Stop Wanting Casual Sex

Got a question on Reddit:

Hey, I saw your post on [removed] and it hit a nerve. “I stopped pursuing sex with random women.” I’m a former sedditor, was reasonably successful PUA about 6-7 years ago, got into a relationship, but now married.

I still remember casual sex as intoxicating. I never felt so alive as having success with random women, I loved it. I still yearn for that experience. I’ve lived a good/varied life: married to a good woman, good friends, professional success, traveling around the world, skydiving, motorcycling, mountaineering. I’ve had people die in my hands, I’ve saved people’s life.

But nothing quite gives me that thrill that I had with casual sex.

I’m wondering what changed in your life to make you stop wanting that? Or if you do still enjoy it, could you clarify your position? I think about this a lot and don’t know many folks from the rationality community do.

Thanks

————–

And I answered that question:

Hey [removed] thanks for saying hi!

In short – casual sex still feels physically good but it doesn’t have the psychological reward it once did. This is because of an evolved worldview (from my studies and life experience) where I find it better long-term for both me and others to not pursue casual sex.

In long (this got out of hand when I started typing but I felt my story necessary to explain my answers to your difficult, and important questions)…

I got into pickup pretty immediately after graduating from college. I graduated a virgin, and had been plagued by sexual insecurities since middle school. I found the game community through Patrice O’Neal standup of all places, which led me to Heartiste, RSD, and the likes. I found these around the same time I started lifting weights and feeling good about my career.

I started becoming attractive. Both physically (weight lifting and social skills developed from game), and I started to feel attractive internally. Results followed (and reinforced both the internal and external feelings).

Losing my virginity was big, but it didn’t “solve” my problem. I became obsessed. For about 2 years I was going out to bars 5-6 nights a week hitting on women with the intention of having sex. And I had lots of sex.

This obsession led to indulgence. I became psychologically addicted to it all. The chase, the flirting, the sex, the sense of intimacy. You’re absolutely right that it was a thrill. Casual sex is a conquest. Like your mountaineering and skydiving, it is an accomplishment of a goal that we are rewarded for our efforts. Unlike mountaineering and skydiving, the conquest is another person. It’s primal, it’s animalistic, it’s *powerful*. It is awesome.

At least, that’s how I felt in the moment. In hindsight, it was the similar sense of power that comes with a good drag from a cigarette – it made me feel strong and powerful, but I didn’t feel as strong and powerful without *it* (nicotine, women).

After 3 years immersed in game, I started to doubt my end game. My end game was *happiness* and my method was to become the most attractive person I could. In the process, I destroyed my inhibitions and insecurities (which I see as a good thing), but I started to feel this wasn’t the ultimate good.

I took my “main chick” at the time as my monogamous girlfriend as sort of a personal experiment. I wanted to see if this was truly an unhealthy addiction and if I could find happiness without the constant pursuit. Not the best reason for entering a relationship (lol) but it was radically different from what I’d been doing.

Around the same time, again, I found my reading evolving. Instead of game blogs, I started reading a lot of old great texts. The latest on rationality is great, and Scott’s the best writer I know in this “sphere” but most writing on virtue and happiness is just boring regurgitation of the wisdom contained in old epic poems and religious texts. Those are easily dismissed because they’re 1) old and 2) didn’t show their data. More psych communities should start with the hypothesis that the old wisdom (eg biblical) is true and work to disprove it. /side rant lol

These old books preach virtue as the path to happiness. Virtue mostly being defined as living in accordance with nature while rejecting the pursuit of things (money, status, sex). Sex for me was the big one. I removed my want for money and status in my pursuit of sex as a PUA. Now, I wanted to focus on removing the unhealthy desire for constant sex and female attention.

This led to changing how I view the women I was interacting with and my actions. When I was in pickup, I saw the highest goods as *being attractive* and *honesty*. If I was attractive, as long as I was being honest, I was doing “the right thing”. For example, I always told girls I wasn’t monogamous and wouldn’t take them on dates to “get their hopes up” to keep their expectations in-line.

