Pity The Sex Starved

Imaging smelling good food you know that you cannot eat.  This is probably a pleasant experience, if you’ve had enough other good food to eat lately.  But it might be a painful experience if you were starving, or had long been living on a bland diet of rice and beans.

Similarly, being around attractive sexy people is often a pleasant experience, but probably feels quite different when it is clear to all that you have zero chance of attracting them, and if you feel severely deprived of satisfying sex.  And while our society is rich enough that few starve for food anymore, wealth is much less able to prevent sexual starvation.

So our society has far more sex-starved than food-starved folks.  Yet it is far more acceptable to publicly lament the plight of the food starved than the sex starved.  Signaling compassion is not about helping the needy.

GD Star Rating
loading...
Tagged as: , ,
Trackback URL:
  • Pyramid Head

    People won’t die or become human skeletons when deprived of sex. Although I usually agree with your signalling explanations, I really *do* care more about starving people than the sex-deprived…

    And regarding wealth, rich folks tend to have much better sex lives (at least as far as partner-attractiveness is concerned) than poor folk.

    • Gil

      I sure everyone knows a “need” is defined as “without it you will die”. Hence we know this limits all needs to: clean water, decent food, some clothes and some shelter.

      • http://www.facebook.com/adil.bennuto Adil Bennuto

        The sad truth is you can chat to a woman and know she’ll be in bed with another man tonight. Food is a necessity, and the psychology behind sex is its a service such as porn and escorts for the depraved and poor, on the other hand a woman may feel sorry for you and not look at you that way, whats going through her mind is hes underliterate, doesn’t have any money so on that basis i feel sorry for him but he’s got no chance with me because no woman wants a man whos not better off than her. A bunch of guys just looked at her, so she shows off on camera, where shes getting paid for it. Thats all there is to it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/adil.bennuto Adil Bennuto

        I mean we’re all talking about womans rights here as sex slaves, not really thats not true they get paid, i have to disagree my friend. In actuality porn and escorts are a legal loophole in the law presented as a form of slavery for depraved and poor individuals, so if you give in to porn or escorts then you’ve been a victim of slavery.

  • Someone from the other side

    > And while our society is rich enough that few starve for food anymore, wealth is much less able to prevent sexual starvation.

    That may at most be true for places that prohibit prostitution and people who abide that law. (but even there I am not sure I agree)

    As for the rest of them it might hold if you add romance or affection to it.

  • A.

    Sex-starved people can masturbate. There is no “food masturbation” for food-starved folks. The difference between masturbating and sex is much smaller than the difference between eating real food and eating non-nutritional objects.

    • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

      Diogenes beat you to that analogy.

      This post seems to be a repeat. I believe in the previous one people pointed out some Scandinavian governments that do provide sex to disabled people.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Overcoming Bias : Pity The Sex Starved -- Topsy.com

  • Ryan

    “And regarding wealth, rich folks tend to have much better sex lives (at least as far as partner-attractiveness is concerned) than poor folk.”

    LOL. Who is this person who thinks that partner-attractiveness correlates to having a good sex life???

    It seems like this post invites us to imagine an alternate world (perhaps a Brave New one) where we feel bad that someone hasn’t had sex in a long time, so we give it to them to make them feel better.

    I think this would only happen in a world with a lot fewer, more serious problems.

  • http://jaltcoh.blogspot.com jaltcoh.blogspot.com

    Signaling compassion is not about helping the needy.

    That is true by definition. But your example doesn’t really illustrate the truism.

    When we talk about compassion toward “hungry” people, we aren’t mainly talking about people who are around nice-smelling food and can’t eat it.

    OK, that situation might arise sometimes. I know someone who was in a hospital room and couldn’t eat while nurses were having a pizza party just outside his room in the middle of the night. He told me about having trouble sleeping while smelling the pizza. Of course, I did feel sorry for him. I’m a vegetarian, and if I go to a party where all the food served has meat in it, people might feel sorry for me.

    But those aren’t the kinds of things we normally mean when we talk about the grave importance of “feeding the hungry.” That term is supposed to mean helping people who actually aren’t getting enough food to be healthy. You’re using the fallacy of equivocation by invoking two different meanings of “hungry” — the “gee, I really feel like eating dinner now” meaning vs. the “severely malnourished children in Africa who are in desperate need of aid” meaning.

    Now, you could tweak your argument and say: maybe people aren’t getting enough sex to be minimally healthy. But how would that make sense? Can’t one live a fine life while being celibate? More to the point, sex often makes people less healthy (through STDs) or makes their lives less enjoyable (because they have unwanted children or get abortions, both of which I’ve heard are not very fun experiences). In general, sex is a highly risky activity that society grudgingly accepts because there’s no decent way to stop it. We hardly need to encourage people to have more sex, when if anything they should be having less.

    • Jess Riedel

      Here’s a rephrasing of jaltcoh’s point: we only show sympathy for the *starving* (in the sense of health danger), not for the people who can’t afford tasty food. I don’t see any late-night infomercials begging you to help Bob in Nebraska afford caviar. Not having good (or any) sex is analogous to not having caviar, and there is simply no sexual analog to starving to death.

      • Gil

        How about a “offspring death” of the individuals who will have no descendants?

  • http://jaltcoh.blogspot.com jaltcoh.blogspot.com

    Another obvious flaw in your analogy: food (at least vegetarian food!) never has feelings. A person you have sex with does.

    If I’m invited to an exclusive “food party,” and I show up and there are 10 guests and plenty of food to serve all of us, I may have a reasonable claim that I’m entitled to eat some of that food. The other 9 people wouldn’t seem to have the right to split the food just amongst themselves and leave me out. But if I go to an exclusive “orgy party” with 10 guests, I can’t claim an entitlement to have sex with anyone there. If I were to have a right to have sex with Mary, then Mary would have no right to refuse. So for me to truly exercise my right would be to commit rape. But I can’t have a right to commit a crime.

  • Pingback: World Spinner

  • Lowrie Glasgow

    What rights, flexibility, options, limitations and freedom does a caregiver or healthcare provider have in relation to the invalid , patient, prisoner, and/or incompacitated individual? What is proper to do in providing ‘this need’ ?

  • http://www.nancybuttons.com Nancy Lebovitz

    Has there been a shift in how pretty people need to be to think of themselves and others as appropriate for sex? I think there has been, as shown by a decline of the secondary love story in popular art.

    As far as I know, there was a time (think Shakespeare and Mozart) where, at least in comedies, it was normal for part of the happy ending to be marriages for both a pair of high status characters and a pair of low status characters.

    Also, I think the idea that sex between non-pretty people (fat and/or old) is revolting is pretty recent.

    • Douglas Knight

      While I think it plausible that there has been a shift, I don’t agree with your evidence. Are low class characters not pretty? (But I can think of old couples, like in HMS Pinafore.)

      I suspect the change in plots is more about change in media than taste. Perhaps the secondary love story was only ever on the stage? Perhaps it has to do with ensemble casting and didn’t carry over to the movies? Was it ever in novels? I think that novels and movies are more likely to follow a single character.

  • Jess Riedel

    Signaling compassion is not about helping the needy.

    (As jaltcoh pointed out, you must have meant to omit the word “compassion”.)

    I think this kind of conclusion (which you are fond of) often rests on assumptions about people’s morality, in particular that they are utilitarians. Yes, if you think people deserve sympathy based stricktly on how many of their desires are fulfilled, things will seems quite hypocritical. But if you take into account the fact that most people act roughly in accordance with a deotological philosophy, this isn’t so surprising.

