emotional reaction

Instinct, Emotion and Reason

Before I dig in here today I want to give credit where it’s due. I was inspired to consider what I’m about to go into here by a quick-hit Tweet from Illimitable Man. I didn’t bookmark it so I apologize for not linking it here today, but the general gist of it was about the mental processes humans go through when we’re presented with environmental stimuli that demands interpretation and a behavioral response. I considered this process quite a bit while I was studying behavioral psychology – Instinct, Emotion and Reason (or rationality if you prefer) – and I’m almost embarrassed that I haven’t covered this in terms of a Red Pill perspective in over 600 essays now.

The idea is fairly simple; when we are prompted by environmental (and sometimes internal) stimuli human beings process this information using three psychological mechanisms – our primal instincts, our emotional interpretations and our rational (reason) facilities. I’m not sure these processes get their proper due in Red Pill theory today.  I’ve detailed all of these processes individually for years on this blog, but generally they were outlined in the context of whatever topic I was focusing on. In this essay I’m going to elaborate on these aspects individually. Later, as part of this series, I’ll explore how they act in concert for our overall cognitive process, and then how they influence intersexual and intersocial dynamics. I think this is a useful exercise because a lot of foundational Red Pill ideas stem from these processes as well as the social conventions and interpretive priorities the Feminine Imperative relies on today.

For sake of clarity I am going to use a few behavioral psych terms like stimuli in this essay. This isn’t to throw $10 words at you, it’s just easier to elaborate on these processes with abstract terms. For example, when I use stimuli I mean any physical, environmental or cognitive prompt that our conscious or unconscious mind demands an interpretation, processing of and response to. That can be a wide variety of things so, stimuli serves as a general term.

Lastly, the following here is my interpretation of these processes. While a lot of this will align pretty well with established theories, this is my take on them and not some official, settled science of facts. If you think I’m full of shit please tell me why, this is still a work in progress for me.

Instinct

Instinct seems like the easiest of these processes to understand, but it’s really the cognitive aspect that’s most misunderstood, marginalized and often demonized. The reason for this is because our instincts reside in our subconscious (hindbrain) processing of stimuli. When I refer to men or women’s evolved mental firmware in my essays it’s our instinctual process that I’m referring to. These are the unlearned, inborn aspects of our human nature that influence the other processes and remain largely in our subconscious. Our instinctual processing is a direct result of our evolution. It evolved as a vitally necessary aspect of our cognitive processing in that it aided in our ability to survive in, and adapt to, a chaotic, primal environment when food was scarce, predators and rivals wanted us dead, and reproductive opportunities and raising a child to a survivable age were at a premium.

There are a lot of examples of our instinct level processing and each instinctual response triggers more complex processing up the cognitive chain through emotion and reason. If we were presented with a dangerous stimuli (a sabertooth tiger) our instinctual process triggers a fight or flight response physically in our bodies (adrenaline release). Needless to say this was an evolved adaptation that served our species well and was passed along genetically as part of our mental firmware. I’m going to use some simplistic examples here but, if you really want to dig into our preloaded mental firmware and how we developed it I would suggest looking into the earlier works of Dr. Steven Pinker and The Red Queen by Matt Ridley (I’ll post links in the comments).

Another example is human beings’ innate fear (reservations at least) of snakes and spiders – poisonous animals that looked easy to kill, but could kill humans without warning. That’s an example of relatively beneficial firmware, but the reason instinct gets a bad rep is due to the instincts that once were beneficial to us individually, but are less beneficial to us socially. Greed and gluttony were very practical, instinctually motivated behaviors that stemmed from a need to survive in a time when resources were scarce. Today greed is (mostly) seen as anti-social and a compulsion to overeat in a time when food is abundant is why we presently have an obesity epidemic.

Those are easily understood examples, but where things get more complex is in how our instinctual process influences the other processes (emotion and reason). Instinct gets demonized because in our ‘enlightened‘ era we like to believe that instinct is more trouble than it is beneficial. Most of that is due to a belief that our other processes are superior to (or at least should supersede) our instincts. Most of what we call sin or immoral behavior is motivated by the instinctual process. In fact, the only time our instinctual awareness and reactions are really credited with anything positive is when it gets us out of some life threatening situation or it leads to some prosocial outcome. For instance, the male instinct to protect women by putting ourselves between them and danger; that’s an instinct and resultant behavior (seemingly altruistic male self-sacrifice) that gets a lot of praise in our feminine-primary social order. However, for the most part, we tend to judge ‘baser instincts’ as a net negative.

