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 🙂

Equality is not a virtue to be strived for

Politicians, leaders of corporations, journalists and school teachers – really anyone seeking approval of the masses, preaches equality as a way to gain favor with the masses. Those masses seek the wealth, status, and objects that the elites possess. The “elites” are always a small handful of people, and the large majority of society makes up the disadvantaged masses. At least, that’s how it’s marketed.

We are biologically different

People are not equal. And we never will be. DNA isn’t equal. In every organism where evolution is capable of taking place, mutations occur in DNA that allow for the evolution of a species. These mutations cause diversity in genes, and in the individual made up of those genes. Nearly all multi-celled organisms are going to be different, genetically.

So, people cannot be equal on a cellular level. The differences only begin there. We will never be equal in our status, in our happiness, in our financial wealth, and in our intelligence. Genetic differences will keep some people smarter than others. The smarter people will find ways to make more money OR do what it takes to achieve sex and status in their societies. The people with status will be rewarded with wealth in the form of finances, sex, and lack of need to worry about essentials. Not that the privileged don’t worry. Intelligent and beautiful people seek similarly intelligent and beautiful people of status to mate with, so that their children will have similar traits.

Education helps bring dumb people up, but it benefits the intelligent more than the disadvantaged, and keeps the gap alive. While education will bring the bottom up, it will widen the gap in comparison. The advantaged will benefit more from education because they will be able to make more use out of the information, draw more insights, and have fewer distractions such as bills that get in the way. Plus, the wealthy have better access to top schools because they can afford the resources to make a school better, and more location independence to make sure they settle in a good school district.

Inequality is not unique to humans. The animal kingdom is full of alpha leaders that are more genetically or resource-gifted than their beta peers. The alphas, like humans, are rewarded with the sex, reproductive options, and dibs on food and shelter. Socialists in the animal kingdom that try to take from the alpha are either destroyed or outlive the alpha to become their own kingpins at the top of their tribe. Never in the animal kingdom does this altruism continue once in power.

Promoting equality as a virtue will never succeed. Not only are there fundamental differences in people that rule out the option of ever obtaining genetic equality, but there are psychological incentives that keep this from ever working.

We have different motivations

Even if it were possible to be genetically equal, which it isn’t, this would not be a natural way to live. We should not want this because of our differences in sexual psychology. Men are attracted to women that are beautiful. We evolved to find traits attractive. If all women looked good – with the round butt, thin waist, and pretty face, then all women would be attractive to nearly all men. Men would be a bit more discriminatory with things like kindness and femininity, but most of what makes a woman attractive can be agreed on.

This does not work the other way around. If all men looked the same, much more pressure would lie on men’s social skill and status within their community. Women do not like a man for one or two qualities. What makes a man attractive to a woman is his status compared to other men. Good looks can allow a man to project confidence over other men, but it’s the actual status women long for. There will always only be a handful of attractive men within any community. These are the guys at the top of the social hierarchy.

I said sexual psychology, but this applies to all types of equality – not just gender equality. A lot of the other inequalities – racial, class, income, stem from this sexual psychology. Some groups of people have lower intelligence (measurable, and largely determined by genetics) than others. We’re talking group averages not individuals within groups. These inequalities are still sexual because people have to compete for sexual status with what they have. While this should be understood by society, it is instead used as a tool for political persuasion – these less intelligent are targets for manipulation instead of for promoting happiness and peace through harmony.

This makes sense. The less intelligent are more easily manipulated, and are therefore more likely to give into pressure from advertisements to spend money on products and services. They are also more likely to give into a political ideology which can be used by a manipulator to gain power. A good thing to promise these less intelligent people is “equality”. Equality can be used to instill jealousy with the more successful, and move blame to another group.

The way around this, to get people to think the same and have common attraction triggers, is to have a collective conscious that is capable of being filtered. A robotic conscious could allow for this. One downside of this, is this robotic conscious would eliminate the modern free will that humans have. Certain thoughts and behaviors would have to be censored, such as a man’s want to invent in order to appeal to women, or a woman’s want to go after a more attractive man.