    What evidence do you have to distinguish between these two explanations?

  • http://panuhorsmalahti.fi Panu Horsmalahti

    Involuntary celibacy is a large problem in our society, and I predict the future will look back at us and be horrified at the general attitude towards the problem: sneering. Of course, politicians will not talk about the problem, because it’s not a very good way to gather support (and I’ve noticed this as a candidate in the upcoming elections). The usual solution is to blame the sex-starved people. Of course, if you’re dealing with the problems of alcoholism, addiction, anorexia etc it’s not politically correct to blame the sufferers of these problems.

    • Salem

      I think the problem is that Robin chose an unwise analogy, in food. How about if, instead, we chose literature. In the UK, one of the government’s measures of poverty is not having access to books. Literature is not essential to life like food, rather it is a luxury that may enrich someone’s quality of life. In this respect it is a good analogy to sex. If we were to hear that some people had no access to reading materials, we would likely send them books. If we were to hear that some people had no access to sex, we would likely laugh. Or, if you like, take it away from sex, and just make it friendship. “X has no job” garners sympathy. “X has no friends” garners mockery.

      I think it is a powerful argument against the majority of progressive/egalitarian thinking. If you really believe in positive rights, equality of opportunity, etc, why do you restrict them only to the economic sphere? Isn’t lack of rewarding personal relations every bit as devastating as lack of rewarding economic relations? By the logic which they apply to other areas, shouldn’t we regard modern marriage as “market failure” and institute a Department of Matrimony to regulate and compel? If you refuse, doesn’t this show that your economic beliefs are really about something else?

      But as Jess Riedel points out, the argument doesn’t work against everyone.

      • A.

        “X has no job” garners sympathy.”

        Unless X is an uneducated bigot who votes for far-right parties.

        “X has no friends” garners mockery.

        Unless X is a black homosexual living in a white conservative town.

      • Jess Riedel

        “X has no job” garners sympathy. “X has no friends” garners mockery.

        Really? I mean, maybe this is done amongst close friends while making fun of an outsider, but I don’t know many people who wouldn’t feel sympathy for the lonely. (Or for that matter, the “unloved”…though here your choice of words is important. “Sexless” isn’t as sad.) Certainly, mocking the lonely is not something that many people do publicly.

        In fact, I think being lonely garners more sympathy than being jobless.

        Of course, in all these cases where people express sympathy (hunger, loneliness, no access to books), the expressions of sympathy are much larger than the corresponding donations.

      • http://www.feministcritics.org/blog Hugh Ristik

        I like your analogy of having sex to having friends. Both of them are important for evolutionary reasons. Literature isn’t so basic a desire.

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      Well said Salem.

  • http://jaltcoh.blogspot.com jaltcoh.blogspot.com

    Signaling compassion is not about helping the needy.

    (As jaltcoh pointed out, you must have meant to omit the word “compassion”.)

    No, this is not what I pointed out. It’s fine if that’s your opinion, but it shouldn’t be attributed to me.

    I think Robin Hanson meant exactly what he said. He seems to choose his words carefully. And he’s written similar things in the past. So I think he was in control of what he said.

    I just think what he said is wrong.

    • Jess Riedel

      No, this is not what I pointed out.

      Sorry, I wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth.

      I just think what he said is wrong.

      But didn’t you say it was true by definition?

  • Johannes

    Yet it is far more acceptable to publicly lament the plight of the food starved than the sex starved.

    This is not necessarily because people are not concerned with others’ sexual satisfaction. There are other reasons to withhold such comments. One can lament the plight of the food starved while verifying one’s own nutritional satisfaction, while lamenting the lack of sexual satisfaction risks signaling more about oneself.

  • http://akinokure.blogspot.com agnostic

    It is about wanting to help the needy, just within the larger bounds that morality sets for what’s acceptable. The proscribed vs. allowed split is one between human vs. non-human resources that someone is deprived of.

    Sympathy for the unemployed is really about their lack of money, not the joy of having a boss or co-workers. Ditto food — it’s about material sustenance, not the lack of having dining companions.

    Lack of sympathy for the sexless and friendless stems from our even greater sympathy for the human resource who will object to the sex or friendship (else they would be this person’s partner / friend voluntarily). Harms sting more than gains lift up, so the would-be victim of forced sex or friendship wins our sympathy more than the loser who wants someone to screw him or be his friend against their desire.

    Non-human resources don’t have desires or wills, so they cannot win out over the hungry or penniless person in the battle for our sympathy.

    • http://www.feministcritics.org/blog Hugh Ristik

      agnostic said:

      Lack of sympathy for the sexless and friendless stems from our even greater sympathy for the human resource who will object to the sex or friendship (else they would be this person’s partner / friend voluntarily).

      I think you’ve correctly identified the fear. But it isn’t always a well-founded fear.

      Many sexless (or friendless) people don’t want people to nonconsensually or non-enthusiastically have sex (or be friends) with them. Yet they are still offered little sympathy.

      Some of the disdain particularly for sexless men comes from the notion that if a guy is complaining about lack of sex, he believes that women “owe” it to him (making him “entitled” in feminist-speak). Whether or not he actually feels that way, he can be made into a bogeyman and vilified.

  • David C

    Eddie Griffith once made a nearly identical plea on Saturday Night Live although it’s NSFW.

    http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/48557/detail

  • rapscallion

    I see your contrarian critique of the motivations underlying sympathy expression and raise you a double-reverse argument for why we in fact shouldn’t feel sorry for the lonely in general, or the sex-starved in particular:

    Almost all lonely and sex-starved people impose the same misery on even lonelier and more sex-starved people. For just about everyone except the bottom 5%, it’s easy to find people less desirable, who would be perfectly willing to be friends or sex partners. Nevertheless, people would rather wallow in their misery than accept being associated with the less desirable. For everyone except the wretches at the bottom, loneliness and misery are preferred to a lower self-image, despite the huge positive externalities to those whom the lonely and miserable would lower themselves to.

    Neither the starving nor the illiterate, on the other hand, impose starvation or illiteracy on those even worse off through their deprivations.

  • Doug S.

    For just about everyone except the bottom 5%, it’s easy to find people less desirable, who would be perfectly willing to be friends or sex partners.

    [citation needed]

    • rapscallion

      You don’t think the average 7 on the looks scale could easily find a 3 or 4 willing to have sex with them?

      You don’t think the average band geek would be welcomed if he or she went and sat with the one lonely nerd who always eats all by himself?

      • http://williambswift.blogspot.com/ billswift

        Some of the trashiest people I know have plenty of sex. It’s the decent but awkward or ugly that have difficulties.

    • rapscallion

      billswift,
      Yes, but maybe their “decency” shouldn’t be thought of as being so decent, since almost every “decent” sex starved person imposes the same deprivation on those below him or her according to the relevant index of desirable qualities.

      Ponder this: since there are a roughly equal number of men and women, if we were all willing to “settle,” almost no one would be sex starved.

      Most of the people who think of themselves as lonely and/or sex starved have only their egos to blame.

  • Cyan

    The only thing that distinguishes this post from the three or four other posts on this topic is the non-gendered language.

    …bravo!

  • Mitchell Porter

    If you can’t get sex because of how you look, just tell the object of your desire that after the Singularity, you’ll be able to look however they might want you to look, so all they need to do in the present is employ a little imagination.

    And if you’re on the receiving end of this sales pitch and want to turn it down gently, just say okay, let’s talk about this again … after the Singularity.

