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The Relationship & Sex Dilemmas

The Relationship & Sex Dilemmas

Imagine a scenario where a man has an incentive to lie to you. You might ask internally whether he is going to lie to you or not lie to you; but there is another useful question that may occur to you: is he aware that I know of this incentive?

Imagine a scenario where you have an incentive to lie. Whether you lie or not, it may be useful to wonder if others are aware that you have this incentive. If they are aware, you not only need to be honest, but you also need to be able to prove your honesty.

We will not necessarily be exposing when people lie, but when it is in their interests to lie, which is a crucial distinction that affects the decisions of all parties involved.

The Choice

a man must choose to stay or to leave. A woman must choose to abstain or to not.

A woman's interest in terms of a man is a relationship with him. A man's interest in terms of a woman is sex with her. Since there is a potential benefit to coordinating one another's actions with each other, game theory can be applied. That is, each player will have a choice between various actions and a subsequent consequence to those actions. Each player is affected by his own actions as well as the other player's actions. Thus, consequences are a superposition of all players' actions.

The woman's actions will be her means to obtain her ends (a relationship). Since she is affected by the other player, she has to consider what a man's interest is in her. That is, she has to consider sex. Therefore, to obtain her ends of a relationship, she can choose to have sex or to wait. a A similar analysis applies to the man, in which case he has the options to leave her or to not leave her in order to obtain his ends of sex. a

If we consider the interest of the woman, then the man choosing to stay (bottom row) is beneficial to her while the man choosing to leave (top row) is a loss to her. If we consider the interest of the man, the woman choosing to wait (left column) is a loss to him while the woman choosing to have sex (right column) is beneficial to him. There is a consequence that is a mutual deficit, a consequence that is a mutual benefit, and two consequences where one gains and another loses.

In short, a man must choose to stay or to leave. A woman must choose to abstain or to not. The "game" is presented whenever a man and a woman have the option to have sex, so within the course of their pursuit (dating or courtship) of one another, the game may be played once, several times, or several hundred times. Note that it ends when one opts out of the game, which is usually the man not opening up a relationship to the woman or the woman believing she can obtain a relationship with a higher valued man.

The Dilemma(s)

Her dilemma is one of a race against time while navigating a landscape of (intention) deception... His dilemma is one of the harsh brutality of competition needed to become capable while navigating a landscape of (history) deception.

As of now, we merely have two options for each player, which is hardly a dilemma. A dilemma is a type of choice that occurs when two or more options are mutually exclusive and each has a comparable cost to them. The relationship dilemma only reveals itself in its entirety when we consider many subsequent games with many different players.

From the woman's perspective, she wants a relationship with the man, and she wants that relationship with the highest value of man that she can obtain at the moment. Let us consider what happens after many games.

If she chooses to have sex in the hopes that he will stay, yet he doesn't, then no relationship occurs, yet she has satisfied the interest of this man who then leaves. If the next man is aware, or even suspects this, then he will value her less in terms of a relationship. b Thus, since she wants a relationship with the highest (in terms of subjective value) possible man that will value her in return, the pool of men who value her enough for a relationship will be smaller in the next game. If she continues to satisfy the interests of men in subsequent games, she will end up with a smaller pool to choose from each time as fewer men will consider her for a relationship. This is what is meant by the (not entirely true) red pill statement that "a woman preserves her value". The truth must consider the subjective nature of value and thus be modified to: men subjectively value women who abstain more than women who do not. If this were not true, the entire notion of a relationship would be discarded as there would be no need for men to vet candidates based on their sex history. For a man, the purpose of a relationship is to ensure that he alone has (and will continue to have) sex with a woman, thereby giving up his access to all other women available to him as long as she has higher value (to him) than all other women within his pool.

The cost of having sex (not abstaining) for the woman is a decrease to her pool of suitors. She may encounter more suitors in a given amount of time since she is not waiting (waiting is time consuming), but she gives up access to higher valued suitors who have the option of more virtuous women once she has had sex. Given this cost to having sex, why would she even choose this option? The answer is that the act of abstaining also has a cost.

If she chooses to wait she does so at the expense of time. The cost of waiting is obviously time - the possibility of encountering other suitors. The more time she waits on a suitor, the less time she is spending looking for other suitors. The tragedy of her dilemma is that she can be aware of her options and make choices accordingly, yet still lose if a man successfully deceives her into believing that she can have a relationship with him. This can even occur once courtship is over and a relationship has long been established, meaning her task is to successfully psycho-analyze her suitor. Furthermore, since men are often looking for a young woman who is also virtuous, a woman must ensure the man becomes bonded to her, before having sex, and she needs to do this as quickly as possible, since time (youth) is of the essence. It is in a man's interests to have sex with many beautiful women, so if she has sex with him before he is emotionally attached to her, he will leave to other pursuits. Thus, she must abstain long enough that he becomes attached while also not falling for his guiles of attachment in the meantime. It is in his interests to convince her that he is attached when he is not!

