The war of the sexes heats up as men learn about the Dark Triad

Summary: Revolutions begin in the shadows, emerging only when they grow too large for society to ignore. So it is with “game”, the science of seduction. Today let’s look at a revolution in the war between the sexes. It’s one of our weekend posts about American culture, keeping you informed about things not yet in the mainstream news.

“During this whole century the progress of artillery has been a duel between the maker of cannons and the maker of armor plates to keep the cannon balls out. You build a ship proof against the best gun known: somebody makes a better gun and sinks your ship. You build a heavier ship, proof against that gun: somebody makes a heavier gun and sinks you again. And so on. Well, the duel of sex is just like that.”

— A pick-up artist explaining life to a feminist in George Bernard Shaw’s play “You Never Can Tell” (1895). See the follow-up to this in the comments.

About “Game”

During the past century science has forced breaks with the past. Traditional State-to-State war became suicidal with the development of nuclear weapons, driving the shifts described in “Unrestricted Warfare” (e.g., to 4GW, cyberwar, economic war). Similarly, technology created a break in history by allowing them to control their fertility — changes expressed ideologically as feminism, still in motion with ends as yet unseen.

Every force produces an opposite reaction, and the reaction to feminism has begun. It began in the shadows, like all revolutions and counter-revolutions, as the ancient methods of pick-up artists became systematized after WWII.

Decades of slow evolution brought “game” to maturity in the mid-1990s. It is the science of seduction, a crude applied psychology derived by men on the streets. Like alchemy, it is a mixture of insight and superstition used by people working without theory. It began, like most revolutions, with an insight: men realized that they could act as bad boys — against their own natures — and so increase their odds of success with women.

As with other innovations in interpersonal relations — new forms of dancing (e.g., the waltz), divorce, abortion, the pill, rock music, postal boxes on the street — moralists condemn it as a step on the road to iniquity. Feminists have gained the high ground in control of society’s institutions, and watch with outrage as men act in defiance of the new social norms.


Dark truths from Science

Massive changes have reshaped American society. Hollywood, rock music, and schools reduced the family’s ability to indoctrinate girls and control young women. Women’s increased financial independence diminished their need to “settle” when marrying (for more about this see these controversial articles in The Atlantic: Feb 2008, March 2008, April 2010).

These changes had powerful effects, foreseen neither by scientists nor social reformers. First, women’s hypergamy was released — their drive to seek men of higher status (e.g., the combination of wealth, income, status, height, appearance, charisma). Second, restraints were lifted on their love of men with the Dark Triad of behavioral traits.  Psychologists and sociologists have just begun to understand the results.

Hypergamy is obvious and easy to understand. The appeal of Dark Triad behaviors is not. Psychology Today describes them:

“Defined as a set of traits that include the tendency (to seek admiration and special treatment (narcissism), to be callous and insensitive (psychopathy)), and to manipulate others (Machiavellianism), the Dark Triad is rapidly becoming a new focus of personality psychology.

“…The technical definition of the Dark Triad, as stated in Jonason and Webster’s article, is rather daunting: “the Dark Triad as a whole can be thought of as a short-term, agentic, exploitative social strategy…” This means, in simpler terms, that people who show these qualities are trying to get away with acting out against others in order to achieve their own ends. Each of the individual qualities alone can make life difficult for those who know people like this. Combined, the Dark Triad traits in another person close to you can be detrimental to your mental health.”

Studies show that a large fraction of women love these traits. (As with hypergamy, it’s not just women. Corporate directors, mostly men, tend to select as CEOs tall men with dark triad personalities.)  Men can take this test to see their Dark Triad traits.

The Dark Triad goes public

“The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.”
— From a letter by Emily Dickenson to her sister, Mrs. Samuel Bowles, 1862.

Often a catalyst brings slow social evolution to mass recognition. The film 9 1/2 Weeks showcased these traits, but in 1986 we weren’t ready to see them.



The 100 million copies sold of Fifty Shades of Grey (2012) forced attention to these trends. A hidden side of the feminist revolution became visible, a discovery far more stunning than anything discovered on the dark side of the moon (though foreshadowed by the frequency in chick-lit of women falling in love with their bold pirate kidnappers).