  • http://jaltcoh.blogspot.com jaltcoh.blogspot.com

    I just think what he said is wrong.

    But didn’t you say it was true by definition?

    I mean I think his thesis is wrong. If you reread all my comments in this thread I think you’ll see I’ve been quite clear and consistent in my position.

  • Buck Farmer

    Sex, in this example, is a positional good. Food is a regular good. The idea has been around at least since Hirsch’s coining in 1976 and arguably back to Veblen in 1899.

    Other positional goods:
    The nicest house on the block
    A degree from the best college
    Friendship of famous people

    Other regular goods:
    A house
    A college degree (in the U.S.)
    Friendship of somebody

    I think it is pretty obvious that this is not about sex, and instead it is about competition for high-status goods. As a society, and I think as a species, we tend to have little pity for those denied high-status goods when they have lower-status substitutes readily available.

    Now you may counter that there is a population of people who are truly so unattractive and so impoverished that they will never have sex with anyone nor be able to purchase sexual services. Perhaps if this population could be identified and shown to be sufficiently gender/preference imbalanced, there might be a call for some sort of subsidy.

    But I don’t think that’s what you care about here, Robin?

  • http://zatavu.blogspot.com Troy Camplin

    The real equivalent isn’t with starving people, but with wealth disparities. In the U.S., you have little if any real starvation. But you do have wealth disparities. The sex deprived would be equivalent to the poor. Why, then, not demand “sex redistribution”? The short answer is: that is rape. Indeed. Yet with wealth redistribution, we are advocating theft.

    • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

      Bryan Caplan made a similar argument in Distributive Justice in a Pure Service Economy, only it was a surgeon and the redistribution was deemed slavery. Since prostitution is illegal he didn’t think of that example, but in his hypothetical that would be rape (and indeed police officers do extort sex out of prostitutes, basically rape, even today). In Germany where prostitution is legal a woman lost her unemployment benefits because she refused to take a job as a prostitute.

      • http://www.facebook.com/adil.bennuto Adil Bennuto

        Adil Bennuto

        I think we really do need a mens liberation, there are so many sexually starved individuals, personally i have never had a non-prostitute sexual partner, which results in me being a non-successful individual, I never had it in high school and all i see is couples kissing around me, it really is a depressing situation and this sexual starvation cannot last im in my late 20’s now and still no romantic partner, Yes there have been the odd relationships but no kissing or sex, which is partly the reason of my anxiety issues, There is no point in trying as the women often reply with a negative attitude and won’t let you be nice to them. At some point in our life we all need that sexual partner and cannot live in wealth is a solution but all men at some point need that point in life where a woman respects them and they’re acknowledged in society and to me it just seems like a big fucking mindgame where they headfuck you and turn you prejudiced and dpraved

    • RasmusF

      Couldn’t we get sex redistribution by legalizing prostitution, taxing the sexy and either giving money or sex-vouchers to the unsexy?

      TGGP, do you have source for the claim about a woman losing unemployment benefits for refusing to prostitute herself? That sounds very dubious and I suspect it’s either simply not true or there’s a lot more going on than you say.

      • http://zatavu.blogspot.com Troy Camplin

        What you are talking about is monetary redistribution to allow people to see prostitutes. My analogy is the redistribution of actual women from womanizers to the sex-starved. That is rape. Your example is merely more theft.

      • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

        Here’s a link. Unfortunately, it’s a British newspaper.

  • Pere Goriot

    Buck Farmer is onto something with his analogy with positional goods, but his examples only show why Robin’s point is relevant.

    In fact people DO lament the lack of affordable housing and access to college. Before you say that they’re not talking about positional goods, remember that affordable housing is often code for certain poor people not being able to afford “decent” housing in elite cities — which is certainly a positional good. How many progressives would support a housing policy that says poor people in Manhattan should simply move to a rural area in Idaho, Ohio, or Florida? After all if immigrants can leave their families to work in the US, shouldn’t Americans be willing to move to another state or even a distant suburb?

    Similarly for college. Supposedly many people can’t afford “good” colleges. But how hard is it for 95% of potentially worthy college students to go to Community College and then just work or borrow enough to cover a state college they can transfer to in their junior year? Considering that there are now those who defend even providing college for the retarded, it’s clear that sympathy for something as ridiculous as college for the mentally handicapped students seems less worthy than supporting free sex for social losers.

    http://www.mindingthecampus.com/forum/2010/10/college_for_those_who_cant_do.html#more

    • Buck Farmer

      Pere, that’s a fascinating difference between the two situations.

      Personally, I am fine with the idea that people should move where they can find work and I suspect that college has had declining marginal value for a long time except as a marker of middle class membership. Though I am interested in better understanding the magnitude of value lost through community/network disruption.

      However, I recognize that many people disagree with me sometimes viscerally on these points.

      Both the affordable housing and affordable “good” college arguments seem to embody the idea that “everyone should be like me” (middle class, liberal arts educated, white picket fence, etc.) as a social policy. The idea is less that people should have nice housing and a “good” education because they want these things and more because these things are good for them and will make them better people i.e. upstanding middle class citizens full of civic virtue.

      In a sense then, people recognize that the qualities that earn someone class-membership are mutable. Sexual attractiveness and sexual access I think are seen as reliant on more immutable qualities. We want to believe that what we love in our partner is intrinsic and can be passed on to our progeny.

      Other sets of characteristics society treats as immutable to varying degrees are intelligence, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

      Are people seen as having a positive right to performance-enhancing drugs in the same way they are seen to have a positive right to housing in the right neighborhoods or degrees from the right schools?

  • a

    I was also puzzled when I moved to London and had to help my family in Poland why I had to do it on market conditions in a very rigid atmosphere and a charity helping people in Africa (helping other Englishpeople look upperclass actually) received a part of the profit from above my head out of “compassion”. Well, I just learnt to treat firms instrumentally and just change frequently to the ones leaving more central bank printouts for my salary.

  • Cameron Cobbett

    “Signaling compassion is not about helping the needy.”

    This seems to be Robin’s signature theme. I wonder if Robin has ever in his life experienced a moment of authentic compassion – – – that is, sincere concern for the suffering of another, not motivated by the desire to increase social status or by any other ulterior motive. If not, perhaps he should consider the possibility that this lack of authentic compassion is a personal deficiency, rather than assuming that authentic compassion does not exist at all.

    • A.

      True compassion is not selective.

      • JB

        I think in this case, “authentic compassion” would mean compassion that one sincerely feels, not that one simply acts compassionate because of the good social consequences that the resulting reputation will have.

    • Brian

      I find it interesting, Cameron, that you assume that a personal assessment that one’s compassion is “sincere concern for the suffering of another” and thus authentic is in any way reliable. One can sincerely feel “true love” and still be intellectually aware that what is actually going on has far more to do with biochemistry and the utility of the emotion as a barrier to sexual rivals than with social and literary costructions of romance, soul mates, and so on.

  • Mark

    Of course signaling compassion isn’t just about helping the needy. It’s about helping the needy within certain bounds set by culture.

    I think in our society, there is a great deal of compassion for the lonely and unloved. The difference with sex is that due to peculiarities of our culture, only the amoral are particularly inclined to discuss it in terms of sex . Plenty of people will express concern for those who can’t get married, for example.

    One question for those who argue that starvation is fundamentally worse than “sex-starvation”. Is death the worst thing that can happen to us?
    If so, our sympathy means nothing – presumably we are all equally and irredeemably pitiful.

  • Buck Farmer

    Is the problem access to sex or what the lack of access implies about the starved and their place in society?

