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Gendernomics: The male sexual strategies

Black Label Logic
August 10, 2016

The RoninIn our early days as a species on this earth, it is likely that we largely mimicked our cousins, the other primates in our approach to mating. Might makes right without the rule of law, and therefore the first sexual strategy that evolved was the physical one. In a world that consists largely of physical trials such as hunting, it follows that evolution would select for those who had the best genetics for this life. To explore this, I decided to see what the status is among our primate cousins who are living in a much more natural state than humans. While humans have come a long way from our hunter-gatherer past, through the agricultural revolution, our mating behavior is most likely less adapted.

The three closest relatives to humans genetically speaking are Chimpanzees, Bonobos and Gorillas. In Chimpanzee society, there are two dominance hierarchies, one among males, and one among females. The male hierarchy is controlled by an alpha male, and the alpha may be the most physically dominant, but may also be the one most skilled in manipulation and gaining allies. Males gain mating opportunities through status, females gain access to resources. Females will on occasion collude to remove an alpha male in favor of a new one if they perceive that it will benefit them. [1]

Bonobos appear to be a matriarchal society, where everyone has sexual contact with everyone except mother and son. A son gains his social status from his mother. Quite unique to bonobos, females will engage in sex with many males indiscriminate of social rank or age. This results in a situation where no male can know which offspring is his and parental care rests solely on the female. [2]

Gorillas live together in groups called troops, presided over by an Alpha male Silverback (over 12 years old), and often consists of a Silverback, multiple females and the offspring. On occasion groups with multiple males can exist, where the Silverback is the Alpha and the other males are younger and serve as support for the Silverback. The troops form in order for the females to gain protection and mating opportunities. [3]

In this we can see 3 manifestations on a similar pattern, going from an Alpha dominated society (Gorillas) to a more equitable society (Chimpanzees) and a female dominated society (Bonobos). The few patterns we can see are among others, as a society becomes more male dominated securing paternity becomes a priority (Gorillas) rather than open cuckoldry (Bonobos). As a society becomes more feminine, mating becomes less restricted (hypergamy) and status is not gained through performance but through social behavior. Human mating behavior for as long as marriage and similar institutions have existed, has leaned towards the Gorilla in that ensuring paternity is of very high importance, we still see this tendency in some societies today, primarily in Africa and the Middle East. In the West we appear to have moved towards the Bonobo approach, with the emergency of single-mother households, the “Modern Family” and men raising the children of other men.

When I started to break down male sexual market archetypes the same way I broke down female sexual market archetypes I quickly realized that male archetypes are very rarely seen in their pure form in the Western world. Historically speaking, these archetypes tend to break down into 2 groups that would facilitate above-average mating success.  Physicality, and Social ability I suspect that as especially the Western World has moved further from the context our species evolved under, the male sexual archetypes have become much more fluent over time, and the male performance burden has increased.This follows from the observations of our cousins, the Gorilla is a case that leans towards physical dominance, and the Chimpanzee is a mixture of physical dominance, with intelligence and social ability also playing a large role. For the Bonobos, social ability will play a role, but as the male is given access to mating regardless, it does not confer much additional information to this case of inductive logic, other than perhaps pointing towards humanity in a few hundred years.

The physical strategy

The physical strategy would most likely have been the first strategy that emerged among humans living in family groups, or small tribes. In a world with no settled lands, where most tribes lived a nomadic lifestyle, following the migration patterns of those animals they hunted, there is no doubt that physical ability would have played a central part to survival. The ability to efficiently utilize energy while traversing large distances on foot and a strong immune system to resist disease, not to mention the ability to perform while hunting dangerous game with little more than spears.

There is little doubt that the strategy of being dominant physically would have been a highly successful strategy, on both an individual and a tribal level. In a world with little rule of law, the one who can dominate by force, will be the one who gains the most success. This is also the first sexual strategy that tends to emerge when human males first become interested in human females. More of a happy accident than a conscious choice, the combination of status and social proof, combined with the confidence gained from success in competitive athletic endeavors helps to propel a group of men to early reproductive success. This not not an uncommon event if we look at history, where Gladiators, Warriors and Conquerors have often achieved high social status through physical dominance. Furthermore, on a smaller tribal level, it is also likely that the one who is the most physically dominant will be able to retain power so long as his tribe does not turn on him.

