The Agonist Journal

The manosphere is awash in armchair theories about the sexual propensities of young women, predicting the end of Western Civilization because of declining birth rates.

The tools of modern economics and evolutionary biology provide a value-free (“positive”) explanation for these phenomena. Simply stated, young women weaned on short term sexual partners in the “hook-up” college culture cannot easily transition to long term relationships with ordinary men, as their appetites for chiseled alpha males become hard wired during their most formative years.

"Environmentalists should see the silver lining in our present situation, as birth rates should continue to drop and our only descendants will be the offspring of the 'hottest' late 30s men and late 20s women."

While the menu of college relationships typically spans from one shot sexual exchanges (with no expectation of intimacy) to “friends with benefits,” in the post-college setting it is costlier for women to continue this routine. The biological logic here is obvious as the former coed’s fecundity will be jeopardized if she continues the “party” lifestyle into her thirties. Alpha males typically delay marriage, possibly into their forties, and marry much younger women (the cream of the crop of that younger cohort).

Ultimately former coeds will marry men who are mostly less attractive than the boys they “hooked-up” with in college. The former coed may feel she is “settling” for someone less attractive (in the visceral sense) than her former college flings (even though her husband is a better long-term mate). The woman’s psychic attachment to her more attractive lover(s) is symptomatic of the “endowment effect” much discussed in behavioral economics.

The flip side is that college men will often marry women who previously “put out” to better looking men in college. The married man might consider this a form of intertemporal cuckoldry; he may feel that he has bought the cow, where others have gotten the milk for free.[1] This resentment is likely to be acute for the married man who is now a successful professional and/or the primary breadwinner.[2] In this instance, the married man (who perhaps forewent “partying” opportunities in college) will feel that his wife has gotten the better of this arrangement.

On this note, the post-college social scene of the last few years is quite different than what it was even a mere decade ago. So-called third wave feminists, supported by the mainstream media and left leaning college professors, have pushed the “blank slate” theory to suggest young women are free to enjoy their sexual prime. Consequently, young women are encouraged to pursue sexual ends using the male paradigm; they are taught they can have as many sexual partners as they desire and can settle down and get married later.[3]As indicated, the post-college dating scene is dominated by alpha males who have casual sex with many women. When they seek marriage later, these women typically find only beta males[4]; these betas are tacitly aware these female candidates were providing sexual access to alphas on more agreeable terms.[5]

All of this could explain the recent increase in never marrieds as the marriage market no longer clears.[6] Pro-sex feminists might consider that, in the sexual domain, the application of pure reason (à la the Enlightenment) is limited by the emotion ofdisgust. Just as we are disgusted at the thought of consensual sex between siblings[7], a future potential husband is disgusted at the thought of his wife having had dozens of men in the past.

Dovetailing these concerns is an academic cottage industry on the “increased female unhappiness” of Western women. The theory here is that modern women are less satisfied than their grandmothers because they now delay childbearing to an advanced age while simultaneously holding down demanding jobs in the competitive globalized workplace. Arguably, however, the amount of “happiness” for women has not decreased, but merely been frontloaded to their early 20s when they are having copious sex before settling down for marriage with lesser men.[8] The actual “redistribution of happiness” has been to the alpha males who secure more sexual pleasure in their 20s at the expense of betas who remain lonely until they later make terms with leftover women.[9]

These issues could explain the rise of the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way)[10] movement, which advocates that men avoid long term relationships, particularly with middling women, because such attachments are not worth the trouble.Given the availability of high speed pornography, why chase costly relationships with alphas’ “sloppy seconds,” MGTOW followers ask.[11] MGTOWers also point to the paradox of marriage—the wife typically becomes less agreeable over time even as her physical beauty declines with age.[12] In the academic literature on marital discord, these specific tensions are not mentioned (in contrast to money concerns, childcare responsibility and infidelity). Perhaps the issue is strategically ignored in traditional sociological research, which skews feminist.

There is a factor that mitigates the married male’s concern about his wife’s prior sex history. More particularly, if the couple meets after college, the male can simply adopt a “don’t ask/don’t tell” strategy with respect to his wife’s prior sexual history (what happened in Vegas, stays in Vegas, if you will). Nevertheless, this does not solve the problem of the married woman longing for the more physically attractive partners she had in the past, as she cannot wipe clean her memory.[13] This would also explain the overwhelming success of the Fifty Shades series, panned by literary critics and feminists alike.[14] Despite its lack of literary bona fides, the Fifty Shades series captured womankind’s aching desire to submit to the apex male.[15]

