Sexual conflict describes the area where the sexual interests of genders and individuals diverge.
The sexual marketplace, the exchange where mates, sex and relationships are traded, is the battleground for the ultimate sexual conflict: the war of the selfish gene.
Those who were too nice lost, and failed to shape our modern brain.
Those who won, engaged in the never-ending escalation of the sexual arms race.
This post focuses on the weapons of sexual conflict.
Female Sexual Weapons
Women, just like men, wage the sexual war both against men and against female competitors.
We will review both.
Women Against Men
Women seek from men a mixture of good genes, resources and child support.
All of them are important for women, and what she goes for depends on personality, environmental factors and life phase.
However, since when it comes to conception all three of them are important, we get some complex and interesting sexual strategies.
Let’s review them:
#1. Orgasms: The Pleasure Tool of Cuckoldry
Many researchers agree that women sometimes pursue a mixed sexual strategy trying to get the best of both worlds: a committed relationship with one man and uncommitted sex with another man.
When women seek sex outside of the relationship, often it’s because they prefer the man on the side but, possibly, they can’t get a relationship with him.
Where does orgasm enter the picture?
Well, a theory of female orgasms says that since women are more likely to retain male sperm when having an orgasm, orgasms can be used as a tool to favor the affair partner.
Indeed, women are more likely to reach orgasm with the affair partner.
Orgasms might be an adaptation to help women get genes from a more attractive man, and investment from a less attractive one.
That being said, women usually prefer switching to the affair partner, if he is a higher status and more attractive mate.
And they will drop hints with the affair partner that they want to “move over” to him.
See an example here:
Her unstated message was “I’m single now (for you)”.
BTW, please notice what a controlling freak of a boyfriend she had, installing apps on her phone to check her location. But smart “filles de joie” find ways around controlling men and find it even more exciting to cuckold them.
It’s a way to reassert their power and freedom, and to take their revenge.
There are counter-arguments to this theory.
In any case, there seems to be some evidence that (some) women favor the affair partner to get pregnant.
Also see “female hypergamy“.
#2. Concealed Ovulation: The Female Dread Game
Why do women hide their ovulation?
It’s very atypical in the animal kingdom.
Most other animal females, including our brethren great apes, advertise fertility as much as possible.
Why not women?
Well, there are several theories, and a good chunk of them involve the deceit of men.
Here are some of the most popular (names are mine):
- Gold-Digger theory: female primates get more male support when ovulating, so hiding ovulation allowed more astute women to keep the treats coming
- Ho-theory: women can trade sex for favors, but sex linked to conception was costly and risky to sell. Thus, delinking sex from conception empowered women by lowering the risks
- “Dread fatherhood game”: men are paranoid about fatherhood, and women developed concealed ovulation to force men into permanent marriage bond
- “Love me” theory: men, clueless about her fertile days, had to keep having sex with her for long stretches of time. Time and sex increase pair-bonding and keeps him and his investment around
As of now, nobody knows which theory is correct, but, as it’s often the case, it might be a mixture of them all.
#3. Bait & Switch: Turning Sex into Investment
Short term and long term sexual strategies are not mutually exclusive.
Indeed, they often feed into each other and smart women are able to turn quick short-term sex into long-term investment.
As a woman told me on the second date of our whirlwind sex romance:
Her: Lucio, I don’t do sex outside relationships
Great move: it positions herself as “serious” while making me feel good for being the exception.
Sure, who knows the truth. But the sex was great, she was just my type, we got along great… And she turned short-term into long-term.
Many smart women manage the same.
The “bait and switch game” works best with men with little options, with men around her same value or when there is great chemistry.
But the biggest win for women is to bait and switch high-quality men who are unaware of their sexual value (yes, it happens).
It works less well with higher quality men who are aware of their sexual market value, but it can still pay off to at least try.
#4. This Is Your Kid: Invest In Him (Trust Me He Is)!
I’m sorry to spoil this one for fathers.
