↑ comment by Viliam ·
2015-07-07T08:52:37.026Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Why do many adult males derive their sense of (low) worth from their (lack of) sexual success?
Because this is not automatic. There are situations where celibate men are high-status, e.g. Catholic priests in religious countries. And there are much more situations where people simply don't discuss their sexual history. For example, when I read a book by an author I like, or when I play a computer game, I do not care about the author's sexual history. Even when I meet someone and debate with them, I don't ask this type of questions (which may be unusual behavior; maybe the rest of the society is obsessed by it, I don't know).
So how did this "sexual history" become the most important thing about a man... as opposed to e.g. his skills, intelligence, character traits, etc.? Actually, did it, in general? Or is it just a specific subculture? (Let's ask whether things are real before debating their causes.)
Here is a competing hypothesis: Maybe what we are observing here is actually a wave of depression, caused by something other than lack of sex. The lack of sex is the consequence of the depression; and so is the mental strategy of deriving one's own sense of worth from their failures.
For example, this is what my hypothesis would predict: If you take an average depressed young male virgin and somehow manage to get him laid, his problems will not go away. Either he will somehow rationalize that this specific situation does not count, or he will continue to have low sense of worth because of something else. Also, he will probably try to somehow sabotage this opportunity.
In your experience, do the unlucky young male virgins behave like this? Because I know a few examples that do. For example, I know a guy who is unhappy because he can't get a girl, but as soon as a girl he was interested in reciprocates his sexual interest (this happened repeatedly), he finds some stupid excuse and stops being interested in the girl (before having any intimacy); so he keeps being sad and lonely. I know another guy who is otherwise intelligent, but consistently does a few things that completely undermine his social status (such as making self-deprecating jokes, which are completely unnecessary, and usually not even funny), and you can't make him stop doing that. If some girl would express interest in him, my model says he would do something that would most likely send her away.
Why are gay men considered cool? I guess selection bias plays a large role here. For an average gay person, you probably don't know about their sexual orientation. But you heard about gay celebrities, and so did everyone else. So this creates the impression that being gay and being a celebrity correlated positively.
And the best way to reduce this effect would be to tolerate homosexuality in everyday life. Then you would also know many gays who are average or losers. (Ironically, if you know a gay man who has problem finding a boyfriend, and keeps his sexual orientation secret from you, you will probably consider him one of those straight guys who can't find a girlfriend.)
EDIT: To avoid misunderstanding, I am not denying the possibility that average young heterosexual men today may have a more difficult situation finding a girlfriend than their equivalents decades ago. Just saying that the extreme cases (whom you called "freaks, weirdos and expendables") usually have some additional problems.