A group always relies on and gives status to those who defend it from external threats and who can provide through their physical abilities, for instance through hunting. There is also the point that a male in great physical shape and of physical ability is likely to pass on those genetics to his children and therefore would create offspring that share his desirable traits. However, as the human tribes grew from cave dwelling families, to farmers following the agricultural revolution, some changes would have taken place. With every great shift in living context, adaptation of sexual strategies are likely to take place.

The Hierarchy Strategy

As humans began to till the land and domesticate the wild beasts, they naturally became less nomadic. Rather than following their food around large distances, they would settle an areas, start growing crops and maintain livestock. This would naturally have resulted in larger social groups, as the risk of death would have declined and humans gathered around central resources such as water. It is likely that the Hierarchy strategy emerged as humans slowly started congregating in larger and larger tribes, as this would have facilitated a degree of specialization. Within a small tribe (20 – 30 people), the reliance will always be on all members to engage in required tasks and thus would favor generalists over specialists. Furthermore, as the tribes of humanity grew greater, additional roles would emerge other than the basic “Hunter/Warrior” role.

The social proof strategy in Chimpanzees can be argued as a “Violence by Proxy” strategy, wherein a person through securing allies does not need to be the most physically able member of a group, so long as he can utilize the physicality of others as a means to his end. Where the male silverback relies on his own strength and ability, the chimpanzee male relies on his own strength but also the support of others.

The determinants of social position in human history are many and varied. The wise elders who through their accumulated experience become highly valued advisors. Craftspeople who through their mastery of complex tasks ensures that the tribe is winning the arms race against other tribes and species. The role of Shaman or priest that ensures that the tribe can maintain good standing with their gods,  is another an example of a hierarchy strategy.

Perhaps the greatest example is the General, the leader of men who through his battlefield cunning and his ability to effectively, efficiently and successfully direct the physicality of others to the best interest of the tribe is granted high status. The General is frequently not the greatest warrior of the tribe, as his ability is a different field of competence than that which is required of a great warrior, namely foresight, knowledge of psychology, in short pro-active rather than reactive thinking.

The power of this strategy thus relies on the social position of the male and the esteem he has been able to build within his tribe. However, it is also reliant on his ability to utilize this power towards the ends that are his desire, in addition to the ability to maintain this position. However, as humanity slowly became civilized, a very low number of men were actually able to reproduce [4]

The Modern Age

As human civilization continued to grow away from our lowly origin, great cities arose, empires were built and fell, and a thick layer of fog slowly drifted in over our basic biological programming. We began to a greater and greater degree to view ourselves as separate from the beasts of the earth. As our ability and capacity for reasoning grew larger, our ability to rationalize our observations did as well. Where ancient man, more beast than homo sapiens understood nature because he lived in close proximity to it. Modern man, learned civilization, not nature and the interests of civilization are distinct from those of nature.

A civilization thrives when it finds a model wherein biological urges and instincts are tempered by the force of the group. For a civilization to exist, the urges of man must be suppressed and employed towards the ends that further the goals of the group, rather than the goals of the individual. However, rather than temper, such models force concealment and guile. Where a challenger to an alpha in an early society may have merely had to attack and defeat the alpha in open combat. A civilized man must adopt stealth and Machiavellian stratagems in order to appear to be acting in the best interest of the collective, while truly acting in his own self-interest.

This blanket of fog slowly permeated society as it grew, as man become more disconnected from nature, more prone to act in the mind rather than the world. Man suffered a great loss, the connection with the animal that lays concealed underneath a cerebral cortex. Deductive logic took the place of physicality in polite society. Human mating had always been a pragmatic exchange of resources for mating opportunities, it remained so, yet less overtly. The early physicality strategy ensured a steady supply a food through hunting and protection through might makes right. The emergence of the Hierarchy strategy, ensured a steady supply of resources through intellectual power, and protection through alliances.

