An absurd little thought about gender differences and sex

There’s been a number of complaints and stories about how men behave towards women on dating sites. Show us yer yayas as an opening line. Men going online pretending to be women and being shocked by the aggressiveness with which they are asked for sex and so on.

What interests is trying to work out whether this is something innate to men when freed from the social constraints of actually being in the same room as someone or not? And there might be a way to test this. That is, to try and work out whether it’s because men don’t value women in the way that perhaps they should or whether it’s something that men just do.

Have a look at the behaviour of men on a gay dating site. If they’re just as aggressive in pursuit of a shag there then we know that it’s not something to do with women per se. We know instead that it’s something to do with men and the pursuit of sex.

So, has anyone actually done this?

48 comments on “An absurd little thought about gender differences and sex

  1. whether it’s because men don’t value women in the way that perhaps they should

    What does “should” look like?

  2. It might also be that there’s a certain correlation here, that men that are utterly hopeless at picking up women (perhaps by being too forward) then try dating sites.

    Anyone with an ounce of experience knows that even if you’re thinking “show me your yayas”, you’re much more likely to get to see yayas if you start by talking about The Walking Dead or Mumford and Sons.

  3. If one man behaves aggressively towards women on dating sites then it might well be because that man has a rotten attitude towards women.

    If a great many men behave aggressively towards women on dating sites then it’s probably because it’s a successful tactic. The people who write Graun columns about being on the wrong end of this aggression are not the target market for these men, they are collateral damage as those men hit as many targets as possible in order to find the good leads. It’s like cold calling.

    For every woman appalled at men being overly forward on dating sites, there’s probably another who’s complaining about ‘boring twats going on about mumford and sons all the time instead of getting to the point’. Those girls don’t get asked to write newspaper columns, though.

  4. Grindr is chock full of pushy shag-hungry men looking to score with as many guys as possible and not interested in wasting time on the social niceties.

  5. I am by no means an expert on gays, but a comparison of dating sites may not be appropriate.

    i remember watching a programme on AIDS (before it became famous…).

    They were trying to find out the origins of the disease. They wanted to interview an air steward who was believed to have brought it into North America. Trouble was, the first place he went to on landing was a steam baths, where he had sex with seven men that evening…

  6. “For every woman appalled at men being overly forward on dating sites, there’s probably another who’s complaining about ‘boring twats going on about mumford and sons all the time instead of getting to the point’. Those girls don’t get asked to write newspaper columns, though.”

    This made me laugh. And is probably true. An erstwhile acquaintance (I’ll put it no closer than that) was renowned for getting her tits out at the slightest provocation in the bars and clubs of my home town. By some fluke I avoided this show, always having not been part of the group that night. I often commented that I was probably the only person in town that hadn’t seen them……………………..my philosophy regarding women and how forward to be is that you’ll get further if you overstep line than if you never get anywhere near the line in the first place.

  7. Well, Nigel Evans chat up approaches were pretty direct, and that was in the same room. Admittedly a sample of one.

  8. What does “should” look like?

    It’s a moral category; don’t worry, nobody expects you to understand.

  9. I remember watching a programme on AIDS (before it became famous…).

    They were trying to find out the origins of the disease. They wanted to interview an air steward who was believed to have brought it into North America. Trouble was, the first place he went to on landing was a steam baths, where he had sex with seven men that evening…

    I believe that was the docu-drama And the Band Played On

    Speaking as a member of Team Pink it comes down to particular preferences, but its little more than role playing really. A fair generalisation is that “tops” are more aggressive and assertive than “bottoms”, being hunter and hunted.

    You can equate it to masculine and feminine roles, but it’s more complex than that with roles becoming more interchangeable in long-term relationships. Although some “tops” never “bottom” out of principle.

  10. “…my philosophy regarding women and how forward to be is that you’ll get further if you overstep line than if you never get anywhere near the line in the first place.”

    Correct.

  11. I have read three articles in the mainstream press today that not only started from the premise that men hate women but didn’t even admit the possibility that they might not

    Frankly I’ve given up. If I’m a chauvinist then so be it. It seems more fun, in any case.

  12. Despite the expressed preference of “Where have all the good men gone” being put on a pedestal is boring for girls. They want danger, fun and excitement – who doesn’t.

    Q: Why do men go for the hard-ass bad-boy approach?
    A: Because it works more consistently and with better results than the “nice guy” approach, if it didn’t they wouldn’t bother.