This is what changed, for me, the shared thrill you and I had with casual. Casual sex is fun, but it’s certainly not the ultimate good. I see what I was doing to women (even when they all enjoyed it) as ultimately destructive. I was giving myself hits of heroin by having sex with them, and I was giving them heroin at the same time. I was making them want more heroin, instead of *not wanting things* which makes a relationship based on virtue possible.

I know I keep making drug references but I’m not an addict and I don’t really have an addictive personality lol. It’s just for comparison, and I think it’s a fair comparison. Also I promise I’m not a Bible-thumping religious zealot. I just see a lot of wisdom in the Bible (and similar old books), and more and more modern science backing that up (short version: happiness isn’t found in hedonistic pursuit).

Now I see virtue as the highest good, and the true path to happiness, which I see as a *true contentedness*. I highlight this because it must be genuine – you must want this contentedness instead of secretly wanting attention from the hottie at the gym. I see this also in the case of relationships. Relationships based on this virtue (where each other’s happiness is the goal and virtue is the means) are much more likely to last than trying to maintain your attraction and attractiveness as the primary reason for the relationship (which, by definition, will fade over time). My reason for being in my monogamous relationship evolved over time, and that relationship eventually ended, but I’m grateful for all the experiences.

I’m happy to talk more about any of this.

I’m also happy to hear that you’re now married. I’m truly envious of that, and I hope you search for beauty and happiness in that and in you. Because it isn’t elsewhere… I looked 🙂

Heartiste and GBFM, the Best Of Collections

I do not own any of this content. I’m just a fan of Heartiste and GBFM’s work. Someone else compiled Heartiste’s. I put the GBFM book together. If anyone has a problem with me hosting this, let me know and I’ll take it down.

For those that don’t know, Heartiste is one of the best writers on game/relationships. His blog was banned. GBFM Great Books for Men is a poet/renaissance man that posted comments on Heartiste and Dalrock. He’s more interested in restoring honor and virtue to the world than game. For that reason, I thought about only posting GBFM’s book, but Heartiste helped shape me into the man I am today, so maybe he’ll have a positive influence on you and your relationships.

Heartiste will make you attractive. GBFM will make you happy. I recommend the latter.

Best of Heartiste: https://gofile.io/?c=Ed3lz4

Best of GBFM: https://gofile.io/?c=STDr0d

Stoicism FAQ

  1. What is stoicism?

From wikipedia, which I think provides a great definition:

Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves

Basically, not wanting material things and finding our sole meaning in acting virtuously which, the stoics propose, is how we can achieve happiness by living the present. Virtue basically means not wanting things.

 

  1. Who are “the stoics”?

From Daily Stoic:

It had three principal leaders. Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of the Roman Empire, the most powerful man on earth, sat down each day to write himself notes about restraint, compassion and humility. Epictetus endured the horrors of slavery to found his own school where he taught many of Rome’s greatest minds. Seneca, when Nero turned on him and demanded his suicide, could think only of comforting his wife and friends.

 

  1. Isn’t ambition good?

Ambition can be a good thing. The problem is that ambition – having a strong desire to accomplish, is often aimed at a goal that was developed with external influence. We are chasing a goal that we desire not because it is good for us, or will make us happier, but because of outside influences that are directing us to want things.

When we want things, we are necessarily not free. We can work hard to achieve and get those things that we desire (something, success with women, a promotion), but it doesn’t solve the problem that we want things.

Stoicism teaches to stop wanting things. To be an ambitious stoic is to be a by-the-book stoic – to renounce pleasures and most all things society asks us to participate in. Stoicism is internal work with internal reward, rather than working on external appearances or results.

 

  1. Then what do you do all day?

As a stoic, you don’t have to do anything. But you can do anything. The point is to be perfectly content at all times. It’s to find beauty in any moment.

Your Senecas and Epictetuses would probably be big fans of meditation. Simply sitting and being still for large amounts of time. Walking in nature. Appreciating nature. Being in love with someone who loves you and raising a family.

These are things that you can enjoy in the moment and that can keep you in the moment. The stoics stress living in the moment because it means you aren’t living in the future (wanting something different) or living in the past (regretting or wishing things were different). Happiness is found in the present moment, and no other.