The truth about the instinctual process is that none of our other processes function at full efficiency without it. Today, as a result of our feminine-primary acculturation, we want to relegate instinct’s influence to something “we’ve evolved beyond”. The popular consensus is we’ve raised ourselves above base instincts by either acknowledging the importance of the emotional process or that rationality and the self-control based on it immunizes us from its influence. Not only are these belief foolish and hubristic, they’re provably untrue. When it comes to concepts like the ‘selfish gene‘ and the physical differences in the evolved instinctual processes of men and women, it becomes necessary for a social order based on blank-slate equalism to demonize and marginalize the influence of, and behaviors attributed to, instinct.

The survival benefits and behaviors that make up the instinctual process were so necessary that they had to become part of our unconscious species firmware. Because the instinctual process is part of our animalistic hindbrain mental subroutines it’s something we have little or no direct control over until its effect is brought (often forced) into our conscious awareness. As such, and because we prefer to think of ourselves as emotional and rational beings, we tend to think of the influence of instinct as something we either have or need to have mastery over, and to a large extent this mastery makes sense. The truth is that instinct is an aspect of ourselves that needs to be controlled as well as embraced depending on circumstances.

Emotion

From an evolutionary perspective, the emotional process of interpreting stimuli is a mechanism of how our brains and biochemistry interact to affect our moods, demeanor and ’emotionality’ in response to both instinctual cues and the raw information of stimuli itself. Furthermore, the emotional process can also be influenced and/or modified by the rational process. I’m trying to be concise here, but our emotional response to information/stimuli is very much an evolved dynamic with latent purposes and practical functionalities. I’m making this distinction here because for millennia we’ve raised the effects of emotion to a mythical, metaphysical, importance.

While emotion often has immediate effects on us, emotion also has long term effect with regard to the stimuli it processes. There are dozens of definitions of emotions and there’s no way I’m going to lay them all out for you here. However, popular psychology asserts that there are as many as ten and as few as six base emotions:

  • Anger.
  • Disgust.
  • Fear.
  • Happiness.
  • Sadness.
  • Surprise.

Sometimes Contempt is added to this list. If these seem overly simplistic they are, again, abstracts to build more complex emotions on (some paleo-researchers insist there are only four base emotions across our evolved ethno-histories). For our purposes these base emotions will serve to show the connections between the instinctual process which prompts them and the rational process that modifies and sometimes informs them.

Each of these emotional responses is prompted by how our senses, brain and then instinctual process interprets a stimuli. Again, using our sabertooth tiger example, the instinctual process determines imminent danger and triggers a synaptic and hormonal response to that danger. As a result of that instinctual process an emotional process and response is triggered – likely fear (flight in most cases), but sometimes anger (fight).

Another example: you see an arousing woman (stimuli) at a party who is displaying behavioral cues and environmental indicators of interest (IOIs). Your instinctual process determines a high potential for a reproductive opportunity. From there the emotional process kicks in: hormones and dopamine (and not a small testosterone spike) that your instinctual process triggered flushes your system and serves as the basis for your emotional process to form an emotional response to the same stimuli. If it all passes the smell test that response (hopefully) will be happiness (and a little surprise mixed in).

There is a visceral biochemical interrelation between emotion and the stimuli/instinct relation that prompts the reaction. Adrenaline is one easy example, another is oxytocin or the “love hormone”. This is a bit of a mischaracterization of the hormone. Oxytocin induces feelings of trust and comfort and is thought to be a significant factor in human’s forming pair bonds and parental investments. There’s a lot more to oxytocin’s implications to our evolution than that, but for now lets look at how our biology influences the emotional process.

We proceed from stimuli to an instinctual response. If there is nothing mitigating that response (such as a rationally learned buffer to mitigate it) the next step in the chain is a biological reaction to that instinct – such as dumping adrenaline into our bloodstream or a post-orgasm flush of oxytocin after sex. From there the emotional process picks up the interpretation of this information as prompted by the cocktail of chemicals moving through our bloodstream and affecting our mental and physical interpretation of that stimuli. That biochemical factor prompts one, or a combination, of the base emotions listed above.