But in these most innocent words, there might lie the darkest manipulation:
Her: Look at him, he looks just like you!
Well, that might be the case.
The child might indeed look exactly like the father.
But then, how come studies show women say this far more often than men do?
Even the mother’s family says it more often than the dad’s family!
One theory is that since fathers can never be certain of paternity, it’s always good for the woman (and her family) to “remind” him.
Telling fathers that the baby looks just like them is a way of telling them “it’s yours, baby, invest in him”.
Of course, there is also a darker twist here.
Sure, most of the times the kid truly is his kid.
But the “this is your kid game” can also be used by cheating wives to support their dual strategy of “sexy son – unsexy provider”.
#5. Mood Swings: The Female Emotional Slip Knot
I hear you:
How can emotional mood swings help women win the sexual war?
Well, it’s simple: mood swings serve as a test of commitment and as a multiplier of investment.
- A man who overreacts to her mood swings shows his strong emotional investment
- A man who runs to help the damsel in distress signals he is willing to provide through thick and thin.
- Psychology research shows, the more one invests, the more likely he is to value the receiver of the investment
- Finally, wild swings of anger and pacification are also addictive, and help her keep the man around.
Example: The First Woman Who Cried On me
Consider what happened when the first woman cried on me.
I was still naive and vowed to myself that I’d make her stop crying (what a knight, eh?).
And I succeeded.
She even told me I “did great”, which is an obvious power move. And, doofus that I was, I did feel great.
She got her confirmation that I was into her and I was going to be a good emotional provider.
And I got more invested into the relationship.
In my experience, some of the men who fell the hardest for their women met their cry-babies right when they were crying.
Tears are a heavily underrated tool in women’s quiver.
5.2. Nagging, Drama & Tasking: Controlling the Relationship
This is a bit more speculative, but consider this:
Women who were able to secure male investment over time won over women who got abandoned.
That might have easily put evolutionary pressure to favor women who got good at locking down men into committed relationships with men willing to help and provide.
This might be the reason why today most relationships are controlled by women in a process that, in manosphere and Red Pill communities, is sometimes referred to as “betaization”.
Please refer to this article for the details:
#6. Ridiculing Male Preference For Femininity
Imagine this sentence:
Her: Only weak men need the reassurance of a submissive woman
Or its similar version:
Her: Men who are afraid of successful women are weak
Those women might have a point, sometimes.
But their goal is to change the culture and the male mating strategy in a way that favors them.
They want to guilt-trip men in choosing less feminine women, and change the culture in a way that rewards and appreciate the go-getter women who, traditionally, have paid a heavy price for their more masculine traits.
But it’s funny you never hear feminine women complaining, right?
It’s non-feminine women who are scared of more feminine women because feminine women steal their mates.
And instead of competing on femininity, which requires work and a difficult change, some women lash out and try to change the culture.
Of course, it’s not just culture, it’s mostly nature.
But culture still matters a bit. And women have been winning this battle and have largely succeeded in changing at least the superficial cultural layer (the proof is the virtue-signaling men).
#8. Derogating Short-Term Strategies: Real Men Commit (?)
You know this game.
It’s one of the most obvious (and cheap).
Basically: women looking for commitment denigrate sex and “fun” in favor of the supposedly “serious” relationships (as if the “serious” relationship didn’t entail sex and fun anyway).
Here is an example from yours truly:
LOL at that, no more comments needed.
But do check what happened later on (link to follow).
Here is another example, this time using a cheap form of reverse psychology:
She was testing my availability and using inverse psychology to prod me to “prove her wrong”
But it was a cheap shot. It’s as if I had sent her an article about “emotional clinginess”.
Women Against Women
Women certainly have competing interests with men, but they probably compete even harder with other women.
Here are the weapons they use:
#1. Denigrating the Competition (Basic)
You know the most obvious one:
Her: She’s such a slut
The game here is obvious: trigger the male inborn “Madonna-whore radar” and make the victim look like an unworthy long term investment.
