What Do Women Want? #7 - Concubinage

Living together is a recipe for heartbreak.

This series started by noting that many highly-visible marriages have suffered from publicly-visible problems.  There was a great deal of sympathy for the wives of President Clinton and Governor Spitzer when these men were found to have been playing around.

A great many women are unhappy with their relationships with men.  Many single young women in industrial societies are not only deciding not to have babies, they're deciding they want nothing to do with men.

This sounds odd in the light of millennia of natural selection favoring women who wanted to stay with men and who were able to build long-term relationships with men.  This article reviews the way men and women lived in the past and discusses some of the reasons for the unhappiness in relationships.

Achieving Reproductive Success

Women aren't strong enough to farm without machinery.  Until the industrial revolution, the only way a woman could live long enough for reproductive success was to find a man who'd feed her and her children.

Once she had a meal ticket, she could improve her odds by getting pregnant by men who were stronger than her husband, of course, but if she got caught, she might get killed.  Having a man feed her was essential for survival, not just to her reproductive success.

That's why natural selection favors women who are very interested in having strong, long-term relationships with men with whom they have sex.  An article "Top 10 reasons not to sleep with him" discusses research studies which concluded that having sex releases different brain chemicals in women than in men.

Specifically, women get a large dose of oxytocin, the hormone that makes you want to bond and create relationships.  Men don't get the oxytocin warm-fuzzies because of testosterone, making it easier for them to 'love and leave,' at least biologically speaking.

What a surprise - having sex makes a woman want to bond with her partner!  That's why adding sex to the relationship places most women at a disadvantage - natural selection has made women want to cling to men with whom they have sex, but men aren't affected nearly as strongly.

It's even worse when they're living together - not having a place to go makes it harder for her to cut off the relationship if it goes sour.  The purpose of the old-time marriage promises was to bring things back into balance.  A wife was more or less committed to her husband by her nature; the marriage vows tried to commit the husband to the same degree through societal and legal pressure.

A man could improve his success by feeding his woman, so men have some tendency to bond with women, but he also gains by impregnating other men's women.  Since married women gain by being impregnated by men who're stronger than their husbands, a strong, attractive man can pass on his genes without settling down.

Genghis Khan is an extreme example of the "love 'em and leave 'em" reproductive strategy but his dating methodology was a bit abrupt for modern tastes.  Natural selection doesn't make a man want to concentrate on one woman to the exclusion of all others, and monogamy doesn't really make it for either gender.  On the other hand, natural selection works powerfully to give women strong emotional drives to cling to a man no matter what.

Modern science confirms common sense. The BBC News reports that men and women have different approaches to dating.  The article concludes,

It is well known that men select women for fairly superficial reasons, whereas women think much more about the long-term and the qualities and resources needed to bring up children.  Men will often find themselves falling into relationships by default after starting off looking for sexual adventure.

Let's say a man goes looking for sexual adventure and ends up living with a woman.  The woman defines herself as a concubine by living with a man without marriage.  In such cases, the woman usually expects that they'll get married "soon," but marriage goes against all his instincts.

A man doesn't mind boffing a woman when there's no commitment, but why should he marry her?  A married man's instinctive fear is that his wife will sneak around and force him to raise other men's children.  A woman who's lived with a man without marrying him has proved that she's willing to have sex without marriage.  How can he trust her to change her ways and be faithful to him just because they get married?

This is especially true if she's liberated enough to pay her share of the rent so that she doesn't cost him anything at all.  When a man can have a woman for nothing, that's pretty much what she's worth to him.  From a man's point of view, any woman he can have without marriage isn't really worth marrying.

A woman may feel that her boyfriend will marry her if she has his baby.  This notion doesn't generally work out because men don't value babies as much as women do.

A baby takes a lot of a woman's time and emotional energy which means that the man gets less attention from her.  She wasn't worth marrying before she had the child, and she's worth less after giving birth because she has less time for him.

As noted earlier, natural selection is suggestive.  It is not immutable destiny, in that a man can overcome his instincts and marry a concubine; but statistics show that marrying after living together doesn't usually work out.  An interview with Michael McManus, coauthor of Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers, says:

Couples who live together are gambling and losing in 85 percent of the cases.  Many believe the myth that they are in a "trial marriage."  Actually it is more like a "trial divorce," in which more than eight out of ten couples will break up either before the wedding or afterwards in divorce.  First, about 45 percent of those who begin cohabiting, do not marry.  Those who undergo "premarital divorce" often discover it is as painful as the real thing.  Another 5-10 percent continue living together and do not marry.  These two trends are the major reason the marriage rate has plunged 50 percent since 1970.  Couples who cohabit are likely to find that it is a paltry substitute for the real thing, marriage.

