Yes, Women think male Sexuality is Disgusting (Part one of a series)

(See also: Part 2, Is Disgust Real?; Part 3, Disney Explains Disgust, and Part 4, Disgust vs. Aggression vs. Fertility.)

And they ought to.

So, I’m going to let you in on a little not-so-secret: childbirth is horrendously painful. Don’t believe those bastards with their natural birth hoo-ha. There is nothing magical or wonderful about childbirth. You bleed copiously, you can barely walk for the next two weeks, and before modern medicine, you stood a good chance of dying in the process.

The US’s homicide rate is 4.7 deaths per 100,000 people per year. The UK’s is 1. Japan’s is 0.3. (Source.)

The “developed nations” have a maternal mortality rate of 16 women per 100,000 births. (Source.) (Note that one woman may give birth to more than one child in her lifetime.)

The “developing nations” have a maternal mortality rate of 230 per 100,000 births (and a much higher number of children per woman,) and some countries have maternal mortality rates around 1,000 per 100,000 births. If the average woman in these countries has 5-7 children, that works out to 5-7% of women dying in childbirth. (Though not every year.)

In other words, in the state of nature, childbirth is kind of like being stuck in the middle of WWII.

 

Let’s consider the male side of things. Given enough available females, a male could, hypothetically, sire one child every night for 30 years, resulting in 10,957 children, plus or minus a couple depending on the leap years. We’ll call 11,000 our “hypothetical male maximum.”

The man stands approximately zero chance of dying in the process of siring children, does not endure pregnancy or childbirth, and even if he depends on someone else to do all of the childcare for him, he still has a reasonable chance at his offspring making it to maturity. (After all, Genghis Khan didn’t get to be the most evolutionarily successful man in recent history by raising all of his bastards.)

In other words, for men, there is basically zero cost to impregnating a woman (other than, obviously, finding one.) Even under harsh economic/environmental conditions, every additional woman a man mates with is an additional chance at offspring. The only limiting factor is how many women he can convince to mate with him.

A woman, by contrast, can produce at max only about 20 children (9 months gestation + 6 months nursing / 25 years fertility). (State of nature does not have baby formula.) She needs a maximum of 20 mates, and can make do with <1 if she has to share.

Where the male number of potential offspring is practically limitless, by human standards, the female is decidedly limited. Which means that women must be picky. A male who has sex once with someone kind of meh is not seriously limiting his ability to have tons of awesome children. A woman who has sex with a guy who’s kind of meh is potentially wasting one of her very limited chances of having children on a loser.

Note: I am not claiming that 11,000 is a realistic number. Obviously even Genghis Khan himself probably didn’t have 11,000 children. The point is that male and female reproduction are vastly different, creating very different incentives.

The average male has approximately zero to lose and all the offspring to gain from a random fling, and thus is mentally ready to consider the majority of women as potential mates. If some of those women happen to not be particularly attractive, well, it’s no big loss.

Women, by contrast, endure high-risk pregnancies and births, for a very limited set of children. They therefore cannot risk having children with inferior males.

So it is in the male’s interest to mate with everyone in sight, but in a woman’s interests to eliminate the vast, vast majority of potential mates, winnowing her selection down to the best 1-4.

Which means that all other potential suitors, whether they’re 14 men in a small hunter-gatherer band or 4 million men in Tokyo, are sexually useless.

In fact, they’re less than useless: they’re a threat. Because it takes only one act of violence for one of those men to get another potential offspring, and for a woman to lose one of hers.

The difference between optimal male and optimal female strategies leads to conflict–not just between men and women, but also between men and men. If one man mates with 550 to 11,000 women, (11,000/20 children per woman = 550), that implies that 549 to 10,999 men are not mating with those women. And those men are going to be pretty pissed.

Monogamy is one of the more elegant solutions to this issue. The relative guarantee of one mate per person reduces conflict and increases parental investment in the children. But monogamy requires fidelity–reducing female interest in the sexual desires of the majority of men even further.

Disgust in the face of unnecessary male sexual attention helps keep women loyal to their husbands and protects their long-term evolutionary interests, even if people express it in really annoying ways.

(See also: Part 2, Is Disgust Real?; Part 3, Disney Explains Disgust, and Part 4, Disgust vs. Aggression vs. Fertility.)

