About hypergamy

There’s a lot of talk about hypergamy in the manosphere lately so I feel compelled to add my two cents :)

First of all, the most insightful description of hypergamy:

“Men may have a tendency to seek sexual variety, but women have simple tastes in the manner of Oscar Wilde: They are always satisfied with the best.” F. Roger Devlin – Sexual Utopia in Power

What it means in layman’s terms is that women place a much heavier emphasis than men on mating only with the best possible partner. Men are (more than) willing to have sex with a wide variety of partners but women want only the best. For example if an average fellow is presented with a hundred gals he’d probably happily have sex with 90 of them, but if you present a hundred guys to an average girl she won’t touch any of them but the top 5. So, women are hypergamous but men are not.

Another important thought:

“In marriage, a man and women contract to forsake all others.  Now ask yourself: If either were going to defect from this agreement, what form would the defection take?  Men, with a polygamous objective function, typically defect by trying to find an additional woman.   Women, with a hypergamous objective function, betray by trying to replace their existing man with a better one.”

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with hypergamy because it’s a biological drive and not a character fault. People can’t be blamed because of their instincts. Basic biological impulses – be them god-given or evolutionally refined – are not the subject of moral judgement.

Still most men view hypergamy as something nasty or evil, and so they tend to view women as nasty and evil too. There are two main reasons for this. The first one is the quote above: polygamous male nature doesn’t destroy marriages like hypergamy does. It’s only natural that most men – and any human being with a sense of fairness for that matter – find it revolting if an otherwise perfectly fine man is kicked out of his home and banned from the life of his children for nothing more than his wife finding an other man with a higher sex rank. The other reason is that men’s instincts are a lot more “straightforward”, meaning that women’s sexual market value (sex rank) depends entirely on her own personal characteristics while a man’s sex rank depends on other factors not inherent to his personality, like wealth, social status and such. This results in the sex rank of a guy being largely unrelated to his real personal qualities. (Hence the proverbial “nice guys finish last”.) Most men find this superficial and immoral even if they understand that this is not a conscious choice by women.

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16 Responses to About hypergamy

  1. Hughman says:

    Great post.

    There’s constant talk about female solipsism, but male revoltution to female hypergamy is our own form of solipsism.

    As males, we value fidelity, honour, promises and trust as ends. Females value them as a means to an end, their own protection and support (and maybe their offspring). But it’s rare that we can accept that as it requires to have a gender-neutral, 3rd person view to understand that view point.

  2. slwerner says:

    “Most men find this superficial and immoral even if they understand that this is not a conscious choice by women.”

    Since I DO understand that it is “hard wired” in women, I’m not one of those who takes umbrage at the underlying urge (though I suspect that you are right that many men do). However, I do take umbrage at the way woman are not expected to control their biological drives the way men are, at least in this modern culture (If one can actually call it “culture”).

    When a woman dumps her nice, productive husband for either a wealthier man, or a more exciting man, it’s come to be considered “par for the course”. Woman (of all stripes – feminists, social conservatives, Evangelical Christians – you name it; along with their lap-dog manginas) circle the wagons around such badly behaving women, and launch a defense of her actions by typically casting the blame on the betrayed and abandined man.

    “He wasn’t meeting her needs”, “He didn’t make enough money”, “she needed to ‘find’ herself”, and the ubiquitous “You go grrl” – I’m sure we all heard them plenty of times when some women “improves” her partner situation.

    Yet, it’s still largely the case that a man likewise leaving his wife for another will be met with derision from all quarters – even his friends. Personally, I’m one of those who has heaped such derision on men who abandon their families.

    Some years back, a friend (I now refer to him as a ex-friend) left his wife and children to take up with a younger women [he was likely lured away by her, by her intentional design; but his culpability remains]. I lambasted him for his poor choice, and told him flat out that we could no longer be friends. I doubt I’m the only guy who’s ever taken such a tough stand with another man. It seems quite rare (at least in my own personal experience) to find men who readily accept such bad behaviors of men who would destroy their marriages and families out of their biological urges.

    yet, on the flip side, women routinely coddle the worst of the worst of their female friends who dump their husbands. It seems quite rare to find women rebuking other women – even those who destroy their marriages and families out of hypergamous desires.