The game here leverages men’s greatest fear: female cheating and the prospect of raising someone else’s children.
But the “slut-shaming game” is also basic and dangerous.
Not only it can easily make the attacker look envious of her competitor’s attractiveness and sexuality, but it can also backfire in the long run.
The slut-shaming game can backfire because men do love short-term sex and as we’ve mentioned many women manage to transform initial quick sex (short-term strategy) into long term commitment (long-term provider strategy).
Indeed, I still resent the woman who tried to denigrate an ex-girlfriend of mine for being “easy” (and guess who of the two was higher value?).
#2. Denigrating the Competition (Advanced)
Think of these sentences:
Her: He uses his power and position on desperate women
That’s women talking about men in a position of power (but only women who are not within his graces, of course).
Her: They only like him because they think he’s rich / has white skin / has this or that “superficial” trait
That’s white women to any white man who’s stupid enough to talk about lateral mobility strategies and men making smart use of sexual marketplaces differentials (ie.: getting laid easily outside of their native sexual market).
These sentences might seem like attacks against men, but they’re truly attacks against other women.
Let me explain better.
This is the reality of the sexual marketplace:
Top notch men have easy access to an abundance of women.
This is upward mobility.
Women are kinda of OK with this.
What they truly dislike is this other truth:
Sexual marketplaces around the world differ markedly, resulting in microcosm that give either women or men the upper hand.
Mobile men can “shop around” in easier markets and dramatically improve their sexual market values overnight.
This is geographical mobility.
And women, understandably, hate it because men can leave for greener pasture at the drop of a hat.
Women indeed are willing to tolerate filthy rich or super-high status men as they consider them insignificant statistical outliers.
But when it’s “normal” men who can sleep around easily? “Normal” men whom they’d be interested to settle down with?
Alarm bells go off!
Men are empowered when easy sex is available and they often switch to a short-term strategy.
And women hate other women who sleep too easily with men of their same value because they negate their power to extract resources and commitment.
When women say of other women that “they only like him because of the money / skin / notoriety / power” etc., they are somewhat devaluing the man.
But what they are doing, even more, is to devalue the women, “cheap” enough to sell themselves so easily.
The game here is typical social climbing: denigrate and pull down other women, and look better by comparison (ie.: “I wouldn’t sell myself so easily because I’m high value”).
#3. Competitors’ Manipulation: Fake Help, Real Harm
This is by far the nastiest.
The manipulation game some women use is truly Machiavellian.
It masquerades itself as encouraging and helpful, but it’s a spear masked as a gift.
You heard these ones:
Her: Focus on your goals and men will happen as a consequence
That advice might work for a man.
But it doesn’t work nearly as well for a woman.
Women say this to decrease the competition.
Women suggesting other women to be stronger and more independent are (subconsciously) trying to make other women less competitive and appealing.
And by decreasing the appeal of other women, they automatically increase their own sexual market value.
3.2.: Pushing Competitors Off The Market
Some species of bird chicks push competitors out of their own nest.
Women rarely do it physically and prefer manipulation instead.
Think of this:
Her: You don’t need a man
The girlfriend remains alone and the advice-giver increases her sexual market value (fewer women competing = comparatively higher individual value)
Or look at these two:
Her: Never settle for less than the man you truly deserve
Her: Never accept a man who doesn’t show proof of his love
Those are not necessarily bad advice, depending on the situation and the receiver.
But since it’s rarely women with scads of chasing men who get this advice, more times than not it ends up hurting the receiver.
This type of advice places all the risk on the receiver while providing all the benefits to the advice giver.
What do I mean by that?
A woman who refuses to settle risks remaining alone.
The risk is all hers.
But her unyielding dating stance always favors women as a group, including the advice giver.
Think about it: if all women refused to settle and/or give sex without huge male investment, men would always have to invest big.
And the global bargaining power of women would increase.
