One of the greatest memes of the medio-Internet era was the “Ladder Theory.” Documented in a hilarious website complete with colorful visual aids, the theory attempted to explain the frustrating mystery of why women sleep with certain men.
One could argue this theory may have been one of the first primordial thought instances of the movement that blossomed into the Manosphere – having at its hear the red-pilling reality of female sexuality, free from the pretty lies of popular culture.
I’m not even going to try to summarize it all, but here is a representative nugget:
A common question men ask of women is “Tell me what you want in a man?”, which is like asking how many guys she’s slept with, an invitation to be lied to. Because she’ll almost invariably answer with some combination of
• sense of humor
• emotional stability
As far as I can tell this is mostly rubbish.
Just go read it yourself. Yes, read the whole thing; it takes ten minutes. It covers (if not in those words) sex rank, factors of attraction, alpha and beta traits, and female mating strategies (i.e. tingle vs money, represented by the ubiquitous “biker vs rich guy”).
THE FEMALE LADDERS
The first female ladder (FL1) is reserved for men a particular woman would have sex with. The remainder are sentenced to FL2. This second ladder is easy for readers of this blog to understand – it’s the “friend zone,” the sexiled point of no return.
In effect, the space between the ladders is occupied by a woman’s conception of her SMP. Via hypergamy, men above her SMP are on FL1, men below it are on FL2 (as if!) None of this is a surprise to a manosphere regular.
THE MALE LADDERS
I am going to break with Mr. Lynn and disagree on his male ladder theory. He posits that men have a single ladder of all the women they want to have sex with (almost all women) graduated by hotness, degree of drunkeness required and how on-the-down-low the lay has to be kept to save his reputation.
It’s not that he’s wrong, it’s that he’s only considering sex itself, or in another manner of speaking, he’s conflating sex with relationships – which is understandable as he’s trying to explain female sexuality. To understand male sexuality, we need to make those two items independent degrees of freedom.
Men don’t have one ladder. They actually have three.
Male ladder 1 (ML1) is for women a man would consider seriously dating and/or marrying.
Male ladder 2 (ML2) is for women with whom a man desires sex but has no intention of committing his personal energy and resources to. For a typical man, ~70% of women are eligible for ML2 (subject to taste).
ML3 is for everybody else – unusually ugly women, seriously dysfunctional personalities, damaged goods, body types you don’t like, your best friend’s sister, etc.
In this respect, male sexuality is more complicated than its female counterpart.
SORTING ALGORITHMS OF MALE LADDER THEORY
In almost all cases, any ML1-eligible woman is also ML2-eligible (the reverse is not true), in other words one is a subset of the other. Another way of saying it is men don’t desire relationships with women they don’t want to have sex with. Women don’t either, but the pressures of age and marriage sometimes get women hitched to guys who only look good on paper.
A pedestalizer presumptively places all women on ML1 until proven otherwise. This kind of guy is prone to making serious misreads and errors of over-investment that waste his time in addition to pushing women away.
A whiteknight is a guy who puts every woman on ML1, and has such an intense cognitive bias that none of them ever get off. (He doesn’t usually get off either, if you get what I’m saying.)
A red-pill man, PUA or other Manosphere denizen is conscious of all the ladders and puts an attractive woman on ML2 to start. That she turns him on does not entitle her to his investment until she proves herself worthy. Through judicious use of game, he qualifies and tests her, subtly (and often backhandedly) inviting her to hop onto ML1. Many are called, few are chosen.
The latter is obviously the best strategy – a man who is open to quality women, but doesn’t need a relationship and who is certainly not going to get into one by hiring someone who’s unfit for the position.
THE SEX AND LOVE EQUATIONS
The upshot of all of this is two critical cause-and-effect equations. Contrary to the apex-fallacying of jilted female hooker-uppers, men do not lack the ability to bond through sex. It’s just that the system is only deployed under certain conditions.
A man who is interested in sex with a woman (an ML2 woman, by definition) is generally speaking not going to get emotionally bonded /fall in love with her by virtue of having sex with her.
A man who is in love will want to have sex with the object of his affection, and he will deliver his best expression of that love, and will enhance his bond most effectively, through sex with that woman. As the brilliant Stephenie Rowling said, the male definition of romance has a lot fewer flowers and a lot more boners.
LADIES, WATCH FOR LADDER BUMPS!
Women absolutely need to understand that they can get bumped between ladders, and often silently. He might still pursue you – but you don’t know that he’s changed the rules of engagement and he’s now just looking to get in your pants, cash in some of his sunk cost and be done with it. On the other hand, a man moving you onto the relationship ladder might produce some strange and confusing behavior (especially if he develops oneitis with all of its attendant missteps).
As I said above, you have to be on Male Ladder 1 first before sex with your man will enhance his love. So don’t think you can make him love you by seducing him. This is one of the most damaging projections women can (and do) make. Don’t do it.
OK, so what can get you bumped? In fact the outspoken Roosh just discussed some canonical ladder-bump events today in his post “Warning Signs A Girl Isn’t Worth A Relationship.”
- Changing your music without first asking for permission.
- Giving you unsolicited advice.
- Saying “you should.”
- Not apologizing when she texts or takes a call in your presence.
To this I would add trying to make you jealous, cutting you down in public, facebook pictures of wild parties or with lots of strapping dudes she’s not related to, rearranging/tidying your living space, making plans for you on fall football Saturdays or Sundays, reading Cosmo, or demanding expensive dinners, gifts and/or vacations (a fitness test you should “pass” by getting out of the relationship). Half these items will blow a woman all the way to Ladder 3 in my book.
THE RANKED LIST AND THE PIZZA PIE
My final point has to do with male and female sexual standards.
As female sexuality seeks hypergamy (a higher status mate), male sexuality seeks variety to simultaneously maximize his progeny’s genetic diversity and to account for the fact that his sperm is cheap and you don’t get a woman pregnant every time you fire a bullet.
When the male desire for variety is brought up, there’s always some cynical woman who drops in on the discussion and says “so you’re saying men have lower standards than women?” Some women are truly flummoxed by the revelation that men really do find a lot of women attractive, far more women than women find men attractive.
“Lower standards” is a false paradigm, an erroneous way of looking at the situation.
Imagine female sexual preference as a ranked list of possible suitors (much like FL1). If a man becomes available who is ranked higher than the mate she has now, there’s a strong instinctual temptation to “trade up.”
On the other hand, the male sexual preference is more like a pizza pie, with different toppings on every slice. Depending on what’s available and the mood he’s in, he might prefer Hawaiian, meat lover’s, barbecue chicken, no sauce or some wacky pizza kink. Variety is like what they say about sex, even when it’s not that good, it’s still pretty good – which is why you sometimes see guys having affairs with women who are shirley not as hot as their wives.
If the pizzeria offered to make him a single flavor for the rest of his life, there’s no “perfect topping.” Any one of the choices could probably make a man happy in the long run.
So it’s not that his standards are “lower” than hers – he just has a wide palate that is accepting of a lot of flavors.
Now I’m not saying the hypergamous woman should trade up, or that the man should get his fingers greasy on multiple slices of pizza. I’m just telling you how the instincts work, and we need to understand the instincts so we can properly deal with them when they hijack our hormonal systems and try to bypass our cerebral cortex.