From there more complex emotions (feelings) and combinations thereof begin to form an emotional interpretation and response. This emotional response can be anything from a fast, reflexive one to a more nuanced and contemplative one. Furthermore, this emotional interpretation and response can also be modified by our rational mental process as well as our gendered capacity to process emotions. One thing to bear in mind about our emotional process is that it can imprint its interpretations into our ‘hard memory’ – sometimes so significantly that the memory of that stimuli can re-trigger that physical and emotional response.

Gender-modified interpretation of our emotion process is an important aspect to consider in Red Pill praxeology and one I’ll be elaborating on in the next part of this series. Until recently the accepted ‘science‘ about our emotional process has been based on a blank-slate equalist approach to emotion. In fact we still suffer from the outdated presumptions of academia that both men and women process emotion in the same manner, and, in theory, ought to be expected to have an equal capacity to interpret, respond and express emotion. In light of new technology and new research in a variety of interrelated disciplines we know this is old presumption is patently untrue. Men and women have different mental hardware and are born with different mental firmware. Both sexes interpret and process emotion in gender-specific manners.

I’ll be getting into the personal and social implications that the legacy of this (deliberate) misunderstanding presents in the next essay. For now it’s important to consider that human beings have an innate predisposition to elevate the emotional process above instinct and reason. Likely this is due the to the survival dependency we had on our feelings in our evolutionary past. In a time when we lacked the greater rational facilities and information we’ve developed in our more recent past, depending on and learning from emotion, and the latent purposes it serves, was a species-beneficial system. We depended on our emotions to guide our behaviors (long and short term) for us more in our prehistory when we lacked the more developed rational process we take for granted now. Emotions served latent evolutionary purposes for us in our prehistory and today are still overly emphasized – often to metaphysical attributes – as superior to reason. More on this soon.

Reason

The final piece of our interpretive process is reason, or rationality (I’ll use these interchangeably). Ironically, for all of the social preconceptions that our emotions have made us “more evolved” above instinct, it is our rational process that has evolved us above both instinct and emotion. From and evolutionary standpoint our rational process is a relatively recent development; pushing us past the limitations of instinct and emotion. The definition of rationality is the quality of being based on or in accordance with reason or logic. It is the quality of being able to think sensibly or logically and being endowed with the capacity to reason.

Biologically it’s postulated that our larger brains allowed us to develop a capacity for reason, but that doesn’t mean other animals lack the same facility, it’s just that the rational process is less developed (some would say less environmentally necessary) in those animals by order of degree. Dogs, for example, rely primarily on the instinctual process and the mental (vestigial) firmware they’re born with to solve most of their existential/environmental problems. That doesn’t mean that they lack the ability to learn and form novel (adaptive) behaviors using a rudimentary form of logic. Animals can be taught things, but their capacity to form novel ideas and behaviors is limited to their cognitive abilities. Humans, being the apex species on the planet, had the leisure to take the time necessary to evolve a capacity for logic and as such the rational process developed in us.

Of all our interpretive processes reason is the one that takes the longest to function. Our rational process forms our interpretation of stimuli based on information dissociated from the interpretations of instinct and emotion. Reason requires (accurate) knowledge derived from learning and experience, but there is also an improvisational element to the process.

Before I get too far in the weeds here I need to make a distinction; what I’m outlining is the rational mental process we employ to interpret and interact with stimuli, not rationality, the concept of reason or rationalism. That’s important because it’s all too easy to get lost in philosophical implications of reason when we look at the process of how we come to it.

As mentioned above, the rational process modifies the instinctual and emotional processes. Example, in high school, in drivers ed class, we’re taught to turn into a skid rather than turn with the skid. When we’re driving and we find ourselves in a skid our instinctive impulse is to slam on the the breaks and/or, worse still, to turn with the skid. Our self-preservation instincts tells us to do this, but all it does is make a precarious situation worse. However, when we’re taught, and we practice, not hitting the brakes and not turning into the skid, we make this our default reaction and we avoid disaster. This is the rational process interpreting a stimuli and forming a novel behavior that modifies the interpretation of the instinctual process.

The limitation of the rational process is in its necessity to take time to interpret information and develop a new apparatus. Where instinct and emotion are intimately linked with our biological hardware and psychological firmware, the rational process is dissociated from them in the same immediacy. Instinct and emotion are processes that evolved from a survival-need for fast interpretation and reaction. The rational process requires time, repetition and the right biological structures to be effective. Human beings are remarkably fast learners (even with complex challenges), but the learning that the rational process leads to is slow in comparison to instinct and emotion – which are essentially preloaded firmware in humans.