As humans entered yet another age, this became overt as the daughters of nobility married the sons of nobility, to secure alliances, fortunes and influence. The purely physical strategy experienced reduced effectiveness unless employed to slowly rise in the ranks and thus obtain hierarchical power as well. The “Brute” was no longer the protector and warrior, but subservient to the player who obtained the highest possible position in the hierarchy.

The Brute was now largely related to physical labor that granted low status, and much reduced mating opportunities. The solution to this, and the only manner to ensure that a society would not be overrun by overt ambition and use of force, was to take control of mating and ensure that as many as possible would be granted mating opportunities. The second step, to ensure that this would take place in a manner that would strengthen a society. Monogamous marriage was this solution.

By ensuring that most men could have a wife and children, a civilization ensured the investment of those men into the civilization. A man would labor in order to provide for his wife and his children, his children would grow up and do the same, thus gradually making the civilization more prosperous. This was the model, which brought humanity to the next level of its development.

Beyond the industrial age

As humanity moved towards the information age, social movements arose with the goal of improving life for everyone. Female suffrage was granted, then the right to work, anti-discrimination laws were passed and humanity moved forward in the goal for a more equitable society. Along with the liberalization of the old structure, which ensured that male investment was aligned to the best benefits of the society in which he lived, arose a new social order.

However, this new social order did not change the underlying principles, which mating was originally based upon, it undid the artificial constraints placed on it by humanity in order to maximize the efficacy of high civilization. The original reasoning behind aligning male performance burdens with the best interest of the group was to utilize the performance burden as a driving force of civilization. Through doing this, the male performance burden was also limited so that males had more time and performance to put towards other endeavors. By ensuring that each man may have a wife, one also put an end to a run-away arms race among men for mating opportunities, which had lead to war and strife over and over again.

Back in our tribal days, there was a natural alignment of male performance burden and the best interest of the tribe. As most tribes were related, any performance by a male would benefit his closest relatives, thus also his genetic legacy. However, as our tribes grew, this alignment had to be artificially created to to facilitate the desired ends. This followed from the fact that few are willing to watch the fruits of their labor greatly benefit another without gaining some benefit. As a result of the fall of the artificial alignment, human mating is devolving back into being closer to that of our primate cousins. Thus it follows that the same sexual strategies that are successful among them, will be successful for humans.

Summary and conclusions

From our lowly origins, we thus obtain the successful sexual strategies of today. When I sat down to write this article, I found myself struggling with dividing successful male strategies into suitable archetypes. Unlike females who frequently do fall into at most two of the archetypes most of the successful men I analyzed fell into multiple. In order to design an archetype, it has to be possible to distinguish one from the other.

The archetypes I designed for men early in the analysis, were one based in dominance, one based on Wealth and one based in social ability. This resulted in the chart below:

Male strategies 2However, these are not mutually exclusive traits. Wealthy men are often dominant personalities, who obtain copious amounts of social proof due to their accolades. Likewise, for the Beta strategies, most tend to include elements of negotiating attraction, supplication and role-reversals. In order to make an archetype the Venn diagram of the types must have minimal overlap, and in addition each archetype must demonstrate success. Furthermore, there are men who are not wealthy, yet are highly successful with women.

From a marketing perspective, women are sought after by many men and are from nature a mass market, non-differentiated products. Beauty and youthfulness as a signal of fertility making up the majority of their sexual market value. It follows that they would need to differentiate themselves both to filter away potential suitors, but also in an attempt to stand out from competition. Men however, do not have a built in market from birth, men are born worthless. The market for a man is constructed and shaped by his actions and choices made in life. As demonstrated in earlier posts [5, 6] the male is always in over-supply. Thus, the more women a male can appeal to, the stronger his ability to attract high quality women becomes.

The male strategy is therefore to become a high quality product that appeals to large groups within the market. However, quality is relative, what is deemed high quality depends on substitute products within the same market. The means towards this end is to perform better at the performance burden than a great majority of other men, in order to increase your own value relative to them. If a male can perform better than 90% of males out there, he has successfully altered the market dynamics so that he is now the seller, rather than the buyer. However, the male performance burden increases so long as other males continue to raise theirs, resulting in an arms race.

