Understanding Hypergamy

The Rational Male - Preventive Medicine - Rollo Tomassi 2015

Understanding Hypergamy

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There are methods and social contrivances women have used for centuries to ensure that the best male’s genes are selected and secured with the best male provisioning she’s subjectively capable of attracting. Ideally the best Man should exemplify the best of both aspects, but rarely do the two exist in the same male (particularly these days), so in the interest of achieving her biological imperative, and prompted by an innate need for security, the feminine as a whole needed to develop social conventions and methodologies (which change as her environment and personal conditions do) to effect optimizing women’s innate Hypergamy.

Years ago, when I was writing the post that would become the Schedules of Mating chapter of my first book, my emphasis was on how an evolved dynamic (female pluralistic sexual strategy) translated into evolved social dynamics (feminine primary social conventions). My focus then was on how the feminine creates and normalizes social conditions that favor Hypergamy by covertly manipulating social expectations — not only of the men who would optimize that Hypergamy, but also for women themselves in how their own self-rationalizations (hind-brain, hamsters) can be socially justified.

I wrote the post Schedules of Mating in 2005 (on SoSuave) in an effort to explain the rudiments of Hypergamy in a more accessible way for guys who were still struggling with understanding why women would say they wanted “a Nice guy with a good heart” yet would, in stark contradiction of this, behaviorally opt for Bad Boy-Jerks as their sexual partners of choice. I still think it’s a pretty good essay, which is why I revised and included it in the earliest posts at Rational Male. However, even at the time I was writing, I knew that the concept of an evolved Hypergamy and its social implication still had a lot more under the hood to explore.

Biological Hypergamy

The following is a quote from a 2008 study on hormones and brain activity from the Kinsey Institute.

“One area of the brain in which we observed a difference in activation in response to masculinized versus feminized faces — specifically during the follicular phase — was the anterior cingulate cortex, which is a region involved in decision-making and the evaluation of potential reward and risk,” said neuroscientist Heather Rupp, research fellow at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. “Activation in this region has been previously reported to correlate with ’high risk’ nonsocial choices, specifically monetary risk, so it is interesting that it is observed to be more active in response to masculinized male faces, who may be both riskier but more rewarding to women.”

There are a multitude of studies that indicate women’s sexual preference for facial characteristics shift depending on their menstrual phase. These fluctuating preferences are thought to reflect evolutionarily founded changes in women’s reproductive priorities.

Around the time of ovulation women prefer more masculinized faces — faces with features that indicate high levels of testosterone. These facial cues predict high genetic quality in the male because only such males can afford the immune system-compromising effects of testosterone. Testosterone may be costly for the males’ mates as well because high testosterone levels also are associated with high rates of offspring abandonment.

Around the time of ovulation, a female’s preference apparently shifts from avoiding negligent parenting to acquiring the best genes for her offspring. This principle is known in evolutionary psychology as Ovulatory Shift.

At other points during the cycle, women will prefer more feminized male faces, as they might signal a higher willingness of the males to invest in offspring.

If you’ll pardon the vernacular, what Ovulatory Shift represents in a social con-text is what’s known in the manosphere as the Alpha Fucks and Beta Bucks principle; the drive for an optimization between the best direct genetic benefit (sex) and the best indirect benefit (parental investment and provisioning) is a biologically hard-wired feature of the female mind.

Studies like this aren’t unknown to the manosphere, and even the early Pickup Artist (PUA) teachers had an almost instinctual understanding of how a woman’s ovulatory cycle could affect a guy’s odds of a successful hookup without ever having read them. Needless to say, there’s a plethora of practical applications a man might develop with a firm knowledge of how a woman’s hormonal cycle affects her mood, her susceptibility to his influence and how her post-sex rationalization will be altered as a result of the particular phase of her menstrual cycle she happens to be in.

In his Blue Pill years, I think a lot of what accounts for a guy’s sporadic successes with women can be attributed to the woman’s ovulatory phase and favorable circumstance. Right phase, right place, right time and a guy who gave off just enough subconscious masculine prompts and Alpha cues to get the lay — or the brief girlfriend status until her subsequent follicular phase peaked and he wasn’t the ’Alpha’ she thought he was three weeks prior.