Game works

None of this was news to street scientists working on the front lines of the gender wars. Hundreds of books, videos, and courses teach men — imperfectly, crudely, often amorally — how to adapt and successfully deal with 21st century American women.

In brief, women seek men with the behaviors of “alpha” men (high social rank, a term loosely derived from ethology). These traits can be learned — or at least imitated. Much of game consists of learning to pass the tests women use to identify alphas. The results are not pretty. These are not the threads from which romantic comedies are woven (but then rom-coms are dying off, a genre too alien for modern boys and girls).

What about the rest of us? Successful men living by the social codes of the past are “betas” (e.g., white knights, nice family men, good boys). Men unable to deal with modern women are “omegas” (substituting porn, sports, and computer games for women). Such are the brutally honest classifications of street life.

The dark triad
Embrace it!

The future

Slowly this knowledge spreads. No barrage of condemnation from authorities can stop insights that produce more success with women. Feminism and game are the next steps in the evolution away from the nuclear family that began after WWII (accelerated when Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Family Law Act of 1969 abolishing — retroactively — the core of the marriage contract).

The standard first response to news about revolutionary changes in society (e.g., atomic weapons, women’s liberation, AI) is adopting Zeno’s paradox as truth: change is impossible. It is a comforting but daft response.

We have begun the second stage response: recognition. Articles mocking and condemning game appear in major publications, in films and on TV (e.g., “Till Death do Us Part” in season 4 of the hit TV show “Castle”, and in the film Kingsman: The Secret Service).

Ahead lie the stages of acceptance (as people wonder what all the fuss was about) and reaction.

Are these developments good or bad? Consult a priest or philosopher, for you will not find the answers here. The FM website attempts to help its readers more clearly see and understand the world, and decide how to act.

What lies ahead? That’s the subject for another post. I recommend reading the comments, which will range from “it’s nothing new” to outright denial.

Science demonstrates the truths of “game”

As with alchemy, science follows the amateurs in the field. This is a tiny sample of the vast body of research validating many of the precepts of game.

Dating preferences of university women: An analysis of the nice guy stereotype“, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 1999. “Do “bad boys” really get the girls? Delinquency as a cause and consequence of dating behavior among adolescents“, Justice Quarterly, 2004. “Niceness and Dating Success: A Further Test of the Nice Guy Stereotype“, Sex Roles, August 2006.  “Courtship compliance: The effect of touch on women’s behavior“, Social Influence, 2007.  “From dating to mating and relating: Predictors of initial and long-term outcomes of speed-dating in a community sample“, European Journal of Personality, January/February 2011.  “Mate-selection and the Dark Triad: Facilitating a short-term mating strategy and creating a volatile environment“, Personality and Individual Differences, October 2011.  “Quantifying the strength and form of sexual selection on men’s traits“, Evolution and Human Behavior, 2013.  “Can an Insult Make You Fall in Love? Does nagging (or negging) make someone seem more attractive?“, Jeremy Nicholson (PhD, psychology), Psychology Today, 31 August 2013 — Cites several studies.  “Dominance and the traits associated with it predict men’s mating success, but attractiveness does not, Evolution and Human Behavior, September 2013.  “Choosy But Not Chaste: Multiple Mating in Human Females“, Brooke A. Scelza, Evolutionary Anthropology, September/October 2013.  Superior reproductive success of criminal men, Evolution and Human Behavior, November 2014 — More women, more kids.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender issues, especially these…

  1. “Castle” shows us a dark vision of Romance in America
  2. Beckett shows our future. She chooses wisely & marries Castle, but dreams at night of her alpha ex-boyfriend.
  3. The feminist revolutionaries have won. Insurgents have arisen to challenge the new order. As always, they’re outlaws.
  4. Love in the new world, after the gender wars.
  5. Taylor Swift shows us love in the 21st century.
  6. “Castle” shows a future of strong women & weak men. As for marriage…

79 thoughts on “The war of the sexes heats up as men learn about the Dark Triad”

  1. Men talking about women and their ideas ‘of what women want’. Worse US ‘manosphere’ men…we now are entering a reality free zone…. Here is an experiment, actually talk with women rather than talking at them. Instead of telling them what some men think about how they feel and why they do things (and also telling them what they should feel and do) try actually asking them.

