Are you looking for reliable information on sexual market value?
And what’s the value of the male’s dating strategies of lover, provider and friend?
Well, you have come to the right place.
This article goes into the details of sexual market value by role.
And it will make the point that it’s not the dating strategy that makes the biggest difference, but the quality of the man behind the strategy that matters most.
- Why Most Guys Get it Wrong
- 1. Lovers
- 2. Providers
- 3. Friend
- Quality is The SMV Differentiator
- The SMV Power Scale
- Factors Impacting Sexual Market Value
- Limitations of This Article
Why Most Guys Get it Wrong
Most guys get their dating all wrong because they have no idea of dating strategies, their own positioning and of, course, no idea of sexual market value.
However, many guys who actually read and study dating and social dynamics also get it wrong.
The big mantra in the manosphere is that “lover rocks, providers is beta”.
This is not completely wrong, but also a huge generalization and overall bad sexual marketplace theory.
Just look at this example below:
This is a typical case of what I call “alpha male posturing” (and this is why you must quit the posturing).
It a nutshell, it works like this: point finger at a supposed idiot and I look better by reflection.
If you catch yourself playing this game, don’t worry: it’s a human necessity we all have. But if you want to develop yourself, you need to be aware of it, cut that sh*t out and move beyond that game and mindset.
And now let’s get into some good sexual marketplace theory on lovers, providers and friends.
Lovers present themselves as sexually attractive men.
They showcase their experience and knowledge of women, their success with women (pre-selection) and, possibly, the promise of great fun between the bed-sheets.
Lover Category: An Explanation
In a nutshell, that means that men don’t just give out sperm, but they invest in their women, offspring and intimate relationship.
However, the lover strategy is to remove all the help and only give sperm.
It’s because they:
- Have (supposedly) great genes (making up for the lack of resources)
- Don’t have resources
- Don’t make their resources available
The Idea Behind The Lover Strategy
The appeal of the lover sexual strategy is that, if executed well, can lead to quick, “no strings attached” sex.
That’s not wrong: women indeed tend to go slower with boyfriend candidates.
She will try to make men invest, chase and wait for sex because that can indeed increase the chances that he will stick around after sex -a strategy I don’t necessarily recommend women because cool men don’t like this game and it works mostly with lower quality men-.
So if he removes himself from provider and boyfriend candidate and if he is sexy and cool, then she might take him up for the fun of the sex -and, potentially, for the unconscious desire of getting his genes-.
Now comes the slag though.
Not all lovers are good lovers. And we can divide between “low quality” and “high quality” lovers.
Low Quality Lovers
Here we get back to generalization and mistake that the Red Pill poster does above.
Such as, to equate lover with high quality man.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As for anything, there are different levels at which a dating strategy can be implemented.
And albeit it’s true that lovers tend to be more experienced, socially skilled men, there are also plenty of low quality lovers out there.
The Movie The Pick-Up Artist from 1987 is the example of low-ish type of lovers.
The one who pursues women and thinks of himself as a lover, but who actually doesn’t really get laid:
You can still go much lower in the lovers’ category.
In a way, a junkie who fucks another junkie woman without giving her anything is also a lover.
But not necessarily one you’d want to emulate.
High Quality Lovers
High quality lovers are what most of the dating circles refer to when they think of “lovers”.
These are cool guys who might even have plenty of resources, but either are not too willing to share them, or don’t even put them on the table.
Alternatively, they don’t have resources but are very skilled and/or very attractive.
They put their good looks, game and any other sexually attractive quality on display and even actively disqualify themselves from the boyfriend’s role.
But since they are overall high quality men, women dig that.
There are plenty of examples of high quality lovers, and one of them is Ryan Gosling from the movie Crazy Stupid Love:
Nothing Guarantees You to Always Win
A high quality lover is a thing of beauty.
But of course, there is no silver bullet out there, and not all women will want to take up lovers on their offer.
A few women are adamant in asking for resources and/or investment. These can be super driven towards a relationship, women who have ridden enough dicks and want to settle down, gold diggers or extremely principled and religious (which are not so common though).
Some others might might be worried about their reputation and some others of course will simply not like him.
However, plenty of women will take the lover’s offer, and he enjoys an overall good life.
If you are interested in more resources:
Drawbacks for The Lovers
Lover tend to be very hit and miss.
If it works, it works fast.
If it backfires, there is not turning back.
That makes it a high reward, high risk strategy. And at times, in social circles where he has a time and a reputation to take care of, a more prudent approach might serve him better.
