A few weeks ago I went over to some “clubs” with some friends (clubs of the sort I expect are dying: it’s something I don’t normally do, but the crowd urged me to go and I went with the crowd (what, it happens sometimes, you never do?)), and the club, despite its reputation and slutty Instagram feed, was strangely grim: too many guys and too few women, and the guys were circling the area, hunting, seemingly, for any hint of female attention. Superficially, a big happy party, but just under the surface, desperation, attention-seeking… the sorts of things any person with modest emotional intelligence could perceive. Perhaps people drink to dull whatever emotional intelligence they have. Without coke, I don’t think these places would exist.
A lot of the people were trying to be sexually successful but would probably be more sexually successful if they quit alcohol, sugar, and other simple carbs.
It’s very hard to fake out many thousands of years of evolution, and humans are pretty good at detecting the health, age, and overall fitness of other humans. From afar, a woman can try to Barbie-fy herself, a man can try to seem like a big man by being loud. The minute a person gets close, the lies seep through. The lie didn’t cover reality effectively.
I like the better parts of the non-monogamy community and world because underneath the surface, most people are pretty pleased to be doing what they’re doing. Obviously there are the usual human foibles, uncertainties, doubts, insecurities, breaking of arrangements / agreements, etc., all things that I’m as susceptible to as the next person, but there’s a fundamental congruity between the surface and sub-surface. The participants (mostly) like each other, and it feels like everyone at a given party or club is in on a big secret, and getting away with something slightly naughty. At conventional “clubs,” people are mostly well-armored against low status, “taking” persons. At the sex parties, people are mostly looking for others to share positive experiences with. There’s little of the underlying darkness, in most cases. There’s some darkness, like when one part of a couple wants to do non-monogamy and the other doesn’t, just as there’s some lightness in “the club.”
For truly beautiful women and truly high-status men, maybe the club can be a good place to mingle. 50 Cent ($.50) has a famous song called “In Da Club,” and I’m sure that when he’s in said club, he’s a famous musician who can get admiration from others and the women he chooses… though he’s also a man who can get that online or via numerous other means. For most of us, the club is a lie we tell ourselves in order to try and live.
Go places where the majority of people are genuinely enjoying themselves, not places where most people are enacting a simulacrum of enjoyment (Disney is weird for the same reason). One thing that seems important to me is individual explanations versus sociological explanations. To understand what’s going on, it helps to see that individual explanations are about an individual’s psychology. You can see this in explanations of Game of Thrones, which seemed like a good TV show until it fell apart… case studies like 10 years after the launch of Game of Thrones, Samuel Miller McDonald looks back at its promising start—and how it all went wrong are right, and it links to another widely read post-mortem about what went wrong. The show was cool because it was about what happens to people in these social/political/whatever strictures… and the way it killed off apparent protagonists made it interesting and different. Plus the tits and all that, also good.
Any individual can, obviously, be interested in group sex or different kinds of sex, but it’s not especially easy to get the idea that this is a plausible path, and, even if you do, it’s hard to execute it successfully. The growth of sex clubs and non-monogamy is a choice made by a bunch of individuals, but it also has sociological implications. The sex clubs seem best in the biggest cities, where most people don’t have a plausible path to long-term housing security and the family + children that “long-term housing security” implies. Home prices have risen 114% since 1960 in real terms, so housing is in fact about twice as expensive, in real terms, than it used to be. Housing issues dominate big city political issues, from schools to homelessness to the gap between rich and poor. New York is the paradigmatic example, but the same issues echo even in medium-sized cities like Nashville or Denver. In those cities, the small number of truly rich buy up whatever they can. There’s a large group of precariously housed poorer people as well, who are living with five people in two or three bedrooms, that sort of thing, with unstable family and romantic relationships too, but almost no one really cares about them, and they’re invisible to the media, which today is composed of wealthy college grads, most of whom are subsidized by their parents or, more rarely, by sex work. Or the media doesn’t really exist any more, outside of NYC, DC, and a few other places. No one wants to pay for media in Denver.
Without a plausible route to having a family, why not experiment sexually, extensively? Why not try the orgy?
Media people, meanwhile, who generate most of the content one reads (or watches, for the illiterate) online, are in a particularly perilous position. Publications are dying, and trying to be a “writer” in a way that made sense between 1945 and 2000 doesn’t make sense any more. So the people most tasked with generating narratives are most precarious, which helps the sense of doom and foreboding that resonates across the media landscape (the right-wing media has this problem too, I will add, just in a different form).
When the media is thrashing on its way to death, what takes over? We do. You, me, whoever else is on Twitter or writing blogs. Some percentage of the population is very interested in sexual experimentation and adventure, and that percentage of the population can more easily find one another now than they (we) used to be able to find one another. We can form our own sub-cultures, organize our own parties and events, and opt-out of “da club” or whatever else it is mainstream people like or pretend to like. We’re now the media we want to read. Red Quest has has 36,000 unique readers and 84,000 unique pageviews so far this year: tiny numbers, and down substantially from 2019 and 2020, but much larger than zero. And I’m getting a steady stream of contacts , via twitter DMs and this site’s contact form, talking about implementing these ideas.
(For a view contrary to mine, check out Default_Friend’s The coming wave of sex negativity.)
Eugene Wei has a long but extremely engrossing essay covering these topics, and it’s better than what I write, so read it and contemplate. Xbtusd linked me to Status as a Service, and ever since, it’s been in my mind, like a pop song might lodge in the mind of a twelve-year old. It’s about status, technology, and many other topics, and the way status links up with reproduction, or delayed reproduction, is an essential part of human life, and probably always has been. For these purposes, the key element is that high housing costs make it hard to feel like you can afford families.
Meanwhile, status games shift over time, a thing most obvious with high school status politics, where sports players are often the highest-status people, but, by the time college ends, no one cares much about your basketball feats. Today, Instagram followers and interactions seem to be key elements of middle and high school status, maybe college too. In most high schools, early reproduction destroys status. Sports and instagram seem key to status in high school and maybe college. Career becomes key to status around age 25. For women, being hot seems like a status key between puberty and perhaps age 30 (although being hot relative to age is obviously always nice).
Especially among women, status games shift again between ages 25 and 30, in most cases. By 25 or 26, there’s a good chance that some woman in a woman’s friendship group will have gotten married and/or had a baby, generating excitement (but also some resentment and envy) among the group. Even the hottest woman of a group will be marginalized over time if she overplays her hand, keeps waiting for a mythical “Mr. Right,” and parties while her friends are getting married or having kids. And if you’re going to party, why not party with the hot guy who says, “Want to try something hot, that you’ve never done before?”
Single women, meanwhile, will find their friendships with married women or women with kids become attenuated. The woman with kids is not super eager for her hot single friends to be around her husband. The single woman will find she has less in common with her more boring, child-encumbered friends. The women with kids will look with pity on the single women, who are still playing the narcissism game.
A lot of these dynamics are now obvious to me because I’ve seen the whole cycle: I’ve also slept with plenty of women ranging in age from “barely legal” to “40s,” giving me a wide perspective on perspectives. In cities where dating markets are thinner and housing less expensive, becoming a parent is easier and more functional. In cities like New York or L.A., that is so expensive that a lot of people think, “let’s slut around a bit.” Many of the biggest cities also have skewed dating ratios. As a consequence, there’s never been a better time to be a player.
The club world is dark because there is always a supply-demand mismatch between male desire for hot chicks, and the available number of hot chicks. And most chicks realize how stupid the “club” is relatively early. And when her first friend has a solid relationship and baby, the appeal of the club world will decline further. The status game changes, and the status from being the hot girl at the club is never great to begin with.