Sex Rank and Hypergamy

Across the Manosphere I’ve been slowly noticing more and more the word Hypergamy starting to take on a slight sense of insult. It’s starting to get a slight sense of slut shaming but it slips under the radar because of the bigger words.
Most women have an attraction to men with wealth and power. The more wealth and power a man has, the more attractive he can become in the eyes of women. Given enough wealth and power the man can in fact be quite old and ugly and a good cross section of women will find themselves attracted to him. This is referred to as Female Hypergamy and it’s completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
This is why rock stars, presidents, college professors yada yada yada get laid more than high school music teachers, assistant managers and the guy that does the book binding repairs in the college library. I don’t think I need to harp on about this, because it’s really pretty freaking obvious. It’s all just basic Sex Rank stuff here.
All Female Hypergamy means is that any woman is going to be attracted to men (as least in a general sense) who have a Sex Rank equal or higher than her own. I.e. a Female 5 is going to find a Male 5 attractive, but also Male 6 though 10 are viewed as attractive too. All women find a Male 10 attractive, they just don’t tend to think they have much of a chance at landing one of them as a long term mate. I mean back in the day they might have thrown their underwear at rock stars, but after the third front man just looks at her and doesn’t even sniff them, the reality starts to sink in that even with really pretty underwear it’s an awful long shot. It’s like the bass player or nothing. So in the sexual marketplace they end up “settling” for a Male 5. I say settling, but it really is a fair exchange of a Female 5 for a Male 5.
But if she could say land a Male 6 or 7 as a permanent mate, she’s going to be very tempted to jump ship. That’s when we use the word Hypergamy to call her a whore. Though in fact this is just the natural functioning of the sexual marketplace and by all accounts human sexuality working as intended.
Men are also hypergamous. A Male 5 is pretty much going to want to throw his dick into anything Female 5 or higher. Essentially all men find a Female 10 sexually interesting. We just don’t all think we can land one as a permanent partner. I’d love to get much better acquainted with Nicole Kidman for example. But rather than repeatedly express my interest in her by mailing photographs of me smiling and holding the latest restraining order against my chest, I’ve managed my resources carefully and “settled” for Jennifer. Then thanks to the miracle of sexual chemistry and oxytocin release from orgasm, Jennifer just loves me for it. Thanks biology!
However should Nicole Kidman start returning my calls, texts, emails, flowers, chocolates and skywriting… I’m going to be very tempted to jump ship. That’s when we use the word Hypergamy to mean that I am in fact totally awesome. Though in fact this is just the natural functioning of the sexual marketplace and by all accounts human sexuality working as intended. Hmmm…  maybe there’s still hope… I still haven’t tried talking to Nicole Kidman via crop circles.
Disclaimer: No Nicole Kidman’s have been harmed in writing this post. Nothing can happen between us anyway, she’s from Australia and I still wish to stay in my New Zealand parents’ will.


  1. Oh, Athol, you have such a way with words. ;)

    (Also – Nicole Kidman?! Maybe 15 years ago, but I'm not sure if her face even moves nowadays. On the other hand, you didn't say Megan Fox or Jessica Alba, so points for that….)

  2. Miles Anderson says:

    I don't see the fundamental difference between saying hypergamy and men and women have different metrics (in the math sense) for comparing possible mates. Both are based on optimizing for fecundity. In our cases that is pretty much how young and symmetrical is she. Since historically we took care of the rest of the needs we didn't worry too much about anything but the size of her, uh, womb. They on the other hand have to worry about finding good genetics but also finding somebody that will provide a fairly stable period of time while the wee one matures a bit. That means she considers a bunch of other factors which include resources and status. Seems straightforward to me.

  3. Wow, I thought I was the only one with crushes on college profs. Interesting, that Athol kinda-sorta puts them up there with rock stars and presidents. Athol, do you know if college professors cross 'the line' much? (Don't worry, my college days are long behind me.)

