I’ve read some commentary lately about a supposed “boomerang effect” of preselection – that despite women finding a guy more attractive when he shows he can lay the pipe, there’s a point beyond which a high partner count can become a turn-off. The word “trashdick” is a feature of some of this discussion (although the term appears to have some roots in women trying to find words they can throw around that invalidate a man’s humanity, similar to to how they perceive the word “slut”).
My thesis on this situation is that the “boomerang effect” is not a kink in preselection, it’s actually preseletion in and of itself. I’ll explain the mehcanism of action in a moment, but first we need to cover a few things.
WHAT IS PRESELECTION?
Preselection is an aspect of female sexual attraction that descibes the following phenomenon: a man surrounded by, associated with or otherwise linked to attractive women will be judged as more attractive than a similar man without such associates, or (and this is where it gets really wild) more attractive than himself when not associated with attractive women. In other words, women impute to a man the sexual value of the women surrounding him.
What’s interesting about this is that it requires the female body agendato evaluate not just the man’s attractiveness, but that of the women in his vicinity. Male sexuality doesn’t really require that a man be aware of other men’s market values except to the degree he’s directly competing with them for the same woman. And in fact men on the whole are extremely bad at evaluating a man’s attractiveness to women, and to boot, unlike women who are very concerned about who else is hot, we don’t spend a lot of time trying to construct a sexual-value “draft board” in our own locker room.
Preselection isn’t the only attraction trigger (it would be a degenerate feedback loop if it was) and varies among women, but it’s an important one, since social proof is so important to human psychology.
It’s important to note that preselection goes both ways – a man who is associated with unattractive women will take a hit to his sexual value among women, possibly even worse than if he was simply seen alone.
A Badger Hut reader who used to be a nightclub bouncer has noted several times how his stock with the girls in the club went up and down depending on who he was seen socializing with (most notably, a frumpy acquaintance killed the vibe – she also had a habit of intentionally cockblocking him – and when with a hot girl, he saw all the other gals quickly take notice).
There’s a vague analogy to preselection in the male hierarchy; a man with an attractive girlfriend/wife gets a boost in social status among the men. High-fives all around.
But the analogy isn’t an exact mirror. If it were, a woman paired with an attractive man would be more attractive to the other men in the circle. That doesn’t happen, men have mostly independent, though reliably correlated, attraction engines. It really says the same thing the female “draft board” does – within each gender, sexual value equals social value. For men that means the ability to attract women and get sex; for women, that means the ability to attract a high-value man and get his social value, resources and commitment in exchange for sex.
(It’s interesting to note that despite activist hand-wringing about “unrealistic expectations of female beauty” in media and advertising, men don’t really listen to the media about what’s attractive in women – women are the ones who evaluate other women against standards pushed on them by television and glossy magazines. I guess it’s easier to blame the male leviathan than to do the tough work of telling women not to buy stupid magazines like Cosmopolitan written by other women that have shitty sex tips in them to boot. Although I wager feminists are secretly conflicted about Cosmo because it was one of the first mainstream sources with a pro-sex, pro-single message for young women.)
To be an effective game hook, preselection needs to be used thinly, like Vegemite. It’s about feeding the fantasy that she’s winning over an in-demand guy. There doesn’t even have to be sex involved, but there are caveats; having hot platonic female friends can work, but being a beta orbiter to a hot woman doesn’t work at all. Bumping into an ex by accident and downplaying the obvious to your current squeeze is a move that will pay off. Telling a woman offhandedly “oh that’s the girl I boffed last week” is a little too forward and takes away the mystery. Roissy had a hilarious post about hinting to a woman that you had a stalker.
In truth, since most men are not game-aware, the leveraging of preselection usually happens unbeknownst to the man benefitting from it, essentially forming the backbone of a wholly female-managed subcommunication loop among women about who they do or should find attractive.
SOME WOMEN DON’T DO PRESELECTION
The general observable trend is that a man with SOME sexual experience (I’m talking a handful of partners from the high school to early-20′s life stage) are much more preferred by women of that cohort than men without experience. It’s essentially a social-proof way of communicating that the man has seductive prowess and can close the deal, without casting a guy as a player or an inveterate pursuer of recreational sex. It’s a safe heuristic that women can use to judge a man’s attractive qualities without shooting for a guy likely to be non-committal.
