Trying to think about this, I'm reminded of a couple of items from Miss Manners. One was in the context of conventional dating, that a man was to understood that a woman was not interested *in him* upon the decline of the third consecutive invitation. Also, that a date invitation should be specific enough that the woman can decline due to some specific conflict. What this does is cut rejection into 3 pieces, which means that the man's motivation for retaliation for any individual rejection is maybe 1/3 of that of the overall rejection.

Another was her point that flirting is always to be ambiguous whether it is serious or not.

These fit the bigger concept that one is never to communicate unambiguously about sexual interest. That seems to apply very broadly across cultures. (OTOH, marriage is often handled in an extremely businesslike way by the relatives.) Given the current attitudes in US colleges, it seems that men are willing to negotiate overtly over sex, reports are that women dislike it intensely. OTOH, most subcultures seem to converge on accepted rituals of steps that a couple must walk through to have sex in an acceptable way, and they seem to provide multiple checkpoints for the woman to say "no" before the man estimates that his chances are high. A man who doesn't go through the checkpoints is considered overly aggressive, whereas a woman who doesn't is considered "fast". Some that I've read about include steps for the woman to "say no but mean yes" in a way that the culture rigidly distinguishes from ways to "say no and mean no".

Most of my life I've lived in subcultures which at least claim to value explicit, honest communication, but I've seen no evidence that humans generally desire that in sexual relationships. I suspect that a careful investigation of the game theory involved would make it clear why, but I've never heard of a really good analysis along those lines.

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A price you want to impose on men only. Even a good man wants sex. It being current year odds are the girl is going to have casual sex with someone. By your proposal it'll just be with some other guy. You're asking good men to be martyrs. Pretty unreasonable. At the end of the day, best deal or no deal. Patriarchy is the only solution

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I agree that women are generally polite, and it is largely about not wanting to get hurt.

I think there are easier solutions, though.

Normal parents don't let their 13 year old daughters go to older men's houses alone. They understand that men want to have (consensual or not), and that teenage girls who can't even drive themselves home will become victims.

Roman Polansky *knows* that. In his mind, he knows that the only reason parents would send a 13 yr old to his house is *so he can have sex with her.*

They did, and so he did.

She is a child, and children are supposed to be protected by their parents. Her parents did not protect her, either because they were very stupid or because they were trying to skirt close to the edge of pimping out their daughter for Hollywood access and miscalculated.

"Don't use your 13 yr old to sexually titillate men" is a pretty easy rule.

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At my university in the US, there was a trend of “traffic light parties” where the partygoers (both male and female) were indeed supposed to wear a badge which color indicated interest in a potential hook up: green yes, yellow maybe, red off the market.

Unsurprisingly I never saw a women wearing green.

Also, I wanted to say I appreciate your approach in general, with your evolution-informed game theory analyses. Refreshing.

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There's a famous clip from the comedy series It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia that I think quite concisely sums up the game theoretical problems that lead private interactions between man and woman to unwanted sex for woman. Not sure if you ever watched it, but you might find it interesting. It also shows that there is some awareness of the problem in general culture.


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I liked this, but was confused by the conclusion. If politeness enables rape, couldn't we just stop enabling it by decreasing politeness? Getting the 'good' guys together to try even harder to shame the bad ones seems orthogonal to this. Of course, there are no real 'solutions' to the problems of our era, so any attempt to discuss this will cause me to ramble a bit. But here are some thoughts.

In my experience, males who use this kind of subtle force are never manly. They're not the frat-bro sportsball stereotypes, they're softbodied and either effeminate or nerdy in some way. Denied of sexual success, they pressure, drug, or otherwise nonviolently-coerce women.

It's a bit like the peaceful vs harmless problem we have in the modern world. I've seen all manner of utterly harmless people who couldn't with a fight with a raccoon or a wild goose talk about the importance of nonviolence. It's laughable, because of course they're pacifists, like the rabbit voting for salad on the menu.

Regarding aggression both re: males ('violence') and re: females ('rape'), I carry myself in public as someone entirely capable of both, and try to keep them as close to the surface as possible. To date I have murdered zero men and raped zero women, and people generally respond to me well in person. The pushy guy who does everything short of physical violence (rubbing against you on the train, performing uninvited foreplay, asking for sex on the street) is, in effect, begging for consent and laying bare his own weakness.

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Excellent analysis. I'm old now, but back in the day, I was the good guy you described, and seductive frolicking was the norm. It's how I met my wife at age 23.

I think you might be right about what should be done even though it strikes me as supremely sad to lose that spotenaiety and romance. (this compromise comes straight at me)

On the other hand, I don't think things like this change based on great arguments about how things should be. They unfold and change naturally based on environmental and material conditions with a dash of human agency.

Nevertheless, thanks for this essay.

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When trying to understand rape and looking for ways to change society to minimize its incidence, it might be worthwhile to look into studies of societies where rape seems to be non-existent or exceedingly rare.

A classic paper on this is '"It's Only a Penis": Rape, Feminism, and Difference' by Christine Helliwell.


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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

Tove, the visual "not-interested-in-casual-sex" badge wouldn't work at all. The problem is, many (most?) women are interested in both long-term and casual relationships. Let's imagine that the no-casual badge gets popular and everybody knows that's what good girls wear - that would make not wearing it an obvious sign of being a slut (and maybe most men would then be reluctant to raise kids with such non-wearers). As a result, to preserve their reputation, almost all women, except the absolutely most socially uncaring, would wear that badge, while totally ruining its signal value by engaging in casual sex anyway. I suspect this has already happened before, with covering-your-head or being-covered-from-head-to-toe-Victorian-style as visual signals.

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I think this is the first post of yours that I significantly disagree with.

On the one hand, it technically doesn't concern me as I don't participate in dating. On the other, I might one day, and I would like to do it on my own (and my partner's) terms without being blamed for her decisions.

I like nature. It would be nice to share that with a woman at some point in my life. Are we just not allowed to do that?

Also, men need clarity, especially autistic men; who are also not very good at attending to emotions, through no fault of our own.

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I know you balk at deleting posts after they're made, but I would delete this (and maybe also the other) after you've read it.

> Hadn't the Roman/Samantha case involved a celebrity, it would have been a case as common as any.

Should read: "If the Roman/Samantha case hadn't involved a celebrity"

> Roman then told her to dress off and get into a jacuzzi.

Should read: "Roman then told her to undress and get into a jacuzzi."

> But it also gives opportunity to fraud.

Better might be: "But it also creates the opportunity for fraud."

> Probably because she had been raised to keep people comfortable whenever possible. Like all normal people have.

Actually I do have a substantive comment here - I have the impression that Americans aren't as strongly socialized in this direction, while Italians would find this bizarre.

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Wait it's another post on Wood from Eden, but it's about rape. Like I was excited at first... but then.

Also if I like this post, doesn't that sortof get interpreted as liking rape? What am I supposed to do here, Tove?

*...actually reads the post*

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deletedJun 3
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