Sex is a social currency. It's pleasurable, and it's emotional, which are the criteria we human beings often use to judge the value of something. Has a woman ever asked, "How much do you value me, really?" Remember your first old junker car that you bought for, perhaps, $500? The car transported you from place to place, and that was more than enough to make you value the car highly. You likely told friends that it was worth much more than $500 to you. Currency is a measure of value of something to us, irrespective of the the labor, time, energy, or love we put into that which we value.
What a person puts into a gift, an interaction, a friendship, relationship, or sex itself can be very different from what the other person involved perceives of the value. We all have different value systems. And men and women have innate, instinct-driven differences regarding what they value. Men and women assess "social transactions" in distinct ways in the "social economy" we live in.
A Social Economy
Back to the car you bought. The seller probably was concerned that the car's value be equal to the amount that he sold it to you for, $500. It was old, and it wasn't well-maintained until you got your hands on it. But to you, it might have been worth upwards of $10,000 in direct value to your life. On the other side, have you ever bought a lemon of a car from a shady dealer? Perhaps you paid $6000, and it broke down so often that you realized it was worth no more than $60 to you. You'd been had.
For men and women, there are two areas where instincts we never quite meet eye-to-eye: sex and money.
More specifically, the labor that we do as men to make money is rarely factored into the value that women perceive when, for example, we take a woman out for dinner. Likewise, men often do not perceive how much of herself a woman puts into the act of having sex.
We value things, experiences, places, status, and even people, when they make us happy. As we explain in the Masculine Intelligence in Your Social Life - miSocial (KWML Mastery), we value that which makes us happy to the exact degree that it raises our self-esteem level. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, we place a unit of measurement on that amount of happiness. This comes out in our conversations, arguments and negotiations. When we say, "It cost me..." or "You cost me..."
For example, "This dinner just cost me $150, and it was not very good." Or, "You just cost me an hour's time!" Or, "This marriage is going to cost me my life!" We assign a currency to the things that make us happy or unhappy. We are unhappy when there is a mismatch between the physical or psychological resources went into the thing offered - labor, time, energy, attention, love, friendship, support, advice, wisdom, worry, or even money - and another person's perception of the value. The mismatch makes one or the other person decidedly unhappy to the degree of the mismatch (in their view.)
If the social transaction makes us unhappy, we call it unfair, a bad deal, a waste of time, or a waste of energy. We feel cheated or used. Unlike cars, refrigerators, and beer, unhappiness and low self-esteem are invisible, but they are no less real. The social economy is occurring, for real, all the time.
Men and women value things differently, and the difference resides not in our emotions, but in our instincts. This is the area we call passion in men and women.
Instincts and Passions Are Not Emotions
Passions are beyond emotions. They are driven by pleasure or pain. Our passions compel to take action, oftentimes impulsive action. This is actually a good thing. Our passions are guided by the distinctive instincts that drive men and women to preserve their safety, health and life itself.
In an instant, our passions preserve our lives and spark our romantic connections. Blink, and you might miss the chance to find the date or mate of your dreams. Blink, and you might miss the chance to dive out of the way of the speeding car, or leap away from the gnashing teeth of the neighbor's dog .
Instincts are instincts because they take care of us without the need to think, and ponder and brood. Without blinking, we buy the shirt or the watch or the hamburger that triggers us in just the right moment of need and desire. Instinct leads to action.
Our emotions about the match between the actual value and our level of happiness come only later. If the shirt doesn't fit, or if the hamburger gives us heartburn, or alternatively, if the watch turned out to be just the right style, fit and price. The watch makes us feel more confident in going out into the world.
Men and women have different instincts, even if they feel the same emotions. These are what we call feeling "masculine" or "feminine." We go to great lengths to show all the working parts of masculinity and femininity in the program called Masculine Intelligence in Being a Man - The miMan Program (The Mature Masculine Power Program.)
The $100 Bill Experiment
Consider that you and a stranger - perhaps a woman - are walking toward each other on sidewalk. At the same time, you both come across a crisp $100 bill laying on the sidewalk. You both see it at the same time.
Simultaneously, you both point at it and utter, "Look. A hundred dollar bill." You both reach for it at the
same time, and grasp opposite ends as you stand up again.
Who does it belong to?
The answer, of course, is that neither of you own the bill. Whether you give it to the other person, snatch it up and walk away, agree to split it, or tear it in half, there is no absolute answer as to who actually owns and has right to the $100 bill.
At this point, it is currency of unknown origin.
Now, what if through some understanding and mutual conversation you discovered that she had earlier walked by that very spot while opening a birthday card from her mother, who had sent her $100 inside, but after calling Mom to thank her, discovered that it must have slipped out. Or you might have lost a job months ago, but managed to get some day labor work at a construction site for the day. The foreman had paid you in cash, you stuffed it in your pocket with your keys, but having just approached your car, you pulled out the keys, and with them, the bill now fallen to the street is actually quite yours.