Paraphrasing psychology researcher David Buss:
The sexual strategy of the group affects the individual’s mating success
That’s why individuals never stop seeking to influence what others do.
However, as a woman recommend lofty ideals and unattainable standards for others, it pays off for her to defect and do what’s best for her.
For example: while she suggests her girlfriends to “hold on”, she might get semen or resources from a top-flight man without asking for commitment. Or she might “settle” for a good but not great man and start a family.
In the meanwhile, her girlfriend remains single, sex-less and, if she wanted a baby, childless.
This is the advice that feminist women often give other women. And it makes sense: part of the feminist strategy is demanding individual compromise to favor the collective.
This is exactly what crooked politicians and fascist leaders do: ask individuals to sacrifice in the name of an abstract public ideal while privatizing the gains for themselves.
Malena is the story of female intra-gender sexual competition, with the protagonist physically “pushed off the market”. The film culminates with the mob lynching Malena -Monica Bellucci- and cutting her hair, the symbol of her beauty and femininity.
Sure, a movie. But the same happened countless times in real life
For more female tactics see “shunning games” in office political players.
Male Sexual Weapons
Men certainly aren’t standing there and watch women play games on them.
We have already talked in the past of games men play at the micro-level.
This section will deal more with the systemic-level strategies that men deploy to win the sexual conflict.
#1. Circumcision: Lowering Her Sexual Appetite
Men love when their women lust after them.
But fear when women luster after other men.
Of course, on average, high-quality men are more likely to enjoy the former and not worry about the latter. But since high-quality men are a minority, when in doubt, some men prefer to play defensively.
Men mutilate women’s clitoris to prevent them from having orgasms which, in turn, should reduce the risk of her straying and/or deploying dual sexual strategies.
I am not aware of any data, but I doubt that this is even effective. The woman still has the same urges, and she is still going to prefer better males.
#2. Infibulation / Chastity Belts
Infibulation and chastity belts seek to physically prevent sexual penetration from other men by blocking the vaginal opening.
#3. Feigning Long-Term Strategy & Support
What do men lie about?
It depends on the environment, circumstances, personal sexual market value and the type of sexual strategy (short term, long term or mixed).
Men pursuing a short-term strategy seek to come across as ladies’ men, good lovers, pre-selected, etc.
This is a minority of men.
Most men instead feign to pursue long-term strategies by faking resources, kindness, feelings and professing non-existing love.
However, the short-term / long-term divide can get blurry sometimes.
Contrary to what some believe, a high-quality man faking long-term potential can also score quick sex if he’s also sexy and moves fast.
As evolutionary psychology researcher David Buss says, women are more open to considering a short term mate if he also fits her long term ideal (also see providers VS lovers)
Also see “atypical seduction techniques“.
#4. Arranged Marriages: Abducting Female Choice
There are two reasons why arranged marriages benefit men than women:
- On average, women choose, and arranged marriages limit female choice
- In a free sexual marketplace, most women have more power than most men, and arranged marriages curtail that power
The fact that most arranged marriages take place in male-dominated societies gives us a clue as to who they benefit the most.
#5. Cultures of Honor (for me) & Slut Shaming (for you)
Why do men play the slut-shaming game?
Well, think about this:
Most high-status (and liberal) men enjoy “sluts” as in “liberal women who enjoy sex” because that means more sex for them.
But high status men are the minority, and for most men it’s safer to keep women under a restrictive cultural leash to protect against infidelity.
Of course, when men dominate the culture, they bend said culture to fit their own sexual agenda.
And “honor and shame” male culture ends up like this:
Honor for me if I sleep around, shame for you for doing the same.
Unless you’re sleeping with me, in which case we hide it so that we can keep up this charade.
Truth to be told, an honor and shame mindset is natural to most men, but it’s stronger in some men and in some cultures.
I’ve seen it often growing up in Italy.
