Elliot Rodgers, pickup artistry and losing your virginity.

I’ve read a lot in the last few days about Elliot Rodgers’ gender-motivated killing spree. I’ve had a brief skim of the manifesto he released, and it made me think about the lives of young men.

This pervasive idea that sex is something that women withhold from men, that sex is a reward that is freely given for good behaviour, or that sex is a measure of your intrinsic worth as a human being, has got to be a god-awful thing to grow up with.

The pick-up artistry forums and meeting-places on the internet like The Red Pill all add to this myth – that there are a particular set of behaviours and attributes that will reliably lead to you being given the opportunity to sleep with attractive women. Allegedly, women are interested in only a small subset of things in a partner – attractiveness, social standing, and traits which speak to her innate psychology or memories from her childhood. Basically, every woman has one of these inside her:


If you can meet all of these needs, then you will be given sex.


I can see why, if you believed this, you’d be really hurt and angry when you tried the techniques you’ve heard about and they didn’t work. Imagine if you took your driving test and, despite doing everything perfectly, you still weren’t awarded a license at the end of it. “Stupid examiner!” you’d think. “Can’t you see what a good driver I am?”

The problem is, sexual relationships don’t work that way. When you decide to sleep with someone, you don’t just weigh up their good and bad points and decide whether or not they pass. You think about what you want at that moment, what your relationship status is, how the conversation is going, what you’re attracted to, and a load of other factors, none of which are a judgement on the worth of the other person. It’s about both of you, not just about you.

Everyone’s attractiveness-o-meter is different, and there’s no way to find out how different unless you get to know the person. Being attractive is about, in the words of Dr. Seuss, finding “mutual weirdness” with another person.

Matching attractiveness-o-meters

Do you know how unlikely it is that a person who has all of the traits that you like also likes all of your traits, and is in a position to enter into a sexual relationship with you at any given time? People who have a large number of sexual partners tend to have one thing in common: they’ve asked lots of people to be their sexual partners.

People are virgins until they’re not any more. You’ve never had sex? I’ve never been skydiving – but that doesn’t tell you anything about me. It’s just an experience I’m yet to have.

It's not embarrassing to be a virgin. It's simply one state of being.

Young men: your worth as a human being is not dependent on the attention and opinion of other people. Women are just like you, but with boobs, and nobody owes you sex. Don’t pay attention to The Red Pill, or the pickup artist community, or the rest of the misogynists you can find on the internet. All they do is spawn hatred and anger and self-loathing, and legitimise the actions of people like Elliot Rodgers.