The following is a theoretical examination. It is an attempt add to an important conversation and my hope is that it helps add to our understanding of important sexual dynamics as they pertain to the church. This should be critically examined and critique, discussion, and correction are all most welcome. Lastly, it should be noted that there are many very attractive Christian women despite the average being somewhat unfavorable.
Basic Economics of Attraction
It has become increasingly common to discuss individual attractiveness in terms of Sexual Market Value. This term is not just an abstraction. The Sexual Marketplace can be analyzed using economic theories just like any other economic system. By considering sexual behavior and attraction in economic terms one can gain valuable insight. For added clarity we can suspend moral and legal judgments to better see what is going on "under the hood" and reintroduce
Supply and Demand
In microeconomics, the law of supply and demand helps us understand the valuation of a good or service, in this case a mate. Where demand is high and mates are scarce, the value of a potential mate is high.
Let's consider some examples. (For the sake of simplicity, assume the "normal" baseline gender ratio is 1:1)
Imagine a boat with 100 people aboard, 50 men and 50 women. The ratio of men to women is 1:1. Now imagine that at the next port 40 of the women go ashore, leaving 50 men and 10 women behind for the next leg of the voyage. Now the ratio is 5:1, skewed heavily toward the men. The 50 men didn't magically become more sexually needy, so the demand for a mate remained constant. The supply, however, was greatly diminished. We know from the law of supply and demand that the value of the 10 remaining women would sharply rise; scarcity drives up price. This is all fairly intuitive and works the opposite direction as well; if men are scarce but women are plentiful, the value of the men increases as competition for each one becomes more fierce.
So what's the deal with churches?
The gender ratio is roughly 2:3; two men to every three women. This imbalance where there are more women than men should lead us to the conclusion that churches are a highly competitive environment for women looking for a husband. In competitive environments, women engage in an arms race of attraction oneupsmanship in order to secure a mate. Despite this logical conclusion, the reality in most churches is that women do not feel the need to compete for men and are, in general, less attractive than the average woman in the broader culture. This phenomenon has been observed, commented on, and discussed at length on this sub.
Why Does This Occur?
There are many possible explanations. It has been suggested that perhaps the church, being a welcoming place for the broken and weary, naturally harbors more of the dregs and downtrodden of society. While this is likely a part of the reason, it seems insufficient to explain the whole of the situation.
In my opinion, a more complete and compelling reason is that when hypergamy is factored into the equation, the gender ratio is actually reversed. Let me explain.
One of the principles of hypergamy is that men who rate below a 7 on the SMV scale simply do not exist in her sexual considerations. Even a woman who is a 3 or a 4 will not see a man below a 7 as a sexual being. Sure, they may end up marrying a commensurate 4 or 5, but that does not mean they see them as a sexual partner. No, they will see their husband as a roommate, child, provider, or friend. Sex for such a woman becomes a duty rather than a desire.
If one were to examine the congregations in America, especially on the coasts, one would find few men who rate above a 7 in terms of SMV. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the average church attending man of age is a 6, which may be generous in many places. Men are not hypergamous. We are willing to marry across, up, or somewhat down, the ladder. A man who is a 6, while he may prefer women who are 8+, will still find a 5 to be a potential sexual partner.
What this means is that in order to find the true gender ratio, we need to look beyond simply comparing the number of men to the number of women attending church. Instead, we need to look at the number of sexually appealing women to sexually appealing men. Perhaps mercifully there is no objective way to measure this. Speaking from observation, it would not seem far-fetched to me if the number of Christian men willing to partner sexually with the average woman is far greater than the number of Christian women willing to partner sexually with the average man. Thus, the supply of sexually available males is far above the demand, leading to a decrease in male value and thus a decrease in female competitiveness.
Christian communities are essentially "closed markets" with stiff tariffs. Shopping for a wife from outside the church (aka: importing) is generally frowned upon. Thus, Christian women, do not feel the need to compete with "foreign brands" in the market. Ford and Chevy were dominant automobile brands in America until they had to compete with foreign companies. Once foreign companies became players in American markets, Ford and Chevy were forced to up their game and offer the consumer more value to remain competitive.
Further, Christian men (fathers, pastors, brothers, husbands, etc) have an incentive not to encourage Christian women to become highly attractive in general. While the church is a closed market only buying domestic goods, the world has no objections to buying the church's exports. A highly attractive single Christian woman will be sexually pursued by men outside the church, increasing her abundance, while Christian men are largely limited to the bounds of the church in their sexual pursuits, decreasing their relative abundance.
Because of this limitation on the "size" of christian male "hunting ground", Women in church do not feel the need to go above and beyond in enhancing their beauty because they know that they are in high demand as they are.
One upside element to this is that the few men who are a 7+ in the church enjoy the benefits of being a scarce commodity. This certainly played out in my own favor. While I was single, many single women in my church (and others nearby) were aggressively pursuing me at the same time, competing with one another for my attention. Of course the down-side remains in that Christian women are on average less attractive than their heathen counterparts, so several of the pursuing women were not viable options.
Perhaps one way to improve this situation is to focus on elevating the SMV of the men around you. While it seems counter-intuitive to elevate the competition, this could be a case where a rising tide lifts every boat. Imagine a community where the average male SMV was 6. We know that men are typically able to marry one step below and still be content, so a female with a SMV of 5 would have a chance in the market. By increasing the average male SMV in a community to 8, that woman who is a 5 would need to elevate herself to at least a 7 to compete for an average male. It is difficult to say how this could be practically done, but it is theoretically a possible solution of sorts.
A potential side effect of this elevation of Christian male SMV would be macro community level dread. If Christian men as a whole, by some miracle, had an average SMV of 8+, it would not be surprising if they began to receive an elevated status in the broader culture as a sexually desirable demographic. In the same way that Brazilian Women enjoy a certain exotic branding, perhaps Christian Men could become the "gold standard" of hot guys. While it sounds crazy, it may not be too wild. There is a disturbing trend among some European countries where European women are seeking out Muslim men because they, unlike their soy-boy European counterparts, are not brainwashed by feminism and thus tend to exhibit more traditionally dominant and "Alpha" traits. It's a long shot, but crazier things have happened.
Another consideration is the messaging that is being preached to the church at large. The general message being sent to christian women is that men should love you for your inter-beauty and that outward appearances are of no importance. While there is some truth in that, it is too often taken too far and it has nearly become a matter informal dogma. Contrarily, Mormon women are taught to cultivate their beauty in order to attract and secure a worthwhile husband. This messaging comes from their mothers, fathers, peers, and leadership. While I am certainly not advocating for the Mormon faith, one cannot help but notice that on average Mormon women are more attractive than the average woman in most other faith communities. There are many things to consider here that can be gleaned without crossing over theological boundaries.