  4. Good post. However, you are wrong on one point: Men are NOT hypergamous. Yes, men want to bang the hottest girl they can find but they are hardwired towards many partners (polygamy) over one superior partner (hypergamy).

  5. Male college teachers have one of the highest divorce rates is about all I know Anon.

    Haley – I don't know why Nicole Kidman… she's pretty but somehow inoffensive as a fantasy mate choice. I think because she seems fairly nice in person.

  6. A _slight_ sense of slut-shaming? A significant percentage of everything I read in the Manosphere is slut-shaming. It's very comforting to chumps, evidently, to complain bitterly that women are all black-hearted faithless whores who only like sexy men.

    Don't get me wrong–I see the point of slut-shaming. I think it used to work, in concert with many other cultural methods of keeping women chaste, but I don't think it will serve that purpose any more. The women who need to hear the message are not going to be swayed by a big bag of contempt. A person who genuinely wants to help women see that promiscuity may not lead to happiness, like Susan Walsh over at Hooking Up Smart, will use a different method of persuasion.

  7. Good point, L!

    Let me also point out that slut-shaming just reinforces the madonna-whore, why buy the cow get the milk free line of thinking. What do you end up with in many cases? Women (and men) who still, even with all the blatant sexual displays tossed everywhere, feel that sex is dirty and even dirtier if enjoyed by women. Americans are a very porno society but not very erotic.

    A wedding ring does not automatically turn a sexually inhibited woman into a happy lusty lady. Some of you men may even land one of those prized virgin cows, but the milk may turn out to be sour!

  8. Athol, well done, finally a common sense post in the manosphere about hypergamy.

  9. Hypergamy is part of a woman's biological instincts and to criticize it is akin to criticizing a man's biological instinct to be attracted to young, fertile, good-looking females.

    The manosphere is critical of hypergamy because the feminist ideology spouts "equality" and "different standards of female beauty" and generally excoriates the male biological instincts regarding sexuality. Feminist ideology refuses to acknowledge hypergamy. This leads to a sharp hypocrisy and it's that hypocrisy that those in the manosphere criticize so vehemently.

  10. Athol—

    Contra Lily I think you're muddying the waters with this one..

    All Female Hypergamy means is that any woman is going to be attracted to men (as least in a general sense) who have a Sex Rank equal or higher than her own. I.e. a Female 5 is going to find a Male 5 attractive, but also Male 6 though 10 are viewed as attractive too.

    The point about female hypergamy is that female 6s often AREN’T happy with male 6’s, especially after they’ve had lots of casual and short fling or fuck buddy sex with male 8s and sometimes 9s. Well that’s using the word hypergamy the way Roissy and others do in the game and evo psych community.

    Also the point of using it is that whereas men will often like to supplement their relationship with a 7 with casual sex or a fling with a 6 (though sure a 7 would be better), women don’t generally want to do this.

    Further male 9s are happy having casual sex with female 7s, though sure female 9s are better if they’re equally fast. Female 9s are rarely happy about having sex casual or committed with male 9s.

    There really are sex differences here and hypergamy is a word used to capture that.

    (Traditionally it referred to status and money only, not a guy’s game. Traditionally most marriages were at least semi arranged, and often more than semi.)

  11. Wow, I must say am impressed at how much men know about feminist ideology, can you post any links to feminist websites which contains this ideology? I had no idea that there are all these feminists that think that women don't want to marry someone who is the same or higher status to them or that men are attracted to young, good-looking females. I'm amazed this feminist ideology which is so transparent to so many men in the manosphere completely passed by my very academic all girls school with 95% female teacher, as well as my entire family, my entire social circle and the media I read.

    Sure I read articles about women newsreaders etc who were put out when they lose their jobs in their 40s and the job goes to a younger, better looking girl when they see their main job as reading the news not looking hot, but that's about as far as it's gone.