The Alpha Phase

From a Game perspective, using the above illustration as a guide, the latter half of the follicular (proliferative) phase — the period between day 7 to about day 14

— might be called the Alpha Phase for Men. The Kinsey study (and many similar ones) would indicate that this 7 (maybe 10) day window predisposes women to (Alpha) masculinized sexual influence and would be the optimal period for a man to make a lasting Alpha impression. Sexual tingles are most commonly born in the proliferative phase.

It’s during this phase women are more predisposed to sexual ornamentation (dressing sexy) and vocal intonation changes, masculine body odor becomes more appealing and an overall preference for masculinized physical attributes (muscularity) intensifies as arousal cues for her in men. Female biochemistry and its resultant behavior patterns shift in the proliferative phase to optimize breeding potential with the ’Best Genes’ (direct benefit) male a woman has, or makes avail-able to herself by subconscious design.

I’ve caught a lot of grief in the past from angry women for suggesting that all women have an ’inner slut’, and that all a guy need do is be the right man at the right time to bring this out in them. An understanding of the behavioral changes of Ovulatory Shift during women’s menstrual cycle punctuates this.

The hot coed on spring break in Cancun who fucks the cute guy in the foam cannon party is most likely in her proliferative phase. Add alcohol and you’ve got the chemical formula for sexual urgency — even from the ’good girl’.

When she thinks or says “I don’t know what came over me, I’m not usually like this” she’s observing her proliferative phase behavior from a luteal phase perspective. She really isn’t “like that” the other 21 days of her cycle.

It’s during this part of a woman’s cycle that she becomes subconsciously attuned to masculinized traits and makes subliminal efforts to capitalize on her concurrent ovulation. In other words, this is the period in which Hypergamy doesn’t care the most. It’s “fuck me now, I’ll rationalize it out later.”

About now you’re probably wondering, “That’s all well and good, but how do I determine what cycle phase a woman is in?”

If all a guy was doing was cold approaches with women I could understand the confusion. There are countless ’tells’ women will display when they are in their proliferative phase.

Dr. Martie Hasselton of UCLA has done some excellent studies on female ornamentation coinciding with ovulation and also how women’s vocal pitch shifts lower (sultry voice) during this phase, but if you’re still unconvinced, listen to your gut — men instinctually know when women are in the pro phase of ovulation. In fact, the phenomenon of ’Mate Guarding’ is a well-studied dynamic that appears to have evolved in men as a result of a subconscious awareness of women’s behavioral cues during the period of their ovulation.

If you have the patience to learn, pay better attention to the behaviors of the women in your immediate social circle, or to the behaviors of the girl you think you may want to target at some point.

Beta Phase

If the proliferate phase is the Alpha Phase for Men, then the luteal phase could be considered the Beta Phase.

Again using the Kinsey study, as well as many from Dr. Hasselton as our general guide we can infer that women become drawn to more feminine features in men during the 14 day down side of their cycle. The attributes of attraction (not arousal) that define this stage are associated with comfort, familiarity, empathy, nurturing, etc. meant to reinforce the perception that a man is a good choice for long-term parental investment.

Again, this is nothing novel in the manosphere. Even my manosphere colleague, Roissy has written several posts regarding the applied use of Beta-side Game — within context. Far too many men believe the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) myth about women and their advertised attraction requisites as being predominantly Beta-associative.

As I illustrated before, the girl who spontaneously banged the hot guy in the foam cannon party is the same girl who’ll say you need to earn her trust because she needs to be comfortable with you before you have sex. Beta-prone men believe this at face value and don’t strike while the iron’s hot (the proliferate phase), wait her out and wonder why they get a, “lets just be friends” at the end of her luteal phase.

I think where most Beta men lose the trail is in the belief that Beta attraction is (or should be) synonymous with Alpha arousal. Each of these concepts is representative of a different facet of women’s pluralistic sexual strategy — Hyper-my — Alpha seed, Beta need. Women’s sexual imperatives can be defined by the degree to which her short term mating strategy can be justified, or offset, by her long term mating strategy.