    I really don’t think that a tiny minority of neurotic, misogynist US males, with their bizarre sexual and social fantasies, are experts in male/female relationships. This looks like a desire to introduce neo-liberalism (even neo-conservatism) to relationships. Trouble is the rest of us all disagree.
    There is no ‘war’ between the sexes and there never has been, our entire history has been of a shared battle for survival. There has been a renegotiation of roles in recent times, which some males and females have struggled with causing some friction, but by and large they are getting through it to the benefit of both, it is a far better time to be a both a male or a female in this era.

    I’d take all these ‘mating studies with a very large pinch of salt. When you examine them in detail (and I have done for some) you find they are usually totally flawed. Biased samples, such as they are US college students (oh they are so representative…not), or just the US (ditto), the samples are far too small (one I read was only 48 people, meaningless) or have severe methodological flaws (one I read used circular logic) ..or all of those (one was US only, tiny sample and circular logic all in one, a trifecta of failure).

    One of the few studies about relationships that holds up is that people prefer to partner up long term with others that are pretty similar to them. Similar in looks, background, ideas, politics, social ideas and all the rest. This idea that everyone is chasing this ‘top 20%’ is mythologic.

    You have to realise that the US is not the world. Not everywhere is as youth/money/looks obsessed as white, middle/upper class metropolitan US males are. Not everywhere is as schizophrenic about sex as the US is either (again particularly the males), amazingly prudish at times and yet with a massive commercialisation of sexuality. Not everywhere has the high levels of religiosity, neuroticism and infantilism that the US has. Only in the US would a male come up with the idea of ‘unrestricted warfare’ between the sexes, this is actually called misogyny.

    For example, one of those Pickup Artists (PUA) came to Australia and had his visa revoked because of the community outcry. It was so offensive and alien to Australian culture (in fact what he was proposing was illegal here).

    Other places and cultures have handled (or are handling) the change in male/female relations much better. The ability for females to easily control fertility with far lower rates of child and maternal death has created a wave of change through society (in the west this started at the beginning of the 20th century with declining child/maternal death rates). The biggest is that females now have the time to be themselves as persons, rather than trapped in roles expected of them or prisoners of fertility.

    I look at here in Australia and males and females have largely renegotiated things fairly well between each other, with little of this anger and bitterness you see in so much US male commentating. Largely because feminism has been a big benefit to many males in many ways, not the least sexually. Because females now feel free to express their sexuality far more openly, most males have a far better sex life than their equivalents in the 1950s, 60s, 70s even 80s.
    Australian men are smart enough to realise this, they are not as neurotic as US males are about sex.

    The ‘manosphere’ is largely a US phenomena where some males are still caught in the wife/whore logic trap. “I want to go out and meet ‘whores’ for quick sex, but my wife has to be a virgin who never looks at anyone else and really doesn’t like sex, because if she liked sex she would be a ‘whore’ and I can’t marry a ‘whore’…”. This is infantile and neurotic.

    This obsession with ‘alpha/beta/whatever’ males is also infantile and shallow, humans are not packs of dogs.
    Oh yes during early/mid adolescence, kids make complete fools of themselves and there is a ‘pecking order’ of ‘looks’, largely because some kids mature earlier than others.
    Yes the boys/girls that show secondary sexual characteristics the earliest tend to do better, duh, but it is no more complex than that. Anything else is a projection of some people’s social fantasies onto something very simple.
    This is a time of growing, learning about yourself and others and usually making a large number of mistakes. Most people grow out of it. For both males and females that ‘type’ of boy or girl you lusted over at 16 is not the type you do at 25, because by that time you have learned a lot.

    If you asked 20 adult females here in Australia ‘what is an alpha male’, after they stopped laughing you’d get 20 different answers. For one it would be that footy player, another that musician, another that artist, another that person with the great sense of humour…and so on, you wouldn’t get many (if any) saying ‘that CEO’. Males are at bit more shallow (a blond publicans daughter with big knockers is the favourite), but even they mature once they realise that just about any woman can look and be really sexy when they want with someone they are close to, and that there are some women that they are much more comfortable and happy to be with (friends as well as lovers, win-win).

    As for these PUAs, just remember the golden rule, all men lie about sex, especially to other men. Average male level of exaggeration is at least 2:1 here in Australia, what would be a US PUA’s be 10:1, 20:1?