  12. @Doug
    I see female hypergamy is a woman wanting to marry someone or commit to someone who is the same status or higher than her, whilst she may date someone who is not.
    If she marries someone who is, and someone comes along is a higher status, then she may 'trade up' if she can (.e.g. in that movie with Demi Moore and Robert Redford, I would suspect irl she would not have gone back to woody whatishisname) though I suspect in the majority of cases IF she's happy and bonded to her current partner, she won't actually do it.

    IMHO it's much better for men these days as they can gain status to be commitment material in other ways than the traditional ways. e.g. the female ad executive who marries the landscape gardener and it doesn't matter what he earns (though he needs to be alphaish 'enough' for the relationship to work long term)

    I see male hypergamy as a man marrying or committing to the best he can get and 'trading up' if he can, i.e the guy who dumps his first wife and gets himself a younger, hotter model. Many men can of course have flings on the side without it affecting their main relationships (though in my opinion only really alpha men can, my beta male friends certainly don't pull it off) but that isn't hypergamy.

    Thanks for clarifying about what hypergamy in the manosphere is shorthand for, however, I'd like to counter that perhaps they need a better word for it. Seems to be linked to women who have been riding the alpha cock carousel, and I suspect the percentage of women in the overall population doing that is actually much smaller than some men may like to think.

  13. @Doug
    Just to clarify I meant my beta male friends can't seem to pull off having flings on the side without it affecting their main relationships, not that they can't get flings on the side. Still not hypergamy though (unless it's a deliberate exit affair with a hotter woman).

  14. Athol,
    I share the general spirit of this post, but wanted to make a point.

    The fact that hypergamy is "starting to take on a slight sense of insult" is actually a reaction against a social myth, namely the picture many of us inherited whereby women can do no wrong.

    As Thursday said over at Roissy: "it has been drilled into men’s heads almost from birth that women are all good."

    We all grow up with models of the world in our head and as time goes on we become wise and learn that our simplistic models were quite a bit off. And sometimes we wake up and feel like we'd been living in something quite like the Matrix.

    The men who have grown up believing such a fairy tale myth (which includes the idea that women are naturally monogamous and it's men who are almost always the cause of divorce and infidelity) are often not only shocked to discover that women are quite as conniving as men, but also resent this fact.

    I personally find peace in realizing that I'm not all that fucked up after all. This is how we are, us humans. And we're in it together.

  15. I understand what you're saying Doug1, but I see exactly the same thing happening with men viewing women. A Male 6 jerks off watching porn with 8s and 9s and when he meets a 6 in the street he thinks shes a bushpig good for only a pump and dump.

    The problem is one of self-delusion rather than a sexual marketplace issue.

  16. Athol-

    The reason that hypergamy gets thrown around as a "shame word" is for a number of reasons:

    1. Women deny it.
    2. Due to it, women objectify men (as providers) while claiming that objectification of women is bad/wrong.
    3. Men are not hypergamous (you are incorrect here). Male mate selection is much more elastic than female mate selection. A 5 woman will want a 6+ man, but a 5 man will take a 3.5+ woman.
    4. The laws of marriage and divorce no longer restrict female hypergamy (divorcing her husband to have sex with the higher status male is win-win for her and lose-lose for the ex-husband).

    Now, is hypergamy bad/wrong? No, it's just the way things are. It's been one of the driving forces that moved society forward, up until women decided to give out too much free sex.

  17. Lily–

    Just to clarify I meant my beta male friends can't seem to pull off having flings on the side without it affecting their main relationships, not that they can't get flings on the side. Still not hypergamy though (unless it's a deliberate exit affair with a hotter woman).

    No it's not male hypergamy unless he wants to trade his wife in for her or to go searching for a hotter younger woman. Men leave American marriages that have lasted for a while for those reasons far less than American women do.

