Non-monogamy and polyamory’s dark sides

Bo Winegard tweets,

Educated elites who believe that polyamory can be practiced and enjoyed by most of the population remind me of the math professor who believes differential equations are within the grasp of anyone who makes a serious attempt at learning.

There exists compelling research that normative monogamy is beneficial and leads to myriad positive social externalities.

Polyamory is fine as a niche relationship modality, practiced mostly among the extremely WEIRD [Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic].

He’s right, particularly regarding people who want real families (a topic we’ll come back to in a moment). Despite what you’ve read here, I buy this Bo Winegard argument… we’re also not willing as a society to have an honest conversation about what’s happening below the IQ median. The people driving the conversation at the top really don’t have any idea what’s happening down there, and choose deliberately not to. They don’t really understand what it’s like to not have the cognitive capacity to get top-end jobs or have the conversations non-monogamous people need if their relationships are going to survive.

Nash follows up with…

“Burning Man style: POLYAMORY is more standard than monogamy. Men get the variety they want. They think sharing their women and it’s a ‘form of love evolution’ (they are no longer jealous), but what is happening is it pretty much destroys most of those relationships.”

“In ‘Burning Man’ it’s fine to take off your clothes and dance around really sexually. If you were at your grandma’s house having dinner (or around children), and you did that, would it ‘open everyone’s heart?’ Or would it create a fiasco? It would create a fiasco.”

Those are from David Deida talks. Deida’s more right than wrong, right now… poly/open is a fiasco in all instances except, basically, as casual sex, which is how I do them. Some light swinging can work too, especially in very long term relationships (that get stale and need some more heat). A very small number of people can really do them as described. Mostly, “poly” and “open” are about rationalizing casual sex (which is how I use it… because it’s a form of normalizing and institutionalizing casual sex for me, I don’t get caught up on the terminology). In that post from two years ago, Nash said, “for me the ‘poly’ community is a fucking mess. I live in CA and I am surrounded by these folks… and it’s an ugly shitshow. I watch guys ‘try’ this all the time, and they are a fucking sad bunch, mostly.” “Mostly” he’s right. The guys doing this at the higher end are also focused on one guy and two women, and they often don’t highly advertise what they’re doing. Most top guys don’t want to advertise what they’re doing. A lot of chicks also don’t want to come out as sharing a guy with another chick.

Poly and open are (mostly) a disaster for people who really want families, cause kids are challenging enough w/o all that adult drama. For most people, in effect, poly is a way to f**k around, avoid commitment (avoidant attachment styles are everywhere in open relationships), and enjoy sexual novelty… things I have tended to enjoy… most guys don’t want to raise another man’s child (and won’t) and most chicks aren’t eager to raise another woman’s child (but might if the guy is good enough). People in “poly” relationships who think they’re going to “have a child” together usually discover that infants and toddlers are a lot of work, reduce the amount of sex had (for a couple years), and are a lot less “fun” (though often joyful…). So… there’s a strong tendency to split. Find someone new, unencumbered. Repeat this process enough and you get the epidemic of lonely old people we see in western societies. Even married couples tend to have problems adjusting to kids. The woman’s body often goes to hell, for months if not forever… having kids is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but almost no one will do it for kids who aren’t theirs. A lot of women also peak in their late 20s and men in their late 30s, so there’s that mismatch, which can fuel jealousy. Some people out there appear to experience no or very little jealousy… with the Internet, they can find each other and also proselytize for open relationships, in a way that wasn’t possible before the Internet. The Internet lets us learn things and share them widely and also anonymously, and we can learn things we’d never publish in a newspaper or say on TV. 

In my own case… I’ve liked f**king around… and as I point out in the book, “open” relationships, “poly,” sex clubs… they’re a way to f**k around while retaining the girl, or the primary girl, cause most girls will want to define the relationship with the guy they’re f**king, relatively quickly. They’ll want to “lock him down” if you prefer that terminology (I often don’t, but girls use it). This is a way to keep a girl around, offer her super exciting experiences, but still have some of the prowl. For a guy who wants to be a player, this can be a powerful ideology and frame. I don’t want to pretend it doesn’t have huge costs, though. Many “poly” advocates are simply delusional about its costs, particularly in terms of family and children. Human societies are organized around family and kinship for good reasons. We’ve spent the last bunch of centuries trying to reorient around strangers and material goods. This has some good things associated with it but it has some costs, too. We’ve decided to elevate the individual over the family or community… which has some nice features… and some bad ones… we’re almost never willing to even state directly that this has happened.

