The Body Agenda Doesn’t Lie

One of the major keys to my game-fueled understanding of women and mating is the concept of the Body Agenda. I have to give a hat tip to Athol Kay for articulating it in a way that resonated with me:

“Body Agenda: It’s very common to think of the “real you” as living inside your body, and your body as some sort of a transportation system for the “real you.” The reality though is that your body has its own agenda that it’s pursuing… it wants to make babies… and your highly intelligent homo sapiens brain is in fact a tool it uses to get that job done. To be sure, we can think logically and make decisions, but we’re not nearly as in control of ourselves as we’d like to think we are. Hormones and neurotransmitters are our bodies’ way of telling us what to do.”

Contrary to overwrought romantic ideas that love “just happens,” our brains have very specially evolved (or designed if that’s your bag) neural hardware dedicated to determining the fitness of any potential mates and driving our behavior towards mixing those genes with our own. This hardware is constantly checking a candidate’s physical fitness, pheremones, gait, voice, speech patterns, parenting ability, social framing, all manner of characteristics inside and out that your body needs to make a decision as to whether you should want to mate with that person.

One level up, our rational minds have further mechanisms to evaluate the best genes and influence our behavior, as well as acting as a diplomatic proxy for our visceral systems – convincing ourselves and others that we’re justified in our actions in ways other than naked self-interest. This papering over our subrational motivations in the name of social niceties is the major workload of the Rationalization Hamster (thank you Roissy), one of the most powerful metaphors in the last wave of game writing.

As I see it, there’s a bit of a paradox in the Body Agenda. Genes tend to want to mate with strong genes – because offspring will be more fit – but also with genes different than themselves, because this genetic diversity helps insure broader survivability – not putting all your genetic eggs in one chromosomal basket. However, if the target genes are too strong, they will dominate your genes in the final product, and genetic diversity undermines the primacy of your own genes. So it’s a matter of seeking fitness and hedging your bet, but not so much that your own genes recede to the background.


In my last post, we debated Vox Day’s assertion that “a man can’t fake an erection,” by which he meant to tell women that if their husbands were coming at them with sex on their minds and boners in their pants, they were still attractive to their husbands.

On the other side, the Body Agenda that drives the limbic system’s attraction process can’t be reasoned with. You can’t talk yourself into being attracted to someone no matter how much as all the other positive factors of a person line up.

This lesson is most often told from the female side (“he’s a great catch, I know, but I’m just not into him/there’s no SPARK!!”) but it goes for men, too. I recently had a few dates with a woman who seemed like a very good prospect. She was a PhD scientist, similar sense of humor, very interesting, hard-working, low-entitlement, high-energy but also easy to get along with. I really enjoyed spending time with her.

However, something was off. Every time I touched her things felt amiss. Whenever I kissed her, she tasted funny…not like smoke or gum or bourbon or something tangible, just a weird trace of something unpleasant. It wasn’t like she had an unusually fleshy, doughy body. It wasn’t a case of high standards, as other women of her sex rank had previously lit my fire.

It was just that, for whatever reason, my Body Agenda rejected her. My subrational instincts judged her an unfit mate and told the rest of me to stay away from her. What was weird about the whole thing was that from as close as three feet away, I found her aesthetically pleasing and attractive. It was only when actual sexualized contact was made that my Body Agenda cast its vote.

At first I felt a little bad about this whole deal. But then I snapped out of it and realized that this was a feature, not a bug – why was I trying to shame myself for not being attracted to someone my body didn’t like? She eventually LJBF’d herself, overtly recognizing and citing my lack of escalation and (thankfully) not wanting to have a conversation that ended in me declaring my lack of attraction.

Now that I’ve deployed my example, let’s cross-check sex rank against individual preference.


There’s a lot of talk in the Manosphere about sex rank, usually punctuated by the scoring of attractiveness on the old-school 1-10 scale. One of the main tenets of theoretical Game is that there are prototypical traits that each gender finds sexually attractive about the other in the aggregate, and that how an individual stacks up against the overall market preferences (a demand matrix, if you will) can be codified, to first order, in a Sex Rank or Sexual Market Value. Big boobs, curvy hips, long hair for women; physical strength, social dominance, access to power for men.

However, sex rank doesn’t tell the whole story, because even when you’re screening a series of mates of more or less equal sex rank, some are a lot more attractive to you than others. Within the sex rank, there’s an extra element of Body Agenda match that has veto power over the whole operation.

I’ve had plenty of experiences where a conventionally “hot” girl, or my buddy’s girl who he’s crazy about, is just meh to me. It’s a bit like a sports team that gets a really talented player who doesn’t fit in the team’s system and winds up not being as productive as his skill (or salary) would suggest.

