Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Beta Male Sex: A Lesson in the Power of Intermittent Reinforcement

When it came to women, I spent most of my life as a certified beta. I treated every woman I encountered as if she were a delicate flower. I would do my best to get to know her; figure out her likes and dislikes, then mold my personality to fit hers. On top of that creepy behavior, I was also ridiculously nice, kind, sweet, always offered support and encouragement, always attentively listened, helped fend off the aggressive assholes that prey on nice girls, and never, under and circumstance, overtly show sexual interest in her. I've been in the friendzone so often, I have my own recliner in front of the TV.

Why did I do that? 

I was hoping she'd fuck me. Or, better yet, give me the female love and affection I desperately craved.

I did this for the majority of my life, from puberty until I met my wife. Even then, I was still pretty beta within my marriage for years

During this time, I had fairly regular sex. Sure, there were some long dry spells, and the sex, unless it was during that magical time at the very beginning of a relationship, was pretty pedestrian. It lacked that animalistic passion we all crave. Now, in hindsight, I realize that sex was "maintenance sex", not "advertising sex." I got the taste of that advertising sex at the beginning of my relationships, but the spark eventually faded and I got a steady diet of maintenance sex.

In my naive beta mind, I rationalized it by assuming I just needed to improve my technique. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on, from Cosmo and Good Housekeeping articles to published empirical research to self-help books. I even read shit geared towards lesbians. I became a master at sex. For a dude that didn't own a clitoris, I was pretty fucking talented. 

On top of that, I also became the king of romantic gestures. I made Ted Moseby look like Charlie Sheen. I got so good, I could identify flowers by smell. I know precisely how many lines of prose you can fit on a standard Post-It Note. I could sew a mother fucking "You're my Soulmate!" throw pillow in a matter of hours. I had no romantic equals.

But the sex never really improved. 

In fact, it became more mechanical than ever. Still, I stuck the course. maybe I just needed to share more feels. Maybe I needed to empower her a little more. Maybe I could start taking some estrogen pills to stimulate breast growth.

Sidebar - You can buy estrogen pills from Indian pharmacies.

For pretty much every relationship, I would think back to that early sex. It was hot and steamy and was forever scorched into my spank bank. But it always ended. Always. Eventually, I started to think maybe it was just the women. When we first got together, it felt we were meant to be together. Soulmates, if you will. 

When the sex fell into a rut, I started wondering if I had just made a mistake. Maybe this woman wasn't my soulmate. Maybe there was some other woman out there that was the real deal. In all but my current situation, I ended the relationship for greener pastures. And I always found it! When I got married (for the second time... wife #1 was a victim of my "I guess we weren't really soul mates" bullshit), I thought I had found the Holy Land. We fucked like rabbits all the time. It was the sexual relationship I had always dreamed about. More importantly, it convinced me that my sexual strategy DID work!

For about a year or two. Then the maintenance sex started. And I went back to my obsessive research.

Anyway, the reason I stayed the course for years and years is because I got just enough pussy to make me think I was on the right track. In psychology, we call that term "intermittent reinforcement." It works like this:

If you give a rat a piece of food every time he presses the bar, he learns to press the bar quite a bit. However, if you stop giving him a pellet for each bar press, he quickly stops pressing the bar. It's a lot like a vending machine. You keep using it as long s you put money in and get a tasty treat. If the machine malfunctions and DOESN'T give you a tasty treat, you don't keep pumping money into it. You simply walk away and get tasty treats elsewhere.

If you DON'T give the rat a piece of food every time and instead give him one after a random number of bar-presses (termed "variable ration schedule of reinforcement), he'll press the bar at about the same rate. If you stop giving the reward, he'll keep pressing the bar a lot longer.The reason - he has learned to expect that "dry spell" where his efforts result in nothing. He as HOPE he'll get the reward eventually, so he keeps on pressing. And pressing. And pressing.

In this regard, the rat pressing the bar is less like a vending machine and more like a slot machine. You never know when you're going to win, so you keep pumping money in the slot and pulling the level (I'm old-school... pushing buttons to spin the reels isn't nearly as fun.)

