“Brother Husbands”?

I gotta think the gender reversal makes some of the Sister Wives dynamics painfully clear…

A Game Perspective on “Sister Wives”

I’ve been watching Sister Wives from the beginning. If you’ve been living under a rock, it’s a reality show about a polygamous family in Utah, and then fleeing to Las Vegas to avoid bigamy charges.
The good news and quite likable aspect of the show is that they really don’t seem to be playing for the cameras. It seems like normal, everyday life as much as possible. It’s something sex related and that is always good for pulling my attention.
The bad news is that it’s absolutely killing any residual fantasy of having multiple women in my life. The husband Kody seems like he is on an endless treadmill of running from one wife to the other. There’s half a trillion kids and not a moment’s peace from someone interrupting him. The only person more exhausted than Kody from dealing with the opposite sex is Smurfette.
The other thing that strikes me is that the wives aren’t happy. Oh sure they say they are happy, and that they love having sister wives and they don’t mind sharing a husband, but every single episode at least one of them bubbles up with some kind of teary outburst in the private interviews. For sure Jennifer and I have days that are better than others, and we’ve had a handful of very bad days together, but I simply can’t imagine her weeping into a camera and saying she doesn’t feel special anymore.
I really do get the concept of having a close personal relationship between sister wives, but couldn’t you also get that from having…. well… friends?
The preselection effect is constant. Four women, one man, it’s like four ducks fighting for a single slice of bread. They all get some, but it’s not really enough. He has their constant attention and half the drama the wives unleash is simply to get him to give them his undivided attention.
The thing that most interests me most though is the addition of a fourth wife, and to be perfectly blunt, a younger, hotter wife. The three original wives are all late 30s, and therefore heading into the end of their fertile lifespan. So surprise(!), Kody just ends up just magically falling in love with Robyn the younger, hotter one. That’s a pretty standard Sex Rank effect at work.
Because the other three wives are committed to the whole polygamy thing, they are intellectually defenseless against the threat of the younger woman. A regular monogamous wife watching her husband blatantly wooing a younger woman gets extremely angry and seeks to block the change or end the relationship with her husband. As it is, the sister wives do get very jealous and anxious, but ultimately fold up and decide that the new wife is welcome. The core of their problem is the polygamous relationship allows extra wives, so they can’t complain about the addition of a new wife on any moral principle without intellectually backtracking on everything they stand for. They can only complain on the basis that she’s a bitch… but she isn’t, so they have to accept her. Checkmated by their own Rationalization Hamsters.
Plus they fold up and just accept less attention and less sex because they can’t actually leave him anyway. It’s not like they can get either child support or alimony from him, because if they run to Family Court it’s a legal quagmire at best and at worst he gets jailed and they get nothing from a jailed husband. Having a mess of kids, no money and not much hope of a replacement husband/lover doesn’t give a girl a lot of options.
The broke thing is the kicker. If you’re filthy rich, say like Hugh Hefner, you can have a bunch of women in a little harem. But Kody isn’t rich, in fact he’s fairly broke, or soon will be trying to support four houses and seventeen kids when no one has a job. Unless the show is a mega success and they start Getting Paid(TM), it’s going to be a train wreck disaster. No money means he has to endlessly finesse moods and drama like a master of Game and for the most part he’s pretty good at it. But Game doesn’t feed children…
My point is, if you want to choose an alternate sexual lifestyle, I don’t have a moral high horse I want to climb on and say you’re immoral. But I will say that simply wishing the rules of Sex Rank and attraction to change or be easy, doesn’t mean they change in reality.
So here’s my predictions of the drama ahead…
The first wife Meri is the only legally married wife, and only has one kid with Kody and she’s one of the older children. If anyone can afford to leave, it’s her. If she meets someone else, she will be pulled emotionally just the same as any other neglected wife is.
The second and third wives Janelle and Christine are going to remain the work horses of the family. Janelle is going to return to working outside the home and bring in valuable income. Christine is going to be the domestic queen and have a harder and harder time of running the home.
The fourth wife Robyn will take over the family. The long story arc ahead will be her slowly beginning to assert dominance over the other wives. The showdown between her and Meri will be nasty. Once Meri leaves, Robyn takes over. Kody will end up sleeping with Robyn twice as often as Janelle and Christine.
Kody is going to be genuinely devastated when Meri leaves. So naturally he’ll take a fifth wife. The other wives will be utterly horrified by this.
And always remember this when you hear Kody say, “there are no limits to love”. He means no limits to his love. He expects everyone else to limit their love to him.