There’s some talk around the Net about female virgin-shaming, but male virgins have been the butt of jokes and pitiable sad-sack archetypes for generations. For emphasis, go to anywhere men and women are discussing the sexual marketplace, and notice how quickly and predictably a woman will try to invalidate a man’s arguments or anecdotes by saying “you’re a loser who can’t get laid.” It certainly seems that in a woman’s mind, the ability of a man to acquire sex truly differentiates real “men” from “extraterrestrial beings who have penises.” I don’t say that to shame women or invalidate their own natures, but it’s important that men understand the degree to which the perception of virility changes how women view them and treat them.
However, there’s an observable pocket of women who really find the idea of casual sex, serial monogamy and other lifestyles that gradually grow somebody’s partner count as disturbing or disgusting or just not for them. The celebrated Manosphere poster “Hope” is one of them.
I consider them for lack of a better term “sexual homebodies” – they want to have a man to love all to themselves, and they are put off by the idea that he’s been giving it away to other people. The idea of the early-mid 20′s “sexual adventure” that a lot of people pursue is an idea they aren’t at all interested in. They’re also not interested in snagging the guy all the other girls want and waving him in their faces, or reforming and settling the adventuresome sexual athlete. The expectations seem to match those they have for themselves, a cherished and idealistic view of sexuality in general.
There is nothing sexually or psychologically wrong with this, not at all; it’s a feature of their personalities, not a bug. But I do find that women who truly feel this way and are willing to enforce it (that is, who are strong enough to break up with men who have had casual sex and hold out for a guy who hasn’t and also meets their other criteria) is pretty small. I really can’t imagine more than 20% of women are holding to this strategy in the long run. Some who try it will eventually compromise on it to get the other things they want in a mate; others will find that when the chips are down it’s not a value they actually wanted.
To some degree, this means finding a diamond in the rough, a guy that girls haven’t been pawing at since he was 19 years old. But these women are fine with that; they certainly don’t mind a guy they have all to themselves because most of the other girls aren’t interested.
I find them a largely silent minority. Almost all of the loud and proud “I’m not going to SETTLE!” stories I hear/read about are the opposite of these women – thrill-seeking carousel riders, who have held out beyond their peak attractiveness to search for commitment or have actively damaged their marital market value with promiscuity, disease, drinking, histrionic behavior or financial incontinence.
We have to add a caveat here that there are some women who claim to be after the low-count guy, but are really on the ever-elusive hunt for “fried ice.” They want, and they say this with their own words, a guy who COULD have a high count but has elected not to – a guy with options who hasn’t exercised them. They want to be chosen by a guy who could have anybody but has held out for his princess. Let’s get serious. Guys with the well-honed physical, social and professional traits to be ladykillers, the “whole package” as girls like to say, are not going to hang the spoils of those traits on the shelf. It’s like expecting a woman who spends hours on her appearance to not use it to curry favor and influence – it just doesn’t compute.
“BOOMERANG” IS PRESELECTION, FULL STOP
Now that we’ve covered these preamble factors, let’s talk about what’s really going on here.
The real subrational power of this “boomerang effect” is the following – beyond a certain partner count, the inescapable conclusion is that the guy is banging unattractive women.
Let me make a non-sexual analogy. I live in a large urban area and love steak. There are probably a hundred places to get a steak around here. Among those who specialize in steak, there’s a few high-class chains and a few one-offs. Then there’s places that just happen to serve steak like TGIFridays, plus Red Lobster where steak is just a placeholder for people who got dragged there but don’t like seafood. Point is, there’s only about ten really high-quality steakhouses, and a few others that will do in a pinch.
Say I meet a fellow steak lover and he tells me “I’ve been to a dozen steakhouses in this town, and that Fleming’s on Johnson Avenue is the best ribeye money can buy. I know the chef there, tell them that Steve sent you and they’ll take good care of you.”
OK, sounds good – he loves steak, he’s been to enough places to know what’s out there, and he’s a coinniseur so he leans toward quality. He’s even curried favor with one of the places because of its value. I may not agree totally with him, but he has value in this space. His opinion is informed and of good taste.