The post-college social scene is also complicated by the fact that one encounters potential partners from a much larger population than within the typical closed college system. The enormity of the dating population can be paradoxically alienating as, without the social filter of the college admission process, strangers will encounter each other and then move on to the next person. This could explain the dating phenomena of “ghosting” and “submarining.”[16]

The calculus of “cheating” on a partner becomes more high stakes in the post-college scene. Particularly where there is a “hook-up culture” on campus, it would be natural for partners to claim little to no ownership over each other. By contrast, in the post-college scene, it is more likely the former coed will have some expectation of commitment, in anticipation of potential marriage. And yet, these women are now likely to find men, weaned on “hook-up culture,” to be less committed than generations past. To keep a man, a woman in her 20s will likely have to be more sexually adventurous. Alas, this is a double bind as a woman’s sexual adventurousness might make her less attractive as a wife.

Given the foregoing, it makes sense that young women cling to the college lifestyle. A single woman, living in a large city, is swimming upstream when she seeks commitment. If she asks for commitment, but provides early sexual access, her man will move on to the next “victim,” particularly where the “Coolidge effect” places a premium on “new” women. If she delays sexual access, the male will simply move on to another girl who does provide access.[17] Particularly in a large city with a “pro- sex” female culture it will be near impossible for young women to generate norms of both exclusive pair bonding and delayed sexual exchange.[18] Further complicating this situation is that a larger a social network (i.e. big city) will contain more women who are higher in sociosexuality (i.e. promiscuous by nature) and also more men with high disgust tolerance for “pump and dumps” with middling or unattractive women.

The elephant in the room at this point would be the influence of social search dating “apps” on the post-college dating scene. In fact, some might argue dating sites are game changers. However, just as with the wheel, the printing press and the steam engine, inventions don’t fundamentally change the nature of exchange, but simply allow these transactions greater realization.[19]

Given the large number of social search sites, let’s confine our analysis to two sites with very different business models: e-Harmony and Tinder. e-Harmony gathers substantive information on its subscribers, for its goal is to provide its customers a reasonably high probability of a match with a long-term partner. e-Harmony requires subscribers to provide a comparatively significant amount of information (i.e. a costly signal), thus filtering individuals (i.e. predatory men) who are not serious about a long-term relationship. In short, e-Harmony is providing a platform for marriage-age partners, assisting them in assortative personality matching, which is more important for serious relationships. It is submitted here that attractive persons will likely never need e-Harmony, because their natural good looks will allow them to meet enough people (either directly or through attractive conspecifics) without the help of the internet. e-Harmony’s service is on all fours with traditional models of social exchange.

Tinder’s business model is the polar-opposite of e-Harmony, amounting to little more than a digital meat market. The siren call of Tinder’s huge platform is that it could, in theory, allow an unattractive person to hook-up with a good-looking person whose “unique taste” matches the features of said ugly person (in theory, if no one else knows about the “hook-up” there will not be third-party enforcement of traditional attractiveness norms). Thus, an ugly man can find a gorgeous woman for casual sex who has a curious taste in his “unique look.” It is posited here that a gorgeous woman will also likely be attracted to “traditionally” good looking men, and therefore block out the ugly man in question (since she will likely swipe right to a good-looking man prior to reaching the “unique” ugly man’s picture).[20] Furthermore, it should be obvious to anyone with eyeballs that subjective taste is “bounded” by evolutionary parameters, such that virtually no objectively gorgeous woman will ever find any ugly man good looking. Finally, the gorgeous woman in question won’t need to resort to Tinder in the first place.

Tinder’s most significant effect on the post-college dating scene is to aggravate the “power law” distributions. Most of the women on Tinder who are open to short term sexual encounters will be of middling to lower attractiveness, as more attractive women won’t need to resort to random (and potentially dangerous) internet-based matches. These middling women on Tinder will match with alpha males with a high plasticity for short-term relationships. a Middling men will then match with only the very bottom of the barrel. In essence, Tinder generates high volume exchanges, sexual ATM machine, in which most of the transactions will be dominated by alpha males.[21]

There are two other purposes for Tinder, from the female perspective: (1) the app allows a woman to digitally reject hundreds of men, thereby giving her both validation and risk-free attention; and (2) adventurous women will meet middling men for free dinners and drinks with no intention of providing sexual access.[22] Ironically, dating apps potentially decrease the amount of sexual transactions between dyads of men and women. This is because the women will have thumbnail pictures that are either touched up or dated from years before when they were at peak sexual market value. In response to such pictures, they will get many requests from men and, in the process, myopically enhance their self-evaluations.[23] When a pair of matches finally meet, the male will likely feel deceived by the profile. At the same time, the women will be reluctant to lower their standards, owing to the volume of messages they receive.In the pre-dating app world, women would have more likely assortatively mated in the first instance with someone of similar rank in the social-sexual hierarchy.[24]

Of interest is the dating app symmetry in fat tail distributions for alpha males and extremely attractive females. Whereas a few alpha males harvest most of the actual short-term sexual conquests from dating apps, gorgeous women will gather a skewed distribution of the requests. In contrast to “real” dating markets, a middling male can send a request to a gorgeous woman without internalizing the shame of a live rejection in front of third parties. As such, the most attractive women obtain requests from thousands of men, virtually none of whom have any chance.