Profit is what encourages innovation and labor in a society. Profit leads to a security of financial being, the accumulation of things and, in this, status. With status, man and woman (but mostly man) are treated with sexual favors.

Profit grows companies which grow societies, and profit gives the individual reason to work. By putting in a hard day’s work, I can choose how I spend my profits. After paying bills, I spend my money on dates and entertainment that make me pleased. If I don’t put in hard work, I risk being fired, which puts my love-life at risk in addition to any long-term financial security I may concern myself with.

So too, companies have incentives to be better – to look for new ways to solve problems and to reward their employees that do this. Companies that don’t will fail, and everyone involved will suffer the loss of finances and maybe love. The beauty in having a choice, in not being a part of a collective, is we can participate in the financial economy, or choose not to. Not everyone seeks to be top dog in a company, or even in the sexual market. Think monks.

These motivations aren’t going away

Trying to create societies where everyone shares and everyone gets along have been monstrous disasters. This was proven time and again, across the world, in the 20th century. The Soviet Union, home to 200 million casualties, is the glowing example. The Soviet Union was violent, backwards, and evil – all in the name of equality. Other examples were Maoist China, Che’s Cuba, and Venezuela.

Totalitarian regimes turn evil when people don’t conform, but more than that, totalitarian evil emerges when people do. When people are told they are the exact same, even if they don’t see any evidence contrary, which is impossible, they will live as servants to the status makers that decide what is reproductively attractive – even though that goes against nature.

If all else is equal, and it won’t be, women will choose to have sex with the most beautiful man. That man will be given sexual access at the expense of others. More likely, there will be the government officials, who, even if they have the same resources, will have advantage in job title which would become attractive.

Even in a perfect, on-the-Marx socialist world, there is never full equality. The man with all the same resources will be in envy of the more beautiful man. What you get is a chasing of different ways to be equal, until you get to the unequal DNA that I started this essay with. Then, it falls apart. There is no equality in nature. There never will be. I will never have the Lamborghini, as fun as that would probably be, because I won’t put in the time in a career that leads to Lamborghinis. And that’s fine. The pursuit of equality is worse than futile – it is dangerous.

Even if we could achieve equality in a handful of chosen areas (we all have the same car and house) by implementing a number of policies, we should still not pursue those policies. The policies would necessarily encroach on the free will of some individuals. There will always be people that disagree with policies. In a free society, people can choose to disagree. In a collective, they cannot. That is damaging to the spread of innovative ideas, and moral ideas.

Martin Luther King held an unpopular opinion that later manifested in more virtuous laws. We want that. He could not have accomplished that in an (even more than America towards blacks at the time) oppressive country. In addition to individual oppression, efforts to achieve equality through socialism killed more than 100 million people during the 20th century. Equality is a common goal for socialism that has killed many millions and destroyed the hopes and ambitions of many others.

The three most common forms of inequality spouted by politicians are: gender, racial, and economic. I covered economic and the other two fall into the same categories. There are racial differences in abilities. These do not extend to every member of every race, but they extend to the averages.

Gender has more pronounced differences, especially when it comes to reproductive health and sexual incentive. Men are not attracted to the woman who has financial stability the same way women find financial strength attractive in men. When women seek the same financial equality as men, they will, almost necessarily, put in more years in school and work to maintain their goal of equality. Even if they achieve it, they have lost out on the reason men were in the race to begin with – sex. Equality has become an incentive for women, not a result of the work. And the goal will never be achieved. Even if it is achieved financially, it won’t be achieved across every metric. I’m most interested in the happiness metric, and that won’t be brought about through financial equality.

In summary, equality is not a virtue because:

  • It is impossible to be equal genetically. These genetic differences manifest in social structures.
  • It pushes the values of some onto the collective, which includes individuals that do not value equality as high as individualism.

Equality, whether obtainable or not, should not be strived for, because:

  • Equality as a goal infringes on the wants of individuals by making certain values mandatory. It encroaches on individual human free will.
  • Political efforts for equality led to the death of millions during the 20th century.