Back to sex. When I was a beta, I continued my shitty beta behaviors because I was getting rewarded (sex) at least some of the times I tried to initiate. Every once in a while (at what seemed to be random times), I'd get a brief taste of that "advertising" sex. The problem: I didn't get enough of the really great sex to make a logical connection to the antecedents. I assumed I just happened to get the right combination of intimacy, romantic gestures, and sexual prowess. Those factors all led me to keep trying harder and harder with the exact same methodology.

All of this changed when I was researching No Bone Zone (NBZ.) Specifically, the first seed was planted by reading Esther Perel's excellent book Mating in Captivity, which made a case that intimacy doesn't LEAD to passion. Intimacy KILLS passion. I won't give away her premise; it's too important of a read. 

Anyway, that led me to realize all of my methods for getting more and better sex were, in fact, doing the exact opposite. I started experimenting with a few different ideas, and HOT DAMN! They worked. Like, really worked. It was such a simple idea, yet I never once considered it because it was the exact opposite methodology I had encountered in all those magazines and books. As it turns out, some of the sex-positive feminists have been talking about this idea for quite some time in one form or another. I searched out more sources and other similar ideas, did some testing, and eventually came up with the finished step-by-step guide in NBZ. 

Still, the process wasn't infallible. It worked really well about half of the time. That's when I stumbled upon an article that discussed female sexual arousal. Specifically, it talked about how women were sexually aroused by strong masculine men but not overly effeminate men. I wasn't exactly effeminate, but my beta self had a shit-ton of woman-like behaviors. I was emotionally needy, overly sensitive, couldn't take criticism, etc. 

In the process of writing NBZ, I interviewed a former coworker that was a confirmed pickup artist. He often bragged about the complete lack of inhibitions his "conquests" had (female inhibitions decrease as a function of arousal... women will be willing to do anything if they're horny enough.) I started asking him about this idea. Specifically, what was his key to unlocking this fountain of female desire? He chuckled and offered two words of advice:

"Man up."

At that point, I had done enough research to understand exactly what he meant. I had been spending the last few years learning to be more assertive and confident in every area of my life except in my relationship. All I had to do was apply it to that realm, too. 

The first time I deviated from my beta script and called my wife out on something that would normally elicit a profuse apology from me, I was scared shitless. It was a trivial matter, but irrational. The kids were in school, so they wouldn't be present to witness this potential debacle. I'm not precisely sure what I was afraid of... maybe the possibility that she would be so pissed off she would cut me off for a month. Or worse. What if she left me?!? As it turns out, my beta mind was REALLY good at rationalizing my beta behaviors. Rocking the pussy boat was more terrifying than running a 100 miler. Or fighting a pro mma fight.

So what did happen when I called her out?

She gave me a weird look and got really quiet. Thinking I just really fucked up, I walked out of the room. 

She didn't follow. The minutes passed by. Then a half hour. I was freaking out, but somehow managed to resist the urge to go apologize and grovel for forgiveness.

At about the thirty-five minute mark, she came out of the bedroom. She had a strange look on her face. At first I thought it was anger. Then I recognized it. It was lust. All I'll say is I lost all track of time and we almost didn't pick the kids up from school. I had carpet burns and chafing that lasted for a week.

Afterward, all I could physically muster was a weak, satisfied smile. I had found the magic key.

The Man Camp

After that experience, I realized I had a lot of work to do. I had always had "masculine" urges, but repressed them out of fear of not getting any action AND thinking I needed to be that sensitive, vulnerable, weak male for her to love me. I never occurred to me that the beta persona was actually inhibiting everything I wanted. 

That's funny, because I had spent my whole post-puberty life ridiculing the "douchey alphas" for their mistreatment of women, even though they were getting ten times the action I had gotten. It was like all they experienced was advertising sex, and a lot of it. I just chalked it up to really slutty, morally-vacuous women. They must have had daddy issues, right? RIGHT?

