XBTUSD shines a light in the darkness of the cave, revealing what guys are missing as the scramble around in the dark, cutting their hands and mistaking pain for enlightenment.
Most sex happens in a highly social context, and most “highly social contexts” involve some kind of community—yet no one writing online talks about communities, how they form, what sustains them, how they splinter, or what value they have.
Let’s take a simple example: when I was an undergrad, I joined a fraternity. My path to joining wasn’t certain, and I didn’t plan to join until the week the decision had to be made. Initially, I saw fraternities as a way for people without social skills to “buy” a group of friends: frats had dues, and if you paid, you had a guaranteed set of dudes to get drunk and try and fuck girls with. I was lucky enough to live in mixed-age housing my freshman year and became friends with one of the BMOC (“big man on campus”) seniors who lived in my dorm. He was in one of the “cool” frats (one of the ones hot girls spent time at), and over a number of conversations he convinced me that I had it all wrong, and that I should just join, as there was little downside. He correctly pointed out the downside of joining was that if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to spend any time there, or could de-pledge if I felt strongly enough. I’d lose the frat dues, which weren’t zero, but that wasn’t a great loss for me at the time. I decided to join and a lot of what I know about community comes from that experience. Most Americans live alienated, isolated lives, and frats are the exact opposite, which explains why so many guys have a great time in school and an unhappy time after.
Contrary to the stereotypical view of frats, it was the highest density of high quality men I’ve found anywhere. Everyone was smart, interesting, challenging, fun and were invested in creating the experience we were all sharing. As you aged in the fraternity, you gradually became more responsible for creating the culture and experience, as opposed to purely learning and consuming it. That move from “consumer” to “creator” mirrors the move all of us should make as we grow up, from consuming to shaping and doing. Shared norms were quickly created and passed down, which allowed the organization to pass along culture over hundreds of years. We spent a lot of time recruiting new members and everyone took it as a serious responsibility to both seek out the highest quality potential new members and to “woo” the ones we decided would be the best fit. Fit was key, and the big difference I saw between our fraternity and most others was that most kids who joined our frat brought something of value to the fraternity through their presence/personality, whereas most people joining fraternities viewed the fraternity itself as conferring status/”coolness” unto them. They were takers more than givers, a point we’ll return to later.
Given that the fraternity itself is just a collection of people, the only way for it to be of value over the long term was, and is, to have a collection of high quality people who brought real value to the organization rather than leeching off the creation of others (there are parallels to economic systems here, which we’ll get to later). We spent a lot of time together, and the people involved were typically there MWFS every week. We didn’t just get drunk together: we went on trips together. We fucked with each other (but did not fuck each other). We encouraged each other. We ate together. There is no substitute to time spent with a person: time is the only non-renewable resource and therefore the most valuable commodity humans can bestow upon each other. This is what makes creating strong bonds/communities post college so much more difficult. The people who were the MOST involved chose to live in the house (~25 out of 100). This made the time spent grow exponentially as we were always together if we were not at classes or the library. Inside jokes, nicknames, stories were all shared between a group of people who became a living breathing organism.
Pledge term is a remarkable experience. While many people hear about older guys torturing younger guys, our pledge term was very well thought out. It was once described to me as “the best fun you’d never want to have again”. Each week we had a different “challenge”. The challenges were difficult, a bit crazy, but relatively safe, and they created a group bonding experience where we all had to overcome some adversity together. You will remember the group you climb Everest with forever. Our “pledge trainers” acted like assholes for an entire semester, but they gave us their time, and upon conclusion of pledge term we realized that they loved us and it was all an act. Group formating means nothing without some challenge and sacrifice (a reason why many female groups have trouble cohering). Everything about the experience was “designed” to create a bond between us and the fraternity. We don’t appreciate things we don’t work for, and the opposite is also true. Most of pledge term was a mindfuck, and we were consistently convinced we were going to have to do truly crazy or disgusting things, but never really did them (for the most part). The brain often can’t distinguish between reality and your imagined reality so just imagining doing these things made us stronger. My takeaways were that: selection of members, living together, time spent, conquering adversity together, vulnerability and sharing ourselves, supporting each other in common goals (fucking chicks and doing well in school), and having the shared responsibility for the organization/physical space (shared equity) made for an incredibly strong community.
After that experience, it was lonely being in the wider world not having 100+ guys who I trusted, had shared wild experiences with, and bonded over many many late nights. Since then, everywhere I have gone I have tried to replicate the things I loved about that organization.
The first question most large companies have to answer when they decide they want to move into a new area is “build or buy?”, and, typically, this is a function of time to market. If they believe the market is growing fast and they definitely want to be in it they will buy what they need (assuming they don’t have capital constraints). If they feel they have longer to enter they might build a new product themselves.
When it comes to community, you might ask yourself the same question, build or buy? By that I mean, do you want to join a pre-existing community, or try and build one yourself? I’ve done both, and have seen the cost and benefits of each. The frat is an example of “buy:” it existed before me and continued to exist after me, and most freshmen can’t build community on their own.
