|Peggy Olson has no time for pseudoscientific PUA crap.|
An extraordinary number of men in the “manosphere” — whether they’re wannabe Pick-up artists or woman-avoiding Men Going Their Own Way — have a very strange notion of what goes on (and what doesn’t go on) behind the closed doors of America’s bedrooms. (And sometimes in the bathrooms of dive bars.) They envision a world in which a small number of men are having all the sex they want, with any women they want, while the rest of the men out there — at least the straight ones — are condemned to lives of celibacy or near-celibacy.
So who gets blamed for this (imagined) state of affairs? Women. And something called “hypergamy.”
The term refers to the practice of “marrying up”in social class. But the dudes of the manosphere aren’t merely content to accuse women of being mere gold-diggers. They’ve combined the notion of hypergamy with some ill-digested evolutionary psych speculations and convinced themselves that women are in fact a giant gang of nymphomaniacal sexual status seekers, compelled by their very genes to throw themselves at the males on top of the sexual heap — variously described as alphas, jocks, bad boys, and thugs.
And, since men are similarly programmed to spread their seed far and wide — by which I mean fuck anything that moves — these women are getting all the attention from the alphas that their hearts and loins desire, while themselves making beta guys beg for scraps, or, more often, rejecting them outright. Or so goes the theory.
Naturally, those manosphere men who find themselves sitting on the sidelines of this (imagined) orgy tend to build up a great deal of bitterness about this (imagined) state of affairs.
This little mythical tale of alpha males and the hypergamic nymphomaniacs who love them (long time) is repeated again and again on the blogs and message boards of the manosphere. But is there any real convincing evidence for any of this? I haven’t seen any yet.
But in a post earlier this year one of the more influential bloggers in the manosphere, a pick-up guru of sorts who calls himself Roissy, claimed he had found something like the smoking gun of hypergamy:
Twice as many women as men have genital herpes. This could only happen if a smaller group of infected men is giving the gift of their infectious love to a larger group of women. Looks like female hypergamy is conclusively proved.
As evidence for this claim, Roissy pointed to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control which found that some “21 percent of women were infected with genital herpes, compared to only 11.5 percent of men.” (That link takes you to the Reuters article Roissy cited in his blog post; the CDC’s press release on the survey can be found here.)
Case closed? Not exactly. Had Roissy actually bothered to read all of the news story he cited, or the CDC press release, or done even a minute or two of Googling, he would have seen the real explanation for the disparity: because of biological differences between men and women — you know, the whole penis vs vagina thing — it’s simply much easier for women to be infected with herpes. As one online FAQ notes (and I’ve put the key parts in bold):
Women are approximately 4 times more likely to acquire a herpes simplex type 2 infection than men. Susceptible women have a higher likelihood of contracting genital herpes from an infected man than a susceptible man becoming infected by a woman. In other words, if a non-infected man and woman each have intercourse with an infected partner, the woman is more likely than the man to contract a herpes simplex virus infection. …
Women may be more susceptible to genital herpes infections because:
* The genital area has a greater surface area of cells moist with body fluids (mucosal cells) than men.
*Hormone changes during a woman’s menstrual cycle may affect the immune system, making it easier for the herpes simplex virus to cause an infection.
You’d think a sex guru would know enough about herpes to know this, wouldn’t you?