Another risk is the after sex: if it happened too quick, he pushed too much and/or if he is not good to bond and connectwith her, she might write him off as a one night stand.
It’s not the most common scenario, but it can happen.
If the lover is the man who gives sex and little more, the provider gives sex and more.
The provider is the man who is able and willing to invest.
Investment can be money, emotional support, help with their career etc. etc.
For most guys investment is the mix of all of them, and more, that comes with a relationship.
It includes time, emotional support, help and, often, a commitment to exclusivity (exceptions apply, see below).
Basically, the provider is the typical guy in a relationship.
The Average Provider Guy (& The Exceptions)
The provider role is an often misunderstood role in the dating community.
Again, there are good reasons why.
It’s because most providers are average guys with little of the exciting qualities of lovers and, as a matter of fact, little resources to share as well.
Provider indeed is the main default setting of most guys.
Probably around 70%-80% of men’s main default setting is provider.
And of those 70%-80% of men who go the provider route, 90% of them are average providers. Even around the one million dollars mark a man is a good provider, but it’s still faaar, far from playing in the top league.
Low Quality Providers
The majority of providers with a regular office jobs are average, and since they are all interchangeable, we could probably cluster 80% of providers in the lower band.
From the same movie of the previous Ryan Gosling example, here is the example of a provider in the low to middle range:
But even here, we can go much lower.
There are guys in menial jobs, minimum wage and, of course, the guys who try to supercharge their providers’ clout with debt fuel.
Have you ever heard of the guys who rent a supercar, max their credit cards and blow a whole month’s salary on an evening out with their special gal?
In the movie Gran Torino Clint Eastwood is grooming Thao to become more of a provider.
Look at this scene where Eastwood lends him the Gran Torino:
Eastwood is probably actually hurting Thao.
In an effort to “impress” the girl, he implies that he must work harder to provide for her, thus underlying the value disparity between him and her.
An epitome of the low quality provider is the so called “white-knight”, such as the man who idealizes her princess bends over backwards to help her out.
That’s also a terrible mindset and a bad position to be in: these guys enter the relationship in what’s one of the weakest position possible.
These are the main values of a high-quality provider:
- Personal value
The higher you go with both, the higher the overall provider quality of the guy.
And the two are not separated as some might think: studies prove that more money makes men more attractive.
Former high quality lovers who want to stop also can make for high-quality providers, albeit the guys who were lovers because of their personality might not be comfortable in stopping for ever -or for a very long time-.
However, there is an upper bound limit you can reach simply with personal value.
To reach the super upper echelons of top high-quality providers you will need lots of resources.
The super top providers are the guys who open the tab and let everyone in their group have a good time.
They throw money around, everyone loves them, and when they leave with a chauffeured cars or their own Ferrari they don’t even look at the tab: they are too busy with the hot girl in their arm.
The movie showgirls is an example of a top provider:
Driving Ferrari and getting a BJ while pouring champagne. Classic.
This is also the territory of powerful tycoons.
Silvio Berlusconi is an example of a provider at the far end of the spectrum.
Modern tycoons are the equivalent of the long bygone days of kings and monarchs. At that level, getting sex becomes very easy and it’s often not even about providing anymore.
They get lots of sex, give some gifts that for them is nothing or just give women the experience of a luxury lifestyle… For one night.
Indeed at the far end of the provider spectrum, for the men who enjoy that lifestyle, top provider becomes top inseminator.
However, not many super-rich men follow this lifestyle of a woman a night. Men who get very rich are often driven by a mission that goes beyond women -and women can become a distraction for outsized achievements-.
Display of Momeny Turns Men Into Lovers
When a man shows off wealth, he is playing less in the provider category and more in the lover category.
A study found out indeed that flashy displays of wealth lead observers to consider him more of a “fling” sort of man and less of a “long-term provider”.
flashy displays of wealth increase his lover status.
The unwritten contract there is this: come with me, I’ll splurge on you, give you a night of luxury, and then you’re free to go.
I’m not a fan of this style, but it goes to show that the categories blur more than people think.
And it shows that the concept of “hiding your resources” is only true for average men.
Drawbacks for The Providers
Average providers, such as the majority of men, will be screened and qualified (much) harder.
Entering a relationship moving slowly as the provider often also means that it will be more a relationship of equals when it goes for him or, more often, that she is the prize.
Also, she might end up playing the Madonna role during dating. That might even mean that she will never show her true colors and never really be herself.
“Friend” has taken a really bad rep in the male dating world.
It has gone mainstream with the term “friend-zoned“, which basically describes a man who pursues a woman and who believes/hopes he might get her.
