On the “Friend Zone” and Sexual Desire

About five years ago whilst I was in high school, there was a term universally used to describe the state of being such good friends with a girl (or guy but that was more rare) that you somehow transcended right past relationship material and became more like a brother (or sister) or just good friends. This is the mythical “friend zone” that many young men and women had experience with in the past decade or so.

Recently, it seems that this concept has become problematic. The implication is that “Nobody owes you sex for being a good person.” This is true. At the same time, this does not negate the experience of the “friend zone”. Why does annoyance with not being considered for a potential relationship immediately constitute feeling entitled to sex? And is there any truth to the oft espoused notion that “Girls only like bad guys, they just want to be friends with good guys”?

The first notion, the correlation between a desire for a more romantic relationship and entitlement for sex, seems like an absurd and harmful stereotype. The implication is that men have no desire for mental or emotional support and are purely creatures drive by sexual desire. The reality is, they’re not. Men desire all the same things that women do. They always have. It’s an astonishingly archaic and sexist belief that men are beasts who desire nothing but sex.

I would argue that the women’s liberation movement did many wonderful things for modern Western society. Obviously women are just as human as men and therefor deserve equal treatment and rights. But this radical and sudden change to gender dynamics (especially around the last half of the twentieth century) has had major effects on the social and intimate politics between the sexes.

For example, the absurd consent law that California signed into law recently essentially means that any sex regretted by one party (and let’s be honest, it’s the woman) can be called rape and is nearly impossible for the accused to fight. Everywhere you see women saying “Why don’t you just teach men not to rape?” as if the default mode of all boys are rapists. Sally Peck says “…We need gender equality so that boys won’t be violent.” Meanwhile the male suicide rate is nearly four times the suicide rate of women. Is it any wonder that so many men are checking out of society? Surprisingly, gender ideologues are just as sexist and callous to men as they accuse men of being to women.

To the second part of the question, is there any truth to “Nice guys finish last”, I would say that there is, and the reasons lie deep in human psychology. In ethology there are three basic roles that individuals play: alpha, beta, and omega. Humans are more complex that animals, so these three personality types aren’t necessarily accurate, but they can still be useful to differentiate at a simple level. Particularly in society we differentiate between alpha males and beta males.

Lisa De Pasquale describes the difference between alpha and beta males as essentially being the willingness to take action. An alpha male acts, and a beta male either does nothing or is acted upon.

I don’t necessarily agree with the notion commonly espoused in a few online circles that being beta is a serious character flaw, I definitely believe that women display much more sexual desire for alpha males. This stems from the fact that human beings are hardwired to look for certain traits in a potential mate, and one of those traits is self sufficiency. It’s not especially necessary for a husband to be kind and sweet, women generally are the ones who show love and nurturing to theier children.

And all of this is not to say that there aren’t outliers, and it’s definitely not implying that men can’t show care and nurturing without being self assured and confident. As I said, humans are complex, but trends do exist. And I can’t in good faith let the concept of the “friend zone” be made into a stick to beat men with.


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