    Welfare program – State-subsidized visits to prostitutes

    Would this work or would the knowledge that the only sex they are getting is due to the pity of society keep their situation miserable?

  • Aron

    Pandemonium.

    Robin takes some generic argument form, inserts arbitrary words, and the commenters debate the resulting sentence forms dilligently.

    • Buck Farmer

      Po-po-mo.

      Not sure if this counts more as concept artistry or an installation piece that “invites the viewer to engage with the linguistic structure of argument form.”

      • Aron

        I consider it a complement when I say that Robin’s motivation is 90% meta in these posts. Rather than embracing the apparent object-level topic, which is a passing novelty, he is more interested in the features of attention gathering and audience provocation. Perhaps it is also a challenge to gravity. Must you pull all the shit down from thy wall ?!

        Commenters appear to have motivations unaligned with noticing this.

        Also it helps to listen to jazz: http://www.break.com/index/dumb-cat-cant-figure-out-how-to-drink.html

  • Dave

    Robin’s site is a training school for scoundrels or for people who wish to avoid being taken in by them, who wish to learn the art of persuading people to buy preposterous ideas. First he states an unassailable principle. Then he applies that principle to a particular point. This often results in an uncomfortable conclusion. Then he sits back and watches people squirm.

    Take the general principle that altruistic people should try to relieve suffering. Sexual deprivation causes suffering. If there were a tsunami, we would all support sending food to the victims. What if the disaster only made all the men impotent and did not harm the food supply? What if it only made the women unwilling or unable to have sex? If there is a duty to address this disaster would the effort be different depending on which gender was effected? What if a society valued male babies so aborted all female fetuses. How would the world help the male children in these countries when they grew up? After all is isn’t their fault. Is there really a general duty conceder all types suffering?

  • http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.com Sister Y

    I am in complete agreement that involuntary celibacy is an under-appreciated problem. The suffering from lack of sex can be greater than that from lack of things that are necessary for long-term survival – why else would young males act so recklessly?

    It’s largely problem affecting men, due to sex differences (on average, of course) in libido. But the problem is compounded by the predominance of heterosexuality in our society, and by nearly-compulsory monogamy (for those males lucky enough to get a female at all). I’ve rarely seen the right to sex seriously considered as a men’s rights issue – and if it were, it would be easy pickings for humor. The need for sex is not taken seriously.

    Sex is seen as a particularly suspicious need – maybe in the same boat with the “desire” or “preference” for racial segregation. And our suspiciousness of the need affects our moral perceptions regarding satisfaction of it. When people are asked to consider why a man must pay child support for a child he did not consent to conceive, the most common response justifying our system of compulsory child support based on genetic parenthood is “well, he had sex.” Having sex is not, of course, generally seen as an adequate justification to force a woman to have a baby – but even there, sex taints things. There are abortion wafflers who support abortion rights for “innocent” rape victims, but not for the dirty whores who have consensual sex.

    Thomas Nagel makes the distinction between “agent-neutral values” and “agent-relative values,” the former being values where we all have reason to see fulfilled (starving people getting adequate food, people with headaches getting an aspirin), and the former being values where only the agent has reason to see the values fulfilled, not so much the rest of humanity (like a person’s desire to climb Mt. Everest, or to build a religious landmark). I might prefer to go without food in order to accomplish my religious goals, but others besides me have reason to see that I get fed, but not necessarily that my religious goals are met.

    I think we tend to treat sex as a merely agent-relative value. But I think its near-universality, and the depth of the suffering occasioned when a person must go without sex, are reasons to consider it as a possible agent-neutral value.

    Love the analogy to literature.

    • Jess Riedel

      The suffering from lack of sex can be greater than that from lack of things that are necessary for long-term survival – why else would young males act so recklessly?

      I’m relatively confident that young male recklessness is mostly genetic, in the sense that even young males with sexual access to many desirable females will still act more recklessly than any other age-gender segment of the population. Is there data otherwise?

      But I think its near-universality, and the depth of the suffering occasioned when a person must go without sex, are reasons to consider it as a possible agent-neutral value.

      Degree of suffering certainly sounds like a reason we might consider, but why universality? There are many desires which are near-universal (e.g. xenophobia, disliking the ugly, envy) which we do not generally regard as desires that other agents have a responsibility to help fulfill.

      • http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.com Sister Y

        I think male recklessness is largely genetic – but tied into and involved with the (similarly genetic) sex drive. There’s a great paper that specifically links male risk-taking with viewing attractive (but not unattractive) female faces. There’s some indication that young male-on-male homicides disproportionately feature sexual competition over a female as a motive, but it’s hard to tease that out of the also-common general status-preservation motive.

        That said, my understanding of young male sexuality is heavily informed by Philip Roth.

        I agree that universality is not, on its own, a reason to respect a value. The seriousness of the suffering is a better one, but doesn’t take us the whole way. Here’s where you get into conflict between the harm/care and fairness ideas and the purity/tradition/in-group loyalty ideas. I think the former are real and the latter are bullshit, but it’s hard to come up with an account of why, of course.

      • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

        Sister Y seems to attribute male reckless behavior to lack of sex, along the lines of “bare branches” theory. I think that theory is bogus. My guess that males who engage in reckless behavior have an above average number of sex partners.

        For whatever my anecdote’s worth, I’m a post-college virgin. Partly attributable to a formative religious period that I still retain as part of my self-conception, and simple libido deficiency. I don’t feel deprived, but on the other hand I don’t know what I’m missing. I certainly don’t feel pity for 3s who insist on 7s, but I don’t feel much sympathy in general.

      • http://infiniteinjury.org/blog/ Peter Gerdes

        Sister Y seems to attribute male reckless behavior to lack of sex, along the lines of “bare branches” theory. I think that theory is bogus. My guess that males who engage in reckless behavior have an above average number of sex partners.

        These statements aren’t in conflict. I believe that both male involuntary celibacy (whatever that means….all celibacy, except for those at the very bottom of the social pile, is voluntary in the sense that if you marry someone sufficiently far below your socioeconomic status they will sleep with you) causally increases men’s propensity to violence/recklessness while nevertheless there is a correlation between violence/recklessness and a high number of partners.

        This is a simply case of an irrelevant common cause overwhelming the correlation from causal forces. In particular men from lower socioeconomic groups are both more reckless/violent and more likely to have many partners. Also, likely there is reverse causation in that being reckless causes one to have more partners (statistically speaking). However, none of this is incompatible with the claim that controlling for all other factors rendering a man unhappily celibate makes them more reckless.

        Indeed, it would be astonishing if this wasn’t the case. Obviously from an evolutionary point of view risk taking is more appealing for the individual who is in greater danger of going totally bust in the reproduction department. Moreover, since this is a simple modification to make and likely one with high payoff it would be quite surprising if this mechanism didn’t exist.

        We need not rely purely on evolutionary psychology though. There are actually a decent number of studies that support exactly this conclusion., e.g., correlations between war/aggression and proportion of unattached males, various studies about the different behavior patterns of married and unmarried men vs. women.

    • rapscallion

      It’s rarely the case that anyone must go without sex.

      The average sex starved person could easily have sex, just not with the type of person he or she would want.

      As I pointed out above, the average 7 on the looks scale could easily find a 3 or 4 to have sex with them, but they’d feel bad about themselves doing it, and they value their egos more than their libidos.
      As well, by refraining from sex they also impose the same pain on those below them on the relative index who would otherwise be willing to consent to sex with them. This is why in general the lonely and sex starved do not deserve pity.

