The Biological Context of Sexuality and Mating

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by zed on October 31, 2009

This essay was written about 12-15 years ago, when Evolutionary Psychology was just beginning to emerge as a credible discipline, and before Game really appeared on anyone’s radar.  Back in the mid-1990s, the culture was still lurching along in fits and starts trying to work out new roles and new expectations for the sexes which fit the changed social conditions from 3-4 decades before.  The Hookup Culture had not yet really arrived, divorce was ripping through marriage like a virulent pandemic, the marriage rate was falling, and men and women in general were having a hell of a time figuring out what was going on with each other.  Hundreds of “self-help” books came out claiming to address the problem, but mostly all they did was dispense bad advice from people who didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, confuse people and the issues even further, and enrich people like John Gray who were dispensing “marital and relationship advice” despite his own multiple failed marriages.

It’s not  completely fair to put people’s gullibility entirely down to there being a sucker born every minute.  People’s relationships were failing, their families were falling apart, and they did not understand why and were looking for answers.  It is a huge shame that they did not get better ones.

The foundation of the problem is that sexuality and mating cannot be understood starting from a social perspective, and almost everything up to that time dealt almost entirely with the social values governing mating.  However, these social values were not a consistent and comprehensive set based on generations of tradition, but were instead a useless mish-mash of old values, new values, and mostly wishful thinking.

Here is a brief overview of the biological context of sex and mating.   Some of the source material and perspectives may be a bit dated, but in general it falls mostly in line with the Evolutionary Psychology perspectives which form the foundation of Game.

We’ll get the exposition out of the way in a hurry.

1) Nothing exists in the animal world without a purpose. All behavior is purposeful.

2) This purpose is to survive. Life LIVES. Survival of the species is an imperative that drives all living things.

3) The biological purpose of sex is survival of the species. Reproduce (be fruitful and multiply) to assure that there is another generation of little whatevers to continue the species.

4) The mechanisms which control this are buried deep in the brain, in the section that is called the “old” or reptile brain. Lizards understand all they need to know about sex in order to make a new generation of lizards. This is the same part of the brain that governs hunger. …Survival stuff.

5) Humans are among the distinct minority among animal species in several respects including:
a) They can be sexually active whether or not there is a possibility of conception. Most animals will not copulate unless the female is in her fertile phase.
b) When we assumed the upright bipedal posture, from the four-legged stance used by most of our animal brethren, the entrance to the vagina was pulled up and forward. The only other animals which have sex face to face are the Bonobo chimpanzees. All others use the rear entry position. That is why it is called “doggy-style.” Face to face sex is more “social.” This is where most of our relationship problems come from.

6) There is a secondary purpose to coitus among mammals. It seems to be very bonding. Animals with a very low fertility, such as lions, tend to have a high frequency of coitus which serves the social purpose of strengthening the emotional ties within the social unit.

7) Behavioral or personality traits can be inherited in the same way as physical ones. The emerging field of evolutionary psychology shows how certain behavioral traits enhance the survival potential of the individual and the process of natural selection makes it more likely that the genetics which contribute to that behavioral trait will be transmitted to future generations. Sexual behavior is more prone to this effect than any other because it directly affects the fertility rate. Selection has favored the most aggressive males because they are the ones who have dispersed the most genetic material, just as it has favored the least sexually active females because had they been out seeking new males to mate with they might not have invested sufficient time to make sure that the offspring survived.

8 ) Sexual interest is only useful to nature when sexual activity coincides with fertility in the female. Thus a very complex “notification” system has developed to notify the males that the female is fertile. In most animals this also means receptive, but human females have learned to fake the signs of receptivity in order to capture the attentions of males, and to capture the males themselves into a committed relationship.

9) Gee, what if someone gave a horny and no one showed up? The cues of the notification system begin a complex set of reactions in the reptile brain of the male which excites him to seek gratification of his sexual hunger. There ain’t no thinking involved. It’s pure Stimulus -> Response of the type studied by Pavlov.

10) Next begins the “mating dance”. This serves several purposes. First, it raises the overall level of arousal, which in turn stimulates the production of sperm and increases the chances that copulation will result in fertilization. Second, the female, having signaled her receptivity through a variety of cues: scent, sound, visual, and behavioral, lets her potential mates pursue her until the biggest, strongest, smartest (i.e. most survival potential) prevails. A bunch of new little whatevers get started and the whole cycle begins again.

11) Generally males “signal” by pursuing. Sure they want to attract the female’s attention as a potential mate, but they don’t want to waste their biological resources pursuing a non-receptive mate.

12) We humans should take a clue.

13) As sex has moved away from its biological purpose and assumed more of a social significance, those receptivity cues have been co-opted. They are now practiced intentionally to gain attention and favors from men and no longer have anything to do with receptivity. This is where so much of the crap in gender relations comes from. Women signal receptivity when it doesn’t exist, men respond at an instinctual level from the lizard brain without even knowing that they are responding or why, and everybody wonders “what the hell happened?”