There’s an argument kicking around the evolutionary biology communities, that intelligence didn’t really evolve to solve problems or be objectively “right,” but to form group coalitions and support a given narrative. That may be why “intelligent” people in an IQ sense may be better at self-delusion and maintaining narratives than less intelligent people. We see this especially in places like politics, where most people prefer tribe to knowledge. High-IQ poly people can convince themselves and sometimes others of their narrative, without having the desire to question their own narrative or discover what’s “underneath” it. The higher their IQ, the more “reasons” and rationalizations they can come up with. And many of those reasons are real… in specific circumstances. 

Poly is probably bad for societies, because it creates male winner-take-most systems. But as people become more individualistic and ever-less connected to family and place, we’re seeing the rise of alternate relationships styles. Like old-school Roissy used to say, “enjoy the decline.” Or figure out how to make it work. And there are also plenty of chicks out there who aren’t participating in the modern mating game… but they’re not the ones on the apps, out in bars, etc. They’re probably already in a relationship and meet men through family, school, and friends. They’re the girls who, if you’re not serious about a relationship and family, will disappear right away. Who will stick around if you’re not? That’s where the game comes from.

 

How many women are open to sex parties and partner swapping? [intermediate/advanced]

This is intermediate and advanced shit that beginners shouldn’t be reading. If you don’t have regular girls on rotation, go read something else.

Nash and I have a dialogue about women’s propensities towards group sex in the comments section of Women want to follow your lead: a story about a woman presenting two ways:

So you think 75% of women are open to sex parties and partner swapping?

Wow.

I’m tempted to argue… But I trust your POV on this topic. And, I am likely one of the guys that “doesn’t get it” in this regard.

And I know every girl likes to be choked. Like 98%. And I’ve seen guys surprised by that, when it’s totally normal for me.

Is it 75%? I don’t know and it’s hard to say. If you did a survey, I bet only something like 10% of women be willing to say that they’re open to group sex. I’ve said this before, but of the women I’ve propositioned for a club or party, about 25% have been eager and excited, about 50% uncertain, and about 25% have had been a hard “no,” which usually precipitates a breakup because I’m not willing to be monogamous again.

But that’s about 75% of the women I’ve already been sleeping with long enough to ask the question… so it’s not a random sample at all. Chicks who are very reserved, very sex negative, very interested in monogamy, and very unwilling to have pretty quick sex don’t like me and I don’t like them. They are out there, but you never read about them in pickup writing because they don’t respond to street come-ons and online they’re very slow-moving. I filter out prudes, hard, though this is not the same thing as filtering out girls who might take some time.

So I don’t know how many women are open to sex parties. I’m 100% sure, however, that far more women are interested than would admit it in public or to their boyfriends. As I write in Status/coolness first, THEN evangelize for whatever the thing is, if the girl perceives you as cool and desirable, she’ll be more open to going than if she perceives as you barely on her level. This goes not just for sex clubs but also for gyms (working out) and whatever else you want to do.

Many women who initially say “no” will come around to it or be willing to experiment with baby steps. First they say no. Then they agree to go to one but do not want to touch or play with others. And then it slowly amps up, particularly if you can get her in the environment, which, if it has cool/hot people in it, is intoxicating. We’re herd animals and if the girl thinks, “Oh, everyone else around me is nude and getting each other off,” then she’ll think it’s okay and she’ll go for it. All players are familiar with the slow-steps process… so is any guy who ever dated a girl in high school or just an experienced girl. Most chicks won’t jump straight into things and need some lead-up and then some processing time. The processing time is important because she needs a guy to tell her she’s still a nice girl, she’s not a slut, she’s still loved, she’s not being evicted from the tribe, etc.