      If we do have more sex starved people in the past, it’s because people’s expectations and egos have been built up more than before, not because the sex market has inexplicably dried up.

      • Salem

        You have asserted this above, but where is your evidence? Moreover, your claim is implausible.

        Firstly, forget looks, just talk about overall attraction to the opposite sex. The average person is not a 7, he is a 5, by definition. Perhaps the 7 can lower his sights to a 3. But it’s a lot harder for the 3 to lower his sights, because there is simply less below him. Your claim that this only affects the bottom 5% of society is unsupported.

        Secondly, men and women are not equal in demand for sex and status-preference. Specifically, women are less willing to lower their expectations, and more willing to tolerate infidelity. So the female 2 really can sleep with a male. But if the male 3 is willing to lower his sights, it does him no good because the female 2 still isn’t willing to sleep with him. And this is likely, because what we see in society is a small number of men sleeping with (and monopolising) a larger number of women. As so many of the posts above suggest, lack of sex is basically a male problem. It’s not that the 1-3s of both genders are stubbornly hoping for better partners. It’s that the male 1-3s can’t find partners because the female 1-3s are taken.

        Thirdly, it’s not that the “sex market” has “inexplicably dried up.” This has basically always been going on, in the sense that our genetic ancestry contains significantly more women than men. Historically, a large percentage of men never reproduced. The percentage of women was much smaller. And in a time before contraception and abortion, that is a pretty good indicator that a large percentage of men had, at best, very limited access to sex.

        Fourth, suppose we believe that we live in a purely monogamous society with no cheating – then everyone has a potential mate and it really would just be a question of finding your level. But even with this assumption, we might well expect the “sex market” to fail to clear, because it is a matching problem. After all, we see unemployment. And the “sex” matching problem is made worse in an urban society where most people are strangers, lacking conduits such as “matchmakers” who in olden days pointed singles to one another.

      • http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.com Sister Y

        It’s rarely the case that anyone must go without sex.

        I think a large number of married men – not to mention overweight men over 40 who aren’t rich – might be very surprised to hear that.

        You indicate that some sex is theoretically available if the agent is willing to sacrifice his dignity, his status, his health, or his commitment to his exclusive sexuality output contract, and because some sex is available, that ends the discussion. But basically, you’re asking him to choose between two forms of suffering: fucking ugly people or no sex at all. I feel bad for the guy either way. No sex sucks. Fucking ugly people sucks. To analogize to food like RH, there is some minimum level of quality of food that we would consider adequate to provide to poor people. Just saying “you’re not starving – eat your slightly rancid horse meat and shoe leather!” is a bit callous. Same goes, I think, for the satisfaction of sexual desires.

        Expectations have certainly been built up, though – there’s plenty of evidence for that. That’s sad, and it’s no more the fault of average men than it is of average women. As nice as it is to look at pretty girls, it does hurt your satisfaction with the mate you can actually get. Like every pleasure in life, it has a dark side. (I still think pornography causes more pleasure than harm.)

      • http://infiniteinjury.org/blog/ Peter Gerdes

        The sex market failing to clear and it being impossible to get sex are very different things.

        The sex market may fail to clear because some people put a negative utility on sex with certain partners (indeed they clearly do…I think everyone can think of someone they would find sex with actively unpleasant) but that hardly makes it impossible to get sex.

        I mean does anyone really think that if you are willing to marry someone arbitrarily low on socioeconomic ladder, who is extremely ugly, promise to be faithful and provide for them while allowing them to engage in arbitrary extramarital affairs and otherwise behave as they wish that you couldn’t get sex? The existance of prostitutes demonstrates that people will have sex, even with the stigma of selling sex, for far less than an offer to marry/support someone who makes substantially less money than you. If you don’t demand they accept any of the costs of marriage (indeed you just support them until they trade up) surely SOMEONE will take the offer.

        Of course no one will do this because not all sex is desirable and the humiliation of offering such a deal is worse than the averted harm. But the parent post was right.

  • rapscallion

    Salem,
    Thanks a lot for responding! A few rejoinders:

    i) My evidence, just like the evidence of all the other comments here, is just based on subjective observation and analysis. No one here has cited any studies pertaining to how easily men and/or women of varying traits can find mates based on varying their selectivity.

    Frankly, though, I’m surprised that anyone argues this point or finds it implausible. I think it speaks to how deeply self-deceptive we are about our mating preferences and strategies that anyone can doubt it: just about every bar I’ve ever been in has had lonely-looking ugly people sitting by themselves, people who I think would delight to be approached by almost anyone; even very ugly people usually can find at least a few others willing to meet with them over the internet; I contend that honest introspection by most people should reveal that the ratio of potential romantic contacts/actual romantic contacts is at least 10 to 1.

    Perhaps the best evidence I can muster is my observation that most couples are no more than 1 point apart on the 1-10 looks scale. You’d really only expect this to happen in a matching model where most people care mainly about looks, and the low rate of marriages and high average age of first marriages suggests that people put an awful lot of time into searching.

    ii) I’ve found in the comments here many people referring vaguely to “the involuntary celibate.” The class of people I think they are commonly referring is probably less attractive on average than those outside the class, but I’d still contend that it includes many people with above average looks who are picky.

    iii) You are right that a ranking of mates based on an overall index is more accurate in general than a simply “looks,” index, but I still think just about any 7 in the looks department of either sex can find a 3 or a 4 who would be willing to have sex with them, because it’s such a big difference.

    iv) You are right that it’s easier in general for women than men to find sex partners, but I still contend that it’s much easier for everyone than they tell themselves.

    v) In the last paragraph you seem to suggest that large populations and high densities raise search costs. In fact, they lower them. Indeed, this is an important point because what’s really going on is that people’s “reservation wages” rise when opportunities rise, and basic search models show that this can decrease match rates*.

    vi) Unemployment is a very apt example. Do you really think that most of the unemployed can’t find ANY jobs? When I was unemployed I skipped over dozens of jobs I felt beneath me, holding out for a good one.

    * Drewianka, Scott, “Estimating Social Effects in Matching Markets: Externalities in Spousal
    Search.” Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 85, No. 2, (May 2003), 409-423.

    • Salem

      If you want to say looks are the most important thing, so be it. I am perfectly willing to grant that there are many people who could have more sex if they wanted. What I do not understand is your insistence on looking at it from the point of view of a 7 i.e. someone with above average looks. I agree with you that the 7s can get sex if they want it. Do you agree with me that the 3s are SOL, and that lowering their sights won’t help? I don’t have sympathy for the 7 being choosy. My sympathy is with the 3 who has no choices. Well, 30% of the population are 3 or under. That’s lots of people!

      It may be that the involuntary celibate includes people who simply aren’t trying or are unrealistic. I do not think this is a big part of the problem. Look again at our biological ancestry as I mentioned in my post. Do you really believe laziness is the explanation? You may claim that it’s easier than people tell themselves, but just because you find it easy, doesn’t mean it’s objectively so. Some people find certain things hard. In most areas, we have sympathy for such people and try to help them.

      Finally, large populations and high densities would lower search costs – ceteris paribus. But here the ceteris are far from paribus. If you live in a small town or village, you will know a little bit about lots and lots of the people who live near you. Therefore if you are searching for someone compatible, you can narrow down your search based on this initial information. You will also have an excuse to talk to them, as you know them a little! So although you have less choice, search costs are low. But if you live in a city, you will be near a lot more people, but you won’t know anything at all about most of them. If I talk to this stranger, are they already in a relationship, or violent, or crazy, or… So although you have more choice, search costs are much higher because everyone is a stranger. This is why cities have singles bars and the like… precisely to take advantage of the fact that search costs are high.

