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Modern Dating - The Downside Of Sexual Liberation

An Essay - 15 minutes read time

Freedom is a great thing, but it would be naive to not understand that with freedom comes costs. Still, I would rather live in a free society and deal with those costs, whilst taking responsibility for my own actions than to live in an authoritarian society and have someone else take responsibility for me.

With that being said, sexual liberation was the movement to free people, women in particular from institutions that tried to control and limit their sexual activities and body autonomy. It attempted to remove attitudes that shamed women from exploring their sexual desires and gave them the choice to be with whom they want. However, despite this, there are a growing number of studies showing that people are actually having less sex.

In the UK, a study carried out on Gransnet and Mumsnet users currently in relationships found that 20% had sex fewer than 10 times in the last 12 months and 8% say they’ve had no sex at all over the previous 12 months. Results from a national survey published in the British Medical Journal found that, despite half the women and two-thirds of the men taking part in the study wishing they were having more sex, less than half of them were having sex once a week, and more than a quarter of them reported having no sex at all in the past month.

Another study published by the JAMA open network discovered that People in the U.S are having less sex, and the decline is being seen among younger adults, particularly men.

This trend is important to note because sex is what couples in a loving relationship do. The people that have most sex are those in relationships and the decline is a strong indicator that fewer people are finding that person to form a relationship or a loving relationship with.

I maintain that freedom is a good thing, this includes sexual liberation. Nobody should control another person. However, just because women are now encouraged to be sexually liberated, and have as much sex as they want, it doesn't mean they'll sleep with anyone that flashes them a smile or gives them a compliment. Hypergamy is still a real thing and women will choose to sleep with the person they most connect with, which usually means the 'best' they can get. The problem is most women look for similar characteristics in what constitutes the 'best'; height, finance, health, looks, humour. And with the advent of online dating sites and social media, those few men have monopolised the sexual marketplace.

These men know their power, and as the old (and some modern) Kings, Lords, Dukes, and generally wealthy men did, they exercise their option to have more than one woman. This is why more women than men have added their DNA to the overall human gene pool, despite there being an equal number of men and women. Research carried out by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany found that an ancestral population of 60 women and 30 men were breeding in Africa before humans left the continent. The numbers fell to around 25 women and 15 men breeding at the time of the first migration of Homo sapiens, around 70,000 years ago. As modern humans moved into Europe more than 45,000 years ago, the number of mothers may have outnumbered fathers by around 100 to 30. Study researcher Professor Mark Stoneking stated,

This often happens in human societies, because not all men are able to afford wives, or sometimes a few men will have many wives.

So, men who were granted the privilege of female options as a result of their wealth, power, and influence often chose to exercise that option. They had more sex and impregnated more women. It would be easy to assume that with sexual liberation things should even out. But the data shows hypergamy still plays a major factor when women choose their partners.

The sexual liberation movement has created a free marketplace for the commodification and selling of love. A marketplace that has seen the creation of corporations that provide dating platforms like Hinge and Tinder. And despite the freedom, hypergamy still matters. As a result, a few men (like the old powerful men did) have the power and option, and they choose to exercise it. They are unlikely to settle or stay monogamous because they'll always be presented with other sexual options. It's for this reason, more women are now also having more sex than men and why most women might be in general sleeping with roughly the same men.

This is a difficult concept for many to grasp. But let's think about this, men like sex. They like women of all shapes, tall, short, thick, thin, black, white, short hair or long hair. A simple browse online and you can find a wide choice of fetishes involving a diverse range of women. The popularity of porn which is overwhelmingly consumed by men should be enough to demonstrate how strong a man's sexual desire is in general. Men watch porn because they can fantasize about the women on there, Onlyfans has grown significantly because men can imagine the sexy girl on there being their girlfriend. The sad truth is, porn and Onlyfans are the reality for a majority of men because most struggle to find the women they want or struggle to find just one woman to find him attractive enough to want to spend her time romantically with him. It's difficult for a lot of men to find a woman willing to sleep with them.

In 2020 a study of 10,000 Americans by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden revealed that the proportion of men aged 25 to 34 who had not had sex in 12 months has doubled.

A Survey results from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago after interviewing thousands of people and has been conducted since 1972, revealed that 23% of adults said they hadn’t had sex in the past year - doubling in the past 10 years - and that “a much larger than expected” number of them were men. The survey showed that the share of men under 30 who said they hadn’t had sex in the past year has tripled since 2008 to 28% - much higher than the 8% increase among women in the same age range.