Women also like to follow. So a lot of women who have already invested in a guy and who are used to the guy leading will be open. The most common reaction I’ve gotten to women who’ve gone with me to a club or party is, “I never thought I would do that!!!! OMG!!!!” Some experience sub drop the next day, so care and reassurance is important. Most chicks have no internal feeling gauges so they need a man to reassure and lead them.

And of course most women who go to sex clubs will then lie to their future boyfriends and husbands about them, for the obvious reasons.

I’m guessing that most women who are willing to be picked up on the street would also be willing to go to a sex club.

Then Nash said,

I can say that most women I’ve picked up HAVE been to a strip club. Not the same as a sex club, but it’s true. And about 50% of girls I’ve asked are very clear what kind of girl they would pick out at a strip club (that’s a fun question to ask a girl).

>> Hard to say. Probably if you did a survey, only 10% of women be willing to say that they’re open.

Mostly… we never care what women say when asked directly. Particularly in a group/public setting. It’s more about if you get them in the right mood… what might they say.

A woman’s “truth” changes like the wind. You have to catch her in the right moment to know her potential.

>> I’m 100% sure, however, that far more women are interested than would admit it in public or to their boyfriends.

Another game I play sometimes with women is to talk about 3somes, but turn the question around. I’ll tell a girl that most guys have fantasized about being w/ two girls. And then I say, “but most guys don’t think much about a girl being w/ two guys.” And then, I’ll ask if she’s ever fantasized about that. Again, hard to say if the answer you get is real…

I’m not into “MMF” 3somes myself, but it’s a way to get into the grit of a girls sexual mind.

But this leads me to a similar place in our understanding of women’s minds/sexualitites… would she like to be DP’d? Would she go to a sex club… and swap partners? The truth is guaranteed to be that this is all more common than most men would expect.

But I think your “women like to follow” comment is very much on point. Without a man to work out logistics and to push for it… the super kinky stuff is less likely to happen.

That strip club question is good. I’m not a strip club person and think I’ve only gone with women in tow, because strip clubs are expensive and not very gratifying, so once I got into the sex clubs, BDSM clubs, and adjacent worlds I pretty much stopped going. Lots of strippers go to sex positive events anyway, so I can meet them outside of work.

I personally would prefer FMF threesomes, like pretty much every straight guy, but I have a male “threesome buddy” (sounds gay but isn’t) who I tend to trade chicks with. When I have a chick who wants a threesome with two dudes, I get my buddy to meet up and if everyone clicks we do it.

He does the same w/ me.

It’s a pretty baller move because most chicks are too scared to accomplish any of the things they really want. So they find a guy who makes it happen for them and they’re amazed.

But my real goal is a kind of “trade:” MFM for FMF. It doesn’t always work. Lots of chicks back out. It helps to say, “Which of your female friends do you most want to have a threesome with?” A guy can’t make it an iron-clad contract because chicks don’t think that way. But a guy can do a trade-off thing. It’s also possible to pickup a third chick together (I’ve done that).

Most of these things require deft male leadership. The guy can’t be too pushy but he also can’t be a wet noodle. Most chicks need to ease into kinky stuff. Not all. I’ve also seen chicks just go into feral beast mode the moment they’re set loose in a swingers club. A typical girl needs some comfort and slow escalation.

It’s not that different from pickup or online dating… some women will just do a one-drink-then-fuck, or a same-day lay, but typically they need some comfort as well as cocky-funny. It pays to play to the typical experience unless a given woman demonstrates otherwise via her words or her extreme compliance.

There is also the question of why do this at all? I do it firstly because I think group sex is hot. Secondly I’m not interested in monogamy, probably ever, and I don’t think it’s practical for most people today. Most people who proclaim that they’re monogamists are actually serial monogamists / serial polygamists, so their “monogamy” is only time-limited anyway. Lots of chicks really dig it too and they fantasize about it, so let’s be cool and make it happen.

Mostly I do it for me. Most people lie about their sex lives and desires. They get frustrated with their partners because their partners are lying too. In my view this short-circuits most of the lying.

If you want to know why people are tuned to lie to themselves, there is a new book, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, covering it. I’m starting to recommend it to chicks, but of course most chicks are too addled by their smartphones to read an entire book.

In short, most women are probably open to some kind of group sex experience but they need a guy to lead to make it happen. Kinda like everything else in intersex dynamics.