Hypergamy is neither bad nor good.
It’s just a part of what humans are, both men and women.
However, female hypergamy is just a bit more ruthless when it comes to dating.
This article will explain why, how, when… And how it affects you.
- What’s Hypergamy: A Definition
- Hypergamy & (Dating) Power
- Hypergamy and Monogamy
- Does Hypergamy Apply to Wealth or Genes?
- Don’t Blame Women: Both Genders Are Hypergamic
- How to Pick a Safe Partner
- Why You Mustn’t Worry About Hypergamy
- Focus On Yourself
What’s Hypergamy: A Definition
Hypergamy refers to the tendency of both men and women, but mostly women, to fawn upon, seek and pursue partners of a higher class, income or status than themselves.
Since women tend to be more affected by hypergamy than men, this has strong repercussions on dating.
Hypergamy & (Dating) Power
Let’s imagine society as a big pyramid.
Actually, let’s draw two big pyramids:
At the bottom sit the people with the least status, looks and resources.
Hypergamy (and biology) dictates that at the lowest level of the pyramid, bottom women have far more power than bottom men because men are happy with same-status women. But women, well… They don’t get too excited with their fellow low value man men :).
At the middle of the pyramid, women still have more power than middle layers men.
Overall women, being the demand in the sexual marketplace, have more power when it comes to dating and relationships.
However, at the top, the power relation inverts and men become more powerful.
Top men become more powerful -by far more powerful-.
In terms of potential for attracting mates, for men, power and resources matter more than looks to get to the top of the pyramid.
Few if any model can out-fuck an average looking tycoon -possibly even an ugly one-.
This all goes back to biology.
Since men don’t have to wait for almost a year to reproduce again, they can impregnate several women a day. In the case of ancient kings and some modern-day tycoons, that’s exactly what happens.
Women instead carry the full burden of procreation both in time and resources. Men can take care of their offspring, but women must. This means that women are far more concerned with securing help and resources than men.
And that, my friends, is the core of female hypergarmy.
In environments were either help or resources are scarce, hypergamy gets a huge boost, and she will gladly queue for some top dog mate (however, as we will see later, we are not living in such an environment today).
Hypergamy and Monogamy
From a reproductive point of view and in society with vast differences in resources, it’s best for a woman to be the 10th wife of a king than the first wife of a king.
It means that strict monogamy reduces the power of highly attractive and successful men.
Because that super top guy could otherwise freely and openly have his own harem.
Monogamy can increase the power of attractive women, because there will be lots of pressure on his highly successful male counterpart to commit to her (plus the legal system helps her in case of separation).
Monogamy is also good for average men, because average women will spend less time eyeing high quality men whom, on average, end up with high quality women.
And for very poor quality men? Well, those fare poorly in almost any relationship system.
However, the institution per se does not have unlimited power. Institutions and laws follow culture more than the other way around. And it’s more the distribution of resources which influence hypergamy and monogamy.
And it functions like this: the more skewed the distribution of resources is, the higher hypergamy pays off and becomes the norm.
On the other hand, the more well spread the resources are, the less hypergamy fuels women. In that case, women prefer having a guy just for them and similarity and “love” strengthen monogamy -albeit humans rarely are 100% monogamous anyway-.
Does Hypergamy Apply to Wealth or Genes?
Warning: deep theory ahead.
Animals differ on “male parental investment“, such as how much male invest in their partners and in helping raise the children.
Human males are around the middle of the scale when it comes to male parental investment. They don’t invest as much as women, but they invest quite a bit.
This is crucial to understand dating and hypergamy.
In nature, the female of species who cannot expect any help from the male counterparts only mate based on genes (ie.: looks, physique, prowess, cunning and any other attractive trait).
Meaning: when women cannot get any help to raise offspring, they mate based on genes and attraction (it’s an open debate whether traits that females find attractive well mirrors genetic advantage for survival as well and not just attraction, but let’s not go too deep here).
But attention now, this is also crucial: attraction is not simply what she likes but, in big part, also what other women seem to like. Why? Because she wants offspring that can also easily find mate to further procreate.