    In fact even when a man has a hotter wife he'll have an affair sometimes with a less hot woman. Usually younger but not infrequently overall less hot. Women tend to be really hurt by this importantly because they can't understand it, unless their husbands have come to think really little of them. They'd only leave the relationship for hypergamous reasons and/or because they've fallen out of love with their husband (having betaized him too much, with him permitting that, or his having failed to live up to what she thought he would achieve, more or less). So wives frequently project those motivations onto their husbands.

  18. Well if you're married having a less hot piece on the side is just time management. It's far less work keeping her interested than someone really sexy.

    Once a woman is 40+ and heading towards non-fertile ANY younger woman is trading up in a fertilty sense. Always gotta think about the baby making side of things.

  19. Women's primitive instinct is to be hypergamous. Men's primitive instict is to be polygamous. Men have been shamed for centuries when they indulge in their primitive insticts and have affairs. And – as Demonspawn pointed out – Athol's wrong about men being hypergamous. Most male affairs are not an effort to replace or upgrade their wives. Most men having affairs are prefectly happy to remain married to, and otherwise supportive of, their wives. They just want to spread their sperm around a bit, like nature intended.

    Of course, that's destructive to the marriage, so once a guy takes his vow, he really should keep his primitive instincts under control and avoid polygamy. Before marriage though, it's just "sowing wild oats" and, so long as the guy isn't debauching too many innocent virgins, society shrugs and says boys will be boys.

    Same with women, only it's hypergamy that replaces polygamy. Before marriage, it's not a problem (so long as the woman isn't totally unreasonable about it). But once she's married, it's perfectly reasonable to expect her to control her primitive instincts and avoid the desire to trade up. And perfectly reasonable to shame any uncivilized women who continue to indulge their hypergamous insticts once they say "I do."

    Hypergamy is literally the Yin to polygamy's yang (or is it the other way around? I can never remember). Controlling these powerful instincts is one of the things that separates us from monkeys. The breakdown of traditional marriage is part of our failure to remain civilized, and it's breaking down faster on the female side than the male side. Part of the reason is that while we've been perfectly willing to shame married men for their bad behavior, married women have been sainted and off-limits. That creates problems even for women, who are no longer taught to recognize what their own bad behavior looks like.

  20. Jack – Yang and Yin = The wang goes in. That might help you remember.

  21. Athol, the idea that men are hypergamous is complete BS even with the potential for porn addiction factored in. A male 9 is willing to have sex with a female 5 or 6, a male 8 is willing to do the same with a female 4 or 5. Yes, pretty much nobody wants to fuck female 4s and below but that's hardly due to porn addiction alone.

    Men are also willing to marry women below their own social status and level of intelligence.

    Women are unwilling to do ANY of these things.


  22. Another downside of Hypergamy:
    A girl who is P&D'd by guys above her status starts to assume she can land one. This magnifies any resentment to the guys closer to her status that may persue her or worse, that she eventually 'settles' for.

  23. alutzu @ cornerparadise says:

    ooh… so nice girls

  24. "Yes, pretty much nobody wants to fuck female 4s and below but that's hardly due to porn addiction alone."

    Well, someone wants to – I see plenty of fugly moms with their fugly babies!

  25. Hollenhund – I think you mixing up Sex Rank in terms of how things play out for a LTR and what flies for an opportunistic sexual encounter. A Male 9 is simply not going to marry a female 5. A quick fuck he can get away with sure.

  26. You are using "hypergamy" to mean two totally different things.

    A woman wants to be submissive to a man who is significantly higher in POWER and consciously takes control.

    A man just wants the most beautiful young woman who is available at the moment, as long as she is above his minimum requirements.

    Otherwise, real men would be saying things like "Oooo, she is a CEO, wouldn't I love to be her bitch."

    There are many articles and comments (from women) on this topic, at Taken in Hand.

  27. "Jack – Yang and Yin = The wang goes in. That might help you remember"

    Thanks Athol. I've always been better with diagrams. Draw me a picture and I'll get it right every time!

  28. Athol,

    a male 9 will have sex with a female 5. A female 9 will never have sex with a male 5.