Knowing how difficult it is for men to find partners if as a man you find yourself in the privileged position of having a list of women wanting to date you, why would you settle on the first one you find attractive? Even if the man was genuinely looking to settle down, there is still the fear of missing out. The blonde he went out with last weekend was cute, but the brunette that just messaged him is also cute, so is the curvy girl who messaged him yesterday. As a man with options, before picking one he should date as many as possible right, to make sure he's picked the right girl? In addition, the very situation most men can only live out in their fantasies through porn and sites like Onlyfans, which is the ability to have a variety of women to sleep with is a reality for these few 'high-value men'.

I can understand why a woman would hate this, and as a man, I don't like it either. But it's important to remember it's the women who give these men the power. They'll reject the 'nice' guy who on the face of it seems bland, the guy that's ecstatic to get just one message on Tinder and after getting that one date with the girl he likes, is willing to put all his effort and energy into making it work. These guys don't have the options and as a result, when they finally get one they'll do their best not to lose it. Unfortunately, the desperation can display itself in nervousness, weirdness, or lack of confidence which is a turn-off to many women.

The respective behaviours of the genders on dating sites are also illuminating. For example, men swipe right three times as much as women do even though men outnumber women by almost two to one. Most likely because most men are aware of the difficulty in finding a woman, so they are less picky and just hoping to match with someone. A man can spend hours liking or rejecting profiles and be lucky to get a match after all that effort. So instead he just likes every profile hoping to improve his chance of getting a match. It's at that stage men will start sorting through their matches. Whereas women are pickier about who they swipe right for. Research carried out by ResearchGate found that women attain large numbers of matches rapidly, whilst men only slowly accumulate matches.

Women choose who has sex (as they should), as a result of their newfound sexual freedom, they will scout the sexual marketplace looking for the best man, this has left many men sexless. So we have a modern marketplace that benefits only a few men and makes a lot of women feel upset, angry, and unsatisfied. What do we do? For what it's worth here's my advice for both men and women.

Women, be aware and realistic.

My first advice to women - be aware of the reality of online dating. If you meet a successful, funny, good looking attractive man especially on a dating site, it's important to remember that if you think he's great and you feel an instant attraction to him, chances are plenty other girls do. As much as it pains you to admit it, you're probably not the only one he's talking to. It's rare that a man can garner instant attraction from a woman.

Few stories demonstrate the dynamics of online dating more than the West Elm Caleb story. A man known as Caleb reportedly slept with a lot of women he met on Hinge (a dating site where women make the first move). Presumably, he wasn’t open and honest with any of them about seeing other women. Some of his dates compared notes via TikTok and the result caused so much arguing it was even reported in India. Caleb sounds like a tosser, but the point is he was able to do what he did because of his level of attractiveness to several women and his desire to act on the options that presented to him.

Men & Women, stop using dating sites as your main platform to find a serious relationship

My second advice to women that are genuinely looking for something serious and lasting would be, if at all possible stop using online dating apps and be more open to meeting men in real life. Perhaps visit more dating or single events where you can spend time actually meeting and talking to people. I would imagine the men who pay to attend such events are serious about finding a partner. Plus with face to face, you can only talk to one person at a time.

There is also the psychological damage of using online dating apps. As I mentioned earlier, sexual liberation presented a problem. The problem was finding women the right partners that meet their standards to love. And as the free market always does, it provides a solution. The solution is to commodify Love, package it, market it and sell it. Sex, which is one benefit of love is now sold as porn (which has caused significant damage to men and their ability to have a healthy relationship with women). Whereas the promise of love is sold on dating sites, which is now the main way a significant number of people can visualise meeting their future partner.

It's strange to see that most young singles (75% of young adults, 18-24 years old use Tinder) have put their hopes on finding love in the hands of algorithms that have been created with the purpose of generating financial profits for their creators. An algorithm doesn't understand the complications of romance, it presents you with pictures and profiles of strangers on an endless loop, making use of the same tactic employed by gambling companies to keep you hooked.

Social psychologist Jeanette Purvis who earned her PhD in Psychology at the University of Hawaii wrote her dissertation on the sexual conflict on Tinder. She states,

I’ve analyzed hundreds of surveys, interviews and internet posts from Tinder users describing their experiences with the app. My preliminary results suggest Tinder users do, in fact, have different outcomes than those who either use online dating websites or don’t use any dating technologies at all. In terms of psychological conditioning, Tinder’s interface is perfectly constructed to encourage this rapid swiping. Since users don’t know which swipe will bring the “reward” of a match, Tinder uses a variable ratio reward schedule, which means that potential matches will be randomly dispersed. It’s the same reward system used in slot machines, video games and even during animal experiments where researchers train pigeons to continuously peck at a light on the wall.