Works Every Time

Reader email: You’re right. The answer to any question that f’ing Rationalization Hamster asks is: text dirty pics to my husband.

I don’t care what the question is, it’s always intended to chip away at something good. So, the answer is to send a racy pic and watch as the text comes flying back, complete with drool. Every time.

Thanks for this crucial directive, Athol. Works every time.

Athol: LOL I don’t exactly remember saying that, but okay!

How To Choose Paint As A Married Couple

Captains Prerogative: If you want to help choose the paint color, you have to use a paint roller too.

$300,000 In Lost Royalties…

I always knew my book was going to be stolen. One of the risks of having a PDF version of the book was that people were simply going to copy it and spread it around and I’d never see a penny of it for my work. The other problem I had was that people in far flung countries wanted the book and without a PDF version, they were going to have trouble reading it. So I figured the foreign sales would balance off the theft and all would be well.
I was wrong.
I’m getting paid for about 5% of the copies in existence that I know of. Apparently my book is a popular download.
And there’s probably lots more to find…
So the ones that I could be bothered to count up came to around 40,000 copies. And considering my cut of the $10 PDF is $7.60, the math suggests I’ve been shorted $304,000.
Now I know that if people actually had to pay for the book, 40,000 extra people wouldn’t have purchased it, but if even 10% of them did, that’s still a fair chunk of change and to be completely blunt… I deserve it.
So the question is what to do from here….
(1) I’m emotionally okay, and mainly viewing the mass adoption of the 2011 Primer as advertising for the 2012 edition.
(2) There will never be another PDF version of anything I ever put out. From now on it’s paperback or Kindle. No exceptions. Sorry, the Internet has spoken.
(3) The PDF version available on Lulu.com will be vanishing on October 15th. $10 is an extraordinarily fair price for the information in the book. If you’ve found yourself with a free copy, please pay for it.
Jennifer and I took major risks with the MMSL project, and we are not out of the woods fully just yet either. Your support is very much appreciated.
Edit: If the download sites are all spoofed numbers as revealed in the comments, this is less of a concern. It’s maddening to try and figure some of this stuff out.
Edit #2: I got it thanks. Closing the comments.

Half A Loaf Of Bread Is Better Than None

The final bit of a longer email…
Reader: I finally decided to do something and try the playful approach, lightly tickling her and trying to just slightly escalate by rubbing her thighs/breast touching…but really she was not responding.  Playful has worked before – but almost always when we were at least both naked and the TV was off.
Then I took an alternate approach – I told her that I can see she really is tired and just wants to watch TV and I understand so I’ll just take a handjob for tonight and we’ll sex it a different time. To which she was appreciative and obliged.
I am writing this because I am torn.  In some ways, I feel silly settling for a HJ instead of actual sex with my wife.  On the other hand, I got off, we shared some basic form of intimacy and she was happy that she could rest and not have to be fully “on” that night.  I’m not sure if my expectations are unrealistic and need to be tempered or do I need to push harder?
Athol: I think having a handjob is just fine. She’s tired, your horny, you both get to cuddle. Intercourse three times a week plus a handjob is better than intercourse three times a week. It’s a win, it’s an improvement. Personally I count it as “having sex”. Jennifer gives me handjobs fairly frequently, she’s kind of amazing with them to be honest, so it’s not a loss for me.
One reason to accept handjobs is that you can start working toward creating the expectation of having sex everyday as the “default setting”. So the question is not, “Are we going to have sex?”, but heading toward “What kind of sex are we going to have tonight?”  Even if you can’t personally keep up with daily sex (I’ve got no idea of you age here, so not trying to insult you here), you can expand that to being physically intimate. Maybe tonight isn’t going to be sex, but we will physically connect with a little make out session or something.
If I sense Jennifer is particularly tired, or I’ve pounded the lady bits for a few days in a row, I fairly often bring up that tonight is going to be a low stress sex night early in the evening. Sometimes I even tell her I giving her the night off, though most times she offers something anyway. Getting to “the end of negotiations” early means the whole night becomes less stressful sometimes. She’s not on edge feeling like she has to defend against you wanting the whole three ring circus of sex. As you saw, your wife reacted positively to the handjob idea. She was “no” to crazy sex, but a “yes” to a handjob. If you had pushed for crazy sex, you likely would have gotten nothing.
My approach is very subtle. There’s no one night of breakthrough where suddenly she turns into your personal slut. It’s just a little extra here and there, but over the long term all that adds up. There really is a sense of sexual fitness that you can gain or lose over time. Use it or lose it. Change doesn’t happen overnight, all you’re looking for is consistent positive progress.
And like I say, by definition half of all married sex is below average. So some nights you just accept that tonight is going to be a below average sex night. Enjoy it for what it is.
Or put another way, Michael Jordan scored 32,292 points in his career, with 7,327 of those points coming from free throws. You think he felt bad about making all those free throws because they weren’t dunks?
Jennifer: This sounds controlling, but it’s about having a connection each day. I can’t imagine not having a marriage like this. I’m spoiled!