    This is Economics 101 guys – Expressed versus revealed preferences.

  13. Richard Feynman discusses the merits of the direct approach in “Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman?” (there’s a chapter called “You Mean You Just Ask Them?”) According to the Gleick biography, until he settled down with wife no. 3 he shagged his way through half the Caltech faculty’s wives, with assorted grad students and cocktail waitresses thrown in for good measure.

  14. @BICR

    For me the most revealing aspect of Feynman’s book was not the bit where he started experimenting with the direct approach (IIRC, with was a graduate student at Cornell – he agreed to buy her a drink but only if she promised to sleep with him first; he was sick of all the drinks bought without reward), nor his search for a “sleeping dictionary” in Brazil, nor his brief digression about the merits of various floors in a hotel if you want to sleep with the air stewardesses but don’t want the embarrassment of being seen in corridors or lifts the next morning.

    It was the bit where he wrote about his excitement about discovering that in his Japanese hotel he would be attended to by a genuine Japanese female hostess. He salivated over the reputation of Japenese women as particularly “interesting” hosts – a touch of orientalist exoticism that would have got Said hot under the collar. Then, despite many years having since passed, you can sense the deeply felt disappointment as he writes she actually just provided the same old boring professional service that an American hotel hostess would have done.

  15. Incidentally I expect most likely explanation for male “forwardnses” is, as others write, that it works – at least as a numbers game.

    May massively reduce chances of success with any given woman – to zero, with some women who will feel particularly hard done by with the whole affair – but massively more efficient in terms of time invested in women unlikely to reciprocate. Women are heterogeneous; and just as spammers rely on weight of numbers rather than accurate radar (“suckerdar”?) to locate prime targets, a man who makes 100 approaches and gets two prosects out of it will feel he’s got a decent return.

  16. Dating sites are populated by two kinds of people – people who are looking for a long-term relationship, and those who are looking for a quick shag. Some of the latter may not be opposed to a long-term arrangement forming, but the goal is leg-over.

    So perhaps “show us yer yayas” is an effective screen. If you are in search of leg-over, it will eliminate 100% of the women who are looking for walks in the countryside, thus leaving you with a pure field of shag prospects. The fact that it also eliminates some women who would be up for it, but are put off by your crudity is only an issue if women are in such scare supply that you care more about efficiency than purity.

  17. @john77

    I’ve never transacted with a prossie, and can’t think I ever would (when strolling in Amsterdam, for instance, I feel sorry for the women in the windows as much as anything) but if that sad bunch in the BBC link have any impact on me it is not likely to be the one they are looking for.

    I also highly doubt that Boko Haram will give too much of a stuff about the thoughts and feelings of ‘Sean Penn, Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx and others’.

    However, I am quite sure than if Sean Penn, Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, and Jamie Foxx offered themselves as exchange hostages the offer would be accepted.

    So what are they waiting for?

  18. Men going online pretending to be women and being shocked by the aggressiveness with which they are asked for sex and so on.

    I’m not sure it’s upfront questions they’re particularly shocked by so much as the hostility, multiple messages after saying “I’m not interested” and persistence even if blocked (they create another account).

    There is a difference between (A) “fancy a shag?” or even “show us yer tits” and (B) “what do you mean no, you fucking lesbian, I fucking know where you live, I’ll fucking show you…” etc.

    “aggressiveness” not merely meaning forthright but hostility.

  19. You just need to look at the stability of various relationship configurations to determine which gender, statistically, seeks variety and which seeks comittment: lesbian couples (very stable); heterosexual couples (moderately stable); and gay couples (extremely unstable or at the very least fairly relaxed about playing away from home).

  20. The problem is, we haven’t got any figures. We don’t know what proportion act this way, or act chivalrously. We don’t know how many women react to each of the different approaches. We don’t have any demographic breakdowns or insight into why people choose a particular approach. All we’ve got is the usual matronly hankie fluttering, which as noted above presumes that women (and men) are all alike and react the same way.

    There is at least a reasonable (and testable, if anyone bothered) hypothesis that if you’re interested in a sexual encounter rather than a State-approved “relationship”, being up-front will be a good strategy for screening out the nice girls, which is what you would want to do.

  21. I doubt a few manginas holding up signs is going to sway Boki Harum one picomillimeter. It is, however, emotionally satisfying Twitter theatre for them.