How Dating Works Today

Men don't appreciate it when women start talking marriage after dating for a time.

"We were having such a good time until she started talking about marriage," I've heard men complain.

"Look," I tell them, "you know women want to get married, that's why you pretend there's a relationship.  Why should you be surprised if she starts talking marriage?"

"Well, if she wants to get married, she shouldn't tell me she doesn't."

Men seem to feel that if a woman lies about not wanting to get married it's OK to lie to her about having a relationship.

Women are still interested in getting pregnant by strong, healthy men.  When the Magic Johnson AIDS story broke, the papers reported that a number of women made a habit of dressing in low-cut spandex and lining up outside locker rooms.  The athletes come out, choose a sample from the selection, and go off to bed.

I couldn't imagine how a woman could go to bed with a man who didn't even know her name, nor care.  I later talked to a reporter who interviewed some of these women.  Their general statement was, "We're nothing and will always be nothing.  But when we're in bed with a hero, some of his greatness rubs off on us."

Natural selection suggests that these women aren't seeking greatness as such; they're following their reproductive drives and seeking the best possible genetic material from which to make babies.

With welfare and the ability to find jobs, women don't need men to support them.  If a woman wants a baby, she can easily find a man to give her the wherewithal, so why not find the strongest man she can?

NBA star Wilt Chamberlain bragged of having had sex with 20,000 women.  That's a lot of reproductive success even if not all of them got pregnant.  Having so much sexual opportunity gave him an extra incentive to stay in good physical condition.  Wilt's reproductive success was nothing like Genghis Khan's, of course, but he did better than average.

Now that the welfare system has taken over the responsibility of making sure a woman's children won't starve, a woman can have reproductive success by getting pregnant by any willing man or by making a withdrawal from a sperm bank.  Until very recently, the more children she has, the better welfare paid.

Life on welfare may not be munificent, but natural selection doesn't care how happy she is, it only cares how many children she has that survive to reproduce themselves; the quicker the better.  Without a father to teach them how to behave, her sons are likely to end up in gangs and kill each other, but her daughters can always get pregnant from the few men who're left - who, naturally, will be the luckiest, strongest, or most able.

Is Marriage Obsolete?

Our society used to have customs which increased the probability that men would hang around and help with their children, but since the pill and women's liberation, these ideas have come to seem quaint if not absurd.  The idea that divorce and marital infidelity used to be equated with "sin" seems even more absurd.

Women teach each other to act like boy toys.  Remember Janet Jackson's Super Bowl performance?  She let a man chase her, rub her, and tear her clothes off.  Isn't that exactly what boys want to do to girls, without needing to be taught it?  Most high school and college girls act like toys; boys play with the toys and walk away.  Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bryant treat a woman like used Kleenex - honk in her and throw her away.

Women's libbers welcomed the pill because they believed that with the threat of pregnancy removed, women could enjoy recreational sex as men do, but it hasn't worked out that way.  The increase in the number of women's libbers who hate men, the increase in women who don't want to raise their children, and the recent appearance of young ladies who want nothing to do with men suggests that recreational sex just doesn't cut it for many if not most women.

Natural selection increased the number of women who desire a relationship with a man, but it didn't do much for a man desiring a relationship with a woman.  Men know enough to pretend that there's a relationship in order to get sex; women end up being disappointed over and over.

Women and Men Relate Differently

Scientists who study the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases mapped the network of sexual interaction in a high school.  The article notes that women care more about relationships than men do:

The lack of cycling seems traceable to rules that adolescents have about who they will not date. The teens will not date (from a female perspective) one's old boyfriend's current girlfriend's old boyfriend. This would be considered taking "seconds" in a relationship.

Women don't like taking "seconds" in a relationship; men don't seem to care.  A man's instinct is to rack up as many scores as he can and move on to the next conquest.  Women don't enjoy being treated as disposable toys - being thrown away hurts as reported in Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student.

"Why, doctor," she [a patient] asked, "why do they tell you to protect your body -- from herpes and pregnancy -- but they don't tell you what it does to your heart?"