The father of my sister in law professed, publicly and in front of all the extended family:
If I hear any “stories” I take care of it personally, I don’t even let the husband stain his hands with it
The “honor” in this case was also about “guaranteeing a high quality woman” to my brother and my family.
Especially important when the man’s family is higher social status, as this was the case.
5.2. Extreme Honor: Killing The Harlot
Killing the woman is the ultimate stage of the “honor code”.
Honor codes imply that men ought to “own” and “control” their women, and female infidelity is the ultimate subversive act of male control.
A man who fails to revenge the female infamy in honor cultures loses face and status in both the social order and the sexual marketplace. Killing the “dishonorable sinner” serves to wash the infamy, recover the honor… And recover status in the sexual marketplace.
Some legal systems around the world still provide mitigating circumstances for “honor killings”, while some countries just let the murderer free.
There are also plenty of works of art that romanticize “honor killings”.
Think of “Jailbreak” by AC/DC and “Delilah” by Tom Jones. Both beautiful songs, but Jone’s lyrics should give any moral being some pause: “I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more“.
#6. Hiding The Mate: You Can’t Bang What You Can’t See
Did you think the veil was for religion?
But hiding the female is such a time-tested technique in the animal kingdom that you might forgive us for seeing malice in male’s insistence on veils.
Of course, hiding one’s mate is a very defensive play best suited for average men who are afraid of mate poaching.
But don’t forget this: most men cluster around the average, so it makes sense for the majority of men to insist on a restrictive culture.
#6. Harassment, Coercion & Rape
Men have developed two biases that naturally lead to some (unavoidable) episodes of sexual harassment:
- Trying one’s hand (men who tried more got laid more)
- A positive bias in reading female signals (men who tried more got laid more)
The above biases might lead to men hitting on women in inappropriate situations, or when women aren’t reciprocating.
But here’s the clincher: harassment is highly contingent to male status, and what’s harassment from a low-status man might be a bold and sexy move from a high-status man.
You can see that principle in action in this video:
With any other man that would have been harassment and mate-poaching. Because Obama is the president, it was cool.
The ultimate coercion of course is rape.
Rape is high-risk and low-reward. Especially high risk for low status men. But for men without options it can still provide genetic benefits –purely from an amoral, evolutionary point of view-.
However, David Buss explains, it’s not true that it’s lower-status men who most frequently resort to rape. It’s high-power men instead who are more likely to rape.
#7. Men On Men Derogation
Women are nastier when it comes to intra-gender derogation, but men do it as well.
See the forum entry for men VS men derogation or get Dating Power Dynamics.
The Contested Battlegrounds
Some battlegrounds of the Great Sexual War see a constant, never-ending conflict.
#1. The Legal System: Whose Interests Are We Defending?
The legal system has a huge impact on modern power dynamics between genders.
Historically, men have dominated the legal system, but things have changed and, possibly, reverted today.
It’s possible for women to leverage the legal system to extract wealth and, in extreme cases, to turn the “bait and switch” game into a true “criminal bait and trap”.
As an example, do you know the Boris Becker story?
Boris Becker, allegedly, had oral sex with a waitress.
The distinguished lady held on to the precious semen and manually inserted it in her vagina.
Boris Becker paid millions.
Still, there is room for maneuvering and some informed men manage to cover their tracks.
#2. Culture & Morality: You Obey, I Defect
We already saw this in the female sexual section:
Influencing and manipulating what others do helps the individual win in the sexual arms’ race.
And what a batter way to influence others than by instituting a worldwide set of morals?
From this point of view, ethics and morals are nothing more than another weapon to fight the sexual arms’ race.
I paraphrase Geoffrey Miller here:
Values developed as reactions to patterns of natural behavior that we decided should be discouraged.
If advertising one’s fitness imposes social costs on others, and if moral norms develop to minimize social costs, then moral norms seek to discourage sexual fitness indicators.
So here is a rule of thumb:
Every time someone, or a culture, says something is wrong, always ask yourself what’s in it for them
As a rule of thumb, to get to the truth, stay away from systems of thoughts, organized groups, and anyone with a shared interest.