If she does not abstain, she decreases her pool of available suitors. If she does abstain, she risks time and youth. In other words, she must decide to encounter many suitors, or invest more time in a small number of suitors; and all the while, she must be able to discern between attachment and deception.

Her dilemma is one of a race against time while navigating a landscape of (intention) deception.

From the man's perspective, if he wants sex from a woman, he must be valued by her in terms of a relationship. Similar from the woman's perspective, the pool of women available to him is not captured in a single snapshot (game theory: a single instance of courtship between him and a woman). Of the many traits that women consider in their subjective valuation of men, the [seemingly] ubiquitous trait that women consider is experience. Thus, the red pill observation that "a man creates his value" stems from this trait that women value in men. He can increase the size of the pool of women willing to date him by becoming more capable.

Thus, in a more dynamic process of game theorizing, he has two approaches to obtain his interest (sex); and note that him becoming bonded to a woman is a consequence of him playing the game and reacting to her strategies. His two approaches are to obtain sex now or not play the game at all in order to "work on himself," as the popular expression goes. These two strategies will be chosen or blended depending on his time preferences. Note that this is the first time I have mentioned a player not playing the game at all, which can also be interpreted as him perpetually leaving (every potential match) and in her case, perpetually abstaining (from every potential match). In the man's case, if he does this to become more knowledgeable and capable, then when he returns to the game, he will have a larger pool of available women from which to play the game. Thus, he sacrifices his interests (sex) now to satisfy those interests to a greater extent (sex with more valuable women) later. If a man has any worth at all, it must be earned in the harsh reality of competition and conflict among other men.

The man also has a landscape of deception to navigate similar to the woman's. Where she must navigate through lies of attachment, he must navigate lies of chastity. If he wants a virtuous woman, and a woman knows this, then it is in her interests to lie about her chastity. After all, "I'm not like other girls" or "I've never done this before" are the current forms of this lie which he must navigate.

His dilemma is one of the harsh brutality of competition needed to become capable while navigating a landscape of (history) deception.

In light of her own unique interest in lying, let us return to the dilemma of the woman. She and the man have another dilemma that mirrors one another. The man may have profound feelings towards the woman, but since she is aware that he has an interest in lying about this, how does he convince her of the truth? Furthermore, another suitor's lies may be more convincing than his honesty, and he could very well lose to a competitor. Likewise, if it is in her interests to lie about her virtues, then so too is it in the interests of other women to lie about their virtues as well. She is in direct competition with these women, after all, so their very lies can result in her losing a suitor to them. Note that even if she always abstains from sex, if this process happens in private, then other suitors only have her word that she abstained. With the knowledge that it is in her interests to lie about such matters, they are unlikely to believe her when she claims that she abstained from the last suitor(s). Thus, the winners in the game are simply better at lying or more persuasive of the truth - merely words! If players want to judge one another by actions and transcend persuasion, they need to change the game.

The Better Strategy - Breaking the Game

the winners in the game are simply better at lying or more persuasive of the truth - merely words! If players want to judge one another by actions and transcend persuasion, they need to change the game.

The Woman

The woman must not necessarily choose between abstaining and not abstaining. She must choose between (a) abstaining privately, (b) abstaining publicly, and (c) not abstaining. c In other words, if she chooses to abstain, she must choose between doing so privately or publicly. By this, I mean that she must choose to either be alone with him and abstain, or to never be alone with him (that is, until a relationship has been reasonably established). Note that the options of (a) abstaining privately and (c) not abstaining have similar consequences. Since other suitors will suspect that she was alone with another suitor, they have reasonable doubts as to her chastity. This is the privacy risk for the woman. Since it is in her interests to lie about such matters, she is likely to claim that she abstained in either scenario. If she abstains privately, her word alone would be the only shield to defend her honor, and only the naive allow words rather than actions to build trust (there is a reason I did not explicitly include lying in the model d). Thus, even by choosing the long-term strategy [incorrectly], she may face the consequences reserved of the short-term strategy (having sex with him).

If she has shorter time preferences (does not to wait longer than some subjective period of time per suitor), then it is in her interests to not abstain and hope that he stays (= relationship). Though of course, she risks her value to other suitors as a result.