That didn’t explain monogamy

I watched another trash show that cloaks itself as “science” yesterday. This one, a new Netflix show called Explained: Monogamy, set out to explain how we are not meant to be monogamous and that culture instituted monogamy to suppress people’s sexual desires. 

The show goes further. They take this fact and draw the conclusion that because sex with lots of people is natural because it feels good, we should therefore do it.

The documentary is right – it is unnatural to suppress our sexual appetites. And yes, that’s exactly why marriage and monogamy came about. That’s the point of marriage and monogamy.  And that’s not a bad thing. 

Monogamy gives us meaning. It’s good for culture. This isn’t because of arbitrary rules. It’s healthy when men at the bottom have a chance of receiving intimacy. Women don’t have this problem. Dudes at the top will have sex and share intimacy with many women.

Men at the bottom aren’t afforded that luxury. Men at the bottom do things like shoot up schools and commit crimes when they have no value and don’t receive intimacy.

We don’t just have sex because it feels good. If we did we would be much more eager to fuck the new sex robots and we would be content masturbating. There wouldn’t be angry kids shooting up schools because they have an outlet of their hand and a video. But that’s not what we want. We want intimacy.

Monogamy is a recent invention. That was cited as a reason it shouldn’t exist. You know what else is a recent invention?

Democracy. Modern infrastructure. Transportation.

Society civilized when it became monogamous. No longer were people physically fighting each other to maintain a dominance hierarchy and access to the harem.

With monogamy, the average man had a chance to be with women they didn’t previously have access to. This allowed him to focus on actually being productive instead of fighting for access to pussy.

The documentary says monogamy started for property rights and alliances between families. That’s not true at all. We’ve seen kings and queens marry but kings maintain their harems. Marriage and monogamy did not start to help the one percent. It started to help the 90% that did not have access to women and resources.

90%? Yes. It was, and still is that large of gap between the attractive and unattractive. This is evident in the modern dating world. There’s published data from all the dating apps, but it’s also observable in bars – men find more women attractive than women find men attractive. We don’t date people we don’t find attractive.

Without monogamy, women wouldn’t date 90% of men. It’s because of this phenomenon there aren’t a lot of attractive men. “There’s someone for everyone.” No, there’s not. Not in a society where we go for what’s attractive.

It’s not a bad thing to have freedom and choices. It is a bad thing when there are consequences to those freedoms and choices that women aren’t told about. I want women to have freedom. I want them to be aware of the consequences to those freedoms.

When women chase what’s attractive and don’t enter a monogamous relationship when they are at their peak attractive level, they remove the option to be with a very attractive man (because they too have options). When women settle, they get unhappy because they’ve had “more attractive”. When women are unhappy in a relationship, they leave. Cue divorce rates, split families.

“If marriage wasn’t a thing we wouldn’t have divorce rates.” Sure, but it’s not just men who are unhappy following divorce (which are predominantly initiated by women). Women have been getting less happy for decades (by every measurable measure). This is despite all the freedoms women have been given.

Monogamy should be in place to restrict the options of attractive men – more so than restricting women.

Marriage for love is an even more recent idea. It’s only a few hundred years ago. There were critics. The documentary says there shouldn’t have been – that love is noble. There should have been critics.

Love is largely defined today as the feelings of attraction, which is aimed at those top 10% of men. That leaves scraps for the bottom of men, and started this long journey toward nonmonogamy. Love is to blame for today’s rampant divorce.

Darwin says man surpassed women in cognitive ability because of sex. The documentary says this is sexist. It is. There are differences between men and women and they exist because of sex. Men need to develop our socioeconomic status, intelligence, and social skill in order to receive intimacy. Women don’t. It is sexist. It’s not misogynist.

Are people jealous? Yes. It’s a natural emotion that surfaces when we want something we can’t have but feel entitled to. How about when a woman is monogamous with you (manifests entitlement) and cheats on you? Cue jealousy.