      • http://infiniteinjury.org/blog/ Peter Gerdes

        You are simply arguing that it costs more for some people to have sex than it does for others. I don’t see how that contradicts rapscallion’s point.

        Sure some people might have to accept a shitty deal to get sex but that doesn’t mean they CAN’T!

        rapscallion:

        As to your i you make the error in assuming that the ‘looks scale’ depends almost exclusively on looks when nothing could be farther from the truth. For instance there have been studies showing that merely indicating that a man in a picture has a high income or status will bounce women’s ratings of 2 up to 10. At least for men much of what we evaluate as ‘looks’ is really overall desirability as a mate…so the closeness of couples on the looks scale really indicates nothing more than the fact that individuals in a couple tend to have a similar overall desirability as a mate is

  • rapscallion

    Sister Y,

    I think I mostly agree with you, but it seems unreasonable to put lack of QUALITY (as opposed to quantity) of sex as anywhere other than very low on our priority list.

    You say that you feel sorry for people who have to lower themselves to sleeping with the ugly, but ugly people have rarely been able to do anything other than sleep with ugly people.

    Should I really feel sorry for an 8 that has to sleep with a 5 when most 5’s have are restricted to sleeping with other 5’s and below?

    Should my sorrow for the 8 outweigh my happiness for the 5?

    • Az

      I think you need to stop looking at it like a numbers game.
      There are people one wants to have sex with, and those one does not want to have sex with. This is not an objective scale. The people I want to have sex with are judged on a very different scale than the people you’d prefer to have sex with. I simply don’t want to sleep with people who score low on my scale. Is this a problem with my standards? Is my ego inflated to enormous proportion? How dare I admit to not wanting to have sex with every person I see!
      Obviously not. It’s purely biological. I want to find a good mate who is likely to pass on my genes, and probably enhance them. Other people want the same. That’s why we want sex. Whether or not we plan on conceiving a child, we want sex to satisfy the stimulus-response part of our brain that wants to have sex.
      Your argument for HAVING to sleep with someone lower ranking on your objective rating system, in order to fix the sex-depression doesn’t seem necesarry. You’re right, forced copulation (even if it’s not forceful) is basically rape, and anyone sane would pity the rapee more than the rapist. But you’re assuming that forced copulation is the only way to resolve this issue.
      There are dating sites (eHarmony, Match.com) which serve as exaples of possible solution systems. The greatest barriers to discarding celibacy are purely internal, and are more difficult to overcome, than external ones. The reasons I’m still a virgin are my shyness, crippling depression and long-standing inferiority complex. It’s difficult to imagine a govenment program with the sole aim of getting socially isolated individuals out into the world, ever being instituted – but I imagine such a system would be the most effective.
      Being sexless is largely a personality issue, and therefore doesn’t make sense to solve by mandating sexual intercourse. There are better solutions, and you seem to be ignoring them in favor of focusing on madated sex. SisterY simply commented on how people shouldn’t have to lower their standards. I don’t see how you took that to mean that we should force people to have sex, when that was never advocated. The first time it was brought up was by jaltcoh.blogspot, and that was in preeminant opposition.

  • Dave

    One man’s 8 is another man’s 3. Also with time and success an 8 becomes a 5. There was a guy who had a stunning wife,a 10. Yet he still went out with #’s and 4’s. Someone asked him “why” He said ” You get tired of steak every night. Sometimes you want hamburger.” So,availability would not solve the problem.It’s just a dream.

  • Karl Hallowell

    How many guys in the US decided on a career (not just a short term job, a career) so they could eat? How many decided on a career so they could meet women or men of the appropriate persuasion? I bet there’s a lot more of the latter than the former in the US. If a male in the US says “I did it to eat”, you’re more likely to think they’re talking about going to the grocery store or opening a can of something. If they say “I did it to meet women”, expect some ridiculous tale of derring do.

    While it’s obvious that starving to death will kill you faster than “blue balls” (which apparently does take years off your life, if you haven’t been repeatedly reminded of this yet), I think the prime reason that “sex starvation” isn’t taken seriously is because it would weaken the bargaining power of the female side of the traditional heterosexual mating game. That’s a touch over half of society right there. Then consider the “alpha” males who do get considerable sex and you have another group with consider power (real or social) that also doesn’t want to go with this particular program.

  • http://chorseadventure.wordpress.com Andr

    Since population growth is based more on net food consumption than individual mating frequency and those who mate will mate and the tribe’s population won’t fall. Charity related to feeding the hungry concerns more than just compassion, it involves guilt, religious practice, etc. Many people will put their lives or health in danger to help someone in need, which really illustrates compassion. But to just donate sex to those who need it wouldn’t be good mate selection. If someone’s not getting laid, there’s probably a simple explaination; either they smell wierd, or aren’t particularly attractive, or have too-high standards, or just haven’t found a good match lately (or ‘yet’) “Helping others” might not be the same thing as “make others feel Good.”

  • rapscallion

    Salem,
    My best estimate from a brief perusal of the relevant data is that my original guess that only about the bottom 5% of non-elderly adults, not the bottom 30%, is if anything an upper-bound estimate of the percentage with no realistic access to sex.

    These look like 2 relevant studies, one focusing on 15-44 and one focusing on the elderly:

    http://200.115.171.174/htmlfiles/ad362.pdf

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2426743/

    The former shows that less than 5% of males between 25 and 44 never had sex with a female in the last year, and the percentages for females are even lower (Tables 1 and 2, pdf pages 48 and 49). Basically, as soon as people get out of the college, they are able to find at least 1 or 2 sex partners per year. Do you really think we should be very concerned that at the very most 10% of people in their early twenties have no sexual outlets? And note how these numbers are further severely reduced if one gives any credence to my argument that many of the sexually-inactive are overly picky.

    The latter shows that only about 20% of people around 65 go without sex, and many of them are married (Table 2). Yes, most elderly people over age 75 don’t have sex, but many also report little interest.

    Most debates that I see lamenting the plight of the sex starved seem to me to have in mind working people in their late 20’s who find it difficult to juggle a career and a dating life, but the data indicates these people are getting more sex than anyone else. But I’m willing to admit the possibility that many of the elderly qualify as sex starved and without options, I’m just not sure how much this population really desires or is even capable of sex.

    AZ,
    You appear to think that I said something I didn’t.

    One more thing: Again, the strongest argument against pity for the sex starved and lonely isn’t just that they could have sex if they wanted to, but that their restraint ALSO deprives others of sex. There is not an analogous negative externality in the cases of food and literacy.

    • free_agent

      Doing the statistics for males from 25 to 44 is rather odd, because it leaves out the horniest fraction, those from 15 to 25.

  • Michele

    Rapscallion,

    “One more thing: Again, the strongest argument against pity for the sex starved and lonely isn’t just that they could have sex if they wanted to, but that their restraint ALSO deprives others of sex. There is not an analogous negative externality in the cases of food and literacy.”