14) Regardless of all this, there still ain’t nothin’ happening unless the female is receptive (except maybe a rape charge when the male reacts in the way nature intended to the cues which are being sent dishonestly).

15) All this adds up to the fact that the female controls the sexual interaction. Research done in singles bars and other meat markets has shown that “high” signaling females get approached 4 times as often as “low” signaling females even when they are significantly less “beautiful” than the low signaling females.

The often mouthed male bash cliché, “Men think with their penises, not with their heads” is closer to the truth than men wish it was. In reality they are “thinking” with their brainstem, spinal cord, and limbic system (hormones, neural transmitters, and enzymes). They unfortunately have no conscious control over these responses, just as they have no conscious control over hunger, the fight/flight response, or muscular reflexes.

There are a large number of stimuli which function as “releasers” and pump into the male bloodstream all the neurochemicals which create sexual arousal. Female chimpanzees’ genital areas will swell and become bright pink when in estrus (heat). Jane Goodall, the renowned anthropologist who made a life work of studying chimps, described this phenomenon as being like “… a bright pink flower which could be seen by males all over the valley, who immediately set off in search of the female…” The human female rump has a similar effect on human males. Some of the lower animals who have little more than a brain stem, such as certain fishes, can befooled into a mating frenzy by a block of wood painted the same color as a female full of unfertilized eggs.

Despite the many and huge variations between cultures in almost every aspect imaginable, there is a remarkable agreement on what constitutes female beauty, which has become a polite euphemism for sexual attractiveness. In a study of 1159 cultures, the physical characteristics deemed beautiful were more consistent than any other characteristic. And in all cultures these characteristics corresponded to the physical attributes of a woman in her peak child bearing years, 15 – 25. These are the women that men will respond to from a purely biological perspective.

This is not to say that men do not, will not, or cannot find an older woman attractive, they certainly do, but the attraction is based on other characteristics than pure sexual attraction, a point which very few women understand. Most women become addicted to the sexual power that adolescent women have over adolescent men and, like the dinosaurs, do not realize that environmental conditions are changing and adapt to them before it’s too late. The power of a woman to provoke a purely instinctive sexual response in men diminishes rapidly after the late 20s, both because women are no longer as effective a vehicle for transporting a man’s genes to the future, and because males of that age have generally already done their reproductive duty and turned their attention to other matters, such as supporting and providing for the progeny they have already sired. Women who are arrested adolescents expect men to continue to respond in the same way that 15 – 25 year old males respond to 15 – 25 year old females. The frequency and intensity of this type of reaction progressively diminishes as a man matures and, when it is present, guess what? It tends to be toward a woman between the age of consent and the late 20s.

In addition, men are fully aware that women typically use sex as a means to jump-start a romantic fantasy which will be entirely to her benefit and at his expense. In addition, women have learned that men are perfectly capable of controlling their sexual impulses when they realize that the woman is looking for something totally different than they are and that to proceed is going to get somebody hurt. If a man is not ready to dive headfirst into trying to build a long-term relationship with a particular woman, he is not likely to dive into bed with her either. Women’s strategy to deal with this for the past several years has been to lie about their expectations and indicate that they are only interested in immediate sexual gratification and that the man need feel no obligation to pay for it with a committed relationship. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” It generally only takes one occurrence of finding out that he has been lied to, and has just incurred an emotional debt he could spend the rest of his life paying off, for a man to learn that he cannot believe a woman who says this.

The normal reaction by these women is to escalate their cues and begin to beat on the neural responses of men to try to get a rise (literally) out of them. In other words, they DO sometimes ask for it. Some women are unaware that they are doing this, seeking only the attention of males and having successfully deluded themselves into thinking that the attention is based on something other than a purely instinctive response to sexual cues of receptivity. They are terribly surprised when they get an unexpected response out of a man. On the other hand, many are fully aware and are pissed as hell when they DON’T get the desired response out of a man and can get really ugly about it. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Either way the man is the loser. If he responds and the woman decides he is not what she is looking for in a mate and shuts him down, he is confused, hurt and more than a little bit angry. Camile Paglia makes some very interesting statements about this aspect of male/female interactions. She says first that ―”Rape is male power fighting female power.” Women, on the one hand, love the power they can exert over men to make them perform for love and affection; while on the other hand they fear, detest, and criminalize it getting beyond their control. She also said that what used to be called “unbridled passion” is now called “date rape.”

Men have come to bitterly resent being manipulated by using their sexual needs against them, a process that many women regard as pathetically easy. I know that many women will want to crucify me for this next statement. Many rapes are the result of a man experiencing just one too many times the anger and humiliation of being led on, used, manipulated, and exploited based on the promise of having his sexual needs met, only to have the woman change her mind or raise the price at the last minute. In two celebrated rape trials of a few years ago, those of Mike Tyson and William Kennedy Smith, both instances were rich and powerful men who invited beautiful young women to their quarters and provided them with expensive entertainment with the predictable expectation that they would be rewarded with sex. When they called the debt, the women cried “foul.”