The rational process deals with the nuts and bolts of what we can understand of our reality. From there it can modify the other processes or it can serve to interpret stimuli on its own.

In the next part of this series I’ll be exploring how these cognitive processes interact and cooperate and conflict with each other. I will also consider the gendered advantages and disadvantages these processes represent to our individual experiences as men and women and the influence they play in intersexual and intersocial dynamics.

The Power of Emotion

boxitup

Science fiction has always sought to portray human emotion as a weakness to be overcome.
Some have gone further to express the notion of our physical being as a limiting factor. This is notably seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I’m aware this is fiction, but I just want to reinforce the point from my earlier post that we don’t have to be held to eternal hostage by nature. We can strive to be better.
A quote from Terminator 2, sums it up admirably.

T-800 to John Connor: “I now know why you cry. But it is something, I can never do.”

While emotions are a part of our experience as human beings, Red Pill aware men need to understand the functionality of emotional responses. Rationality is, of course, the charter of this blog and my books, and while I make my best efforts to approach each aspect of what I write from as objective an origin as I’m able to, I also understand that there are limitations to remaining completely objective. I’m human like anyone else reading this (chatbots excepted) and I’ve always been fully aware that my emotional state, my own ego-investments and biases, as well as the observer effect are all something I need to make a conscious effort to account for while I’m writing about a new idea or observation I’m connecting dots with.

In a few prior posts I’ve made an effort to account for a balance between rationality and emotionalism. I say “emotionalism” because I think there needs to be a separation between the physical experience of emotion and the significance our fem-centric social order would have us place on those experiences. There is a difference between emotional response (evolved stimulus-response adaptations) and the ideologies that elevate human emotion to a metaphysical state (emotionalism).

Seeking, rage, fear, lust, care, panic and play are what are commonly recognized as primal emotions. I didn’t make this list up myself, these are just the most base-level imperatives from which more complex experiences of emotion are distilled. All of these root-level emotional experiences have been studied extensively and can be stimulated chemically and neurologically today. An easy example of this biological connection to emotional experience can be triggered and observed in the ‘roid rages’ experienced by the users of anabolic steroids.

Have you ever been “Hangry“? The feeling of anger / aggressiveness due to being overly hungry is an evolutionary survival adaptation. You’re far more motivated to kill and eat something if the feeling of hunger, prompted by its chemical triggers, also stimulates feelings of aggression. In today’s era that aggression may be inconvenient or anti-social, but our hunter-gatherer ancestors found it both acceptable and useful.

There are dozens of other examples I can give for the connection between our environmental, physical and chemical conditions and our emotional state. Similarly, there are chemical (dopamine) and behavioral prompts we associate with a particular emotional state. I don’t imagine this is anything revelatory to most Red Pill aware readers, but reviewing the objective aspects of emotion is necessary in order to separate it from the social influence of emotionalism.

Testosterone is well known to stimulate feelings of aggression and sexual arousal, but did you know that the chemical make up of testosterone is actually an inhibitor of the chemicals that prompt sadness and crying? When considered in this respect and the fact that human males produce 12 to 17 times the amount of testosterone females do, is it any coincidence that men may feel less compulsion to cry over things? Yet, men are shamed for “holding back” tears. This is an example of the connection between our physical experience of emotions and the importance to which our social order places on (primarily female) emotionalism. There are a lot of complexities that make up our emotional state and the more we study the influences of our own biologies the better we can make a connection between the evolved, survival-beneficial, effect these emotions elicit in us.

The nuts and bolts science of emotions demystifies the more magical, romanticized association we like to apply to them. And at the risk of prompting any kind of nihilism, it’s important that we consider our emotional state in terms of the concrete physical stimulus that’s provoking our emotional states. It’s easy to get into the science of emotions when we’re trying to solve a problem like clinical depression and the feelings and potential behaviors it evokes, but it’s much harder to look at upsetting an elated feeling of happiness. If it ain’t broke there’s no reason to think about fixing it.

But what sets us off about really coming to terms with the science of emotion is it tends to kill our gods. Up until advent of our understanding the cause and effect influences of emotion we’ve applied a lot of metaphysical importance to our emotions. Historically, our emotions have inspired us to create some of the greatest cultural and artistic masterpieces, and they’ve urged us to some pretty ugly atrocities too. Even today, western cultures raise emotion to a mythical grandeur. We romanticize and apply great significance to how we feel. We prioritize expressing emotions to being some enlightened state and the repression or control of them as some kind of horrible evil or some form of retardation.