Now that you know the origin of the currency - that it was generated by only one person's effort, has meaning, and ownership by only one person who actually produced that value - clearly only one person can lay claim. And it must only be surrendered if there is an equal amount of work or value generated by the other to take it off your hands.
There is always something behind currency, including social currency. Its value to the original owner is measured in the psychological and physical resources they put into it, even if the value you place in it is measured in the happiness it will give you. Both of these are fine if you are the only person to walk up to a $100 bill on the street, or return to the one you dropped. The value proposition between two people assessing a single, shared experience depends on the ownership and meaning of the psychological resources underneath the mere currency in question.
The Expensive, But Valueless Dinner
I had a friend recently tell me the story of how he really liked a woman, wanted to stop delaying getting together for a first date, and so arranged for a dinner he hoped would be enjoyable, but end in time to get to a business appointment.
He liked the company through much of the dinner, and she seemed to as well. He expected to pay for the date, and having already told her of the engagement later in the evening - one which could not be rescheduled - he also assumed that she would value the fact that he made the time in his busy schedule to make the first meeting happen.
It didn't work out. The clock was ticking, and he might have fidgeted a bit toward the end. His eyes darted around just a little too much looking for the waiter to give his credit card to. She instinctively picked up on his slow-growing urgency, and was off-put by this, letting him know in no uncertain terms that she did not appreciate being "forced into a schedule slot."
$150 later, he discovered there would not be a second date, and without words to state it just like this, he felt cheated out of his time and money not for the experience of good conversation (at first), or good nutrition, but for the lack of being appreciated by the woman for the sacrifice in labor and time he had made to earn the money and alter his schedule. He was even late to his business appointment.
Men single, with girlfriend, and certainly married can appreciate, and have experienced, this scenario.
The "currency of masculinity" - the fruits of his labors, the resources of his time and money - were not valued by the woman. They didn't make her happy, and worse, the time and money that he gave to the dinner were just currency - like the $100 bill on the ground. Not a gift of the self that men the world over provide to those they are interested in, like or love.
Most men instinctually do not speak up or complain about this kind of experience, because unfortunately, and biologically, doing so further lowers our felt sense of being masculine. We feel ashamed - the opposite of masculinity - for so doing. But that doesn't change the further down feeling associated with "taking the hit," or "sucking it up, and moving on."
If the man were to complain about the unfairness of the interaction, the social transaction of the dinner, he would likely be met with offended comments such as, "Well didn't you eat? Wasn't the food good?
Harumph! Are you saying you didn't enjoy my sparkling conversation and general fabulousness?"
That's not the point - it's looking at the time, money, and the dinner as mere social currencies, rather than the value of the underlying resources that went into them - which only the man can feel at the instinct level if he was the one treating.
The dance of courtship between men and women needs their empathy for each other - placing themselves in the other's shoes to get a true understanding of the degree we can (or don't) value each other.
We cover this courtship dance in its nuanced, specific steps in the Masculine Intelligence With Women - miWomen Program (The Omega Male Program.)
Sex is a Social Currency, Too
You may know a guy, who knows a guy - oh, not you! - who perhaps, slept with a woman out of wedlock, not a girlfriend. Perhaps it was even a third, or second, or even first date.
In the morning - if you stayed, gentleman that you are - she perhaps asked you to get breakfast, or check for a parcel outside the door, or even to install the lightbulb she can't quite reach. It seemed odd to your sensibilities to ask such a thing, or at least unromantic. It didn't speak your instinctual language as a man.
But gentleman that you are, you did the chore, and felt a growing sense that you needed to leave. Soon. Then you embarked on "the walk of shame" home.
You think you're a good guy, your friends and family think you're a good guy, and that's because you are... but for some reason, you don't feel much at the moment like scheduling a second date, or third, or fourth as it were.
You might even feel a bit guilty about that, but likely wouldn't tell her so, because that would make you feel less masculine to do so. It nags you a bit. You'd like to want to ask her out again, but don't, and instead of weighing and wondering why, you find yourself soon lost in the needs and obligations of all your career duties, until this happens again with someone else...
But she calls you or you run into her, and she doesn't like you very much, nor does her friends.
You wonder what you did so wrong. Part of you might even start to believe that you had done wrong.
If she talks to you, she says that wasn't very nice of you to not go on a second date, or at least ask. And she says if you had, she wouldn't have agreed to anyway the way you rushed out the door so eagerly.
You feel unfairly put on the defensive, and blurt out, "Well, wasn't it good for you? I mean, you were there. Didn't you feel good?"
That's not the point, and she turns away in disgust. Of course she felt good, but you're seeing the sex as just a social currency - a $100 bill on the ground without the story of how it got there or who owned it or worked for it originally.
The sex is a social currency, because it represents a degree of happiness for you, and did, for her. But what you don't see is that the instinctual value of the psychological resources that she - as a woman - invests in it are very different, and coming from a gift of the self as precious and personal to her as your efforts in career are to you.