In a study of 6,500 adolescents, sexually active teenage girls were more than three times more likely to be depressed and nearly three times as likely to have had a suicide attempt as girls who were not sexually active.

The book uses the phrase "female's greater vulnerability."  The author notes that it's not politically correct to point out that women have different emotions from men, but it's true, and for very good reason.

Back in the day when a woman needed a man to feed her, breaking up often meant she'd starve to death.  Natural selection works mostly on the emotions, it doesn't do much for the intellect.

In general, women feel drawn to a man when they have sex.  That's natural selection whispering in her ear, "Hang on to this guy or you can't feed your baby!"

Natural selection knows nothing of birth control and welfare.  The fact that she isn't likely to get pregnant and won't starve means nothing to the instincts built into women over generations of being fed by men.  Women had the most to lose when a relationship went sour, so natural selection gained by making women yearn to keep the relationship going no matter what.

After being being run through the emotional garbage-grinder often enough, a woman might decide she wants nothing to do with men.  The smarter she is, the more opportunities she has, the less she needs a man's company, and the more likely she is to decide against having children.

Welfare is a career choice for those with few or no alternatives, but collecting welfare requires that women have as many children as possible.  Many states have tried to reduce the financial incentives which urge welfare recipients to reproduce, but loopholes will always be found - the bureaucracy needs welfare recipients to justify their budget and doesn't want their customers to stop having children.

Where This Leads

It's well documented that polygamy destabilizes a society - the Chinese government nearly fell when only 75% of the men could find wives.  The Middle East has a wife shortage due to polygamy which is paid for by oil wealth; we've seen how stable that part of the world is.  As noted above, selective abortion and female infanticide have the same effect on the marriage market as polygamy - the bottom line is that there will be a lot of unmarried men.  If the phenomenon of Single Young Females (SYFs) who want nothing to do with men spreads too far, it will have the same effect - unmarried men with no hope of finding wives become unruly when there's too many of them.

In a way, this is a self-correcting problem - unmarried men nearly brought down the Chinese government, and may again one day.  It would take a lot of unmarried men to bring down the United States, but a woman shortage is a problem we don't need.

Our educational system doesn't train enough engineers to maintain our infrastructure; one reason our bridges fall is that we don't have enough engineers.  Our agriculture is very high-tech.

If we lose too much technology and have to go back to muscle-powered farming, women will be forced to depend on men once again.  If the economy totally tanks so that women can't support themselves any more, SYFs will either have to belong to a man or starve.

It's not clear whether SYFs stay away from men because they never wanted men in the first place or whether they tried to form relationships and got dragged through the emotional garbage-grinder of serial polygamy.  Assuming that they would have liked to find a stable relationship with a man but have given up, their situation is sad indeed.

<>"Occupational Therapy" is defined as finding something meaningful that a disabled person can do to help live life to the fullest.  Most people lack the resources needed to change the world.  When a disabled person has difficulty coping with the world as it is, the therapist tries to teach the patient to find a more realistic approach.

A realistic approach also benefits people who aren't disabled.  For many years, women had a realistic view of men and set up all kinds of laws, customs, sanctions, and other mechanisms to increase the probability that a man would stick around and help a woman raise his children.  These behaviors fell more or less under the label "traditional marriage."

It's silly for women to act as if men were the way women wish men were instead of acting on the way men are.  For whatever reason, women are hurt far more than men when relationships come apart; having had sex makes the pain worse.  A woman who enters into a sexual relationship with an uncommitted man is asking for pain.

There are three basic approaches a woman might choose:

  • Do as SYFs do and have nothing to do with men or with children.
  • Have a baby but go on welfare or support herself and the child so she doesn't have to put up with a man.  There two ways to get pregnant:
    • Have a short-term affair, the traditional approach of welfare recipients.  This risks emotional involvement which can lead to pain but the courts might award child support and social workers will support a petition for sole custody if she accuses the father of sexual abuse.
    • Purchase the services of an artificial insemination clinic and avoid any involvement with men.  This is becoming common enough that it's no longer news.
  • Look for a man to be a long-term husband to her and a father to their children.  This approach is clearly best for the children but requires that she bear the cost of having a man in her life.  As Dr. Laura points out, this is a cost some women aren't willing to pay.

What's a Girl To Do?