Or it’s like buying albums by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who and Led Zeppelin. All great bands, but odds are you’re going to like one of them a lot more than the rest – and your equally musically astute buddy is liable to have a different preference.


Also in my last post, some discussion came up about sleeping with girls low on the sexual totem pole, including a remark from the great Kane:

“I don’t know a single man who hasn’t bagged a fatty or two in his day. Do fatties have it? I don’t think so, but every now and then desperation combines with cheap gin to make it seem like they do.”

Kane has a good point – desperation and deprivation can cause a man to do unusual things – however Rock Throwing Peasant (who has started a promising paratropper-themed blog) countered:

“As far as fatties or whatever, you were sexually aroused by the situation. Own up to it, for Pete’s sake. You may never be aroused by the same situation again, but you’re not going to sustain wood without having some sick part of your mind saying, “This is so nasty, it’s arousing.””

They can certainly both be right. It’s hard to read much into drunk and desperately horny guys taking a number at the local watering hole, but shirley there’s a subset of men who are turned on enough by their conquests, but for social reasons, can’t and won’t be seen with them in public.

Radio host Tom Leykis had a hilarious episode about “fat booty calls” where he and many callers talked about hot sexcapadaes they had experienced with women who were conventionally unattractive. Though their Body Agenda approved, their social engines couldn’t have them be seen with someone of such low sex rank in public.

(Because of the effects of preselection, I wager that women will judge such a man much more harshly than men will.)

On the other side of the coin (also mentioned in a previous post here), sometimes guys stay with the wrong woman because the social cachet of having a “hot” girlfriend or being the envy of the other guys is powerful in its own right. They don’t want to admit it’s not working out, because they’d have to face questioning from the guys about how they let such a great girl go.


In a sort of interesting irony, the primacy of the “body agenda” offends two key yet conflicting tenets of our modern mindset:

1. The conviction that we are highly rational beings by virtue of living in a modern, technological society. The fact is that we are 90% animals and a large portion of our rational energy goes toward satisfying our subrational needs or rationalizing already-performed actions whose true motivations are visceral in nature.

2. The romanticized notion that love “just happens” between two people who meet by the grace of the heavens, and that any speedbumps can be rationally negotiated or mitigated if everybody just tries hard enough. The fact is that one’s base attractiveness and Body Agenda matchup have a lot to do with “falling in love,” and the tenets of game and transactional analysis dictate behaviors and habits that are conducive (or destructive) to a relationship no matter how long it’s been going.

(People seem really hooked on the “if you love someone hard enough it will work out” even though all the leads in the romantic comedy movies are stunningly handsome and gorgeous.)

Any way you look at it, our society doesn’t want to suborn the raw self-interested drive of our natures. This is all well and good when it comes to putting aside our natural drives to build a cooperative society, but ignorance of the truth is a real threat to the proper care and feeding of interpersonal relationships. There, because you can’t fake attraction and bonding, the Body Agenda still rules.


Filed under science+technology

25 responses to “The Body Agenda Doesn’t Lie

  1. Great post man. We’re 100% animals though.

  2. The second point in “nobody wants to admit it” is gold. There is no “soul mate”, no “the one”, just the one your body wants the most.

  3. This is in no small part why Jennifer and I are so good together. Objectively we’re less attractive than we subjectively experience each other to be. Her smell is positively hyponotic to me.

  4. A combination of the Body Agenda dictating a genetic match and the Love Goggles can make a couple much more hot for each other than the Sex Ranks would imply.

    Athol preaches that Sex Rank is best understood as a metaphor and a relative measurement; like him I don’t feel the need to get too serious about the whole thing.

  5. Scott

    The body agenda has a nice benefit. You can find a conventional 6-7 that for some reason your hormones tell you is an 8-9. The downside is the 8-9 that’s totally into you that you think is a six.

  6. BlackCat

    Question: Do you have a naturally acute sense of smell?

    I cannot cite the study, but recall reading that the scent of pheromones is linked to genetic makeup, and many people (especially women) are quite sensitive to these subconscious level scents. That is to say, genetic makeups that are a good match for yours smell attractive, and vice versa. The PhD your Body Agenda rejected at extremely close range may not have subconsciously ‘smelled’ right for you, even if consciously she may have smelled quite nice and attractive due to perfume, etc.

    And then you get oversexed animals like Athol above who consciously use their ubercanine sense of smell to consciously sniff out their ideal mate. ;)

    Then again, my wife naturally smells very, very good to me, too.