Now instead imagine he’d told me, “man, I must have been to 50 steak joints by now. Now let me tell you where I’d go…” Then I KNOW he’s been slumming it at the Applebee’s or getting the over-fried strip steak at the local pub, the one they serve with chips and a quarter pickle and you’re lucky if they even ask you how you want it cooked.
Even though his sample size is larger, there’s something about his taste and restaurant habits that make me not want to listen to him. He doesn’t have to be a Morton’s snob, but I’m not taking steak advice (a subject critically dear to my heart) from a guy who’s down with any piece of beef they can scrape off a grill.
(This whole discussion recalls the famous Solomon II post concerning McFling’s).
That’s the analogy I see to this “boomerang” discussion. It isn’t some kind of kink in preselection, an event horizon where the laws of attraction spin around in the other direction. It’s simply the fact that he must be picking up a lot of slop off the floor, and that costs him preselection points (because preselection accounts for low-quality conquests).
Behind all the rhetoric about how everyone is beautiful on the inside, women know the score. A few women are positively unattractive. Most women are plain-to-reasonably-attractive in that they have some or another traits that are pretty good alongside average, unremarkable traits elsewhere. A few women are superlatively attractive thanks to a confluence of traits that overwhelm the male hindbrain.
When a reasonably attractive guy has been with a few women, the natural course is to inpute the preselection effect to him but giving him the benefit of the doubt that he’s been landing attractive women. This mental shortcut is made easier if you only see him with hot women – going to tony nightclubs, chatting it up flirtatiously with his friends’ hot girlfriends, at frat parties with hot sorority sisters, at post-work happy hours with who appear to be semi-pro bikini models, always bringing a new hot piece of arm candy to work socials, you get the idea.
There’s only so many really good-looking women, and he seems to have access to the lot of them. But when a guy’s been with 50, 75, 100 (the numbers that supposedly invoke this “boomerang” effect), it’s almost mathematically impossible that his successes are restricted to highly attractive women, and even if it was possible it strains credulity to
“BOOMERANG” COUNTS ARE REALLY HIGH
There’s something we haven’t talked about, and that is that the standards for this “boomerang” thing are totally out of whack. First, the idea that only around 30 or 50 partners does a guy guarantee he’s been slumming it is ludicrous. In fact, I’d wager most medium- to high-count men land their less-attractive quarries at the BEGINNING of their sexual career, when they are getting their sea legs and sex appears to be a scarce commodity so they have to take whatever is on offer.
The other thing is that 50 partners is really an outstanding number of partners, an extremely rare find. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I believe a young male with 15 partners is beyond two sigmas from the mean, meaning he’s in the top 2% of men in terms of sexual performance. A guy with 50 partners is a massive outlier. We’ll get to more about this outlier in a minute.
Another thing to think about is that for women (young women, especially) to posit that 50 or 75 partners is “too high” for them just underscores what kind of promiscuous community they are already a part of. It all sounds like this concept is a cover for “I don’t want a guy more promiscuous than what I’ve done myself.”
HIGH COUNT IS AN INEFFECTIVE PROXY FOR STD RISK
Another argument in this issue is that high-count men are seen as STD risks. It is in this vein that the term “trashdick” is proffered, that their penis is actually diseased.
The thing is, the partner counts we are talking about are way beyond the point at which you’ve hit serious risk for STD exposure.
I can’t dig it up right now but I read a study awhile back that a woman with four sexual partners has a close to 100% chance of contracting at least one strain of HPV. Now there are about forty strains so that’s a bit of a scare number, but the point is that your sexual risks go up very quickly as partner count rises. The other side of this is that moderately promiscuous and highly promiscuous men aren’t that different in terms of what you can catch from them, compared to a virgin man who is guaranteed to be clean.
Thinking you’re going to slip under the STD radar by banging the guy who kinda sleeps around instead of the guy who does it like a Divsion I scholarship sport is being too clever by half.
Put another way, if women had an intrinsic hindbrain aversion to STD risk, the aversion would set into place at much lower counts than we’re talking about.
I’m not denying that STD risk is serious and should be a serious consideration in one’s sexual choices. I just think the specific talk about “trashdick disease risk” is a rationalization of the pre-existing emotional response, the preselection response we described above.
THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE MOST MEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT
Finally, it’s important to message to men that this is probably not an issue they are going to have to worry about.
First, those men with the ability to get to 50 or above probably aren’t reading the Manosphere for advice on how to land women. Most guys learning and practicing game (which itself is a pretty low number) are not going to get up around 50 partners.
Women are absolutely paranoid that game is going to flood the market with an army of attractive, seductive, self-absorbed players against whose powers women are helpless. It’s an overblown apocalytpic fear. The typical pattern is a la “The Game” author Neil Strauss himself – learn some game, get some success, get over your outcome dependence and become confident that you can get a woman if and when you want one, then use these skills to go on with the life you want to lead. For Strauss that meant settling into a monogamous relationship that began at the end of his time as an operating pickup artist.
The incidence of (for example) a Roosh, a guy who becomes a lifetime consumer of recreational sex to the exclusion of anything long-term or more than sexual, is pretty small among game guys. I expect that slice will become even smaller with the explosion of LTR game resources, as guys who have learned game to get women will be able to better keep them if and when they want to.
The majority of the guys I personally know who have picked up game did not do it because they wanted to be players and have an endless lifestyle of casual sex. They did so because they were having zero luck with women and kept screwing up the rare opportunities that came their way, because they wanted to have the skills that made a man attractive and desired as a mate. A period of field-testing their power is normal but hardly an end in itself for any of these guys. They quickly tire of the repeating startup costs to new flings and optimize into a form of game that sharpens their natural advantages and niches and mines prospects from there, taking care to be selective about whom they invite upon their ship.
The idea being pushed by the “boomerang” meme is that a man will learn some game, then become an uncontrollable sex fiend and he’ll never find a “good girl” who will get past his number. It sounds like an attempt to transfer some of the anti-game paranoia back to men, but the bogeyman that a man might go down some irrevocable path where they permanently destroy their LTR value is on the order of telling guys they’ll go blind if they jerk off.
So what happens if you DO find a woman who you otherwise match well with, but disapproves of your partner count (whatever it may be)? I recommend you just chalk that one up to a a good setup that just didn’t work out, like that time in blackjack where you split the pair of tens, drew up to 20 on both hands and then the dealer drew five cards to 21, and the only thing you were left with was the free champagne the cocktail waitress just brought you. There’s no sense in trying to talk her out of a visceral dis-attraction in spite of your other qualities, if that’s what it is.
You can always play the sour-grapes game the promiscuous women play when their own partner count becomes a stumbling block to securing commitment: “I don’t want someone who would judge me for that.” But that’s really just a game, an ineffective way to try to turn the power back to your favor and make it look like you’re rejecting her and not the other way around.
The basic point is that if you are attractive to her – you look good, are interesting and charming, and know how to push her sexual buttons right – it’s unlikely she’s going to stop things on account of believing you’ve had a few too many trips to the sexual buffet. If she does, wish her luck and move on.
IT’S MORE THAN COUNT THAT COUNTS, OR CHOOSE YOUR POND WISELY
Keep in mind there are also correlation factors to high counts which merit their own judgments. An example was floated about a jock frat at a preppy university, where a sorority had “boycotted” the house. The issues there are much bigger than partner counts – it’s the partying lifestyle, the drugs and alcohol, the dominance games, the peer pressure, the philandering. There’s a whole sick structure built into promiscuous communities like this one, much more than just guys who enjoy lots of sexual variety and won’t commit to the poor dears who say they just want a boyfriend who’ll treat them nice (while they choose, every weekend, to hang out with the biggest lowlifes on campus).
When it comes to these situations, both genders need to be accountable for their part in perpetuating it. I’ve been very open about telling men to avoid materialistic, entitled women largely by staying away from the places they prefer to go (beach parties and weekend meat-market bars/clubs).
So I can’t say I have a lot of sympathy for gals who would wear the “I was a rush girl for DTD and all I got was this case of the clap” t-shirt, any more than I do for men who complain “I hung out at Shooter’s all year and all these chicks just mooched free drinks off me.”
Even if you claim to have your finger in the dike, if you are in the scene, you are manifest in perpetuating that scene. It’s facetious to cry for a “kinder, gentler carousel.” Go somewhere else to meet men.