If she has longer time preferences and wishes to "preserve her value" (invested in a smaller quantity but likely higher status suitors), then it is in her interests to abstain publicly. Note that abstaining privately may entail the very virtues that suitors are interested in, but it has the same consequences as not abstaining. Only by making her dates public and not being alone with him can she ensure that she will not be wrongfully accused of lying about her history.

Her two decisions are public courtship or to not abstain.

The Man

all men must sacrifice quantity for quality or quality for quantity

The women that choose the public courtship version of abstaining are satisfying the interests of the men that have longer time preferences (sex with a high value woman that requires more time). These women either have to have a community of people willing to vouch for her honor or these women have to be adept deceivers. In either case, the women who choose this time-consuming strategy do so in the hopes of being valuable enough that a high value man will choose them over all competitors, which is what a relationship means in theory.

Thus, the man's strategy in the long term is to acquire expertise, resourcefulness, and an index of exchanges (economically or personally) as proof that his word is to be trusted. Only then can a virtuous woman believe him when he promises a relationship and attachment to her.

The women that choose to not abstain are satisfying the interests of the men that have shorter time preferences (sex with many women). Note that in both cases, a promise of a relationship is still required. Even in the latter scenario of reckless women, they only have sex with a man with the expectation that he will permit a relationship to occur, albeit it a short term relationship much of the time. To the extent to which they are not reckless will determine the extent to which he must be capable of convincing them that he is bonded with them.

Thus, the man's strategy in the short term is that of the beguiling salesman. He must hone the art of deception. Note that if he encounters a woman higher in status than what he reasonably expects to be able to bed, he may have an incentive to pursue ends with longer time preferences. However, if he has chosen the short term and has played the game to such an extent that it has consumed much of his time, then he will lack the time-consuming expertise and resourcefulness required to gain the attention of such a woman. Other men, who have been playing the long-term game longer will be more capable than him.

Thus, all men must sacrifice quantity for quality or quality for quantity.

The New (Old) Game

The very process of publicly abstaining is a courtship requiring a community around the woman which is known as arranged marriages, often confused in The West with forced marriages. It requires a personal community for a woman to gain knowledge of a suitor while simultaneously avoiding having her history questioned by other suitors. Only in this way, with close advisors (likely family) can she benefit from the process of getting to know a man without the risks of being alone with him. Furthermore, regardless of her choice in strategy, she is still bound by a time constraint. If she only picks from the top of the pool (which she would as that is in her interests), she can still only be courted by a small number of them. A community that has her interests at heart is, by definition, more brain power devoted to maximizing the efficiency of her time.

Note that there are possibly an infinite ways of going about this process. The very act of asking for the father's blessing is a limited version of arrangement, after all. The process of meeting the approval of a woman's friends is another. The arrangement can even start earlier than public courtship via the family or friends vetting possible candidates and scheduling meetings between the two players, thus maximizing the use of the woman's time, rather than her having to find suitors on her own. The ways of going about this can be extensive and planned years in advance, with varying degrees to how involved the woman and her community is, or it can be as quick as asking for her father's blessing.

The purpose of arranging the courtship, including vetting and monitoring candidates and potential candidates as well as the process of only publicly dating is to minimize the risks to each player. The woman has an interest in lying about her history while the man has an interest in lying about his intentions. Thus, to protect her from the false promise of a relationship, the woman needs a vetting process more powerful than what she is solely capable of. Likewise, to protect the man's interest in chastity, he needs a trusted process to ensure her virtues beyond simply her word.

Of course, for players that choose short-term strategies - having sex for her and playing multiple games for him - they need only continue as they are as arrangement would only hinder them.

It is interesting to note that game theory has one flaw of which it will ever be bound to - the inability to predict innovation. Innovation originates in the individual, quite spontaneously. Innovation is the discovery of new knowledge, while theory can only make use of current knowledge. A new way of coordinating with others is new knowledge - innovation. While game theory has been applied here, a player can always break the game by coordinating in ways unimagined when the game was initially set up.


a Since we have framed this as an act x or not x, then all possible actions of the player will technically be captured by the dichotomy of x and not x. Note that the reason game theory has failed so far in terms of sex and relationships is because theorists have failed to adequately capture the choices of the participants. I believe those choices have finally been captured.

b Value is subjective, and it is a generalized observation that one of the traits that men consider in their valuation of a woman is chastity.

c I did not produce the 6-grid game theory model for this addition, but feel free to draw it out on your own.

d A man chooses to stay or to leave. He can lie and claim that he is attached to her, in which case, he stays. He can not lie and stay. He can lie about being attached but leave. He can honestly tell her that he is attached and still leave for other reasons. Likewise, a woman can perform all of her available actions and do so in earnest or lie about her history. The options available to each remain the same regardless. In fact,