    As for bagging fatties, the keywords are ‘desperation’ and ‘alcohol’, and especially the latter. Many guys have experienced beer goggles, much to their later shame, and the phenomenon can be explained in Body Agenda terms as a “dulling of senses” that short-circuits the neural hardware./

  7. Almost any fat ugly girl can get any man she wants, temporarily, if she says, ‘I want you to cum in my mouth. I swallow.’ If she wants a return engagement, she can say, ‘Fuck me in the ass. Use this olive oil.’

  8. Candide

    I’d add dim lighting to the list of factors along with alcohol and desperation. I went on a few dates with an older woman (34). It was always at night in dimly lit venues, and so was my apartment. She looked hot, slim body, smelled good, sex was decent. I made a date one Sat afternoon with her to have drinks with some of my friends. That was the first time I saw her in the harsh daylight, and my attraction was *poof* gone. She just looked…. old, and weather-hardened.

    The smell factor is quite incredible though. A while ago I was seeing two girls of equal attractiveness – cute 7s in my book. I went on two very similar first dates with them – drinks, dancing to live music, a quick bite to eat, more drinks. The first one just about threw herself at me, but for some reason, I wasn’t all that turned on by her. Didn’t even kiss the poor girl. The second one did the same, but she smelled amazing to me and it got me so fired up… all night long until she had to leave at 5:30am in the morning to go to work lol

    I kind of regretted not banging the first one and so eventually I did create a second chance with her, but still got the same result. Meh

  9. Infantry

    Good post and it reinforces something I’ve been turning over in my head for a while. For me it was thinking about those girls who weren’t my type and why I was so sexually attracted to them. Usually I go for slim conservative girls, but recently I came across a curvy (real curvy, not fat) liberal girl. I think she’s great even though I don’t know why. At least I don’t try to BS rationalise it (although the curves help).

    Ever kiss a pretty girl and feel ‘meh’ while you kiss an objectively less attractive girl and have the world disolve into a pink haze? Body agenda.

    She eventually LJBF’d herself, overtly recognizing and citing my lack of escalation and (thankfully) not wanting to have a conversation that ended in me declaring my lack of attraction.

    Girls are great at doing this IME. I don’t usually have to have those awkward conversations these days.

  10. operatingomega

    “On the other side, the Body Agenda that drives the limbic system’s attraction process can’t be reasoned with. You can’t talk yourself into being attracted to someone no matter how much as all the other positive factors of a person line up.”

    Hmm, not sure I can agree with this statement. What about conditioning? I’m assuming you mean for long term relationships, because it is entirely possible for people to warp their physical perceptions over time – just look at disorders like anorexia, bulimia, or body dysmorphia. These all involve stigmas associated with how a person physically perceives themselves or others. My point is that if conditioned perceptions work in this way, why don’t they work in others?

    I understand if you’re arguing from a position that there is this immutable hind-brain impulse that has evolved over countless generations to always attempt to pick the best mate. However immutable as this impulse may be, what about those whose reality is so distorted by social conditioning or delusion that these impulses are all but muted? Case in point: the “fat acceptance” movement that so many fat women flock to in order to justify their unhealthy lifestyles and appearances. The amount of false rationalization and delusion they are under is immense. The guys who buy into this undergo similar delusion to actively mute their “mate selection” tools and change their perception.

    And the longer this goes on, the easier / more permanent it becomes. I imagine some eventually cross a point of no return, while others may wake up one day to find themselves lost and wondering where the “old” version of themselves got off to.

  11. Mac

    “Ever kiss a pretty girl and feel ‘meh’”

    No. Why would you put in the work to escalate on a girl you’re not attracted to?

    I agree with the Body Agenda idea, since I’ve been outright not attracted to some objectively attractive girls, but I knew I wasn’t attracted pretty damn quick.

  12. Candide

    You don’t understand the point, Mac. Probably just inexperienced.

    Taste and smell are hidden factors of attraction. You may find a girl visually pleasing, but when you’re tasting or smelling her, it just doesn’t really do it for you. Looks is just one sense: visual – which is crucial, but not the entire story. A hot girl that tastes not so nice when you kiss her (or go down on her – ever dealt with stink puss on a hottie? euurrggghhh), or smells bad, or sounds like a hyena… well you wouldn’t enjoy her for very long, the visuals alone aren’t enough. But a girl that overwhelms all your senses… oooooh boy! B) That my friend is the very difference between mere “hot”, and sexy. Unless you’re making out and getting hot & heavy with that girl super quick, I can’t see how you could figure it out.