Commitment to monogamy and not the person is a good thing, contrary to the movie. Before love people were committed to monogamy for monogamy’s sake. You could call in and out of love, but you honored he relationship. This goes counter to the modern “do what feels good” mantra.

Relationships based on love don’t hurt the 10% that are attractive. Even relationships with multiple people can work well for these people at the top. These are the people that were interviewed for the film – people with active sex lives, including those with multiple partners.

But this doesn’t apply for the bottom 90% of men – none of whom were interviewed in the making of this documentary. It would have been an entirely different movie, with a different meaning, if it were lonely unattractive outcasts that were interviewed for the film.

Pleasure is natural. We evolved to feel it, and to want to give into it.

Honor is a virtue.

Virtue doesn’t become less attractive, addictive, and with diminishing returns. Pleasure does.

Enter relationships built in something that will last forever.

Buddhism and Christianity

Buddhism and Christianity are closely linked. Deep Eastern philosophy and classic Western philosophy agree on the same core values.

So, too, do many great books. Those of Homer and Virgil and Shakespeare. Apparently. I haven’t read them yet.

The primary thing they agree on – do not give in to pleasure. Pleasure is the root of all evil. All suffering.

From pleasure we see the deadly sins emerge. Lust of the pleasure of women. Gluttony of the pleasure of food and drink. And five other sins.

Pleasure is at the root of the commandments. Thou shalt not seek pleasure in thy neighbor’s wife. Thou shalt not seek pleasure in killing someone, even if your life would be more enjoyable. More pleasurable.

In fact the devil, the tempter, represents the temptation to simple pleasure. The forbidden fruit, the mana in the desert.

In Buddhism, we learn pleasure is the root of all suffering, and that this suffering is inherent in all humans. In psychology, Buddhism is validated.

All disciplines are connected. Even different philosophies.

In psychology, we learn that the brain evolved to seek pleasure in order to fulfill two animalistic functions: survival and replication.

The modern world feeds on this evolution. It takes advantage of the evolution of the brain. It takes advantage of natural selection. Of our base nature.

We are sold candy which appeals for the same reason fruit of a tree appealed – its sweetness was once a sign of nutrition. Today that sweetness is replicated with processed sugars to give us pleasure.

Sex is awesome and has more obvious survival and replication implications. You either had sex or your genes didn’t replicate and your bloodline thinned and your tribe became smaller and weaker and more threatened by other tribes.

Sex, even the natural act that precedes replication, can be abused.

It is in the search of these pleasures that we find ourselves removed from the moment and we, according to the Buddha, suffer. We are living in the future. Being hopeful of things to change.

Buddhism says to eliminate the need to want pleasure. Buddhism teaches us that this can be reached by meditating. When we meditate, we learn to focus. We focus our thoughts and eliminate being subject to feelings, thoughts, and behaviors we don’t want.

The Bible also teaches us to not seek pleasure. Not just in the commandments, but in the imitation of Jesus. Jesus was repeatedly tempted with pleasure by the devil, which he rejected.

Eve ate the apple god forbid because it was the most attractive. She gave in to pleasure and lived her life in shame.

Now, one doesn’t have to live in shame because they chose pleasure once in their life. But it is shameful to always be needing a high – whether drugs, alcohol, food, or sex.

This chase of pleasure is shameful because it’s enslaving. Needing pleasure is voluntarily submitting to that pleasure and the need of that pleasure.

To be free, one must reject pleasure.

Pleasure is a powerful force with powerful bounds. Those bounds become stronger when pleasure is given into.

Psychology tells us the brain rewards pleasure. We are likely to repeat what is pleasurable, since it feels better than not pleasure.

If a caveman ate a fruit and didn’t die of poison, he was likely to return and eat that fruit. He was rewarded with nutrients which reinforce that he should be eating the fruit.

So, too, the pleasures today encourage us to return. Only now there are billboards and TV commercials and lingerie stores that throw pleasure at you.

If one follows the Buddha and Jesus’ example, he will see that the billboards and TV commercials and lingerie stores are only offering to tighten your own shackles.

At least, according to the Bible, Buddha, psychology, and me.