An interesting point regarding dating site data is that whereas men, logically, find half the women to be above average in attractiveness, women find a mere 20% of men to be above average. These findings, much ballyhooed by the manosphere, have been used to debunk the so called “man shortage” and to supply definitive proof of female entitlement. A more neutral explanation might be the following: Because dating sites are typically geared toward short term affairs, women are logically judging men according to their relative attractiveness in the short-term dating market, where physically attractiveness is a priority and women can demand a higher price, given male plasticity for short term arrangements.

A final point regarding dating apps (especially Tinder) is their “creative destruction” of the “club scene.” Whereas in the recent past young singles would go to clubs to meet each other, a substitute meat market is now on their phones at no cost. Some women might prefer the club scene, where men would purchase drinks for them. Still, it often involves unwanted attention not as easily avoided as in the digital realm. A field study of clubs would likely find them to be populated by those desperate men who found no one on dating apps. While the ratio of men at such venues might seem superficially appealing to a young woman, the low mate quality would offset the demographic advantage.

Returning to our distraught friends in the manosphere, is there any way to put the female sexual genie back into her bottle? The suggestion of reviving socially-imposed monogamy has been met with derision. Jordan Peterson never credibly answered the podcast host Joe Rogan’s simple question: How do you reconcile free market neo-liberalism with limited sexual freedom?[25] One suggestion would be to discourage coeds from having sex with any male who “outranks” them on “Hot or Not.” Just as a mother discourages her child from developing a taste for sweets, so middling coeds could avoid a taste for the Chads. And yet, this idea flies in the face of our present zeitgeist which asymmetrically acknowledges only male mate value.[26]

Environmentalists should see the silver lining in our present situation, as birth rates should continue to drop and our only descendants will be the offspring of the “hottest” late 30s men and late 20s women.


[1] From a rational choice perspective, the alpha male (from the wife’s past) did not get milk “for free” but merely obtained favorable terms of trade based on his superior mate value. The present-day husband will likely not see it this way, however.

[2] Women might find this resentment perplexing—one way to understand it is to analogize to concertgoers who pay full price for a ticket sitting next to those who were given tickets for free by a promotor “painting the house.”  

[3] Internet trolls refer to this as "riding the cock carousel."

[4] Some of these women are satisfied with betas at this point, particularly where the male has significant earning power. Assuming they do not outright conceal their sexual history, these women will blame their prior escapades on the bad faith behavior of the “toxic” males in question. Male feminist types tend to indulge this lack of sexual agency on the part of their future wives.  

[5] This issue is also aggravated by sex ratio imbalance for the college-educated in major cities such as New York, where many female graduates flock for media and publishing jobs. The obvious solution to the imbalance would be for the females to date non-college-educated men, but female graduates of elite or semi-elite colleges all tend to chase the top tier of men, resulting in a series of short-term sexual relationships.  

[6] A good rule of thumb for a young woman is to avoid a “booty call” relationship in which she makes a habit of traveling to the man’s apartment at all hours of the night; this will likely result in a certain amount of regret as the “walk of shame” becomes a taxi or subway ride.

[7] This example is courtesy of Johnathan Haidt, from The Righteous Mind. The hypothetical is loaded such that the sister is on birth control and the brother uses a condom; thus, the risk of “pregnancy” approaches zero. Also, the siblings are sex positive and agree to do it just one time “for fun.” When presented with this loaded hypothetical, only extreme libertarian perverts approve of the consensual incest.  

[8] Perhaps their grandmothers would have enjoyed meaningless sex with alpha males had this choice been on the menu in their day.  

[9] On this note, there is data suggesting that women with more sexual partners prior to marriage are more likely to divorce; of course, the cause of this correlation is unclear—perhaps the “patriarchy” places stress on the marriage. The more credible explanation is that women with many premarital partners simply cannot pair bond with a single man.  

[10] MGTOWs should not be confused with INCELs (involuntary celibates), who desire sex with women but are marginalized because of their low mate value. INCELs are the violent anarchists to the MGTOW’s non-aggression libertarians. INCEL philosophy tends towards nihilism, as these men cannot find refuge in sex workers, due to prostitution being mostly illegal. Also, mail-order brides tend to leave INCELs for better men right after they secure permanent resident status. Ironically, the INCEL term originated within the lesbian community, explained by their relative lack of sexual drive leading to mostly non-sexual pairings.