    In contrast females talk a lot about sex with each other and tend to be far more honest and graphic and are scathing about men who are useless in the sack. Common complaint: “he couldn’t find a clitoris if you gave him a GPS and shone a laser light on it”.

    Yes women like sex just for the sake of it, without putting vast meanings behind it, they leave that for the men to babble total nonsense about. Women are far too practical and they are far more interested in being paid the same as men for the same job than some ‘alpha/beta/triad’ nonsense (men finding the clitoris would be good too).

    Sexual fantasies are just that, fantasies. Most people are mature enough to separate sex play and life roles. Yes some women have submissive fantasies, so do a lot of men (including many so called ‘alpha’ men), some women have dominant fantasies, so do some men. You cannot generalise life behaviour from such fantasies and private sex play. Again this is infantile, adults know the difference between the two. Both sexes now feel more free to be experimental in sex play, which is a win for both sexes.

    As for “women’s hypergamy was let loose,…” there is hardly a shred of evidence for that in western and many other countries, or ever has been. The country where this is currently most prevalent, India, is also the place where the parents mostly choose the partners, not the males and most certainly not the females involved.
    In simple terms hypergamy is being forced on the females there, it is not their choice. For example I know a young Indian couple who broke all the rules (he was of lower caste than her) just because they loved each.

  2. Doing my usual debunking:

    “Hypergamy unleashed….”. So how come marriage across classes in the US has dropped?
    2012 Results. I read (but can’t find again) that in 2014 it has gotten worse.
    “Research shows that Americans are much less likely to marry across class lines than they were a few decades ago.

    Also how come, contradicting the MRM ‘theories’, marriage rates in the UK upper classes has increased (to each other of course)?
    “It shows that there was already a pronounced marriage gap in 2001, when the figures start, with those in the top category 24 per cent more likely to marry than those at the bottom. That figure now stands at 48 per cent.”.

    According to MRM ‘theory’ females chase after ‘alpha males’, only when they exhaust themselves failing to ‘land them’ do they look at ‘beta males’ as their ‘looks’ and options fade. These ‘alpha’ males enjoy all these women chasing them with the sexual opportunities and either avoid marriage (a trap) or marry then enjoy massive adultery, which the female will have to tolerate. The female will also have to tolerate being totally submissive to the male.

    But, making the reasonable assumption that higher class males are ‘alpha’, this is not the case.
    ‘Alpha’ males marry more often and have lower divorce rates. They also marry their own class and education levels and these females will have careers and income that matches them.

    These females will be more independent economically and ‘feminist’ in behaviour (and highly unlikely to tolerate serial adultery).

    Male doctors marry female doctors, or similar level other professionals (actuary, lawyer, etc) is the most basic example. A female doctor is unlikely to wait at home to massage the feet of their male master when they come home…..

    So for MRM ‘theory’ to work, ‘alpha’ males will have to marry down, picking a lower class (and poorer) female, who will have to just accept all this behaviour because of economic reasons.

    But this is not happening, in fact the opposite is.

    To paraphrase Mencken: “For every complex social issue there is a theory that is clear, simple, and wrong.”.

    1. “But, making the reasonable assumption that higher class males are ‘alpha’, this is not the case.”
      This is utterly preposterous. Class and alpha are completely separate.
      Class and beta, much less so.
      Bill Gates is beta, Charles Manson was alpha, regardless of $$. So it was Charles who got the love letters.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        “Class and alpha are completely separate.”

        Absolutely. Lots of alphas leading ghetto gangs. Some alphas lack ambition, and lead low-key lives. My oldest cousin was a major alpha, but wasn’t interested in money. Killed by a tree while working as a lumberjack.

  3. An anecdote from the from the frontlines: young man “played by the rules”. Good grades, university, white collar job. Never treated woman poorly. Was rejected hundreds of times and treated like garbage by the modern woman. Over and over and over again. Combine that with a mercilessly strong sex drive and being told he “had to wait until she had had her fun”. How do you think this young man is going to respond in his darkest hour? He eventually will be sick of it all, angry, bitter, and will just start treating women like garbage. And then they will respond positively to that… marriage, please. Those whores are going to be used over and over and over again. That’s the dark truth of our time…

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