    I wonder if you’re neglecting the marginally increasing transactions costs for the less attractive? I suppose you’re assuming that if Mr. Band Geek were willing to bargain down on his ego then he could easily score with Ms. Pimply Color Guard. But Mr. Band Geek doesn’t have the support of a practiced cohort getting his back, he has seen fewer successful sex transactions, he doesn’t, for example, ‘know what to say to a girl,’ and of course there’s the stigma of partnering with someone of lower status…I don’t think that’s JUST an ego problem; that’s a legitimate cost suffered, regardless of whether Mr. Band Geek ‘really’ likes this girl, from his cohort….Mr. Quarterback will think that Mr. Band Geek is a TOTAL DWEEB if he hooks up with Ms. Pimply Color Guard, a cost to his already meagre status….of course, that’s not a transaction cost, that’s a real cost…point being, it’s just a lot more costly, regardless of ego, for Mr. Band Geek to attempt a hook up with Ms. Pimply Color Guard…unless the transaction is furtive….which I suppose is what Renaissance Fairs are for….

    • Dave

      If this is all to be steeped in economic theory,Mr Band Geek should not forget the invisible hand which would eliminate the transaction costs altogether.

  • http://www.facebook.com/seajoy33 Cj Kuefler

    You have left out the ill who can’t perform due to medication, etc. at any age. Certainly the partner can seek out sex elsewhere, but that is not culturally acceptable. They could possible go without sex for half their lives.

    • http://infiniteinjury.org/blog/ Peter Gerdes

      One can sexually stimulate another without the need for an erect penis or penetration of any kind.

      • Sarahlee

        True. But how many men with erectile dysfunction realize that sex does not begin and end at him? Usually, they assume if they cannot perform, there is no need to have sex – even though there are countless ways to bring a woman to orgasm

  • David Collard

    Could the many people who refer to “good sex”, please attempt a definition? How is it different from “bad sex”?

    • Nunyabizz

      Simply not enjoying it. Being raped is obviously bad sex, and most womens’ first times certainly aren’t enjoyable due to the pain. Maybe the guy is too small, maybe the woman is too dry, or maybe someone simply fails to orgasm.

  • http://infiniteinjury.org/blog/ Peter Gerdes

    The central assumption of this post is deeply misguided: people don’t actually want sex that much they want the status that comes along with some kinds of sex/relationships. To prove the point consider countries where prostitution is legal. In such countries most men who fail to land a worthwhile sexual relationship can use the resources they otherwise would have spent on romance and childcare to purchase sex. Yet, I don’t think the “involuntary” celibacy problem is solved or even substantially better in those countries.

    We don’t feel very sorry for people raised in high society who now have to eat ground beef instead of caviar and lobster most nights even though such a person likely feels a loss in comparison to their expectations and perhaps even their peer group. So why should it be much different when it comes to finding a sexual partner who is decently statusful relative to one’s peer group?

    I think the real issue is providing alternative forms of companionship and lifestyle for those who don’t have romantic partnerships. That is where our society falls down horribly.

  • Will S.

    Spot on.

    Back in January, blogger Anakin Niceguy had some similar thoughts on the subject.

    • http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.com Sister Y

      Interesting! You see all kinds of appetizing, delicious-looking, almost pornographic paintings of food subjects throughout the seventeenth century . . . no data on whether those treatments correlate with food insecurity and economic hardship, though.

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      Yes, it is interesting; makes me think entirely differently about the class fruit bowl painting. Its porn!

      • Doug S.

        I once saw someone describe Food Network as “pornography that appeals to a different instinct”. And, as usual, the TV Tropes Wiki knows more.

  • Pingback: John speaks out at Overcoming Bias « Queering the Singularity

  • Teddy Jensen

    Cure sexual starvation…. change something in society to assure that people, men and women, would get more than they needed… and the problem of rape would almost completely disappear…

    And I fully expect someone to answer this with “Sex has nothing to do with rape…it is all about violence… (which is a myth)”

    • Rexx

      Wait 50 years, robot prostitutes. Like the chic in Blade Runner.

  • Michael J Nicholls

    No. People (almost ALWAYS MEN), do not die from ‘sex starvation’. The statement is factually correct. But people do suffer. And they suffer a great deal.

    Speaking as an ‘Incel man, I can assure you, that the depression and the misery caused by a lack of a ‘normal’ sex life, or even acknowledgement by the opposite sex at one point made me suicidal, caused me to self harm, caused me to drink heavily, and well and truly took my will to live.

    I have recovered through medication, and by changing my mindset. I know view women as things that can simply be bought. I also view women with utter contempt. They chose to reject me. Now I reject them.

    Unfortunately, some men never ‘make it out’. Eventually all of the frustration and resentment build up and one day they do something terrible.

    • Sarahlee

      did you take care of your partner’s needs during sex? Did you make sure they were sexually satisfied too? Was the conversation between you and her mutual or was it you going on and on on a monologue? In my experience, guys who are chronically frustrated approach dates with a sense of entitlement. They talk more than they listen, they treat women they just met as a therapist to dump all their problems on, and in bed, they care only about their satisfaction. MOst women, in their teens, have already seen this sense of entitlement men bring to relationships and women, which is why they are weary of men who are not about giving just as much as they are about taking.

      • Lipidshock

        Sarahlee, I’m not sure that he has had any partners so far,
        so the questions about his partner’s needs (and communication with partners)
        may not be applicable. I don’t agree that men feel entitlement to sex – quite the
        opposite. That’s a very female concept and would never have crossed my mind if
        I had not heard some feminist academic utter it. It’s more a matter of sex
        being the most beautiful thing in the world, seeing that other people do manage
        to have a sex life and living in ‘reasonable hope’.

    • Nunyabizz

      Why are you so obsessed with sex in the first place? How is sex a higher priority than being in a loving relationship? How has the absence of love NOT caused depression in you? At least with the lack of a sexual partner, you can just jack off and relieve some of the tension, but there is literally nothing that can even begin to simulate the feeling of being loved.

  • Exasperated_Spirit

    I was unable to obtain any sex during my teens. I finally cracked by visiting a brothel on my way to university on the first day of the first term. I at least had the satisfaction of not arriving at university a virgin. The sex in the brothel was quite good, although she would not allow me to touch her breasts – groan – only in England. So I had sexual intercourse before my first kiss or touching a breast. No sexual success at university, other than the occasional brothel visit, which is probably not technically a “success”, and I was well over 25 before I managed a non-prostitute sexual partner. I fear that there are many more cases such as mine than we like to admit. This is not what I had envisaged or hoped for when I was 16. If I had known then what lay ahead I would probably have killed myself. Technically I would not have “died of sex-starvation”, but I fear that this fine legal/medical distinction would have been lost on my corpse.

    The sex-starvation interfered with my studies at school and university, with my search for work and with the work itself when I finally did get a job. The deprivation made it difficult to concentrate on anything. Life seemed absolutely pointless. It even interfered with my love of music. It was not until I was 27 going on 28 and had a regular sexual partner that I started to rise from the abyss and was able to think about other things in life.

    I am reminded of T.S. Eliot, and the ‘shadow fruit’:

    So I find words I never thought to speak
    In streets I never thought I should revisit
    When I left my body on a distant shore…

    Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
    To set a crown upon your lifetime’s effort.
    First, the cold friction of expiring sense
    Without enchantment, offering no promise
    But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
    As body and soul begin to fall asunder.

    Second, the conscious impotence of rage
    At human folly, and the laceration
    Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.

    And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
    Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
    Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
    Of things ill done and done to others’ harm
    Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
    Then fools’ approval stings, and honour stains.

    From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
    Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
    Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.

    The day was breaking. In the disfigured street
    He left me, with a kind of valediction,
    And faded on the blowing of the horn.

    • Nunyabizz

      Why do you care more about having sex than being loved?