 

  1. Aren’t experiences a good thing? Travel, etc?

This largely goes back to the ambition question. Experiences aren’t bad. It’s helpful to be a strong, well-rounded individual. This helps with stoicism because you will be more able to be content in the moment.

There are a couple problems with travel and racking up adventures or other experiences. One is that you don’t need to travel to get a unique experience. There are new experiences waiting for you in nature, at the sports bar down the street, and with the person walking past you in the crosswalk.

When we look to travel to give us new experiences, we ignore the beauty and the variety that surrounds us every day.

Don’t do that.

 

  1. What if I want my children to live easy lives?

People don’t live easy lives. While I think it is important for a person to be happy to be well-educated, most of that education will come outside of school systems. Your peer group and the influences your child is exposed to will have a tremendous effect on his upbringing and his opportunity for happiness.

Does your child start wanting at a young age – the newest toy or video game in the commercial and develop insecurities from children’s magazines? Or is he outside being creative with his friends with sticks and rocks in the park?

Do you work 80 hours a week so he can go to a great college, but put him in front of a screen so that you can stay focused on your job? Or do you go out to the park with him to foster that creativity and enthusiasm for play?

Wanting the best for your child, like most things, can have different meanings. Society’s definition of good life for your child might mean he has access to all the video games and snacks that he wants. Your definition might be he develops a joy of reading and makes friends easily. These require different types of parenting.

 

  1. Can you stop wanting without achieving success?

Yes.

This is a tough one. I’m not poor. I have decent savings. Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome at the peak of its power. It can be easy for us to say “stop wanting things” because we either have it all or have the option to have things that other people want. We have achieved “success”, to some extent, in the material world. Can this stoicism, this virtue, this lack of wanting, be achieved without first having that material abundance?

Stoicism can be practiced by anyone. It is probably more difficult to leave the material world once some success has been found. There is always more you can have. More money, more things, more friends, more status. No one will ever have more than everyone else in all these things. Especially when their metric is determined by others.

Once we achieve some success, we are rewarded. We get the promotion, and we get more money that we can buy things with. We buy a car and our neighbor gives us props on having a cool car. We charm the girl, and are rewarded with an orgasm.

These rewards are temporary, but they reinforce that we are doing the right thing. So, we continue to strive for more money, promotions, cars, and women.

 

  1. Isn’t stopping a pursuit just weakness or sloth?

No.

To change course, to stop a pursuit that you were working on because it no longer aligns with the person you want to be is one of the smartest things you can do.

There is a distinction to be made with weakness and sloth. Your virtue, your rejection of material things, must be genuine. If you are not honest when you are practicing stoicism, you will secretly envy others who achieve success, while you gloat to your friends that you don’t want things and quote the old stoics or my FAQ.

You cannot be happy while pretending to be stoic and virtuous. Honesty is a virtue, and all other virtues are false if you are not honest. To be virtuous in a world that discourages contentment and virtue requires more courage and strength than anything else in life. It is the opposite of sloth and weakness.

The strength is mostly internal. You are not signalling your intelligence or muscles to the world, so you are not externally rewarded for your strength. That is why, from the outside, it can appear as if you are weak and lazy. But if you are honest and virtuous, you will be unaffected when others call you names to try to bring you down. They chose their path, the material path, and yours conflicts with theirs. They live for external rewards, so just as it is important for them to be seen in the new sports car, it is important for them to be seen as strong and intelligent.

Strength and honor.

Book review: Lolita (hella spoilers)

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” These are the first words in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.

Dolores, little Lo, Lolita is Humbert’s obsession. She is what provides him with joy. She is what leads to his unhappiness. It is not her fault.

We all have a Lolita. It can be a step-daughter pretty girl you’re in the middle of a cross-country road trip (I hope it’s not). It can be your wife, who’s of legal age and always has been. Your Lolita can be whiskey, or your job.

Lolita is a manifestation of Humbert’s desires. Humbert is a pedophile. He is attracted to little girls. More specifically, he is attracted to the “nymphette” –  a small subset of little girls that are attractive to him. It’s hard to tell from the novel whether this “type” is simply the girls that show Humbert attention, or whether it’s the type of girl that behaves more promiscuous than girls her age, reads girl magazines, and shows awareness of her sexuality.