If we examine the first successful sexual strategy most men observe in life, that of the High School jock. The Jock utilizes his physical abilities to win for his tribe in competition with other tribes. Something, which garners him acclaim and copious amounts of social proof. It also serves to increase his influence among his peer group. Thus, his strategy, while being based in the physical, also intersects with social proof, acclaim and influence.

Furthermore, an analysis of adolescent Beta strategies demonstrate three major traits. Namely purchasing of gifts, attempting to befriend through being an emotional sponge, and expecting the woman to bear the burden of rejection. If we explore the strategy of the beta, which is immortalized and communicated through media narratives in the Western World, it is  that of the Beta suffering from hopeless oneitis. Engaging in a Hero’s journey of sorts where he finally receives his Disney Princess, the end. This is the pattern society has designed for the Beta.

If we were to time-travel back 100 years in time, we would find that the latter would be a successful strategy in securing a long-term mate, as a female would be looking to satisfy her security and resource needs. Furthermore, by engaging in premarital sex, she would risk becoming pregnant out of wedlock, which would drastically reduce her sexual market value. The sexual market, as controlled by communist committee, ensured that pro-social behavior was rewarded, and anti-social behavior was punished. Considering the considerable narrower paths one had to walk to remain pro-social, it follows that the opportunity for women to engage in their dualistic sexual strategy was highly limited and high risk.

As the century progressed, the risks were rapidly minimized and new-found freedoms opened the floodgates. However, many men have not yet adapted their strategy from demonstrations of pro-social behavior, to anti-social behavior. The men of today are acting as the civilized, good, honorable men of a past century, not realizing that women desire the dominant warrior of a forgone age. By adopting the very strategies that society demonizes and women claim to the, a man can realize untold success in the sexual market place. Central to this strategy, are the very traits that society sought to temper for centuries.

One may debate whether there are pro-social alphas, and my contention is that the major difference between Alpha and Beta does not come in the pro-social/anti-social dichotomy, but rather from an Alpha putting himself before the collective, while the Beta puts the collective before himself. An Alpha lives, breathes and achieves for himself. A Beta lives, breathes and achieves for approval. A Beta remains in society for safety, for risk avoidance and because he would have it no other way. An Alpha could live with or without society, remaining is his choice as he takes control of his own life. As a core tenet of negotiation states, the one who holds the power is the one who is willing to walk away from the table. The Alpha is controlled by his ID and his Ego, the Beta by his Super-ego.

The Alpha will stay around a woman so long as she entertains him, a Beta will entertain a woman as long as she wants him to entertain her.

A note:

I recently launched a Patreon page where I will be posting additional content every month for those who support me and I will do a Google Hangout for the highest tier Patrons (limited to 10 people).

I’ve also had some requests for consults, which I’ve declined up until now, but due to demand I’ve chosen to open up for doing some consults on request. For details please check out my Consulting and Patreon Page

As always you can buy my book Gendernomics at Amazon.com as both paperback and Kindle


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee#Social_structure

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo#Social_behavior

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla#Behaviour

[4] https://psmag.com/8-000-years-ago-17-women-reproduced-for-every-one-man-6d41445ae73d#.xm72w6lnm

[5] Supply and Demand in the sexual market place

[6] Exploring the Sexual Market Value

*A note on wikipedia as a source. For academic writing that requires references of higher quality Wikipedia is not an option. However, for articles that are non-academic in nature, Wikipedia serves both as a form of a reference (with an encouragement to explore the references listed in the Wikipedia article) but also as a quick and efficient way to get an overview of a topic.

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Post Information
Title Gendernomics: The male sexual strategies
Author Black Label Logic
Date August 10, 2016 9:54 AM UTC (6 years ago)
Blog Black Label Logic
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/blog/Black-Label-Logic/gendernomics-the-male-sexualstrategies.24291
Original Link https://blacklabellogic.com/2016/08/10/gendernomics-the-male-sexual-strategies/
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