Our brains are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Tinder feeds this addiction with brutal efficacy. That’s why it’s so addictive. It’s easy and immediate ego feeding.

Dr. Purvis further explains,

In a study on the brains of drug addicts, researchers found that the expectation of the drug caused more release of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine than the actual drug itself. Similarly, for those who may be expecting the next swipe on Tinder to lead to reward, serial swiping can start to look and feel a lot like addiction.

You are training your brain to expect an immediate reward by swiping with Tinder. You don’t think about it because it happens subconsciously. Swipe-match-reward. It can turn into a problem because, like most addictions, it’s eating up your time and when you don't get a match for 10 swipes but suddenly get one, the euphoria is what gamblers feel and you want that feeling again, so you keep going. Interestingly, these are the same methods used by social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. It's why often users of these apps find that they've spent a significant amount of time on the apps without even realising.

Women, be less picky (initially)

Another downside of the current sexual marketplace, one that many might not acknowledge is the growing antagonism it has created between men and women, pointing fingers at each other and blaming the other as the sole cause of the problems.

Caleb has support from many men online because they blame the women for using their freedom to choose the 'alpha male'. The same men say we shouldn't empathise with PlayBoy bunnies, despite their stories of misogyny and bad treatment. Some men argue that they choose that lifestyle and used their sexual freedom to become one of the ladies in Hugh's large harem, enjoying the minor fame and financial benefits that resulted. I have some sympathy for this point of view.

My third advice to women is to understand that with freedom comes responsibility, you can't force a man to be the way you want, nor can you demand men to choose you above others. There will always be men who have options and continue to exercise that option, men like sex and they like it from a variety of women. Knowing this, women should realise there is a responsibility on them to exercise their powers and pick the right man especially if they are serious about having a long-term relationship and marriage. This might seem like a harsh statement, but consider the number of fine men who don't even get a chance online, men who are largely invisible to women, especially in the online dating market where first impressions are king.

Women are extremely picky and I would argue they should be, they have a lot more to lose if they settle with the wrong man.

This is supported by a study conducted to quantify the Tinder socio-economic prospects for males based on the percentage of females that will “like” them. Female Tinder usage data was collected and statistically analysed to determine the inequality in the Tinder economy. It was determined that the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men. The Gini coefficient for the Tinder economy based on “like” percentages were calculated to be 0.58. This means that the Tinder economy has more inequality than 95.1% of all the world’s national economies. In addition, it was determined that a man of average attractiveness would be “liked” by approximately 0.87% (1 in 115) of women on Tinder. A formula was derived to estimate a man’s attractiveness level based on the percentage of “likes” he receives on Tinder.

In addition, according to Pew Research Center, 1/3 of men who try online dating sites and apps never go on a single date, despite the fact that men outnumber women on the sites.

As women get older they tend to get even pickier, they know what they want and get even more specific about it. There is a flaw to this logic however, no one knows what they want until they get it, it's more of a case that they believe they know what they want. Romantic chemistry is volatile and finding the right person is unpredictable.

I suggest women be less picky, give men a longer chance before dismissing them. I often hear women say they reject men for simply saying 'hello' or 'hi' in their first message. They insist the man has to be far more creative or funny. This is strange because saying 'hello' or 'hi' is a perfectly normal polite greeting intended to start a conversation. Some people take a few messages to warm up. If the man seems reasonable, has a steady job, is healthy (whatever you determine that to be in your subjective opinion) then give it longer before ghosting him and perhaps even give him a few dates to impress before deciding he's not the one.

A study of 2.1 million Tinder conversations discovered that only around 10-15% of Tinder conversations have a meaningful length of 15 or more messages. I would argue that still isn't enough to know someone.

Women, if you are going to turn down a man's advances, be polite about it - if he's being respectful. Men, be respectful when approaching a woman

It takes a lot of effort, mental preparation, and bravery to approach a woman. Only to have that shattered with a terrible look, a dismissive rude attitude. That man might not be your type, but he might be for someone else, he needs to leave knowing he tried and still has the confidence to approach the right girl for him. However, feel free to act accordingly if the man doesn't take no for an answer or is disrespectful.

Women, be willing to settle - on some things & men, focus on what's important for long term.