Thus, female attraction is highly social: what she likes is heavily influenced by what other women seem to like. This is why there is also a strong cultural element on what women (and men alike) find or don’t find attractive. Looks are a proxy for how likely it is that he -and in turn, his children- is able to impregnate other women.
But now the hypergamic twist.
Some male species do help females raise children. When that’s the case, females who can expect help from males also screen men on his resources and the availability of those resource. Commitment is the measures of the availability of those resources.
This is true for human females, who seek proofs of love and caring as a sign of commitment.
Women are not just attracted to resources per se, but also to behavior which are likely to lead to power and resources (the two are tightly connected) such as drive, dominance, strength, intelligence etc.
We can speculate that one of the reasons why women don’t like men whose life revolve around them is because those men are less likely to climb dominance hierarchies and amass resources (ie.: too focused on them means less focused on other life endeavors).
Hot Bodies & Fat Wallets: She Wants it All
What we explained in the paragraph above means that, in humans, women seek both good genes (in part represented by good looks) and abundant resources (money and the social status that helps get those resources).
Some author speculate that women pursue two different and separate dating strategies in the sexual marketplace: good genes from sexy men and resources from rich men.
There is some evidence that indeed some women are more likely to copulate outside of their committed relationship when they’re the at their peak of fertility, which might suggest a strategy to get resources from her stable partner and better -or simply diverse- genes.
However the two strategies are not different and do not run in parallel. A woman seeks both, and she’ll be happiest with both good genes and plenty resources.
That doesn’t mean she won’t cheat at all when she’s with a handsome, rich and powerful man: there is always an advantage in genetic diversity. But it means that she is much less likely to cheat when he has lots of resources, great genes or both.
Hot Abs VS Resources: Who Wins?
When she cannot have both, studies suggest that women look at status more than looks.
When status is similar, or when the status is more difficult to glean -as it’s often the case in rich western societies were nobody has tattered clothes-, they prefer looks.
Of course, the environment plays a big role too.
In dire environments with few resources, resources trump looks even harder.
In environments with evenly distributed resources, as in many developed countries, looks will fare comparatively better.
This is (probably) one of the reasons you hear a lot of rich-country girls saying they don’t care about money -sometimes partially lying anyway- but you don’t hear it nearly as often from women women in poorer countries.
Don’t Blame Women: Both Genders Are Hypergamic
If you’re a man reading this article, ask yourself: do you like hot women or average women?
Would you prefer to fuck an average woman or a hot woman?
Do you want to get in a relationship and eventually maybemarry a hot woman or an average woman?
You can see where I am going with this.
Now I don’t know whether you are handsome or not, but do you think that not-so handsome men also prefer hot women to average ones?
Of course they do.
And what does that mean? It means that hypergamy also applies to men.
However, it’s true that it applies less to men.
This is because of a disparity in casual sex returns among the genders. Men are happy to have sex with lots of women, including less attractive ones.
And since they don’t get “stuck” with the baby, they also need to care less about her resources.
Thus, indeed, hypergamy is stronger in women, but not completely absent in men.
Indeed, men who want a relationship tend to look more at her background and future prospects.
When I hear a guy saying he wants a woman with a master degree, I know I’m talking to a guy who usually does serious relationships or is looking for a serious, long term relationship.
Does Hypergamy Lead to Cheating?
People reading on hypergamy are often driven by fear.
The fear of being cheated on.
And some people who write on dating and seduction actually stoke that fear with bad information.
Often manosphere blogs, but even scholarly books such as Sperm Wars use the often misquotes statistic that “10% of children are not fathered by their partner”.
Some publications push it even higher, at 25% and 30% (!!).
These publications often quote misleading statics such as the ones from fathers who tested their children because they doubted their paternity. Obviously, that’s either silly or in bad faith because it’s not a representative sample (also read How to Lie With Statistics).
The alternative of some dating coaches is even simpler: quote no statistics at all and shoot a shocking number to make men crow and buy their dating product (and hate women in the process).
But back to us now: what about actual researches?