  22. So far as I can tell, Prokul Harum are playing a PR game, particularly with the “sex slave” threats, knowing how well they will play in the West. Do they have any actual buyer for these girls, or are they just making shit up to make them a more valuable commodity to trade for prisoner releases of their members?

    The mangina pictures were apparently just retweeted from another campaign, Moore and Kutschner’s attempts to get in on the moral panic action over the epidemic of imaginary child sex slaves in the USA.

  23. Jim “my philosophy regarding women and how forward to be is that you’ll get further if you overstep line than if you never get anywhere near the line in the first place.”

    Very, very true.

  24. Part of the problem is that what you can and should say depends on who you are. If a woman finds a man attractive, he can get away with all kinds of sauce, which she’ll interpret as flirtatious, flattering, etc. If she thinks he’s creepy, he’s only got to say hello and she’ll start reaching for the rape alarm.

  25. THG

    “If a great many men behave aggressively towards women on dating sites then it’s probably because it’s a successful tactic. The people who write Graun columns about being on the wrong end of this aggression are not the target market for these men, they are collateral damage as those men hit as many targets as possible in order to find the good leads. It’s like cold calling.”

    Yeap, they are trolling for the cock hounds and just playing the numbers game to get there. If you hit on 1000 women, you have a better chance than if you only hit on 10.

  26. Sam,

    “Dating sites are populated by two kinds of people – people who are looking for a long-term relationship, and those who are looking for a quick shag. Some of the latter may not be opposed to a long-term arrangement forming, but the goal is leg-over.”

    Yes, the two groups are other wise known as women and men!

  27. Part of the problem is that what you can and should say depends on who you are. If a woman finds a man attractive, he can get away with all kinds of sauce, which she’ll interpret as flirtatious, flattering, etc. If she thinks he’s creepy, he’s only got to say hello and she’ll start reaching for the rape alarm.

    The pain of experience Ian? 🙂

    Your quite right though, a woman knows within about 10-seconds weather your in the “fuckable” or “creep” camp and all the sweet talking in the world won’t change that unless your a millionaire or the heir to a dukedom.

  28. IanB said “The problem is, we haven’t got any figures. We don’t know what proportion act this way”

    Sounds like you’re writing a research programme funding proposal.

  29. Can I just point out how amusing it is to see the Lefties at the Guardian bemoan the death of the British gentleman?

    It is almost as if someone has been condemning gentlemen for being sexist pigs for the past two generations. It is almost as if one side of British politics has been calling for looser social norms and more free self-expression in matters sexual. It is almost as if one newspaper or other has been calling on people to let it all hang out for the past 50 years.

    This dim bint can’t really tell consequence from Cause?

  30. @ ukliberty

    “There is a difference between (A) “fancy a shag?” or even “show us yer tits” and (B) “what do you mean no, you fucking lesbian, I fucking know where you live, I’ll fucking show you…” etc.”

    Oh yes, absolutely. No quest to understand what’s really going on, or why, should obscure the fact that there are a lot of men who are needlessly abusive and so seem to have a particular problem with women who don’t want to shag them.

    The women I know who use dating sites can all point to multiple examples of entirely unwarranted hostility. The men… not any. Women tend to be happy to just move on from any rejections, it’s the men who resort to abuse. There’s a rational explanation for ‘show us yr knockers’, but maybe not for ‘fuck off and die then you frigid slag’ (yes, people do actually say that.)

    I think that the research that Tim suggests might well find a difference there.. not necessarily in how men attempt to procure sex from women compared to how they attempt to procure it from men, but in how they handle the respective rejections. But that’s just supposition on my part based, perhaps, on all the gays i’ve ever met being very different from the sort of plankton who think abusing strangers on the internet is a fun thing to do.

  31. The Thought Gang – “The women I know who use dating sites can all point to multiple examples of entirely unwarranted hostility. The men… not any. Women tend to be happy to just move on from any rejections, it’s the men who resort to abuse. There’s a rational explanation for ‘show us yr knockers’, but maybe not for ‘fuck off and die then you frigid slag’ (yes, people do actually say that.)”

    Actually there is. Is the hostility unwarranted? I think it is unacceptable, but it is surely natural. For one thing, women are benefiting from the rejection. A woman who is approached benefits. She raises her social and sexual standing. She is desired. A woman who rejects a man does so even more – she is desired and she can turn him down. She is choosy. She has better options. All of these benefit her directly. She is profiting off that rejection. At the same time, the man is losing. He has spent some social capital and everyone can see he has wasted it. He is not worthy of that particular woman. That fixes his position in the social hierarchy. The natural response for men is to fight when their social status is challenged. Middle class (and in the old days, the decent working class) families spend a lot of time teaching boys not to do that with girls.