The Purpose Of High School Is To Get An Education, Not Herpes.

Reader: I had a few questions about sex rank for women.  My daughter is 14 and just getting started.   I am on the other hand, 45, and am starting to slow down.   I understand how important looks and the physical part are,  but what I’d like to know is what kind of personality traits raise or keep  sex rank high (for women).   My daughter is in gifted classes, etc. – more the book worm/nerd type.  She actually asked me if she should act dumb around boys.    I told her to just be nice and smile and be fun but not to change herself.   Women get conflicting information.  Angelia Jolie or Marilyn Monroe?   Tough or sweet?   Unavailable or available?  Dominant or submissive?   Or is it like with men, a little bit of both?  Do the same things that impress women, impress men?
Athol: A lot of that is answered here at my first Girl Game post. The quick summary being I see women and men having Beta Traits that are much the same – essentially being a functional adult and being able to create comfort for the other. The Alpha Traits are what causes attraction to happen and for men and women they are quite different. For men the Alpha stuff is strongly related to physical and social power, while for women the Alpha is strongly related to physical beauty and displays of sexual impulse and submission.
Also for newer readers, bear in mind that I base what is Alpha and Beta into what causes dopamine and oxytocin/vasopressin hormonal responses, and that’s a critical difference to understand between MMSL many other game writings.
So when you ask should you tell your daughter to act dumb around boys, you’re really asking “Should I tell my daughter to reduce her Beta Traits and appear less capable, in order to present a more submissive Alpha presentation?”  My feeling on that is no. She’s not going to be able to do that effectively without ruining her grades because everyone at school usually has an acute awareness of who the smart kids are anyway. You can’t be an A+ student and pretend to be a C- girl around boys. No one would buy it.
Even then, it’s not actually a great plan anyway, because Beta is of value. Who wants to be shackled to a dumb First Officer? If you want to help your daughter gain Alpha skills, may advice would be to encourage physical fitness, proper make-up skills (not the paint roller teen approach), how to flick her hair, the Bend and Snap, what a lock-in prop is, how to do the faux arm slap thing. Make sure her teeth are straight and she has contact lenses if she needs glasses.Teach her the rules of the game and buy “The Rules” and “He’s Just Not That Into You”. It’s all accessible stuff for a 14 year old. She’s going to need to know this stuff, if only to understand her own physical reactions and emotions better.
The other thing you do is tell her that there’s not going to be anyone she meets at high school worth taking a cock for. There really isn’t. Nothing sexual that happens at high school counts in the positive column by the time you are looking for a truly serious relationship. Plus teens are simply revolting with the amount of STDs they have and you are truly safer having sex with a hooker than a teenager. The teen pregnancy rates reflect gross ignorance and magical thinking as well. Kids just don’t understand ovulation and sexual impulsivity at all.
I know I might be a bit of a fuddy-duddy with suggesting people wait until engagement to have sex, but I’m doing that from a position of talking about it as a sexual strategy to get what you want from your sex life. I get that other people want to try other sexual strategies and they can work for them. If you want to try and bang a new person every week I don’t actually have a moral objection to it, I’m just not convinced it makes most people happy over the long term. But I really don’t see girls having sex at high school being a great opening book to any sexual strategy.
Reader Reply Email: Thank you –I look forward to reading your post.   Unrelated to my original question but things I’ve noticed are:  Women my age dressing and acting like they are 20.  My husband recently saw a 50+ year old dressed like 20—how do older women keep the physical part of sex rank up without looking desperate?   I agree with your book—fertile looks sexy and  50+ is menopausal (not so sexy!)  It must have been easier a long time ago when people died off in their 40s (ha ha!).
Athol: Here’s the thing, some women never develop their Beta Traits and have nothing to work with to get through life except their Alpha Traits. Or put more crudely, their only problem solving tool is their vagina. As they age, they scrabble harder and harder to squeeze the last few magical uses of their vagina out in desperation. The key to not looking desperate, is to not actually be desperate. Don’t waste the pretty early on, find a good man, stay married. There’s still lots of things a woman can do to look like an attractive version of who she is at 50+, you just don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
You keep your husband interested in you by keeping your appearance together as well as you can, being still as enthusiastic and creative with sex with him, working to keep the emotional relationship good, and being a functional, productive adult. The whole First Officer thing. Plus you make it clear that you will disembowel him if he ever cheats on you.
…and: Another area of concern that a lot of parents at least here are worried about is the fact that young girls are literally offering up sex like candy.  I heard from a neighbor that most girls at our high school are on the pill at 16 now.  Instead of warning my daughter about boys—I now have to warn my son about girls.  Seems like a lot of desperation overall for all ages of women/girls…
Athol: This is all simply because parents are too frightened to say no to their children, or to even have a basic discussion about sex with them. The only thing birth control pills do is stop pregnancy, and that’s only being used because no one is willing to believe that teens are going to be able to use condoms effectively, so the STD problem remains. For your son, the same advice I have for your daughter holds true, there’s no one at high school worth taking your cock out for. Statisitically speaking he’d be vastly safer banging a hooker… and that’s just the STD angle, let alone the pregnancy or false rape concerns. Seriously… herpes girl wants to bareback you because she’s ovulating, she just doesn’t know she has herpes or what ovulation does to her judgement. (Some freaking grown ass women can’t figure that out either, so…)
The trouble with all this though is pretty simple, it’s easier to say all that, than for teens to actually pass up having sex when it’s offered. You know that, I know that, but we’re all just soooo old that something is just lost in translation sometimes.
In the end, I’m probably just playing the role of “Asshole Dad” (TM) and being the Lord of Cockblock. I’m completely serious when I say that I will run background checks on anyone my daughters date at all seriously. When it gets to the part in the wedding where they say, “If anyone has reason to oppose the joining of this man and this woman”, I’m going to be sitting there with my clipboard and copious notes. “Okay, let’s start with some of the easy stuff. There’s some unpaid parking tickets from 2015…”
Jennifer and I have two daughters age 14 and 12, so some of this is all very personal and topical. Though to be fair, eldest is utterly mortified by the sexploits of her parents. Youngest is more interested in how book royalites work, and how close we are to translating that into a Disney vacation.