Michael Gilding estimates the non-paternity rates at between 0.7% and 2%.
Other estimates, in the cases of fathers who are confident of being the actual fathers, it ranges from 1.9% to 2.9%.
Let’s say that, on the overall population, it’s from 1% to 3%. Can be lower if you feel secure with your spouse. And much higher, around 1 out of 3, if you’re not sure (but watch out you’re not being paranoid).
Now don’t get me wrong, these are still high numbers in my opinion, but they’re far from the scare-mongering, finger pointing and slut-shaming of some manosphere authors.
Who Gets Cheated?
It looks like it’s men from lower classes who get cheated the most, which makes sense from an hypergamy perspective: women seek men from high social classes. And men from lower classes simply have a lot more men that score higher than them.
So here is your first clue on not being cheated: to reduce your risk of cheating, be a high status man.
Higher risks of non-paternity also happen in non-married couples, couples who are often physically distant and couples with concurrent partners (no shit Sherlock, eh? :).
How to Pick a Safe Partner
Now women, helped by our current PC society, have a nice method to confuse their tracks. The new shield is this: we’re all the same, and if you hint at classifying women as lower or higher quality, you’re sexist, racist or bigot.
And yes, some women -and some personalities- cheat more than others. Party girls and women whose parents cheated for example are at higher risk.
I have written extensively on infidelity, and if you’re interested in finding a loyal partner, start from here:
More on cheating and loyalty:
- How to overcome infidelity
- How to forgive a cheater
- Why people cheat
- How to prevent cheating
- Emotional infidelity: what is it and how it happens
Why You Mustn’t Worry About Hypergamy
There are many factors that limit the influence of hypergamy.
In brief, they are:
- Girls in well-off country don’t need as many resources
- Women, like everyone else, are also attracted to similar individuals
- Men of higher status also prefer higher status girls, limiting options for lower status women
- Her personality matters: some women are more status conscious. Some not so much
Indeed a study by Eastwick and Finkel show that in a speed dating environment there was little overlap between what women said they wanted and who they ended up with -and same for men-.
I suspect this is not much because of attractiveness, but simply because, you know, people have preferences… But then life gets in the way. And they meet a nice gal or boy, or they want to settle down, or the options are not as good as they hoped.
And cognitive dissonance kicks in and does the rest: they convince themselves it’s a great option and they are happy.
And there is a litany of researches, including Byrne, Clore Jr., and Worchel (1966), to show that individuals are attracted to similar individuals.
And finally, people know their realistic sexual market value. That means that they don’t necessarily go for the top of the top. A girl who makes 20k a month will often be shy of going with a billionaire or a superstar.
Indeed Buston and Emlen (2003) show that both men and women end up with partners of similar status to themselves.
She might even refuse to entertain the idea because, maybe hampered by low self-esteem, she won’t even think she has a shot, or deserves, that guy.
Finally, there are women who are more status conscious than others. Club queen, stuck up girls, gold diggers, children of gold diggers etc. will date based on status and resources much more than others.
While some other women are happy and madly in love with their middle class next door man.
However, again, these are mitigation factors and do not completely cancel out women’s hypergamy. Yes, she wants a great man. Same as you do want a great woman.
Focus On Yourself
Guys shouldn’t focus too much on hypergamy.
To begin with, because they can’t control it. Second, because it does not matter that much in most Western countries. And third, because it makes them come across as insecure.
Case in point:
Learn what it is, know how and it works and then go on doing your thing: working on yourself, and being the best man you can be.
Then hypergamy might even turn out to be useful to you :).
So I decided to clear the air and add some science to the discussion -or, less, pompously, simply to add my 2 cents :)-.
Plenty of data and research suggest that women do like men who are “better” than them.
They like men who are smarter, taller, stronger, more aggressive and, of course, richer.
However, there is often a big difference between who women say they are attracted to, who they are attracted to, and who they actually end up with.
And in the west, they end up with all kinds of men.
If you haven’t noticed, the majority of men do end up with a woman after all.
In the current situation, all in all, you shouldn’t worry much about hypergamy.