    On top of which there is the modern problem of sex – some win, and some lose. I think Michel Houellebecq is the only writer who remotely comes close to discussing this. In Whatever for instance:

    “It’s a fact…that in societies like ours sex truly represents a second system of differentiation, completely independent of money; and as a system of differentiation it functions just as mercilessly. The effects of these two systems are, furthermore, strictly equivalent. Just like unrestrained economic liberalism, and for similar reasons, sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization . Some men make love every day; others five or six times in their life, or never. Some make love with dozens of women; others with none. It’s what’s known as ‘the law of the market’…Economic liberalism is an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society. Sexual liberalism is likewise an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society.”

    One of the advantages of Christianity is that it evened out sexual access. Every man could expect to marry and have as much chance at a good sex life as any other man. Not any more. We have sexual millionaires. We have sexual paupers. On University campuses this is especially clear – where the Rugby team gets blown every weekend, and the Computer Science department only knows what breasts look like from Japanese cartoons.

    It breeds bitterness and anger. On the internet, we offer young men the possibility of lots of consequence-free sex, only it is never delivered. It is just a promise unless you play for West Ham.

    How else do you expect them to react? How do they react when it is a matter of money? Ahh, but threats of angry violence are acceptable when it is a matter of unequal wealth, but not when it is a matter of unequal sex.

    In the Third World it is worse. And so Boko Haram can recruit by kidnapping Christian School Girls.

  32. By the way, women do react just as badly by being sexually rejected. Women just don’t do physical confrontation. So we have the Lib Dem bint who objects to Question Time but is proud of her fights with the party behind closed doors.

    As an extreme case of women dealing badly with sexual rejection, let me present the Queen of “PiV Sex is Rape”, someone who makes Julie Bindel sound like an elderly member of the Women’s Institute:

    http://witchwind.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/it-seems-the-end-is-to-come/

    I’ve known all along that patriarchy would collapse. It confirms what we have been hearing more or less explicitly for some time now. It also confirms some visions that women have shared with me. I myself have been saying it out loud for a while, that men’s system will collapse, maybe not so much online. My only question was whether men would destroy the rest of us in their demise or if some of us would survive. We now have the answer. It appears that men will take everything away with them.
    Men, homo rapiens, you scum, you filth. There is no word to describe the extent of your evil, you are pure evil, pure lechery. I hate you, how I hate you. In the 250,000 years of your rotten, defunct existence, you have managed to kill 5 million years of life on earth. . . .
    The unstoppable death-machine has always only been orchestrated by the homo rapiens. By men. YOU. Women are not and have never been responsible for the atrocities committed by men, for men’s global industrial rape and death system. By lying and deceiving you are continuing to be part of the problem, because you are masking the fact that the obvious solution all the time, long before the extinction of all life was impending, was to depopulate the earth of males or to reduce them to manageable levels again — only by doing so would have men’s patriarchal and industrial necrophilic sado-system come to an end without destroying the rest of life.

  33. @ SMFS

    “A woman who is approached benefits. She raises her social and sexual standing. She is desired. A woman who rejects a man does so even more – she is desired and she can turn him down. She is choosy. She has better options. All of these benefit her directly. She is profiting off that rejection. At the same time, the man is losing. He has spent some social capital and everyone can see he has wasted it. He is not worthy of that particular woman. That fixes his position in the social hierarchy.”

    I’m not sure how all of that stacks up with the fact that these exchanges on dating sites happen in private and therefore make sod all difference to anyone’s social status.

    In public exchanges there are, indeed, people of both sexes who enjoy being the rejector – and my instinct is to think that women are more often guilty of making a bit of a show of that than men. It’s usually unkind and unnecessary and no better than the online abuse that we mens are all dishing out.

    I’d say that ‘unwarranted’ is a pretty good word for both things. Otherwise you’re saying that if you’re asked for sex then you have a choice of saying yes, or opening yourself up to ‘warranted’ abuse. I think you should have the option to politely decline and expect the proposer to politely respect that.

  34. “Which is one reason I think the only real way to square the circle is going to be bringing everyone up to a certain standard biologically by genetics and other biological technologies.”