However, her jury has been out and the sentence is clear: sex with him is out of the question.
This is a dynamic that, indeed, happens relatively often. And it’s a terrible situation to be in.
But, again, this is a generalization of the worst type of friend applied the whole “friend” population.
“Friend”, per se, is a neutral word.
You can have cool guys friends and you can clueless friend-zoned idiots who both fall in the “friend” category.
Let’s dig deeper to come out of generalizations and misunderstandings.
Who is a Friend?
Friends tend to be somewhat less exciting than lovers and not as available as providers.
They can cheer her up, listen to her and share good times together.
They might be interested in a relationship with her, but they don’t necessarily have to be.
He might be a nice guy, but doesn’t have to be.
And he might be at her beck and call, but he might as well not be available at all for one to one helping sessions.
As you can see, a friend can really be anything because, well, it’s a very generic term.
So let’s dig deeper.
Low Value Friend
The low value friend is the “friend” that the manosphere usually refers to.
These guys typically hang on to her because they are interested in sexual favors and, even more often, in a relationship.
Since all relationship entail an exchange, if his value were zero or even negative, she probably wouldn’t want him around.
Indeed low value friends have enough value that they don’t embarrass women when they tag along and enough value to offer some sort of help and support.
But they don’t have enough value to have sex with -lover category- or be in a relationship with -provider category-.
Basically: a low value friend’s sexual market value is not zero but not enough for sex or boyfriend candidate.
If low value friends are not discerning enough, which they often are not or they wouldn’t be low value in the first place, they can end up exploited by some women -and women have a tendency to get as much resources as possible from men-.
Neil Patrick Harris in Gone Girl is the example of a friend who is being take advantage of:
High Value Friend
Could you ever imagine there is such a thing as an high value friend in the sexual marketplace?
Of course there is.
A high value friend is simply a high value man who is not in hot pursuit.
With a high value friend she can let her hair down and be herself.
He can bond with her, doesn’t judge her and he can help her take her mask down. That means that she can share emotions and feelings she doesn’t share with anyone else -which will likely make her more attracted to him-.
A typical cool guy in a position of friend does help her whenever he can, but without going out of his way. He’d help her just like he would help a male friend.
But since he is a high value guy, his help is really helpful and his advice goes at the crux of the problem.
And she loves that.
He might be interested in sex, but he doesn’t make it obvious. And since he’s a high value man, chances are she is also sexually interested in him.
They are not laying their cards on the table though and nobody is making a move.
It could be that they don’t want to make a move.
He might be too busy with his own life, or she is in a relationship with a friend of his. Or he might not want sex to ruin their specific relationship -think for example she’s a flatmate paying him for rent-.
Or, as it’s often the case, he might be in a relationship and would rather keep his word.
This is an example of sexual energy between friends (but crappy video quality alert!).
That long pause that you hear, that’s everyone being well aware of that tension.
Top High-Value Friends
At the top of the pile, the two “friends” will avoid even being alone in the same room because they both know there is too much sexual energy.
Obviously, at this high level of sexual chemistry, all it takes is a move, a spark or a “situation”.
Sex with old time friends who have always been attracted to each other is some of the best sex you will ever have because it’s the release of long standing, pent-up sexual attraction coming off all at once.
Should You Refuse Female Friendships?
Some guys who read on dating makes it a question of personal honor not to be friends with women.
Rollo Tomassi, popular red pill author and writer of The Rational Male, talks about mentoring a man who was pursuing a woman.
And when she told him they should “just be friends”, Tomassi recommended him he should reject the offer.
That’s not an uncommon approach but I believe it’s a bad attitude which leads men to a very black and white approach of “either I fuck you or fuck you”.
Not only it can burn future opportunities, but guys who follow this advice can end up with lots of male friends and little contact with real women -like the early pick-up artists-.
And that’s not the best setup for learning how the female mind works.
Drawbacks of Friends
Unless there is huge sexual chemistry the friend position has the lowest value in the sexual marketplace.
He has been around for a while, she knows him and if she hasn’t found him exciting so far, what are the chances that is going to change any time soon?
Most “normal” guys are probably not better off going the friend’s way at all and using their time to probe women who are free and into them.
On the other hand, having a circle with a lot of female friends and a good chemistry could provide a man with some future options -just as an added bonus, not as a main strategy-.
Quality is The SMV Differentiator
If you have noticed, there is a thread running through the dating strategies.
And that thread is that the high quality guys do well across all dating strategies. And poor guys do poorly across all dating strategies.