The last community I created was in 2017 and has persisted for four years. People have come and gone, but a core group has stuck around and continues to support and engage with each other. This group was created around a common professional interest, and we wrote up an actual document with our vision for the community and the shared values that differentiated us from the larger industry we all work in. Similar to my fraternity, we had a physical space where we spent time together, and organized trips all around the world to replicate the shared bonding created via unusual and difficult experiences together. We have regular weekly events: there is no substitute for time spent. During the pandemic we’ve moved our meetings into a virtual layer to make sure the lack of physical space didn’t preclude the community from continuing. Consistency is key, and it’s very easy to let the inertia of life prevent you from showing up. Showing up is so rare (particularly in big cities) that just doing that can create meaningful results/communities. Sex clubs & parties function the same way: they only work with repeated shared interactions. Failure to repeat shared interactions lets the community fall apart.
I’ve also spent the last ten years building a hybrid friend/work circle. Anytime I meet someone who is a high-quality person (combination of social + intellectual), I try and get them to spend time with my group of friends. The group of friends is like gravity: the larger the group and the higher density of high quality people the stronger the gravitational pull is when I try and add a new person. They might have other ties that pull them in other directions, but if they’re open to it, and see how valuable and excellent the people in my group are, it’s pretty easy to let gravity work over time. This is similar to the results of compounding interest: the principal grows very slowly at first, but the results compound over time and things get exponentially easier as the principal grows. Get enough money compounding, and you don’t have to worry about money.
Over time everyone sees the value in the network and continues to put time energy and money into maintaining the network itself. It becomes both self sustaining and something that needs very delicate care. It is self sustaining BECAUSE everyone sees how valuable it is and invests time and energy to KEEP it that way. I am lucky in a sense because the city I moved to already had a good starting point of a high density of amazing people, and it’s filled with high quality people who I didn’t know. I’m not sure how this would work in the suburbs, which are bad for game, bad for community, and bad for business. Mine is also a city of transplants so many people are open to meeting new people and looking for people to connect with as opposed to having a default group of friends from high school or college that’s pretty low quality but “good” enough.
How to join an organization
Most of the people I’ve met post-college have fallen into one of two categories: talkers or doers. There’s typically an inverse relationship between how much someone talks about what they’re going to do vs how much “doing” they actually do. Typically, people who plan on doing something just do it, and they don’t spend much energy telling you that they’re going to do it. In looking for new groups, I look for doers, and I am typically willing to be a fast follower. When I see someone doing/starting something I admire, taking economic and social risks, and I can see an asymmetric upside to the venture/group succeeding and limited downside (capped), I always take that bet. Much of the time it doesn’t work, but the times it doesn’t work don’t matter: what matters is when it works. Typically these types of people surround themselves with other people like them and usually fill out the organization with other high-quality people. Quality attracts quality and the reverse is also true (something extremely true, again, in sex clubs and parties). By joining I can get incredible benefits to my life/community/network by just saying YES, and I can create benefits for everyone else: a win-win. Be very careful of people who view life as zero-sum: they’re trying to take something from you, or something from whoever has value. A lot of things that seems risky just aren’t that risky. Join early, learn, contribute and draft off the work of others. If you join something that doesn’t work, cut and move on.
This is very true in the pickup world as well. 99% of people LARP on reddit or Twitter. Some spend their time doing. Neil Strauss’ approach to life has been an inspiration to me: he identifies a topic area of personal growth/interest and dives in. He seeks the top people, or anyone who wants to go really deep and moves in with them, joins their community, and does whatever he can to immerse himself. I was drawn to RQ’s writing because it is clear he is a doer. I don’t do cold approach and have very little interest developing that skill to a high level. But being around doers always increases your surface area of luck. You never know how your life will change in a positive way by just showing up. Once you show up, it’s important to contribute. Don’t be a leech, because doers recognize leeches and swiftly cut them out. If you can’t get high-quality people to pay attention to you, you either aren’t doing enough or are perceived as not adding value. Most people underestimate how much they can contribute, and they assume they are not the MOST expert person on any topic, so they don’t contribute. The reality is the vast majority of people are going to be below you in expertise on any topic you know anything about. You can contribute a ton to all the people travelling the path behind you. RQ was writing about a topic I saw very little written about, and he has a particular set of experiences that worked for him, but he is just an N of 1 in a very large population, and I saw that I could double the perspectives by adding my own. More data points = more ideas of what might work. Take the best pieces and make them your own. But without action nothing matters.
Some people get stuck when they’re fixated on the rewards to being the founder or originator of a group. In many cases, there are uneven social or economic rewards that go to the first person rather than the person who joins right after the founding event. In some cases it’s worth being aware of this but in most cases I see people get stuck worrying about credit rather than optimizing for the value of just joining. Be more concerned with value creation rather than value capture, and you’ll actually maximize value capture.