Nowhere is this disparity more obviously manifested than in the biological reality of a woman’s menstrual cycle that creates it.

The Hypergamy Link

One aspect of Hypergamy that I’m not certain most men really understand is that the socio-sexual strategy that is Hypergamy is a biological phenomenon in origin.

To fully understand the time line I present in this book, it’s important not to confuse Hypergamy with being a social construct (i.e. “marrying up”).

Women almost categorically, even deliberately, maintain a strict definition of Hypergamy as only a learned social dynamic. This is more from a need to protect the rationalizations that result from confronting the uncomfortable internal conflict that Hypergamy causes for them. You’ll hear women agonize with them-selves, “why am I not hot for the sweet Beta who’d give me the world, but cannot get enough sex from the hot guy who’s casually indifferent to me?”

The Feminine-Primary Social Order

The base truth of Hypergamy as a social dynamic is that it is the logical result of women’s innate, hormonal and psychological firmware. This root-level disparity of a dualistic sexual strategy (Alpha Fucks / Beta Bucks) led to the evolution of the feminine psyche — to be covert, to be excusably duplicitous, an evolved psychological capacity to be better communicators on more varied levels, but also to be the nurturers necessary to raise the next generation. Without this facility for being beneficially duplicitous on a psychological level, women cannot as effectively optimize their sexual strategy.

Since the sexual revolution began, the biological rationale for social feminization has been men’s biological proclivity for violence and aggression. Our biological proclivities make us potentially dangerous. We’re told that we’re poisoned by our testosterone; we’re controlled from youth to repress that in school to the point where teachers expect boys to ’act out’, so we drug them.

Yet, the biological rationale for Hypergamy could also be said to lie in women’s biological (menstrual) impetus that motivates their sexual pluralism. It is exactly this biological motivation which a feminine-primary social order has been established in the wake of the sexual revolution.

As you read through the following time line it’s important to fully grasp the feminine-primary motivators behind the reasoning for the personal and social shifts a woman will experience at various phases of her maturity.

Understanding Hypergamy

The reason I’m beginning with Hypergamy before we get too involved in this chronology is because it’s important to get a good idea of Hypergamy’s incentives and how they motivate women during these phases.

The social aspect and the personal aspect of women’s maturation process hinge upon how Hypergamy influences women’s decision making — and ultimately affects the men who engage with them during those phases of her life.

Both the personal and social elements of Hypergamy work in concert to produce a relatively predictable chain of events, personal crises and life decisions throughout a woman’s life.

Much of the manosphere likes to define Hypergamy as a woman getting the best bang for her attractiveness buck, but this is only one side of Hypergamy.

Using the Alpha Fucks / Beta Bucks principle of women’s dualistic sexual strategy it becomes clear that there is a drive to balance Hypergamy between these two impulses. As I began in Schedules of Mating, Hypergamy wants to have both sides of a woman’s sexual strategy equation satisfied by the same man, but rarely is this dualistic satisfaction met in the same individual, and increasingly more men are becoming aware of this strategy.

It’s my belief that a drive for hypergamic optimization exists in both the impulse to secure the best genes (sexy son theory — Alpha Fucks) and the best provisioning / emotional investment (parental investment — Beta Bucks) a woman’s attractive-ness can be leveraged for.

The problem then is one of leveraging her attractiveness relative to any particular phase of her life and the circumstance that phase dictates for her. Needless to say a woman’s physical conditions, her personal decisions and modern social pressures will influence this ’balancing act’ (careerism, feminism, religious conviction, etc.), but it’s only half correct to apply Hypergamy only to the Alpha Fucks side of women’s dualistic sexual strategy.

Finally, it’s also important to consider that, from an evolutionary standpoint, Hypergamy always seeks an optimization of either side of the AF/BB motives that is better, more advantageous, than any individual woman’s attractiveness should realistically warrant. Hypergamy doesn’t seek its own level; it will always seek a better optimization than a woman’s sexual market value has a realistic expectation to afford her.

Also keep in mind that modern social pressures (social media etc.) exacerbate this, and further distort women’s realistic evaluations of their own sexual market value (SMV) at any given phase of her life. The most secure, monogamous attachments women will make are with Men they perceive to be 1 to 2 points above what she perceives is her own relative SMV.