It never occurred to me that my placing "worthy" women on a pedestal could somehow be bad. It never occurred to me that I was sickeningly manipulative. It never occurred to me that the very behaviors I was engaging in were keeping me from getting the relationship I so desperately desired. 

Once I made the connection that being more "manly" was like the secret decoder ring to moistening panties, I started working on reconnecting to my long-buried manhood. The better I got at being good at being a man, the better our relationship got. All the stupid dramatic bullshit fell by the wayside. The change was great for me. Somewhat unexpectedly, the change was even better for her. I was always afraid of disrespecting her, making her feel bad, and was always trying to solve her problems. As it turns out, being her rock solved all the shit that I later discovered was occurring because of my beta behavior. I went from being a man that was kind of a pain in the ass to deal with to the man she fell in love with at the beginning of our relationship. 

As part of rediscovering my masculinity, I shifted my focus from living to please my wife to the more selfish goal of building something awesome and making a dent in the universe. Instantly (I mean that literally... the moment I made this conscious decision, it was like a switch was flipped), sex was no longer my number one priority. I still loved sex, but it wasn't my 24/7 focus. You know what they say about "the best way to get something is to not need it?" Turns out that works with sex, too. I went from initiating sex 95% of the time to now maybe 40% of the time. That fact has allowed me to REALLY implement a lot of my ideas and strategies in NBZ. Anyway, back to the dent in the universe.

Realizing there were A LOT of couples in relationships marked by little or no sex (almost all of it of the "maintenance" variety), I decided to do something above NBZ. I decided to start a group where men could rediscover their long-buried manhood. That's the San Diego Man Camp. We don't focus on getting more and better sex, but that's always a side-effect of becoming a more masculine man. 

The Cons

I'm painting a pretty rosy picture here, so I'll mention a few cons. First, not all the sex is advertising sex. We still have the occasional maintenance sex, but that mostly happens when one of us is horny and the other is just helping out (it's more fun that rubbing one off.) Second, I still slip into "beta" mode on occasion, usually because I get defensive about stupid shit. I'm improving, though. Third, not everyone likes the "new" Jason. Any time you undergo a significant change, some people no longer like the new you. 

Some of the people that dropped off the radar simply did not like my new personality tweaks, which is perfectly okay. When you grow, sometimes you grow apart. In many cases, they didn't disappear; we're just not as close as we once were. With those folks, I'll cherish the memories. 

With others, though, it became apparent they did not like that I was no longer willing to, for lack of a better phrasing, kiss their ass to make them feel better about themselves. This wasn't a large number, but it was noticeable. My response to them is more indifference than anything. Since the relationships were one-way streets, I wasn't missing anything.

That last "con" has been softened by the other weird effect - being overtly masculine draws a lot of people to you. I've always been a bit of a leader, but damn! This has really amplified that effect. As it turns out, a whole lotta people like firm, honest, confident, decisive individuals.


As I'm nearing forty, I'm slightly embarrassed it took me this long to figure out my shit. I'm just glad it happened now, though. I'd be even more pissed if I didn't make these changes until I was eighty-five. Killing off that beta persona is one of the best things I've ever done in my life. Now? I'm going to help other men become better at being men. There's a whole slew of dudes out there living a life of quiet desperation. Their bruised, bloody, white knuckles perilously clinging to a narrative they sincerely believe will result in the happiness they fantasize about while they're choking their chicken to the newest fetish submissions on 

Some get fed up and will join us. 

Most will not. 

The fear of the unknown; the fear that they may not have what it takes to "man up" will forever keep them in their shitty situations. Some will divorce, many as a result of their wives giving in to their craving for alpha cock. Some may use their resentment of their wives rejecting their decidedly beta attempts to have sex and find a woman on the side. But most? They'll live out the rest of their days in abject misery. Even the rat stops pressing the bar eventually. But the beta male? They have the one thing that keeps them pressing the bar long after the sex stops - hope. Hope for a day that will never come.


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