    What I’m getting at (even if not terrible effectively) is that MY issue with female hypergamy is not with the innate “hard-wired” drive itself, but rather with our cultures general acceptance (if not expectation of) it.

  3. JG says:

    Very good, insightful post. More reason on why marriage remains a negative value commitment for those men who do not marry a woman who (as he should too) takes her vows seriously.

  4. I think what you’re talking about is true for opportuntisic sex, but not for establishing a long term relationship.

  5. keith says:

    “Still most men view hypergamy as something nasty or evil, and so they tend to view women as nasty and evil too.”

    Contrary to what you are suggesting I could care less about hypergamy, as a matter of course I have no interest in being with a woman so base. By extension, the damage done to a man resulting from hypergamy is really what needs to change. Being stripped of wealth and alienated from children needs to change. Hypergamy should not translate into male disposal. This cultural projection on men is equal to saying that mens only function is to serve woman. To reverse this trend, woman need to earn their equality, so they own it and are self empowered. Otherwise they are perpetual children shopping for a sugar daddy.

  6. JackAmok says:

    Like I said in reply to one of Athol’s posts, regardless of what you think about Hypergamy and Polygamy as natural instincts, once the marraige vows are said, those instincts need to be kept in check. The husband should stop worrying about sleeping around and the wife should stop worrying about trading up. And nobody should hesitate to criticize spouses who indulge their primitive mating urges.

  7. Steve says:

    Gosh, there are some really good posts on this site.

  8. kevin says:

    “Most men find this superficial and immoral even if they understand that this is not a conscious choice by women.”

    I know that dogs are just following their instinct when they sniff people’s crotches, hump legs, and lick their own butts. That doesn’t mean I have to respect that behavior.

  9. novaseeker says:

    I would say that there are a few reasons why men are so put-off by hypergamy.

    The first is that many of us who are older than, say, 35, were raised with the idea that women are NOT like that, and that women tend to be good, naturally monogamous, faithful, and loyal *by nature* — unless the guy is a drunk, is an abuser, or is otherwise unsuitable, you’ll be fine with women. My parents’ advice to me when I was in my coming of age period in the late 1980s. It was already false then, because the sexual revolution, which increased options for women sexually and attractionally, allowed women to select mates more based on their natural hypergamy — and not based on things that my parents (and many others) encouraged in their male children like stability, reliability, sobriety and so on — the classic “loser/beta/boring” picture we see today. So when confronted with the (admittedly much less impressive) reality of female hypergamy, as compared with what we were taught women were like (and what we were taught they liked), dissonance ensues, followed closely by anger (based on point 2 below). You can see echoes of this in Devlin, a guy of my generation (roughly), when he says, with a noted wistful tone, that when women say they want men who are stable and kind and generous and like walks on the beach and so on, what they aren’t saying is that these qualities are what they look for once a man is already “in their erotic field of view” (i.e., hypergamously attractive). There is a wistfulness there, and it relates to the sense of having lost something. To be quite honest, I would much prefer the world if women were more as my parents had described (including my mother, btw) rather than how they are, post-sexual revolution — and I suspect many men of my generation feel more or less the same.

    The second reason is that under a regime of unfettered hypergamy, most guys are losers. This is certainly the way the casual sex market works, currently — great for the guys who are hypergamous targets of female attraction, but not so good for the guys who are not. The LTR market differs only somewhat — women do tend to downplay some of the more raw aspects of hypergamy when LTR hunting (like rampant shit testing, for example), but the damage is often already done. I think when you look at marriage rates among everyone other than the dual income dual professional set, you’ll see that marriage is dying — probably because women are hypergamous, and the men who are the most hypergamously attractive in an LTR sense are also the men in the higher slice (and they have high marriage rates, unsurprisingly), but for the rest of the guys … not so much. They just aren’t hypgermously attractive enough to sustain high rates of marriage in these lower echelon groups, which is why we see fatherless growing and so on. But even leaving aside the broader social consequences, I think men viscerally figure out that the “fun part” of dating and mating in the 15-30 age range is dominated by unfettered female hypergamy, and that this is a game which, in that age range, most men lose. A lot of men don’t like that, quite understandably.