I had a Rational Male reader pose the following question on the blog:

Knowing what we know about Hypergamy — that it’s inborn and does not give a crap — and also what we know about women’s attraction cues sway-in toward much more Alpha men during ovulation…can men deal with the thought of living with someone who is having to fight against (presuming she’s fighting against it) a general innate desire to trade up and a specific desire to stray with an Alpha male during ovulation?

The short answer to this is yes, in fact men have had socially and psychologically evolved contingencies to mitigate Hypergamy since our hunter-gatherer beginnings. You could even argue that much of our cultural and species-level achievements were the result of men’s latent drives to deal with women’s innate Hypergamy.

The common mistake is to presume that Hypergamy’s natural state exists in a vacuum. Hypergamy is not static. The capacity an individual woman possesses to optimize Hypergamy is specific to that woman. There are many complex variables that affect what contributes to a woman’s self-perception of her sexual market valuation.

For a general instance, a hot, 22 year old coed will generally be more predisposed to the Alpha Fucks side of her hypergamous impulses because she has a better capacity to capitalize on it than a 44 year old divorced mother of two. Many guys think that Hypergamy requires this endless attending to, but with the exception of outlier women, women will regulate their Hypergamy based on their self-perceived capacity to optimize it.

Simply because a woman’s natural state is Hypergamy doesn’t mean she is able to optimize it. She may lack opportunity (i.e. no Alpha men in the right place or at the right time), she may lack the physical appeal, she may have internalized beliefs that cause her to be more self-conscious, she may have self-esteem issues (over and under inflated), or she may simply be acculturated in a society that enforces limits upon her capacity to optimize Hypergamy. All of these limiting conditions contend with her innate hypergamous impulse.

This is the primary struggle women face; managing these limiting conditions while contending with a hard-coded Hypergamy, all before facing the inevitable, progression towards her lessened capacity to outperform her sexual competitors. Cash in too early and face the nagging doubt she could’ve consolidated with a more optimal man’s commitment. Cash in too late and live with the consequences of settling for a suboptimal man her looks, personal conditions and societal influences allowed her to consolidate on (Alpha Widows). All of this occurs within the framework of the personal limitations (or benefits) women individually have a capacity for.

Hypergamy Unbound

One common misunderstanding most men have about Hypergamy is that it requires constant attention to mitigate. Most ’Men Going Their Own Way’ (MGTOWs) fool-low this logic to some degree, thinking that the effort necessary to contain women’s Hypergamy means this endless mind reading or jumping through behavioral hoops in order to maintain some balance and harmony in any relationship with a woman. They believe the pay off simply isn’t worth the effort, and by their individual case they may be correct, however what they don’t account for is the natural balance that already exists between the genders.

Hypergamy is far easier to contain the less a woman is able to capitalize on it.

Imposing limitations on women’s Hypergamy is really a matter of application. Why is our reflexive response to label possessive men as ’insecure’? Because beneath an overt exercising of control we believe a man lacks the capacity to inspire genuine desire in a woman which prompts her to self-regulate her own Hypergamy. Yet, we still consider Mate Guarding behaviors (both conscious and subconscious) to be wise in a measured application. So there you have the line in controlling Hypergamy — like virtually anything else in Game, apply it overtly and you appear ’insecure’, apply it covertly and you appear confident and in control.

To really grasp this you have to also take into account the Alpha/Beta response dynamic. Women’s inborn Hypergamy will predispose women with even the most secure attachment to their mate to shit-test him.

When men become aware of this their rational minds see it as insecurity and a nuisance that they will constantly have to deal with. However, nature has engineered into our own psyches the means to deal with these tests in ways we’re not really aware of. I’ve seen the most passive of men put their foot down after a particularly cruel shit-test and basically tell their wives or girlfriends to “shut the fuck up.” It came from exasperation, but that provocation and then the response their woman got for it was exactly the requirement for passing the test.

Of course they didn’t realize they were doing it, they were just pissed, lost their temper and usually apologized profusely for acting so brash after the fact. However this was exactly the response Hypergamy needed to confirm that he isn’t a pushover.