    I have to disagree. It’s a classic 80:20. Eighty percent of the women are always going to fancy twenty percent of the men, regardless. There’s a fancy word for it which escapes me right now 😉

  35. “I’m not sure how all of that stacks up with the fact that these exchanges on dating sites happen in private and therefore make sod all difference to anyone’s social status.”

    Do you think millennia of social conditioning disappear because we’ve had the anonymity of the internet for 15-20 years? A man rejected online feels just as bad as one rejected IRL, so will have the same visceral reaction, whether or not there is anyone to witness the interaction.

  36. @Roue le Jour:

    Are you searching for “hypergamy”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergamy

    It’s not quite the same, but certainly the Plenty of Fish finding that women found 80% of men below average in looks is revealing and does highlight the problem that 20% of the men get female attention and the rest are either ignored or “settled for” since her own looks can’t attract a higher value mate.

  37. The idea that 80/20 is persistent presumes that attractiveness is ordinal. I’m of the opinion that it is more cardinal; that is, rather than always being judge relative to the population, it has an absolute value. The problem is, most of the population currently are far from optimal in the visual department. I looked through the women on a webcam site a couple of days ago and frankly I’d have paid most of them to keep their clothes on. There wasn’t one I saw before I got bored that I’d actually ask out on the basis of looks. That these are the women getting paid to take their clothes off indicates what a desperate shortage of supply of hotties there is.

    Most of us make do, if we’re honest, with partners who are far from what we’d choose in a “Weird Science make your own girl/boyfriend” scenario, and if we’re nice we do that by focussing on their positive aspects and ignoring the negative ones. But there are objective standards of beauty-

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/05/south-korea-has-best-plastic-surgeons.html

    -(that first one in the graphic in particular is a very good demonstration) and there’s no reason why both women and men can’t all be, in a hypothetical biotechnology future, above the pass grade.

  38. Regarding these dating site exchanges, we need to remember that they’re anecdata, and be cautious in interpretation. How frequent are these bad messages, what proportion of men on the sites send them, and in what context?

    The proportion of men is quite important. It only takes a few to make everyone look bad, just as a minority of crims in an area can cause disproportionate harm by frequent burglaries, muggings etc, even if 99% of the population are decent. And one of the most misleading of questions one can ask is “have you ever experienced X?”, which is why activists like to use that question, since nearly everyone will say yes. Ever been insulted? Every hand in the room goes up. Doesn’t tell you anything about frequency. Add to that the uncertainty of self reporting, and you can create an “epidemic” out of an occasional problem.

    The third point is context. Do women receive these messages as an immediate reply to a “not interested, thanks”. Or is it after, say, they’ve been messaging some guy for some time, who therefore has built up the idea he’s in with a chance and, when he gets the brush off, feels like he’s had his chain yanked?

    And so on.

  39. The Thought Gang – “I’m not sure how all of that stacks up with the fact that these exchanges on dating sites happen in private and therefore make sod all difference to anyone’s social status.”

    Semi-private. Not entirely private. As someone else said, evolution. But also it is about self-esteem. The two people involved know.

    “I’d say that ‘unwarranted’ is a pretty good word for both things. Otherwise you’re saying that if you’re asked for sex then you have a choice of saying yes, or opening yourself up to ‘warranted’ abuse. I think you should have the option to politely decline and expect the proposer to politely respect that.”

    If they decline politely, then by all means. We can agree it is never justified but it does have a context. Are they, on line, letting the boys down gently? I would be surprised. We used to have rules about this because we recognised the risk of inflicting pain. I expect that you can do it now on line with the click of a button. Not entirely polite. Even if you don’t, the days are long gone when most women thought they had any obligation to consider other people’s feelings at any point in this process.

  40. Or it could be that women actually enjoy being bullied/aggressively pursued even online.

    It is difficult to believe “get your yayas out” could ever work with a sentient being, but the continuance of the species suggests it does.

    Clearly I find female psychology incomprehensible, like every other man.

  41. It’s an admission of my own ignorance I suppose, but up to about a decade ago I thought women that thought you were gay if you offered them a lift home afterwards were an urban myth, and then I met one or two. However, I don’t think there are that many of them. They seem to have some boy gene problem and are not particularly feminine. Small sample though, I admit.

    And apparently I am gay. Who knew?

    @John Galt

    “Are you searching for…”

    Really, John. It’s like you don’t me at all.

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