RQ and I have talked a decent amount about community. It’s a topic that frequently comes up in his writing so I thought I’d share some of my own experiences building and participating in communities.
Some mix of 1. starting your own communities where you don’t see a high value community in the area you’re interested in (social/sexual/professional) and 2. joining communities with high densities of high quality people or new communities with excellent founders is optimal. When you’re young it’s better to join, and as you see how successful communities/orgs are built you can take those lessons and tweak structures to create stuff that is optimized for you. In larger cities, it’s easier to find people who are going to congregate around a topic, idea, or purpose. Choose bigger cities, if you can.
Let’s apply this community framework to sex. Since I entered the non-monogamy world, I’ve craved mentors and community support. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel or make this any harder than I have to, and living an unconventional life is always hard. You get strong pushback from those who feel that your choices are a threat to or judgement of their lives. I had to find my tribe. I started asking people if they’d ever been to sex parties. I started asking people if they had ever explored non-monogamy. First close friends, then acquaintances (using tact, obviously). I scoured the internet: there are always salacious articles about sex parties. Some parties websites that can be easily found. Sex parties have a similar community dynamic to all other communities, and the quality of the people is the most important thing. In this context, quality is roughly a proxy for physical attractiveness, resources, and social skills (particularly amongst men). The founders are almost always women so that they can implicitly advertise that this party is run BY women FOR women. The easiest parties to get into generally require a picture and a woman to come with you (for social proof and keeping a good ratio: guys who are known good will sometimes be invited, but they know how to be cool and not ruin the vibe, skills most guys lack).
These communities prioritize and value openness, diversity and inclusiveness. Sex parties definitely fall into the category of “buy,” not “build” for men. There are other communities that prioritize physical attractiveness and resources. However, you will find that by being a good citizen and contributing you might be extended privileges others will not be. For example, I am allowed to come as a solo man to one community’s parties. I also have been invited into other communities. There is overlap between communities and there are always rungs of exclusivity, and by bringing desirable commodities (social skills, resources, attractive women) and participating in the community over time, you can demonstrate yourself to be a net value to the community and value will be extended to you in return. Reciprocity is key. Another aspect of these communities is that having genuine friendships with women is highly prized. Bringing in women in a sexual context proves one type of transactional sexual validation while having women who bring you around in a social context provides another. I’ve also noticed that a lot of the “work” of running these parties is actually only allocated to those in the inner circle. Setting up the party or working the bar is generally perceived as low value, but in these contexts it’s often a way to demonstrate high value. Only those who are most trusted (especially men) are allowed to contribute to the structure itself.
I started this journey with a very attractive female friend who wanted to explore these worlds with me and, as you might imagine, she was often extended invitations that I was not (we were not having sex, and would bring other sex partners). She would build credibility in new circles and then bring me in. This was invaluable and many things would not have been possible without her help. In exchange, I provided resources, safety, a sounding board, discretion, and a partner in the adventure. In a lot of these communities the line between sex party and dinner party can be thin. Dinner parties can often be vetting nights (which you might not understand as such) for new entrants in the same way every moment of contact you have with a company is an interview until you have the offer in hand. Spending time with people in these communities in a non-sexual context can often lead to invitations to engage in a sexual context.
The skills of community building and friendship extend across many of life’s domains.
Red Quest again: XBTUSD’s point about talkers versus doers is a good one, and this blog has more than 500 posts now. Shit. Which one am I more likely to be?
Some people undoubtedly know more about sex clubs & non-monogamy than I do, but for whatever reason I’m the only person I’m aware of who’s decide to surface information about this world and how it works. Cold approach and daygame are great but also appear to me inefficient and hugely time-consuming, as they’re practiced by many of the guys writing online. I’ve done some of it, more often in places like coffee shops than doing bulk cold approach on the street, but it’s not been a primary modality for me. Should it be for you? Maybe, and the question is whether you can integrate girls or people you meet on the street into some kind of larger form or structure, whether it be a friend circle or something else. I’ve had a lot of success meeting girls, inviting them into the sex club world, and building from there. Many guys writing online seem not to get girls or, if they do, they keep them for a while, lose them or let them go, and have to start again from square 1.
Many guys attracted to this community are alienated loners, and alienated loners have the hardest time building skills and getting laid. If you can’t get past being an alienated loner, chances are you’re not going to have a great life experience. Many of the guys speaking loudest online appear to spend far too much time online and far too little time in the real world.
I’ve found that most clubs/parties are operated by nominal couples, in which the guy does most of the work, but the woman is willing to be the figurehead. The guy, as the host, often gets hot girls to f**k him: it’s a great gig, if you have the temperament for it. I also think it’s possible to build sex parties, and many of them emerge organically from knowing a few couples you want to date all at once, and telling them, “We’re getting a hotel room Friday night, you in?” Building one alone, without a girl, is really hard/unlikely, though.
Further reading: Parties.