We want our desires to manifest and make us happy. This is what Humbert wants, and he makes it happen. He moves in with this girl of his dreams and builds an image that can work for his fantasy. Sound familiar, yet? We’ll get there.

We don’t know if the girl actually falls for him. He frames the book in a way to make it seem like it is a mutual falling in love – like the girl jumps on him when she has the chance because he’s a hot, older guy that should appeal to that kind of girl (nymphette, reads girl magazines).

However, it is later revealed that Lo has a revulsion to Humbert. She tries to runaway, she flirts with other men, and in quotes she says he raped her. It’s not the mutual love story he crafted early in the novel. He turns her into what he wants her to be in his mind.

Doing this is narcissistic, and it’s how he can get what he wants. He changes, after the fact, how she viewed him and acted towards him, in his mind, instead of changing himself into something that she would actually want to be with. Or, even more difficult, accepting that she will not want to be with him. This takes responsibility and work. Blaming others and changing events in your mind is much easier.

I wasn’t surprised when Humbert killed the man Lolita ran away with. The man was a creep, and wasn’t good for Lolita, but more than that, the dude was a villain in the narrative that Humbert had built for himself. Humbert wasn’t living in a rational world with individuals. He was living in a world where people are supposed to serve him and his fantasies. When a new man entered Lolita’s life, that served as a disruption to the narrative that was supposed to play out. When he murdered the guy, Humbert was the hero in the narrative he built for himself.

If your takeaway from Lolita was that this is a book about a creepy old man, and you are a good person because you are nothing like Humbert, then you simply aren’t self aware. We all have narcissistic qualities. As mentioned earlier, we project our wants and desires in our own love lives on our environment. This is a defense mechanism for doing something difficult – sacrificing and working to improve ourselves in order to find happiness instead of happiness happening because of events external to us.

It’s a beautiful book that exposes the dark in all of us (if we are willing) through a beautiful story written by a narcissist.

Humbert broke the law. He ruined a girl’s life. He killed a man. He is not good. But he is no less happy than the narcissistic reader that continues to find problems with the world instead of putting in the work to change.

Arguments against evolution are more practical than arguments against God. Change my mind.

[Note: I wrote this post for R/Atheism. It was kind of a troll post but also there’s meaning behind the argument I make. I didn’t expect an intellectual discussion to follow, and I didn’t get one. I also didn’t expect zero people to get the argument. I got a louder version of what I expected, “You don’t believe in evolution you RETARD that’s now how evolution works.” I’m paraphrasing. They don’t use the word retard on r/atheism because it’s inappropriate. It’s a weird subreddit.]

Argument against God: there is no physical evidence of a superior being/creator. Therefore we should not believe in the concept. If presented with physical evidence, we will change our mind.

Argument against evolution: we didn’t evolve from monkeys because there are still monkeys. Science is trying to destroy our connection with God, whose message is that we don’t need things to be happy.

By practical, I mean that which leads to the most long-term individual happiness/contentment.

The problem with the arguments above is there is lots of wisdom in the Bible and in finding contentment not through hedonistic pursuits but rather by rejecting vice and our “animal” instincts – which lead to more cravings. The Bible isn’t the only source that discusses hedonistic pleasure, you can build this up from science, but science lags behind religion in this department.

So while evolution is true, its findings don’t lead to further individual happiness but only lead to more addictions. We can fall back on the excuse “we’re just animals” but that’s a weak excuse, given our cognitive abilities that aren’t shared by other animals. There are all sorts of incentives at play by companies and grant approvers to prioritize theories that will lead to more profits. There isn’t much profit in the rejection of consumerism and vice, so there are lots of natural forces working against the theory of God.

I am not denying evolution. I’m saying the arguments against God are not that helpful to the individual’s long-term happiness given this context. Truth is an important element in happiness – one cannot deny the truth willingly and be happy. But also, one cannot deny the truth repeated in history that chasing simple pleasure doesn’t lead to long-term happiness.

Belief in God is more practical than belief in evolution. Change my mind.