In atypical seduction techniques that work we saw the example of Grant Cardone, who chased his wife for a year.
He was pursuing a provider strategy.
And he was chasing badly.
Yet, that was his dream girl and he won her over because, overall, he was still a high quality guy going places.
And he could have probably gotten many different women in the meantime -and with the same approach too-.
That’s because it’s the man who makes the sexual market value, not the positioning.
Look at this sexual market value chart divided by male positioning:
Basically what this article explains is simple: be a high quality guy and you will date successfully with whichever approach you choose.
A Case For Lover First Strategy
This article tells you that, if you are a (super) high quality man -or if you work yourself to be one- you are going to be fine in dating.
However, different strategies and positioning work differently depending on what you want.
I personally like most of all the lover first approach.
Partly because there is a substantial “player” within me, and partly because it can confer more power.
Lovers enter the relationship -and her- at a prime, carnal level. If later they then move to a serious relationship, chances are that she will come to respect him more, too.
Don’t think that will last for ever though: women will always work to domesticate men in long term relationships.
But starting well is better than starting poorly for sure :).
Low Quality Player is Worst Option
The second consequence of our analysis of sexual market value across dating strategies is that if lower level guys fare badly across all dating strategies, the worst of them all is the lover.
Because a low quality lover has nothing.
He has low value as a lover, cannot provide enough value to even be around her, and he has no resources whatsoever.
The SMV Power Scale
Here is the ranking in the sexual market value that I assign to each male positioning:
- Nothing (has nothing of value or negative value, she doesn’t want him around)
- Average Friend (can provide support, and might have a chance, but can be taken advantage of)
- Average Provider (can provide support and “good enough” genes)
- Good Lover (can provide good genes but little support or he’s not willing to support)
- Top Provider (high quality men with resources with which he could take care of many different women and strong genes to boot: women don’t usually even dare to demand him time and emotional commitment)
For biological reasons at the top of the pyramid power and resources matter more than looks in terms of his power of sleeping with lots of new women.
Few if any model can out-fuck an average looking tycoon -possibly even an ugly one-.
Factors Impacting Sexual Market Value
There are plenty of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect male’s sexual market value and their own positioning within that sexual marketplace.
Gender Ration Split: The Quantity
In my long and pedantic article on the science of dating, where in turn I reference the wonderful text Date-Onomics, I explain how the availability mating options changes males sexual market value and their dating strategy.
As Anthony Walsh concludes in Love: The Biology Behind the Heart:
Across a huge variety of species, from lobsters to humans, the sex ratio in a breeding population is the most important environmental factor affecting mating patterns in nominally monogamous species
In simple terms this means that when there are more women -and when men have more options- they shift from a provider positioning to a lover positioning.
Quality of The Sexual Marketplace
It’s not just a question of numbers either, but also of quality.
Both sexes, but especially women, present hypergamy, which is the tendency of “marrying up”.
That means that even if there are lots of men, but only few of them are of high quality, those high quality guys can all play the field.
And, if they are more relationship-oriented, they can all easily find a top mate to settle down.
This has huge implications for the dating strategies of both men and women, but this article is getting too long now and I have written plenty on this.
Limitations of This Article
I have long resisted writing articles on topics likes “lover, providers and friends”.
It’s because I think they are such oversimplifications of reality that they might lead people astray instead of helping them -as we saw in the example above-.
These categories are on a continuum.
Most men have a tendency of playing around and albeit some men only want relationships few are 100% on one side:
Also, the best guys always overlap somewhat with each other.
Have you noticed Gosling in the example of high quality player? Doesn’t he look like a smart guy who could have or could amass resources as well?
Of course he does..
Because at very high levels and at very low levels all strategies overlap. Because, again, it’s the man behind that strategy that makes the most different.
A top top provider has also all the cards to be a top player. And a top player has all the cards to amass resources and be a top provider or a top friend -if he wanted to-.
So take this article -and all other neat “schematizations”- for what they are: an oversimplified representation of an otherwise much more complex and varied reality.
The dating strategies of lover, provider or “friend first” are extremely different and lead to completely different dating rules and possible outcomes.
For men interested in finding a romantic partner the “friend first” might be the most time consuming and uncertain path and, given the drawbacks, is probably not recommendable.
Entering as a lover first and as a provider/stable partner later is a good strategy but has higher risks. Especially for those guy who are not high in lover’s values.
Provider first is the most typical strategy, relatively safer -as long as she likes you- and one of the trade-offs is in how powerful he will be in the beginning of the relationship.
For a great relationship, you want to be high quality in all of them: lover, provider and friend.