If a woman doesn't insist on a relationship, she can have all the sex she wants merely by making herself available.  Assuming that a woman wants to get married and have her husband help her raise their children, though, there's a simple formula by which she can identify men who are not willing to even consider marriage and avoid them.

If a man is willing to consider marriage, she can state her needs up front so that he can decide whether he can meet her needs or not.  The next article explores how a woman can avoid whiplash of the heart while finding her way to getting married and staying married.

Lee Tydings is a guest writer for Scragged.com.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Lee Tydings or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you don't get welfare if you "purchase the services of an artificial insemination clinic" and then claim that you need government support.

Love your article!
April 29, 2008 1:13 PM
As I understand the rules, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program has 3 requirements: a) no husband or consistent "significant other", b) children younger than whatever age they set which is around 18 and c) income less than some threshold. If a woman meets those criteria, Uncle Sugar steps up with checks regardless of how the children came to be.

Some years ago, the news made much of the fact that the Massachusetts welfare system paid for fertility treatments for welfare recipients who wanted more children but were unable to have them. The bureaucracy knows which side of their bread has the butter.
April 29, 2008 2:51 PM
"A woman may feel that her boyfriend will marry her if she has his baby. This notion doesn't generally work out because men don't value babies as much as women do."

Like much of this article, this is sheer sexist trash that feeds into the grotesque biases of the modern "family" court system. Women should ALWAYS get custody because fathers don't care about their kids.

As a father of three who has been forced to deal with the "family" courts on their own terms, I can well appreciate the many problems associated with our modern welfare state. What isn't talked about so much is the torturous impact it has on decent men who want to be fathers to their children but are denied this basic right because of the prevalence of thoughts like the one I quoted above rattling around in the hollow heads of those making policy about our "family" courts.
August 19, 2009 8:46 AM
Werebat makes a good point, but I think the keyword in that quote is "generally". I agree with the author - GENERALLY men don't value babies as much as women do. SOME do, but most don't. That is axiomatic of society.
August 19, 2009 8:53 AM
Thank you for the admission, Jane, but I have to challenge your assertion that this is even GENERALLY true. What proof do you have of this? It is a serious assertion to make that fathers do not value their children as much as mothers do.

Remember that not too long ago, "everyone knew" that women were unsuited for "real" careers because they lacked both the ability and the desire to succeed in them. Consider this when you come up with your proof that fathers value their children less than mothers do -- is your "evidence" the sort of "evidence" that could have been used to "prove" that women didn't belong in the workplace?
August 19, 2009 9:19 AM
Also, Jane, the keyword "generally" clearly referred to the assertion that relying on a baby to get a man to commit to marriage "generally" doesn't work out. "Men don't value babies as much as women do" was a stand-alone statement with no mitigation.

August 19, 2009 9:21 AM
you're forgetting history. Back in the day, children always went to the father. This minimized divorce - women didn't want to lose their children and men didn't want to raise them alone. The "tender yearsaa' doctrine of giving them to their mother that opened the floodgates of divorce, another unintended consequence of judicial meddling in custom and law.
August 19, 2009 2:53 PM
Right you are about children historically being considered the "property" of their father. In fact, the first people to campaign for joint custody in this country were -- feminists!

I mean the old-style suffragette feminists, of course. They (rightly) felt that they were being unfairly treated by the court system and demanded the same rebuttable presumption of joint physical placement that men are starting to demand now.

I suspect the courts decided it was easier to just start favoring women instead of men, and when they did the feminist demand for joint custody suddenly blew away like a dried tumbleweed.
August 19, 2009 5:29 PM
An afterthought to my previous post: much of the court system doesn't really care which parent's rights are being placed ahead of which -- but for the money to flow the way it does, SOMEONE has to "win" custody and SOMEONE has to "lose" it. This is so ingrained that in some states (such as my own) there is no official designation of "joint physical placement" or anything similar. In my divorce decree, there is simply no custodial parent mentioned -- which in practice means that for most important purposes, the mother is the custodial parent.

August 19, 2009 5:33 PM
I really enjoy how this countries FEM-NAZIS try to down play their hand in the state of this countries affairs! You all went and burned your bra's and now your daughters run out for boob-jobs, god I love IRONY! The minute we thought we were smarter than the laws that govern all air breathing mammals is when things went wrong! The males and females of any species will do EXACTLY as they are programmed to do! No more no less!
June 28, 2010 7:19 PM
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