    I’d add some other factors – cos I’m a dancer, so I notice them more – like the way she feels in your arms and the way she moves. You know how we’re taught alpha body language for men as part of Game / Red Pill because it’s attractive to women? Women need to learn their own feminine version. The grace & rhythm of a dancer moving her body around is very attractive at a primal level. I’ve seen female dancers who get a +2 to their SMV when they move around (or dance), compared to their photos.

  13. OperatingOmega,

    “What about conditioning?”

    Conditioning is not a rational process (except to the degree it can be a designed therapy), it’s the science of reprogramming our subrational system. No amount of telling yourself “this person is smart/funny/a good match, I SHOULD be attracted to this person” is going to make you sprout or tingle. That’s what I mean by saying it can’t be reasoned with.

    I’m glad you brought this point up. I neglected to mention in the post about how men are induced to ignore their body agendae, through various shaming schemes like blasting men for being “shallow.” However, in today’s world of divorce for any reason, where marriage is not essential for stable survival and social approval, a man can’t afford to pick a mate whose body agenda doesn’t match up with his. That’s like stealing bases clockwise.

    People complain that our hindbrains are “shallow,” but you could also say they are incredibly deep. Our brains are capable of combining literally hundreds of visual and behavior markers in order to compute a potential mate’s fitness – all within seconds. I go back to Athol Kay: our bodies want to reproduce, and they enforce their agenda whenever they can. It’s kind of mind-blowing how efficient they are at inducing our behavior.

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  15. Mac,

    “No. Why would you put in the work to escalate on a girl you’re not attracted to? ”

    Candide did the bulk of the answer but I want to back it up – many times the visual/hypothetical experience is different than the sensual/tactile experience when you are actually escalating.

    Likewise, there are some women I’ve experienced who are nothing special lookswise or even vaguely unattractive, but for whatever reason when they touch me or come very close they trip my limbic system.

    There’s a whole new level of this that comes into play when you consider someone who is attractive to you, but the sex with them is really bad.

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  17. JP

    You are saying the conscious mind can’t influence attraction. this has not been my experience, so I’m curious if everyone agrees, and I’m an anomaly.

    I scared/weirded myself out once by trying to imagine how an alien species would see humans, and everyone began looking like something out of a horror film to me. To be fair this was not long term, only a matter of 10 minutes or so until I convinced myself people were normal again. I haven’t tried it repeatedly, too worried about sticking that way.

    Since that time I’ve been firmly convinced attraction is mostly in the mind. You seem convinced the other way, however, and I respect your opinion. So, I don’t know…

  18. NMH

    I vaguely remember the details of the scent study…co-eds sniffed towels that were used by men after a work out and an y particular woman found the scents of particular men attractive, Turns out the scents that were most attractive to a woman correrlated with the one aspect of the immunologic genotype of the man such that the most attractive scent is associated with a man whose MHC protein(s) were most different than hers. Children get both parents MHC and are co-expressed, so if you have a variety of MHC you are more likely to survive a attack of a pathogen.

    I have a gf who Ive been dating three years. At times it seems the chemistry is a bit off but at my age I have very few options, so she really is the best I can do (for I could end up with much worse). However, I have learned that her in black lingerie can over come of the chemistry issues. The moral of the story here is that if a woman can raise her SMV for a particular man (black lingerie, high heels in bed, whatever turns on the man) that maybe able to overcome some incompatiable chemistry based on genotype, if that in fact exists. As a man gets older, his options get fewer (thanks to the fat chick epidemic that half the young manosphere bloggers are now supporting) and you really have to find artificies to make a relationship work, or just give up.

  19. JFN

    So what is worse; the fat chick who is pretty much perfect in every other way or the slender healthy chick who is a bitch and shit tester all the time?

  20. JFN, fatness is also a character flaw, so I dont thing this is possible:

    “the fat chick who is pretty much perfect in every other way ”

    But anyway: long term the fat chick, short term the bitch. It depends though, how fat? how slender / hot?. And last, it depends on the guy. Some guys do like bitches.

  21. Bianca

    Maybe this is why fresh-breath kisses are nice, but sometimes the natural taste of a persons’ saliva is so much better. The chemistry isn’t masked.

    Also, why it is so nice to wear a boyfriend’s shirt, they smell like him, and that it delicious.

  22. What is worse, the shy awkward doormat who let’s you walk all over him but is perfect in every other way… or the confident masculine dude who treats you like shit?

  23. Candide

    “the fat chick who is pretty much perfect in every other way ”

    What other way? Self discipline, hard work, good lifestyle habits, nutritional knowledge and training knowledge don’t count?

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