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35 thoughts on “Yes, Women think male Sexuality is Disgusting (Part one of a series)

  1. Meh. It’s true that for some women — perhaps the majority — some aspects of male sexuality are off-putting and disgusting. Female sexuality always discriminates, but this discrimination could just as well stem from mere lack of attraction rather than from outright disgust. (Of course, lesbians and under-sexual women do indeed feel disgust toward men and particularly toward male sexuality, which is completely alien to them) More to the point, it’s not usually male sexuality that disgusts women, but rather the maleness per se of some men. That is, women always find some men inherently unattractive and unsuitable for mating, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the men’s sexuality (these could be gay or asexual men, for all we know); rather, it’s about women’s sexuality being what it is – inherently discriminatory. In a way, your article is misleading, because it unnecessarily re-frames a truth regarding female sexuality as one regarding male sexuality. Nevertheless, you do “get” an often denied reality, which is the inherently discriminatory aspect of female sexual, and you even get the solution (monogamy) right, so kudos. Now if you just take your research here to its logical conclusion, you’d realize that Choice, which is what we have in modern, liberal society, allows one sex to control the other via sexual selection – Choice resting in the hands of those prone to be *inherently* — as opposed to circumstantially — discriminatory. From here, the road to the Dark Side (being Patriarchal oppressive bigots!) is short indeed.

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      • Here specifically: mate choice, as the article doesn’t deal with abortion. However, ending or limiting “Choice culture”, or modern liberalism, would also entail curtailing abortion, among a plethora of other things.

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      • The previous day’s post was on abortion, hence my inquiry.

        I actually know whom my parents would have married me off to, (they told me) and that person turned out trans. It wouldn’t be a terrible life, since we are friends, but there wouldn’t be any children.

        Unfortunately, when Western parents get involved in their childrens’ mate choices, they tend to use their powers to eliminate all of the potential suitors rather than to find good ones. This is a fundamental error. If mates who meet the parents keep getting shot down, the kids will eventually learn not to introduce their boyfriends/girlfriends to their parents and will end up mating with the kind of person who actively discourages letting the parents be involved in their lives. Such parents end up shooting themselves in the foot.

        By contrast, parents who actively work to introduce their kids to good potential mates and then let the kids chose among them are much more likely to influence their kids to marry someone good. I know several non-Western parents who facilitated good marriages for their children this way, and it is something Western parents can start doing this right now.

        Regardless of how marriages are arranged, abortions for those who are not equipped to handle children or pregnancy remain a better idea than child abandonment => child death or child neglect => child death, as in the old days.

        Women + male sexuality is like a chemical system without enough energy to reach the activation threshold.

        But it is not mere disinterest; it is true disgust. They can only overcome this disgust under certain circumstances, like if they are already interested in sex, the male is sufficiently attractive / masculine, or if they know him well (these all work to either increase the energy in the system to reach the activation threshold, or lower the threshold itself). But the default position is that abstract male sexuality is repulsive; this is why they hate visual pornography so, so much.

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    • One sex doesn’t control the other. Both can say yes, both can say no. One just happens to say no more frequently, but the other still has choice. That is totally ridiculous to try to control people’s sexuality only because of a single difference.

      Monogamy would never be a solution. It has never been a solution. Even less from an evolutionary point of view: most males are, sadly for them, just unworthy of procreating. Females (in this case, women) having babies of genetically inferior males (in this case, men) can only downgrade our species (as it’s been happening for way too long already). Females need to have each baby from a different (young adult/strong/beautiful = healthy with desirable sperm) male; that diversity is of great importance to our species.

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      • There are societies where women do this (most of them are in Africa). Compare those societies to societies where monogamy is the norm, and decide which one you want to live in. Then act accordingly.

        I prefer societies with high levels of technical developments like medicine, computers, and not dying of famine. These societies practice monogamy.

        Polyandrous societies are generally lacking in such niceties.

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  2. The evolutionary prime directive is strong (obviously), and it sometimes amazes me how strong because women are basically willing to risk a bloody painful death to fuck. In the old days premarital sex would have had one or more of 3 ultimate outcomes 1) death 2) disability 3) poverty, so slut shaming saves lives. Of course it could mean that while married too.

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  3. Please, be more straightforward. Rape by a substandard man results in lesser quality offspring, not necessarily less offspring. Of course, without paternal investment that is also likely.