    The chances of a male 9 marrying a female 5 are still much larger than a female 9 marrying a male 5 because, as I've said, men are willing to marry women below their own social status, SMV and level of intelligence.

    Therefore the statement that men are hypergamous is totally false.


  29. Hollenhund – social status and intelligence tend to be more male Sex Rank boosting thing than female.

    If a 9 marrys a 5, he's pretty much casting himself as a 5.

  30. Susan Walsh says:

    Athol, great post. I've been dealing with this issue a lot lately on my blog. Men feeling resentful that women are hypergamous. Here's what I don't get – Game addresses hypergamy directly, allowing a man to bump himself up at least a couple of points, thereby increasing the number of women who will consider him a step up. Lots of men who know Game read my blog. Some of these men resent hypergamous instinct. And yet, they've already signaled their acceptance of the concept by learning Game! I do think that some women are ruled by the hindbrain, others use the cerebral cortex more – it is a reflection of personality traits, conditioning, personal history, etc. Hypergamy may be present in all women as an instinct, but that does not mean all women will jump the bones of the most dominant guy, or even want to.

  31. One of the big differences between female hypergamy and the parallel male instinct is this: If a man decides to trade his woman in on someone else, he doesn't usually feel impelled to hate the first woman or wish her ill. But if a woman decides to trade her man in, then 90% of the time she will develop strong anger and resentment toward him//even if nothing was really wrong except that she met someone who turned her on more powerfully. Part of this is probably social: she doesn't want to feel like a slut, so she needs to justify jumping mates. Part of it is probably wired-in: If her sperm-seeking-circuits sense the strong possibility of better genes on her horizon, then they will want to guard against the danger of impregnation by the old and now-relatively-inadequate sperm.

    A wife's affair does not only raise the danger of her pregnancy with someone else's child, and/or of being divorced, it also very likely means there is a danger of her becoming your lifelong enemy.

  32. Actually it's common to both men and women screwing their spouses over to utterly assassinate the character of the spouse they are leaving.

    Basically if your spouse is a "good" person, you cheating on them and leaving is monsterous. But if you can cast them as quite horrible, you moving on with your life and making a bid for happiness seems so much more noble.

  33. Athol:

    Overall I like your post, but (of course there has to be a but) I have one major objection.

    Hypergamy is all too often viewed as something that people are *willing* to do. A 5 male wants to have sex with a 6+ female, and a 5 female wants to have sex with a 6+ male.

    But instead, we should view hypergamy as something people *won't* do. A 5 male will fuck a 4,3, and maybe a 2 female, but most 5 females won't venture below their own rank (barring heavy doses of alcohol).

  34. Athol:

    *If a 9 marrys a 5, he's pretty much casting himself as a 5.*

    With all due respect, I think you're forming a sort of mental Chinese finger trap here. You're constructing a model that merely supports itself.

  35. Ms. Walsh,

    you can accept the existence of something and still resent it. I accept that female hypergamy exists but I also accept that testicular cancer exists.


  36. So what's the going rate for posts like this? 30 pieces of silver?

  37. Anon 12/26/10… the only point you seem to be making is that you're a sad panda.

    Saying women like to have sex with sexy men is hardly a betrayal of "men in general".

  38. Lady Catherine says:

    This is a fair post but I want to address something,

    "A woman wants to be submissive to a man who is significantly higher in POWER and consciously takes control"
    Bullshit, I have no desire to submit to any man, in fact the idea of submitting to a man is a turn off. I am only sexually attracted to submissive men and I have been faithful to my submissive husband for the entirity of our marriage.

  39. Athol Kay says:

    Lady Catherine – I see it as a pair of bell curves of dominance and sumbision. The male one is generally weighted towards dominance more than submission and vice versa for the female one.

    There are certainly very dominant women and very submissive men out there, but on balance most men are more dominant than most women.

    If you're naturally dominant and he's naturally submissive, then it works, and works well for you both.

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