And you bicker or fight briefly, her friends joining in, the emotions of unhappiness now arriving...
...all because neither of you realize that her experience of the personal meaning of sex...
...leads to emotions and value no different in amount from the emotions you feel about treating someone to a massively expensive - though admittedly enjoyable dinner...
...which she does not value or appreciate the amount of personal meaning, thought, and psychological investment made in creating that shared experience of dinner.
Men and women are equal in the capacity to feel emotions, and different in the instincts that result in those emotions.
They can argue until the end of time about this (as they have for all time this far), as long as men go on enjoying sex without drama and women enjoy dinner without drama.
Which brings us to...
National Men's Abstinence Month
It's not what you think - not so much about abstaining from sex for the month of June (which is also National Men's Month this year), as it is about taking some time to honor yourself, your value and your psychological resources by simply withdrawing for a time from investment of time, attention, energy, labor, worry, effort, sleeplessness, or any other expenditure so often directed at men's dating and relationships...
...often at the direct cost of those psychological resources which could have been directed at their careers.
In the Masculine Intelligence in Being a Man - miMan Program (The Mature Masculine Power Program), we lay out for you something we call The Equation of Masculinity. In it, we label masculinity - your vitality, passion for life, and attractiveness - as being equal to your skill with women plus your progress on a career mission as a man.
If you've ever had the experience that in relationships to another person we truly do not "control" what happens, then you know what boundaries are and how they work. We cover interpersonal boundaries and their power in the Masculine Intelligence in Personal Growth - miGrowth Program (MindOS Mastery
Program) - which are your specific psychological source of what has been called "personal strength" and "respect" (for both self and others.) Boundaries are the very source of these two masculine resources.
If you're tired of hearing that "men only think of one thing," when actually everybody thinks about that think more than anything else humans think of...
If you're tired of hearing that "men can't commit," when actually, like anyone rational, they don't commit to what doesn't appear to be a good or fair social deal to them, and do commit to what carries evidence of a great partnership...
If you're tired of not feeling a sense of being highly valued, respected, or honored for the great effort you put into life, others, and perhaps yourself, last...
Then you might consider a personal month-long experiment in abstinence. Just a month.
Check out the NMAM Facebook page for more.
It's a chance to do some personal growth, learn about your own instincts as a man, and evolve. At month's end you ought to also notice a perceptible leap upward in vitality, career progress, sense of control of your life, and what you can call your sense of masculinity - feeling like a man. This will translate - ironically perhaps - into more attractiveness in the eyes of women, and more pride in your work, not in least part through honoring yourself enough to invest in you and only you.
It's not a quirky idea from out of left field either.
Women have been doing it at least as far back as the earliest Greek plays - the time of Aristophanes' Lysistrata.
In that play, the women of Greece, at wits end with the seemingly endless Peloponessian War and the resistance of the men of Greece to negotiate peace, finally decide to put an end to it with a powerful social movement: they withdraw from sex with their husbands unless they will agree to end the war. They "withdraw their social currency" - calling in an emotional debt, as woman most certainly have absolute ownership and say-so as to whether sex will occur in their relationships. This proves powerufl indeed as the drama ensues...
Do men not have just as much a right to their own bodies?
Of course they do. And that's beside the point of the personal growth opportunity anyway - regardless of the amount of sex you have, or degree of attractiveness, solidness of your marriage, or if single - the frequency of dates (or lack of them) that you now have.
This is because The Equation of Masculinity says that Masculinity = Skill With Women + Progress on Your Career Mission.
Like the women in the Lysistrata, you don't control one variable but have absolute control over the other - in your case as a man - how you spend your psychological resources of time, energy, labor, effort, attention, and the physical manifestation of their investment - your income.
Why not experiment with a complete devotion to the one thing you completely control - your psychological resources - for a mere month out of life?
What you are really abstaining from is not the sex, but spending your resources on anyone but you - something that isn't intended to stop women from waging wars (but might hush the comment that men "only think about sex"), and instead is more about you starting to recover your power, your identity, and vitality through investing in yourself.
Which you have every right to do.
The principles of masculine instinct, feminine instinct, and the workings of the emotions both men and women share are throughout the Men's Psychology Courses, each of with comes with free, personalized instruction on the forums and teleseminars of the On Demand Membership.
Paul Dobransky, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist, public speaker and relationship expert who has treated more than 10,000 patients in 15+ years in clinical psychiatric care. Journalists and clients worldwide have sought Dr. Paul's advice on dating, relationships and all aspects of human psychology.
Dr. Paul pioneered MindOS, a new, patent-pending approach to understanding relationships, mood problems and stress. MindOS synthesizes all schools of therapy into a single, effective system-based approach that uses plain language to help people understand psychology and solve problems. Go to http://www.menspsychology.com/ to learn more.