Emotionalism

The Washington Post (I know, I know,…) recently published the findings of a study outlining how “sexist” men have psychological problems:

Researchers then identified 11 norms considered to be “traditionally masculine” — desire to win, need for emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, sexual promiscuity or playboy behavior, self-reliance, primacy of work, power over women, disdain for homosexuality and pursuit of status — and looked to see whether they were associated with particular mental health outcomes.

In general, the men who stuck more strongly to these norms were more likely to experience problems such as depression, stress, body image issues, substance abuse and negative social functioning. They were also less likely to turn to counseling to help deal with those problems. The effect was particularly strong for men who emphasized playboy behavior, power over women and self-reliance.

As you might expect, what’s defined as “toxic” masculinity today is decided by people invested in a mindset that confirms the Feminine Imperative. This article follows along with what will likely be the Trump-era narrative for masculinity – anything remotely considered “traditionally” masculine will be conflated with a psychological disorder. The cure to which is, of course, ego-investing men in feminine-primary mental states; effectively feminizing men.

If we look at the norms identified by this study we are expected to nod in agreement about the negative, potentially damaging, connotations these traditionally masculine aspects imply. But they are only negative because the objective environment we are supposed to interpret them from is one of feminine primacy. Anything that can be considered an impediment to female societal control, any aspect of men’s intrinsic natures that lessens the same potentials of women is considered “toxic”.

Desire to win, need for emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, sexual promiscuity or playboy behavior, self-reliance, primacy of work, power over women, disdain for homosexuality and pursuit of status – by orders of degree these are the foundational aspects of masculinity that’s been responsible for the advancement of humanity for millennia now. I’m not entirely sure what ‘playboy lifestyle’ entails, but consider the problems these aspects of male nature evolved to solve for men. Each one of these characteristics has a functional prompt; they didn’t evolve in a vacuum. These parts of masculinity were and are functional benefits to men. Only in a society that defines supremacism of women and the primacy of female-correctness do these aspects become negative.

I doubt it will come as any surprise to the Red Pill aware that all of these traits used to have a higher social value in virtually all social orders prior to our present one. It’s not enough to make female social interaction the preeminent one, masculinity and its conventional aspects must be pathologized. They must become a sickness if gynocentrism is to sustain itself.

I’m exploring this here because the female way of socialization is founded upon emotionalism. I think it’s important for Red Pill men to understand that the defining of what particular emotional states are acceptable is intimately linked to what those states mean to the Feminine Imperative. In the past 60 years western(ized) culture has become one in which the feminine defines the predominant cultural narrative with regard to intersexual communication, correctness and the psychological values we are meant to infer from it. This discourse is one that is primarily informed by women’s high priority on an investment in emotionalism.

In past essays I’ve outlined how men and women’s brains are neurologically wired for different, yet complementary functions. Women experience negative emotions differently from men. The male brain evolved to seek out sex before food. And while our feminine-centric social order insists that, in the name of equalism, boys should be forced to learn in the same modality as that of girls, the science shows that boys brains are rudimentarily wired to learn differently.

“Greater emotional reactivity in women may explain many things, such as their being twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders compared to men,” Mendrek added, who is also an associate professor at the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychiatry.

Yet for all of these very evident physical differences in men and women’s experience of emotion, it is women’s experience, and a feminine priority for the ‘correctness’ of that experience we apply to men. I would suggest that much of this is primarily due to women’s innate solipsism, but we’ve normalized women’s experience of emotion as the common and correct one in terms of intersexual communication and social dynamics.

Emotionalism and the applying of metaphysical meaning to the feminine-correct experience of them has pervaded our social consciousness since the time of the sexual revolution. This elevated importance of emotion has been a part of popular culture for millennia of course, but until the rise of a socially mandated importance of female Hypergamy we haven’t had female emotionalism direct the course of society as it has for over sixty years now.

As such, we see that men “getting in touch with their feminine sides” is really a concerted effort to repress their natural experience of emotion as a male, and to attempt to force their own emotional states into ones females can identify with. As I mentioned above, there are literally biological limitations for a man to experience emotion as a woman as well as his impulse to want to prioritize those feelings as women do. The presumption is that a man is emotionally stunted if he feel that repressing his emotions is what he ought to do. “Boys don’t cry” is a sickness when it is women’s experience and importance of emotionalism that drives our social discourse.