In Western society the moral imperative so far has been “one man, one woman, stick together for a lifetime”.
After decades of undisputed ruling, the “lifelong monogamy” cultural diktat is finally showing the overdue cracks.
Morality is the pro-social mask of a selfish sexual strategy
When Genders Band Together
Sometimes individuals do coalesce around the fault lines of genders to win a common war.
Some women, for example, rally around the “fight against the patriarchy”, and demand preferential treatment from other women in the name of the common enemy.
Writes Sheryl Sandberg in this reprehensible passage of Lean In:
We need to look out for one another, work together and act more like a coalition.
As individuals we have little power. Working together we are 50% of the world population and therefore have real power.
Women also seek more power by trying to remove men from the sexual equation.
Funny I just saw this on my FB timeline when I started this article:
In this arena, somewhat surprisingly, women are more childish than men.
But men have also been building their own “male-only” support communities, some even refusing to play the dating game altogether (MGTOW).
“Is Gender-Organized Warfare” Effective?
Yes and no.
It definitely is a force multiplier.
And since most people cluster around the average, some gender-wide wins will benefit most individuals.
On some specific issues, it’s also possible that an organized movement based on gender can score a win for almost all males or women.
As an example, in the legal battleground, think of alimony checks or spousal support, which empowered all women to the detriment of men.
But the idea that men and women share the same goals fails to properly appreciate the complexities of human nature and the realities of intra-gender warfare.
Since the sexual marketplace is extremely sensitive to individual differences, many gender-sensitive issues do not apply to all members.
And sometimes, what’s good for most people within one gender is bad for some individuals within that gender.
For example, a high status man gains with female sexual freedom, while a low-status man prefers strict monogamy and female repression.
For women, an attractive, smart woman might lose in the “fight against the patriarchy” culture because she has better tools to control men. It’s for average women dating in difficult markets that feminism can help.
Lastly: Collaboration Is Also Real
Dawkins and Kerbs (1978) were the first to realize that courtship is sometimes collaborative, other times exploitative.
But the exploitative side should not make us forget about the collaborative side.
Let’s not forget:
The sexual marketplace also negotiates love, sex, relationships, and what makes life worth living.
This article showed that the sexual marketplace is also a battleground, and believing that male and female interests perfectly intersect is naive at best.
Yet, most researchers suggest that believing that male and female interests have no overlap is equally wrong.
Most of the conflict arises in short-term mating and casual sex.
And unless during our evolution one gender completely dominated the other, which is highly unlikely, the simple fact that pair bonding and relationships evolved is proof that men and women can gain from cooperation.
Maybe it will be the topic for a future article.
In the meanwhile, don’t get paranoid.
But don’t be naive, either.
This article is based on personal experience (screenshots), researches, and the following books:
- The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond, 1992
- The Evolution of Desire, David Buss, 2016 (4th edition)
- The Moral Animal, Robert Wright, 1994
- The Mating Mind, Geoffrey Miller, 2000
- The Origins of Virtue, Matt Ridley, 1996
- The Red Queen, Matt Ridley, 1993
- Sex At Dawn, Ryan, Jetha, 2010
- The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins, 2006 (third edition)
2 thoughts on “Sexual Conflict: How Men & Women Fight The Sex War”
That’s some truly high quality content man, thanks. I bookmarked it.
I had never thought about the geographical/lateral mobility and how it undercuts the feminine imperative.
Is there any book you can recommend the most among the ones you listed as resources?
Yeah, the “lateral mobility” as you call it -I might use that from now on if you allow me :)- is both an easy win and a game-changer, and something that too many miss out on.
Of the books listed out as resources, I’d recommend “The Evolution of Desire”. You can see at times that Buss might not have much “first hand experience”, but the book is a masterpiece.
I will soon do a summary/review BTW and then compile a list of best evolutionary psychology books. Hopefully soon.
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