The Sci-fi Thing And Just Being Yourself

Anonymous said…  Athol, honest question, why all the scifi? Is it personal preference, you think it get the message over more effectively that anything else or that the people you’re trying to reach are often geeks and would understand the idiom?
Looking Glass said…   Two thoughts on the sci-fi:
1) Athol’s a nerd, never forget that.
2) The point of Sci-Fi is abstraction, allowing for a discussion of the present from a foreign point of view. Which is a lot of what Athol’s work is.
Athol: The short answer is yes to everything. The longer answer is that I’m just being myself.
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Girl Game: When You’re Too Low Maintenance… Add a Touch of Klingon

Reader: I’m hoping you can share a man’s point of view on low vs high maintenance. A few weeks ago my husband told me I was “astonishingly low maintenance.” My first reaction was to feel proud at the compliment; then I did a double-take and thought, “Ummmm, is that good?”
It’s been bothering me ever since, so I thought I’d write you (because I don’t think a woman’s opinion would be helpful to me on this and I really like your blog and hey! you have a convenient email address, isn’t that nice.) Can a woman be too low maintenance? Am I asking for trouble (husband taking me for granted – finding me boring – seeking out someone more interesting, type of trouble?) Or should I just buff my fingernails and feel smug?
“Reader Name” (who has always regarded low maintenance behaviors as “things that grown-ups do” and high maintenance behaviors as “things that brats do” and isn’t sure she could be higher maintenance, although she would be willing to try if it would keep her husband happy)
(but who is scared to ask him what he meant lest he look at her as if she has suddenly started gibbering in Klingon)
(and who will shut up now)
Athol: Here’s the thing, being low maintenance is a double edged sword. On one hand yes indeed it’s a wonderful thing to be married to a low maintenance woman. Jennifer is very low maintenance too. It’s very relaxing to not worry about having to fight about everything and being married to an adult.
You’re also probably leaning toward introversion rather than extroversion, and submissive rather than dominant. You’re likely very pleasant and sociable and a good follower. Which is absolutely wonderful…
…but perhaps a little understimulating at times.
My suggestion is to add a little more of a hurdle for him to clear once in a while. Purposely throw out a playful little test and instigate something with him. I’m not talking about suddenly demanding a new kitchen when the current one is fine, I’m saying Game him a little. Initiate sex once in a while. Demand another orgasm. Crack open the lingerie vault. Ask for that thing that turns you on that you’ve been not asking for.
It’s highly unlikely that he would ever dump/cheat for a woman that is simply “higher maintenance”, but a more sexually stimulating woman could very well have some pull on him. Seriously, a lower cut top, a giggle and a playful slap on the arm is like kryptonite to most men. That’s what wives lose their husbands to.
Or think of it this way. If you were your husband’s somewhat slutty lover… what would you be doing to him? Then do that. Start small and gauge his reaction. Then take it from there. Have fun!
Also one does not gibber in Klingon. One states demands.
Perhaps you should stop holding back so much and add a touch of Klingon to your personal approach to wifely charm..
Or maybe…
…er no, that’s a little much. My bad.

