regard the dance of courtship, which is a game for everybody to some degree and it ought to be fun, as something that was meant to lead to something they were both looking for–marriage. They understood much better how to get there too because people knew that sex meant something and was an explosive part of the equation. Now many young people think sex means nothing, and it turns out they can’t figure out how to get to marriage.
Thoroughly depressing article by VF, yet the outcome was thoroughly predictable.
Okay, a few things, in no particular order
1. If it’s since the 1960s, then we can’t blame the Internet for it.
2. There’s serious consequences attached to it now.
3. There’s social opposition, as evidence by the tone of the Vannity Fair piece.
4. Yeah, marriage rates are lower, but that’s a complex thing. Part of it is people waiting longer to get married. Part of it is changing social mores. And part of it is changing patters. There’s plenty of people who raise children together in loving, stable relationships who just don’t get married.
5. There’s this conservative trope that everything involving marriage and family is always getting worse. It’s not. Divorce rates peaked in the 1980s and have been on the decline since then.
6. This kind of stuff went on pre-1960s, of course. It just was better hidden.