[11] MGTOW followers typically envision a future where lifelike “sexbots” will fully realize the technological substitution of female companionship.

[12] In some internet circles, the male midlife “crisis” has been recast as the male midlife “epiphany,” in which a man realizes, in his forties, that he married a declining woman prior to his sexual market value peak.

[13] This might explain the “cougar” behavior of sexually aggressive women in their 40s and older; these are women, either divorced or cheating on their husbands, who seek to satisfy the sexual appetite they developed in their youth, by pursuing short-term affairs with hard-bodied young men. Women in their 50s and 60s are called “bobcats” and “pumas,” respectively. Dovetailing the increased social acceptability of “cougar” behavior is the myth that women reach their sexual “peak” in their late 30s, when in fact all men prefer women in the age range of 18-25. The likely reason for this cliché is that female-driven marketing is trying to sell the sexuality of women who, despite having “hit the wall,” still have buying power for cosmetics and clothing. This also explains the rise of “divorce porn”—books and movies directed to women in their 40s telling them they are still sexually viable after breaking up with their husbands. Young women in their 20s are in something of a pickle; if they seek the physically good-looking men from college they might encounter men who make less money than they do, a situation that could subject them to ridicule from their conspecifics. Los Angeles, for example, has many posers, looking to get into movies or television. The men typically do not have the status to match their physical good looks.

[14] “Alpha widow” is a term used for a woman who pines for the more attractive lovers of her youth. The “hedonic treadmill” theory would posit that a woman should get used to her beta husband over time; perhaps the explanation is that “experiences” are more salient than consumer goods, and thus, the woman cannot escape the memory of her more pleasurable sexual adventures.

[15] Another interesting point here is that women in their 20s do not migrate to cities with a favorable demographic ratio (“Man Jose” for instance) as the men in these cities are overwhelmingly tech nerds not desired by young women (who had unfettered access to “Chads” in college).

[16] Young women, desperate to find the alphas, have begun “invading” male spaces; hence, the rise of the “gym thots”—young women who join co-ed fitness centers instead of Living Well Lady.

[17] The name comes from an alleged exchange between the former President and his wife. The President and Mrs. Coolidge were being shown separately around an experimental government farm. When Mrs. Coolidge came to the chicken yard she noticed that a rooster was mating very frequently. She asked the attendant how often that happened and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” Mrs. Coolidge said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.” Upon being told, the President asked, “Same hen every time?” The reply was, “Oh, no, Mr. President, a different hen every time.” The President: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

[18] Even so-called second-tier “nice guys” will often move on from an attractive woman due to the Coolidge effect. From a statistical discrimination point of view, should a young woman just have short-term sex with the best male she can get, if she will likely get the same treatment from a dud?

[19] In fact, there are instances where women who attend religious colleges pivot from a conservative strategy to a more promiscuous one upon encountering big city norms (“when in Rome…”). Also, any pundit who encourages women to delay sexual gratification is shouted down as “misogynist” or labeled a “trad con” by other talking heads.

[20] A conservative criticism of cyber dating is that, as relationships become transient, consumers of these sites, thinking that there are always more “fish in the sea,” quickly break up with their partner when the relationship hits a rocky point. In contrast, in the “good old days,” people would work through a rough patch since it was more difficult to find someone new. Are these critics wishing the transaction were higher? What about non-networked people, in the good old days, who could not find a partner? What about women trapped in abusive relationships with no internet to help them find a white knight?

[21] This is analogous to the “efficient market hypothesis” in financial economics in which a sole trader cannot beat the stock market.

[22] This could help explain surveys that suggest Millennials have “less sex” than prior generations. The likely reason for this counterintuitive finding is that Millennials have more short-term affairs and thus have less cumulative sex than prior generations who pair bonded. Also, the present sexual market place is dominated by alpha males, leaving lesser men with no sexual access.

[23] This irrational exuberance will often be encouraged by female conspecifics saying, “You go girl!”

[24] There are “exclusive” specialized dating sites, such as “the League,” geared towards longer term commitments. However, unlike e-Harmony, these sites claim to filter out any non-high-quality applicants; this begs the question why high-quality applicants need such a site in the first place? Perhaps its real purpose is to create a Tinder style hookup app for more attractive people, but without the “noisy” volume that occurs with little to no gatekeeping.

[25] Peterson’s mendacious response was a variation of the easily memed “Will someone think of the children?”

[26] Simone de Beuavior was quoted: “no man is free to love a fat woman.” Today we might say no woman is free to love a neckbeard.