The Virgin Sexual Strategy And Avoiding Getting Punked Before The Wedding

I’m generally a pro-virgin-until-you-meet-the-one kind of guy. There really are benefits to playing the virgin strategy. However as I explained in a recent post, there is risk in waiting all the way until the wedding day, because what happens after the wedding day sexually is an unknown risk.
There’s also the risk of things going wrong before the wedding too. This is post is going to cause some fire and brimstone in the comments no doubt. All I can say is that I know friends that got punked out of marriages because of this issue. I’ve also had many emails from readers that have discovered after the wedding that cheating was going on during the engagement, all the while they were being chaste with their fiance!
For the men…
Understand that not trying to initiate sex with your partner is in biological terms, really dysfunctional behavior. You’re a healthy young male, she is a fertile available female and willing to be isolated by you. You’re meant to be trying to get your penis into her vagina repeatedly. That’s what males are designed evolved to do.
Isn’t it a little strange that on a Friday at the rehearsal dinner, not having sex with your primary partner is a “wonderful commitment to morals”, and by the end of the reception on Saturday it’s a “very serious relationship problem.”  It’s the exact same dysfunctional sexual behavior; you’re not having sex with your pair bonded partner.
When you are a male failing to try and inseminate an available fertile female who has obviously expressed sexual interest in you, it is a weakness display. At first that may not be overly bothersome to her and the relationship may continue on happily, but as a serious emotional relationship progresses over months and into a year or more, that weakness display can begin to earn compound interest.
Should a male willing to push the issue come into contact with a fertile female denied intercourse for an extended period of time, it would from a biological point of view be quite expected that she would respond positively to the new male, and quietly seek him out. She may or may not break off the relationship with the original male.
And yes I know, that would all be terribly immoral and she should be ashamed of herself for cheating on her honorable good guy fiance. If you want more outrage… this all happened while he was deployed.
For the women…
It you’re willing to be honest, there’s a basic Evangelical Christian math problem where there are about 3 marriageable women for every 2 marriageable men. There’s just not enough cocks on the Christian carousel for everyone to have a seat. Plus according to the rulebook there’s no second chances, the carousel only spins once. No pressure.
So the obvious temptation to some of those women is to play dirty and ensure they get a seat and don’t miss out. Or like the classic Emo Philips joke
“When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised, the Lord doesn’t work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me. … and I got it!”
Or in plain English…
While you aren’t screwing your guy, some other churchwhore child of God can fall into sin for a little bit and jack your guy right out from you. It’s crazy difficult for a guy to turn down an insistent naked woman. After that she can have a tearful confession and turn back to God. Toss a pregnancy in there and the die is cast. Game over girlfriend, game over.
And yes I know. It’s utterly disgraceful behavior. She’s a total bitch and he’s a bastard for cheating on you. They deserve each other. The rage is completely justified. Except fifteen years later, they’re still married and have kids, while you’re still single. Which is a really shitty outcome on several levels.
So I don’t mean this to sound anti-Christian, I just want to expose some of the harsh reality that can simmer beneath the surface so that my readers don’t get punked by them. And as I’ve said a few times before, young Evangelical women are repeatedly sold a line that there is a husband for every one of them to have a wonderful evangelical husband, when quite plainly there is a math problem with that. It very much remains a pet peeve of mine that such a sick cruelty was inflicted on my friends.
And again, just to be explicitly clear on this point – Jennifer and I both played the virgin strategy and it’s been I think an enormously positive thing for the two of us. When it works, it’s great. However we also got busy once the ring was on her finger and that was also very important for us. Three years of long distance is simply awful to get through and the sexual connection was critical for us making it through that. I’m a fairly open minded guy, but I do hold in contempt the suggestion we damaged our relationship by having sex before the wedding.
In the final analysis, the virgin strategy only works for you, if both of you play by the rules and wait, or if both of you agree to break the rules with each other. If you must wait for the wedding, I strongly suggest you reduce your exposure and make it a short engagement.