The other advice I would give is for women to be willing to settle on superficial criteria like height, income, hobbies, music, etc, and instead focus on values like attitude towards family, children, education, philosophy, religion, relationship dynamics things that build foundations for long term success. And for men, those are what matter for the long term, they make interesting conversations on dates or as a couple and it's a good way to get to know each other better.

Most of the advice above has been focused on women but this does not mean I believe they have the largest part to play in the issues of modern dating. Men also play a pivotal role in the problems facing so many in the sexual marketplace. My advice to men...

Take responsibility for your own happiness and life.

The 'invisible' men who often struggle often make little to no effort to better themselves, instead choosing to go further down into self-pity and resentment. which unfortunately can manifest in hatred of women and joining online groups that promote unhealthy attitudes towards women. You can't force anyone to love you or desire you. all you can do is self improve and be the best person you can be. That'll give off an aura of confidence, assuredness, and security that most women want.

Talking about security, women aren't just looking for physical security but also emotional security. there's a reason why women in long-term relationships are more relaxed around their men, it's not always because they stop caring, they feel secure enough to be themselves. If you constantly whine, lash out, and show immaturity because you can't get a woman, you only do further damage to your ability to be attractive. Stop overthinking and acting desperate, get your mind off women, quit the porn, focus on your career, your health, and life. Find a hobby, read books, maybe start a business, go traveling spend time with family and friends, live life to the fullest, and be the best version of your self and a good woman will naturally be attracted to you.

Be a good man

There's a difference between a nice guy and a good guy. a nice guy might be a walkover, too afraid to say what he wants and set boundaries. A good guy has character, takes responsibility, sets his boundaries, tells people what he wants but respects other people's opinions and wishes, he takes that into consideration when making his choice. Most importantly a good man sacrifices personal shallow desires for something greater, like family, children, wife, or justice. It's why good men are good fathers, husbands and it's why we look back at the greatest men as those who sacrificed themselves - Jesus, Mandela, Martin Luther King.

There are a growing number of men who are less willing to take responsibility for their lack of character. The support for Caleb shows a lack of willingness amongst men to discuss what it takes to be a 'good man'. I often hear talks refer to

+ 'real men' but that makes no sense to me, a man is a man once he is of age, being a real man has nothing to do with you, it's just a biological fact. However, we can all judge what a good man is. A good man understands sacrifice for something he loves and respects. Yes maybe you can sleep with numerous women if you choose, but a good man sacrifices that because he loves and respect the one he's with. Good men are men of their word, if you make a promise whether explicitly or implicitly, a good man lives by that word. As a good man, if monogamy is explicitly or implicitly agreed on or we suspect the other party thinks that way, we should explain we are not and give them the opportunity to choose what they want with that information.

In my view, based on what I've read Caleb shouldn't be celebrated (nor should he be castrated in public either) he isn't a good man. He's a good-looking man and able to attract women on Hinge. But he lacks the character of a good man because he wasn't brave enough to be honest about his intentions, choosing instead to satisfy his ego and sexual gratification without care for other person's feelings.

In response, I've heard some men say, 'if men are honest about their intention to just want sex and have multiple partners, most women would walk away. So men have to lie to increase their chances of getting the sex.' However, in my opinion, a good man is honest and if the woman exercises her right to choose not to sleep with the man, he should respect her decision and move on. There are plenty of women who are willing to engage in casual sex if that's what the man wants. But, men aren't brave or mature enough to take the rejection, they also have a scarcity mindset with women believing if they lose this woman they'll struggle to get another and they prioritise their need for sexual gratification above all else.

Men who publicly criticise authoritarian governments but are willing to lie to women in order to obtain sex are hypocrites. Authoritative governments censor and take away the ability of their subjects to research, they don't want them having knowledge, because they don't want them making up their own minds, especially because they know many might choose to do something the government doesn't want. If you believe in freedom, as a good man you act honestly, with integrity and character, you should give the woman the information she needs to know so she can choose what she wants to do with her body. The reason women often feel oppressed when they discover they've been lied to in exchange for sex, is because the power they thought they had when deciding what to do with their bodies was never there, they never had the information to make an informed choice.

Despite the modern dating market, most men and women want the same things. A family, kids, and someone to hold for the rest of our lives. No one wants to be alone, they might enjoy single life in their twenties, maybe thirties. But at the end of it all we all have to go back home, to our beds, the thought of spending the nights alone, especially as we age, terrifies most of us. It's important to remember this when we interact with each other in the dating market.