  • Exasperated_Spirit

    I am extremely doubtful about the study which claimed that “less than 5% of males between 25 and 44 never had sex with a female in the last year”. I would like to see that study raked over by a qualified survey analyst. My observations would suggest about 30% – 40%. Even in anonymous academic studies males will be reluctant to admit chronic sexual failure.

    The study notes: “and the percentages for females are even lower”. I have no doubt that this is true, but that is, rather, another aspect of the problem itself (female sexual conservatism).

  • WoopWoop

    I’m an incel. I hate women. I want to hurt them.

    • Nunyabizz

      I’m an incel woman. I hate men for always ignoring me. I want to hurt men. How does that make you feel? You’re a man, and as such, you have rejected me like all the rest, therefore you are also to blame for my pain.

  • Lon Spector

    I would say that there is a deliberate conspirasy to
    alienate the genders from each other.
    The idea is to promote the view that one must be
    PERFECT to engage in sex so “magical” products
    can be sold to make a person appealing.

  • buffalosoldier

    I am 24 right now (the age of a fully developed male specimen) and have a
    penis with fully developed features for a sexual purpose. I see sex all over
    and around me. I see it day in and day out. I see my friends getting blow jobs
    (yes the BJ), getting booty calls, getting lays of all kinds in all possible
    settings.

    I see these things in the porn
    videos too. I have heard females talking about sex and how awesome it is for
    them to feel it. I have also seen people in the clubs, bars, parks, theatres
    and other public places performing it which still makes it seem like a fiction
    to me as never has been one single time when something as bland as a kiss has occured on anywhere on my face
    at anytime in my life.

    Seeing this everywhere, everytime
    makes me wanna know if my life is a reality or is it a fiction where I only get
    to have the air I can breathe, the food I can ingest and shelter I can live in
    and thus exist to see, hear, talk, observe but experience this orchestra of
    desires.

    If this life is a mere illusion; my
    Sex life exemplifies it.

    Sometimes I have to pinch myself
    to check if I am alive or dead. Sometimes I’ve to shed tears in the bearing
    pain of desires feeling it in my stomach
    the emptiness. My body gets all light and airy whenever I visit this place of primal desires. Everything else that comes my
    way seems bitter and useless makes me loose temper. Never had I imagined (or
    did I) in my adolescent years that a decade later of my hitting puberty the organs
    of desire installed in my body do not have any given role to perform in my life
    and do not see it remotely possible.
    Instead they are the vent of my pain, bitterness and deadness acting as
    reminders of me being a loser and unworthy. Some other questions emerging are
    if it is only about me,a super ugly creature with super repellent
    attributes to my being the reason of their obnoxious expressions or something
    else (I guess now its their own close door policy).

    I do not know the answers but I
    know everything about the questions.

    • Lipidshock

      It may be very difficult, but you need to take it down a
      gear and find your neutral space. Women are put off by intensity and
      desperation. Then you have to maximise the number of women you encounter. There
      is no alternative to this. All men are attractive only to a minority of women
      (the size of said minority varies from person to person), so you have to find
      that minority. You need a substantial – and I do mean VERY substantial – increase
      in the number of women you meet, or to whom you make yourself known, in social
      life and online. Online dating is particularly useful for this. You need to
      trust me here: I had the same horrific problem in my late teens/early twenties but
      eventually solved it.

      • http://juridicalcoherence.blogspot.com/ Stephen Diamond

        Women are put off by intensity

        Only if they don’t love you.

      • buffalosoldier

        Thanks! you wouldn’t imagine a day after writing that went on a date & just now I am in a much better state. Its very comforting to have left that zone of neediness and I seem alright for now! Anyways, your reply was a good omen so keep being the lucky one:)

    • Adel Saeed

      I have become homocidal. The universe is a very strange place. I do not belong here. I never chose in but i can cohose how to get out. I have been contemplating this truely satisfying phantasy. Mass murder. Spreading pain and death. Venting out all the disgusting stuff they have made me become on the swarms of worthless humanity.Some of you will die, some will survive to clean up the mess.

      • veta

        Hey, Adel, you still with us? That was a disturbing comment you wrote a year ago. How is your state of mind these days?

      • Adel Saeed

        Yeah, i am fine. Not gonna kill anybody.

      • veta

        Glad to hear it. Hope there is more to your “fine” then this basic requirement?

  • Lon Spector

    Some people WILL never have sex. But they are some of the
    most wonderful people you know.
    Despite what you see in the media, life is NOT fair.
    Live or die. That is your choice.

  • advancedatheist

    For some reason no one wants to talk about men’s sexual experience as an important component of overall personal development, especially in the work place. (No, I don’t mean sexual harassment.)

    Ceteris paribus, women tend to respect the sexually experienced and confident man over the in- or under-experienced one who doesn’t feel comfortable around women. They can pick up the “tells” between the two kinds of men in management, and they know they should defer to the one who in his personal life attracts women and knows what to do with them in bed. Sexual experience can make a real difference in a man’s professional career.

  • Nunyabizz

    Um, no. There are FAR more food-starved people in the world than sex-starved. Literally MILLIONS. And why are you so shallow as to only care about the sexual aspect of involuntary celibacy? Don’t have a partner? You’ve got two hands that aren’t broken. At least you can temporary relieve yourself of sexual tension. The need to be loved is far more important, and there is NOTHING we can do to simulate it. You can’t jack off and give yourself a lovegasm. Nothing replaces the feeling of actual arms embracing you, actual lips kissing you, an actual person telling you they love you. And yes, as a 3-year-old incel, I know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

    • Nunyabizz

      Correction: as a 36-year-old incel. I can’t edit my original comment. >_<

      • Little Bill

        I know that feeling, I killed myself in a live action movie because of it!

  • free_agent

    To the extent that money can be converted into sex, I suppose we do do redistribution of sex. But this whole approach ignores that sex is a social activity, not a commodity. Yes, how much wealth you have affects how much sex you have, but like all social activities, it’s a rivalrous good, and the question is how much money you have *relative to* others that makes the difference. So the situation doesn’t change as society becomes wealthier.

    To carry the discussion to a logical extreme, we could advocate for outsourcing sex redistribution to cheap foreign workers, but currently importing prostitutes is not legal under the immigration act. (I’ve always wondered if that’s to improve morals or simple protectionism.)

  • free_agent

    For that matter, “we” (average people) pity those without food because we’re so far away from the strata where food is scarce. If we give the poor bread, there’s no risk that they’ll move in next door and lower our real-estate values. In a land where getting enough to eat is not guaranteed for the middle class, the middle class will advocate hanging those who steal a loaf of bread.

  • veta

    OK, there are so many misconceptions here, and mostly from male commenters. So I will chip in as a woman, about a 5 if you want a number. So, you say we have to provide sex out of compassion to the needy? I have no argument here by the way. I am empathic by nature and I don’t care about appearances. So, what do i do, approach a shy guy, post an ad on dating classifieds? Do you know that when you guys are approached by a woman and she is acting too attainable, your appreciation of her dives down, and you tend to think she is not worthy, and you guys then are not willing to please her. Yes, this is a big part of this equation. I am sex starved woman, looking not so bad. But I can not find a guy willing to do things that I want when I am excited. I need whole body stimulation. So, I can not just get a sex, some sex. I need the right sex. I can get excited for a not good looking guy, that’s not a problem. But they get put off by my good will toward them. Or they might take it for granted and just release on me without wanting to please me. Women must act unattainable in order to entice a man to do things to please her. You guys turn into lazy lovers when a woman is not acting bitchy with you. And then you complain…So, us, not bitches, are bound to be sex starved and unwanted.