    The third reason relates to what happens later, and is alluded to in this post. Namely, the well disproportionate impact of female hypergamy on modern marriage. Marriage 2.0 is no longer about lifetime commitment, so you may as well throw that out — even if there are couples who do embrace that, we can’t say with a straight face that this is what the institution is about, currently. Rather, currently, marriage is about self-actualization — what makes us happy, makes us feel content and fulfilled and so on. The problem here is that hypergamy undermines marital stability in ways that male straying (which is an equal betrayal, of course) simply does not. Hypergamy directly undermines a female’s sense of happiness, contentedness and of being fulfilled unless her husband works his ass off constantly DHVing and Game-ing her to head-off her hypergamous impulses. This is a recipe for disaster, in particular, in the typical modern/equalist marriage. It’s normal, in a marriage, for the attentions of one or both spouses to stray occasionally. However, when that happens with women, it almost always means she has checked out of the marriage and is looking for a replacement — which means it’s much more of a direct hit at the marital relationship, no matter how you slice it. The fact that this behavior is subsidized by the family courts, and applauded by endless choruses of “You Go Girl!” in the culture only exacerbates the situation — it is not, however, the core issue. The core issue is that we have defined marriage to be about self-actualization, and in the context of women, that is most often going to NOT mean being “saddled with” a guy for whom, for whatever reason, her hypergamous tingle has faded. And*that* is reason three why men are off-put by hypergamy.

    It strikes me that things worked better, overall, when hypergamy was more restricted. However, I realize that it isn’t going back to that anytime soon. So, faced with that, men need to learn Game (which, in 2010, you need just as much in an LTR/marriage as you do in the club) or adjust to leading a female-free life. There really are only those two options, I think — and each of them is a good one for each kind of guy, really.

  10. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Obvious Phallic Symbolism Edition (NSFW)

  11. Lovekraft says:

    Excellent post. It brings the issue into clarity.

    I was one of the nice guys, consciously choosing to take the high road with people and was mocked, insulted or ignored for it.

    But the alternative isn’t rosy either – being some lubed up bachelor/player is empty.

    So I have art. The same kind of art expressed in this article. The art to bring cohesion and clarity to the jumbled messages bombarding us.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with hypergamy because it’s a biological drive and not a character fault. People can’t be blamed because of their instincts.”

    Wrong. This is why character exists. It’s instinct to do stuff that’s pleasurable without regard to consequences; it’s character to do things that brings good consequences. Blame people for hurting others for their own pleasure! Why, yes, we can… and often do! This is no different. Hypergamy and philandering are why monogomous marriage and societal sopport of it evolved.

  13. Deansdale says:

    We’re talking about different things.
    People can’t be blamed because of whom they desire.
    People can be blamed if they do stupid things because of that desire.

    Most men think hypergamy is “evil” because they think like this:
    I desire her because she is beautiful, and that is “good”.
    She desires him because he’s rich and that is “bad”.

    This thinking is flawed. There is no morality in desires, regardless of how sad this fact is for nice guys. Millions of years of evolution “made” women desire power, that’s why I said it’s not a character fault of them.

  14. Dehmitri says:

    I understand what the article is saying, but I don’t think all women seek to “trade up,” just like all men don’t seek to sleep with every chick they see. Honestly, I disagree with it being a ‘natural’ thing, I think we chose whether or not we want to be monogamous, hypergamous, etc. We have free will.
    I am female, and not hypergamous, because unlike many I actually value relationships. He doesn’t have to be perfect, exceedingly wealthy, or have the nicest possessions. I do have standards, I mean who doesn’t, but the most important thing is that we click, and care about each other. That’s the problem with too many marriages today, as people just marry and then drop their spouse when something better comes along. Really, we should be going for who we have the deepest conenction with, not who’s sexiest or has the most worldly possessions.

  15. Deansdale says:

    Of course our upbringing, socialization and whatnot influence our behaviour. We’re more than pure instincts. But the instincts are there, below the surface.
    I’m not talking in absolutes, I’m talking about tendencies.

  16. Shawn Disney says:

    Good discussions. It doesn’t look too good for our ” Judeo-Christian-Atheist Culture” , though.

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