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  4. The stability ranking is as follows:
    Heterosexual>>>gay>lesbian
    I don’t have the time today to find once again Nordic studies on the issue.

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    • Studies of cuckoldry show that it’s actually quite rare.

      You only need to hedge bets when the results are uncertain.
      If you marry a tall man, you will probably have tall children. If you marry an aggressive man, aggressive children. Occasionally recessive genes come together in bad ways, but that’s quite rare. Overall, genetics is much less of a crapshoot than the stock market.

      For women, (income) stability in their mate is more important to producing more children than genetic diversity in their children. The small gain in fitness you might get by adding variety to the children’s genes is more than outweighed by the fitness lost in stability both for the mother + children and in the resulting offspring’s lack of proper instincts for monogamy+parenting due to their cuckoo father. A woman is better off just producing a lot of children and marrying them to a variety of people and getting a variety of grandchildren who all have stable homes than introducing instability into her own home.

      If a man turns out to be a bad provider, women will try their luck again, divorce, remarry, and have more children.

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    • Sorry, by “quite rare” I mean “a few percent.” It is a thing that happens often enough that you probably know someone to whom it has happened, but is rare enough that it doesn’t happen to the average person; divorce, by contrast, is much more common.

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  5. We provide every deceased person with a headstone, but in ancient Sparta, headstones were a privilege reserved for men who died in battle and women who died in childbirth. Each sex must bear its cross for the tribe to have any chance of survival.

    Tens of thousands of American men now live with crippling war injuries. It would be far worse if, instead of fighting Islamic savages, we faced enemies of comparable technical ability, as has been the case for most of human history. After the Civil War, Mississippi spent 1/3 of its state budget on prosthetic limbs!

    Childbirth is a much easier problem, because the enemies are non-sentient and well-known to science. The biggest danger now is complacency; one of my high-school classmates died in 2004 because she got a post-partum infection and didn’t go back to the hospital until it was too late.

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    • That’s an interesting question, dependent on several definitions. “By nature” is a fuzzy concept. Does all behavior an organism exhibits comprise its nature, or only typical behaviors? I would suggest the narrower definition.

      Lions are by nature carnivores, by which I mean that the trait is common to all lions and instinctual, even though non-lions are also carnivores. I would say that spiders by nature spin webs, because web-spinning is exclusively a spider-activity that they do by instinct, even though not all spiders spin webs.

      The other fuzzy term is “rape.” Do we consider all arranged marriages or marriages in which there exist forms of power imbalance to entail rape? Or only cases of clear, direct violence?

      I do think men are violent by nature–that is, the majority of men are more aggressive than the majority of women, even if they channel it into acceptable avenues such as business or sports, and this has a definite genetic basis. However, I see no evidence that men have a specific instinct to violently coerce women into sex. Men do rape, and women basically do not, but rape is not common to most men–the majority do not rape–and it certainly isn’t exclusive to people.

      The human norm in every society I know about is consensual sex, followed by children raised in some form of family structure. The majority of these families involve both biological parents in some manner for at least a few years of the childrens’ lives–that is, some form of cooperative child-rearing. There are a few societies where this is not the norm–say, where children are raised in their mother’s household where their mother’s brothers function like “fathers” to the children–but the suggested reason for this arrangement is lack of certainty about paternity, rather than lack of consent. Families are most likely “natural”; they are common to all human societies, and extended families (ie, grandparents,) are exclusively human. Like spiders, we probably have some evolutionary instinct to form them, as a result of families being extremely helpful for survival and successfully raising children to adulthood, allowing humans to invest intensively in their children and have extremely long infancies, which in turn allows our brains time to grow.

      One of the other features of families is that they protect their members; men who commit violence against women generally have to fear retribution by her male relatives or husband (or in more complicated societies, the male-run police and prison systems). There are a lot of things that people would do if society didn’t exist, but society and protecting one’s relatives are also part of human nature, so these effects are difficult to tease out.

      Within our system, rape is the exception, rather than the rule, and the few infants produced by rape have a rather higher than average chance of dying, due to rejection by their mothers and/or economic hardship due to lack of their father in their life. So rape as a specific evolutionary strategy, in the sense of carnivory for lions or web-spinning for spiders, seems unlikely.

      However, in certain contexts–eg, war, prisons–the normal conditions of family formation and fear of punishment by other humans break down, and a lot of rapes occur. Hopefully neither of us is in a prison or a warzone.

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