Mate Guarding is another of these subliminal efforts employed to contain Hyper-gamy. Most men don’t realize that they’re manifesting mate-guarding behaviors at exactly the time his woman is ovulating and more aroused by the masculine cues of an unfamiliar Alpha. Her disposition manifests in behaviors that his psyche evolved to register and reflexively trigger his own subconscious mate guarding behaviors

— all in a naturalized effort to contain her innate Hypergamy. For men, nature is already aware of Hypergamy and has contingencies to limit it.

Ovulatory shift in mate preferences, and the evident behavioral shifts that result from them, prompted an evolved sensitivity to them in men. In turn, this peripheral awareness produced contingency behaviors (mate guarding) to ensure a man wasn’t wasting his parental investment efforts with a child that wasn’t his own.

An evolved Mate Guarding sensitivity and contingent strategy was an insurance against the cuckoldry risks inherent in women’s Hypergamous sexual strategy.

I would argue that a contingent Mate Guarding strategy evolved not as a direct response to Alpha (or even Beta) competition stresses, but rather due to women’s innate Hypergamy, their sexual pluralism and the potential for parental investment deception when women were left with their Hypergamy unchecked.

If a woman’s predominant perception of you is Alpha, if her mental point of origin is one in which she recognizes her own SMV as being subordinate to your own, she wont be asking your “permission” to go to Las Vegas with her girlfriends for a weekend because her desire for a man she perceives as Alpha (hopefully you) will be stronger than her peers’ influence on her during her ovulation week.

In theory, no woman who sees you as her perceived Alpha and Hypergamous best interest will want to ’cheat’ on you — so the idea doesn’t occur to her. I realize this sounds simplistic until you consider the readiness with which most men will similarly isolate themselves socially, putting off friends and family in preference to spending his time with what he believes is a high-value woman.

Another aspect of limiting Hypergamy is the inter-sexual competition women sub-jest each other to. Hypergamy is essentially a race to the top. The higher value resources (high SMV men) drive down the cost (effort) for the lower value ones. The highest value men cascade in value by the frequency of lower value men, but it’s important to remember that Hypergamy doesn’t seek its own level, it always defaults to a better optimization. For a woman, the biological jackpot is to secure a commitment of genetics and resources from a mate who registers higher than herself in SMV valuation.

The very nature of Hypergamy has a culling effect for women. As if the pressures to optimize Hypergamy weren’t urgent enough in the light of her personal conditions and the impending expiration of her sexual competitiveness, add to this an unforgiving intersexual competition that mitigates Hypergamy.

Thwarting Nature

If a guy swings drastically toward the Beta-chump side of the bell curve, this may well trigger a new self-perception for a woman and reinvigorate her hypergamous impulse. Likewise our current social media experience is contributing to new generations of women who lack any realistic self-image with regard to SMV and thus a false perception of their capacity to optimize their Hypergamy.

Women’s overinflated sense of SMV and all the contributing factors to it is a manosphere meme now. All of these factors and more upset the balance of the Feminine Imperative with the masculine and now demand new social and psychological adaptations (i.e. formalized Game).

Many a manosphere commenter will tell you how unbound women’s hypergamous nature has become since the rise of feminism and the multi-generational push to feminize every aspect of western culture. While it’s true that Hypergamy “doesn’t care”, and many a man suffers the unprepared consequences of outdated expectations of relational equity, I don’t believe the cultural shift towards the primacy of the Feminine Imperative is the doom of modern society.

To be sure, the sexual revolution and feminine-controlled ubiquitous hormonal birth control has radically shifted social primacy to the Feminine Imperative, but what this means is a readjustment of the masculine imperative is now necessary.

With the rise of the Internet and the meta-Game that is the manosphere I think we’re seeing this adjustment in its beginnings. In our past, society and nature evolved ways to contain Hypergamy in ways we’re only peripherally aware of today, but they were serviceable contingencies that kept Hypergamy in check.

That balance will return eventually, either by men opting out of the traditional measures or women coming to a generational realization of the predicament unbridled Hypergamy and the consequences of the falsehoods fem-centrism has brought to their mothers and grandmothers.