Dominance and Vulnerability
A member on the forum posted a link yesterday to a fascinating (and rather large) study done by computational neuroscientists on evaluating porn watching habits on the internet and drawing conclusions about human sexuality from it. The study was massive and analyzed over 400 million unique porn viewings. The whole article is fascinating, but one section stuck out to me in particular (my italics):
Q: Why do women prefer stories and men prefer visuals? A: There are two reasons. Both come down to fundamental differences between the male sexual brain and the female sexual brain. One of the most basic differences is that the male brain responds to any single sexual stimulus. A nice chest, two girls kissing, older women — if that’s what they’re attracted to. Any one thing will trigger arousal in a male.
Female desire requires multiple stimuli simultaneously or in quick succession.
It takes more stimuli and more variety of these stimuli to trigger genuine arousal. For a guy, the most common form [of masturbation material] is a 60-second porn clip.
For a woman, it can be a 250-page novel or a 2,000-word story. That’s the way to get multiple stimuli. Stories have greater flexibility to offer a greater variety of stimuli. In male erotica, sex appears in the first one-quarter of the story [or film]. For women, it’s halfway in. There’s more time to develop the character before sex.
Q: How else does male and female sexuality differ?
A: Another fundamental difference between men and women — perhaps the most important defining difference — is that in the male brain, physical and psychological arousal are united. If a man is physically turned on, he’s mentally turned on too. With women, physical arousal and mental arousal are separate. [Research finds that women get physically aroused sometimes even when they find the situation disgusting.] The female brain is designed to be cautious, most likely because historically the woman who slept with the first guy she met might have a harder time raising children; he might not stick around. Women are designed to be cautious and gather more information. That’s why fan fiction is all about exploring the emotions and character of the hero. In romance novels, the heroine learns about the secret inner life of the hero. … The emotional process of revealing true character is what’s so appealing to women.
This is something that I’ve been harping on for a few years now — and as far as I know, I’m completely alone in the industry on this — but it’s nice to see scientific research backing it up. Regular readers will have heard me say it a million times now: seduction is an emotional process; not a verbal process or even a physical process. The verbal and physical aspects of seduction are merely side effects and vehicles to perpetuate the emotional process.
As the scientist above points out, the idea that seduction is a one-and-done wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am procedure is male sexuality projected onto female behavior. The idea that you can walk up, and hit “attraction switches” by telling a story or two and then “babysit” her until she’s ready to go home and fuck you is a pipe-dream, and usually only true in a very small minority of women or women when they’re very drunk.
In fact, most men find out the hard way that the opposite is true. It’s quite easy to walk up to a woman and spark her interest for a few minutes. What’s hard is maintaining that spark and chemistry for 10 minutes, one hour, or 10 hours. Attraction is an ongoing process. And what really drives her arousal isn’t your clever one-liners, or the fact that you got her talking about the fact that she likes to cook (who cares, really?) — it’s the mutual unraveling of true character and demonstration of vulnerability.
I think one reason the whole “Seduction is an emotional process,” hasn’t stuck is because unlike conversations or physical escalation, it’s very difficult to map out how the emotional process plays out. I’m hoping to do this in the next few months and actually provide guys effective ways of learning how to open themselves up to this emotional process more. I think the key is vulnerability.
I know that word probably makes half of you cringe and think, “OMG, beta.” But I’m serious. The more I work with guys, the more convinced I am that the inability to make ourselves vulnerable to create this emotional process really is the root of what we’re all here for. If I can nail down a way to guide guys through that, then I think it will (hopefully) open up a new paradigm in the industry. Or to put it more bluntly… I think once you guys get it, you’ll all agree that it’s some next-level shit.
I did a podcast interview yesterday and we got onto the subject of dominance and attraction. Dominance has always been kind of this murky concept in pick up theory and dating advice and most guys don’t have a strong grasp on it or aren’t completely sure how to exude it. “Dominant behavior” to them usually comes out as some amalgamation of making fun of people, being purposely self-centered, violent burping and unnecessary yelling. No one in the industry has yet developed a clear how-to for dominance and as a result we get a lot of insecure guys misinterpreting evolutionary ideas and horribly butchering the alpha male.
I said in the interview that I’ve come to the position (partly through experience; partly through reading a shitload of psychological research) that dominance is actually inextricably linked to vulnerability. It’s counter-intuitive, and I believe that classic PUA theory literally has it 100% backwards from the truth.
Dominance (or strength, or confidence, or whatever you want to call it) isn’t hiding your faults or your mistakes. Dominance is being comfortable with your faults and mistakes. Think about it… what do you think when you think about a “dominant” person? Someone who is pro-active, who sticks his neck out, who let’s his opinion be known, someone who doesn’t apologize for who he is. These are all acts of vulnerability.
What is approaching aggressively? It’s an act of vulnerability. After all, you know you’re going to get rejected often. What is escalating aggressively? It’s an act of vulnerability. You’re showing your desires and intentions and opening yourself up to be rebuked. A person who is dominant is comfortable with their vulnerability. I was going to save this concept, and indeed it’s literally the cornerstone of my upcoming book (which will hopefully be complete within a couple weeks and will hopefully be marketed to a mainstream audience). But I’ve been unable to keep the ideas from leaking out a bit and this study reminded me of it. So there it is. Stay tuned…
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