On the other hand, if the man does NOT respond, women often respond in an escalating pattern that begins with trying to argue the man into bed and often ends with vicious verbal abuse and sometimes even physical violence. Often men will avoid the issue by giving the expected responses to avoid the emotional violence, or will end up avoiding that woman.

A particularly distressing aspect of this occurs due to the mistaken notion that love and sex is the same thing. Many men have had the experience of having a friendship with a woman destroyed when she would not take no for an answer and persisted in trying to coerce him into a sexual/romantic relationship he did not want, based on the mistaken belief that if he cared for her he would express that sexually.

The futility of trying to argue a man into bed is driven home to them if they succeed in wearing down the man’s resistance and he gives in. It is pretty much guaranteed that the experience will be miserably unsatisfying and humiliating to them both. Men may sometimes think with their dicks, but they sure as hell cannot dick with their think. If men could will their erections to come and go on command, both men and women would be a lot happier, but then they would cease to be men and become flesh and blood vibrators. Sadly it seems that is what women want men to be these days.

Men, for their part, do not think that much differently although they respond and act very differently. Men are often bewildered and upset by their own reactions and cannot understand why they are so at odds with the values they believe to hold. They buy into the romantic nonsense much as women do and are often angry at themselves for not reacting the way they “should” according to society’s script. Men are just as culturally indoctrinated as women and often just as unaware of the foundation mechanisms of their responses. They try to do what they “should” but, like the dinner guests served a dish they detest but gag down out of politeness and a desire to not offend the hostess, if their own needs are not being met the best they can do is to mechanically go through the motions.

Like driving, passion is a privilege, NOT a right. Men respond passionately to women who are willing to understand, honor, and help them meet their real needs. Men respond mechanically, if at all, to women who demand that the man meet her needs while denying his and attempting to shame him into changing them to fit her bullshit notions of what he “should” be.

Both men and women need to understand that the sexual force of a mature man comes not from having a penis, but rather from an “adventurous juncture of ego and courage” as  Norman Mailer puts it. To this I would add optimism. Deep within the heart of every man I know resides the persistent belief that sexual joy IS a great gift, that shared sexuality represents the union of the highest aspects of men and women, their finest moral products, the God and the Goddess, and the fervent hope than he will one day meet a woman who will regard it that way also. All the men I know are still waiting. Most of them are not very optimistic.

Women who have a sincere desire for a sexual relationship with a mature man had better start waking the fuck up and realizing that building his ego is going to get them somewhere, while continuing to indulge themselves in their infantile man bashing tantrums and doing everything they can to destroy it is going to get them a lot of lonely nights. Feminism is murdering men’s desire for women, and women are its willing, nay enthusiastic, accomplices. Contempt for men, denial and negation of their needs and abdication of responsibility for their own actions is, for some unknown reason, very satisfying to women, but the only men who fall for it are the ones who are arrested in their own adolescence. I hope you bitches are having fun playing with these emotionally deformed children.

Sex is the most bonding activity between 2 human beings that there is. Certainly it is fraught with anxieties, confusion, and risk, but only the most pathological males can have even marginally satisfying sex with a woman and not experience deep warm and tender feelings toward her which will persist for the remainder of his life, unless the woman does something to destroy them, which all too many women do. Alex Comfort, M.B., PhD, in a book written 25 years ago put it this way regarding men’s turn-ons: “he will love you more the more skillfully you sense and use it.” A woman who understands a man’s releasers and incorporates them into lovemaking with anything resembling subtlety will have the man eating out of her hand for life.

This relationship between sexual satisfaction and emotional bonding holds equally true in reverse. Unsatisfying sex will breed deep and subtle resentment. The worse the sex, the greater the resentment. There is only one thing more bewildering and upsetting to a man than a woman who thinks her part of sex is done when she shows up, and that he both owes her satisfaction from the experience and after the fact owes her for the opportunity to provide her satisfaction. This one thing is the woman who shows remarkable skill and subtlety in finding and using a man’s turn-OFFS, offending and disgusting his every sensibility, then blames his lack of response on some defect within him. There is a special kind of hatred that men reserve for such women.

It is evidence of the power and persistence of the male sex drive that men will return to such women just to get their rocks off, and in fact this is less due to sexual desire than to an inability to believe that anyone could possibly be THAT stupid and insensitive. Many men are also so confused and conflicted about their own sexuality, and have so much shame tied up with it, that they do not realize how pathological the experience was. Men who are clearer about it simply never call back. Only now, since the 1990s, this has become a criminal act.

Male sexuality is extremely undervalued, just as female sexuality is extremely overvalued. In this culture men are conditioned to believe that their only source of intimacy and love is the woman who is their mate and the only means they have to get female sexuality, intimacy, and love is to purchase it with their performance and their economic assets. This impoverishes both men and woman because it destroys the trust and faith in each other that is essential to intimacy. Men need to reclaim the value of their sexuality, if necessary by refusing to have sex with any woman who does not value his as highly as he values hers and by making it an absolute condition that she respects and honors his needs, rather that telling him what they “should” be.

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