Women bemoan men’s stereotypical lack of “emotional availability”, and we put a religious importance upon our capacity to express our emotions in some way, but all of this is constrained to the box that is women’s correct experience and importance of emotion. This is not what men’s brains are naturally wired for, and in a Red Pill context this is not what women’s hindbrains want from men.

It’s important for Red Pill men to understand that our feminine-primary social order is founded up the importance women place on the God of emotion. Part of your Blue Pill conditioning was to convince you, as a young boy, that the way women emote and the importance they put on emotion is what you needed to accept as the healthy, normal way of experiencing and expressing it. The truth is you are not wired to experience emotion as a woman will. That isn’t to suggest you deny or repress your feelings, but to understand that you shouldn’t feel bad for not feeling as a woman feels. This kind of goes back to the point I was making in Empathy; while it may be possible for a woman to sympathize with your feelings, she will never be able to empathize with them as a man would experience it.

Furthermore, it should be part of men’s unplugging to come to terms with the metaphysical importance women place on (largely their own) emotional states. They remove the functional aspect of emotion and elevate it to something only women have a unique sensitivity to understand. Separating yourself from this self-induced, self-applied belief in emotion can be a very powerful tool for a Red Pill man in his dealing with women – and not just the ones he’s intimately involved with. Separating your ego from the religion of emotion and coming to terms with the science of emotion is a very difficult step for Blue Pill invested men to make. As I said, it’s like killing your gods, but it’s also killing the notion of the emotionalism you think you need to identify with in order to connect with a woman.

Moral to the Manosphere

Putting angel’s or devil’s wings on observations hinders real understanding.

I say that not because I don’t think morality is important in the human experience, but because our interpretations of morality and justice are substantially influenced by the animalistic sides of our natures, and often more than we’re willing to admit to ourselves. Disassociating one’s self from an emotional reaction is difficult enough, but adding layers of moralism to an issue only convolutes a better grasp of breaking it down into its constituent parts. That said, I also understand that emotion and, by degree, a sense of moralism is also characteristic of the human experience, so there needs to be an accounting of this into interpretations of issues that are as complex as the ones debated in the manosphere.

Although I’m aware that observing a process will change it, it’s my practice  not to draw moralistic conclusions in any analysis I make because it adds bias where none is necessary. The problem is that what I (and others in the manosphere) propose is so raw it offends ego-invested sensibilities in people. Offense is really not my intent, but often enough it’s the expected result of dissecting cherished beliefs that seem to contribute to the well being of an individual.

Let that sink in for a moment; the reason that what I propose seems nihilistic, cynical and conspiratorial is because it’s analytical without the varnish of morality. For example, when I wrote War Brides, it was in response to men’s common complaint of how deftly and relatively unemotionally women could transition into a new relationship after they’d been dumped by a GF or wife. I wanted to explore the reasons how and why this functioned, but from a moralistic perspective it is pretty fucked up that, due to hypergamy, women have an innate capacity to feel little compunction about divesting themselves emotionally from one man and move on to another much more fluidly than men. If I approach the topic in a fashion that starts with, “isn’t it very unjust and / or fucked up that women can move on more easily than men?” not only is my premise biased, but I’d be analyzing the moral implications of the dynamic and not the dynamic itself.

I always run the risk of coming off as an asshole because in analyzing things it’s my practice to strip away that moral veneer. It challenges ego-investments, and when that happens people interpret it as a personal attack because those ego-investments are uniquely attached to our personalities, and often our own well being. Although there’s many a critic on ‘team woman’ shooting venom from the hip as to my emphasis on the feminine here, don’t think that iconoclasm is limited to the fem-centric side of the field – I catch as much or more vitriol from the manosphere when I post something like Looks Count or Women’s Physical Standards and the importance women actually do place on a man’s physique.

If you choose to derive your personal value from some esoteric sense of what sex ‘should’ mean, more power to you, but I find it’s a much healthier position to accept a balance between our carnal natures and our higher aspirations. It’s not one or the other. It’s OK to want to fuck just for the sake of fucking – it doesn’t have to be some source of existential meaning. If you think it means something more, then that’s your own subjective perspective – even in marriage there’s ‘maintenance sex’ and there’s memorable, significant sex – but it’s a mistake to think that the totality of the physical act must be of some cosmic significance.

It is as equally unhealthy to convince oneself that self-repressions are virtues as it is to think that unfettered indulgences are freedoms. There is a balance.