Sexual Market Value
David Spade tells an interesting story about Chris Farley before he died. Farley was dating a girl he really liked. Eventually she dumped him, because that’s what girls do. One day while hanging out with his buddies, Farley remarked,
“Well, whatever! He’s probably better-looking than me, but he’s not richer than me, he’s not funnier than me, and he’s not more famous than me.”
His friends quietly looked at each other with wry smiles. Then Spade said,
“It’s Steve Martin.”
Aspects of SMV
Sexual Market Value (SMV) is a topic that’s discussed in great detail in the manosphere, going all the way back Rollo Tomassi’s famous chart. I generally agree with his viewpoints, but I tend to look at them a little differently. As always, I tend to look at these things using simple logic rather than a lot of complicated nerd math that often doesn’t reflect the real world.
Before we discuss the actual SMV of the average man or woman, we need to establish baselines for what SMV is, and how SMV is determined.
1. SMV has nothing to do with you personally, or any other individual you can cite. You are an individual, and an individual is not a statistic. Whenever I see this topic discussed, people discussing it always go back to themselves as examples. “Guys hit on me now in my 30s just as much as they did when I was in my 20s.” “Now that I’m in my 50s, I bang way more hot chicks than I ever did in my 30s.”
This is a mistake. It doesn’t matter what you personally have experienced. What matters here are averages taken over a sample size of millions of people.
I can tell you for a fact that I have sex with attractive women (including younger ones) now much more easily at age 44 than I did at age 36. Is this because 44 year-old men have a higher SMV than 36 year-old men? Not really. It’s because in my individual case, comparing myself now to when I was 36,
1. I’m more outcome independent.
2. I have stronger game / dating skills.
2. I’m almost 50 pounds of fat lighter (though still overweight).
4. I “present” a little better (better fashion, etc.).
I also make more money, though I can’t count that since a woman on a first or second date with me would not know this, since my cheapass, lower-middle class lifestyle looks exactly the same from the outside looking in as it did eight years ago. I some ways it looks even worse. For example, the house I live in now is shittier than the one I had a few years ago.
Therefore, the difference in results was because of my own personal improvement, rather than an inevitable increase in SMV just because I got older or my income increased.
You could argue that the older a man gets, the more time, and thus opportunity, he has to increase his SMV. That’s certainly true, and that’s a factor, but not an evitable result of aging. For example, as they age, most men simply get fatter, uglier, and don’t really increase their incomes very much. Most older men in normal, everyday society do not look, nor act, nor live like Hugh Jackman.
2. Your SMV is determined by the opposite sex, not your sex. I’ve discussed the concept of gender myopia, a phrase I coined a few years ago and have discussed several times at this blog. This is when you subconsciously start to assume that what the other gender wants is what you want, which of course is incorrect. My standard examples are when men send dick pics to women, and when women brag about how strong, independent, and sassy they are. In both cases, you’re dealing with idiots who think that what they would like in a partner, the other gender would also like, when in fact the other gender is looking for the exact opposite.
So, when a college educated woman implies that female SMV might be a little higher because a woman makes more money or is more educated, she’s full of shit. She might give a shit about that, but men’s penises don’t. The same goes for when a gym rat dude talks about how a man’s SMV relates to his exact bicep measurements.
Men determine women’s SMV, not women. Women determine men’s SMV, not men.
3. SMV of the two sexes are determined by very different factors. This is a big one that confuses a lot of people. Men’s SMV is determined completely differently from women’s SMV, and it’s tempting to mix the two.
Men’s SMV is determined by the following factors (listed in no particular order):
Women’s SMV is determined by these factors:
Men’s SMV is determined by how well he can take care of someone, women’s SMV is determined by how fertile she is (real or perceived), even if men wanting to have sex with her have no desire to have children with her. It’s not rationality, it’s biology.
This is why it doesn’t matter if a woman makes a lot of money or has a college degree, and also why a less attractive man can have sky-high SMV.
To be fair, appearance is a factor with men’s SMV, but it’s not the be-all that it is with women. In other words, if you have two 38 year-old men who make the exact same amount of money and have the exact same level of social standing and confidence, the one with a full head of hair and a trim physique will indeed have at least a slightly higher SMV than the one who is balding and has a pot belly.
By the way, I agree with women when they complain this isn’t fair. If I was a woman, I too would be upset that a super hot 19 year-old drug addict with a low IQ and no money has a higher SMV than a decently cute, intelligent 28 year-old who has a college degree and a Good Job™. Yeah, it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.
I don’t make the rules here. I just play the game.
The good news for women is that your appearance is directly within your control. Even a woman of low or low-average looks will instantly raise her SMV several points just by losing 15 pounds and changing her hair color to blonde. Improving her fashion, make up, and getting breast implants (if she needs them) will jack it up even more. I went into great detail about this a few years ago when I was talking about my two female alter egos, Blackdragonette and BeeDee.
The problem is that, while men have no problem understanding they need to improve their confidence and/or income to be more attractive, women get upset and offended when you suggest they need to improve their appearance to do the same. “I shouldn’t have to change my hair just for you men!!! Fuck you!”
Oh well. I tried to help.
Based on the above factors, what is the actual peak SMV for men and women?
I don’t think anyone knows the answer to this question with full accuracy. Rollo Tomassi believes that female SMV is highest between 18-25 and peaks at around age 23, declining forever every year after 23. He believes men’s SMV is highest between 33-43, peaking at 36 or 38 and declining forevermore after his late 30s.
One could nitpick all that to death, but I’m not a nitpicker, so I generally agree with it. Two points:
1. I have always thought, even before there was a manosphere, that men’s physical appearance peaks at age 37. I even thought this when I was in my 20s. I couldn’t wait to get older so I could look better and people in the business world would respect my physique. Today at age 44, I still hold that magical (to me) age of 37 in my mind as the goal age to look like as I get older. I’ve heard other men and women also mention that they think men tend to peak in appearance in their late 30s.
So it’s interesting that many of us have come to this late 30s figure as some kind of peak for men. However! We’re only talking about appearance, and appearance is not SMV.
2. Why is a woman’s peak SMV 23 and not 18? Really think about that for a minute.
Your default answer is probably, “Because 18 is too young.”
But why is it too young?
Two words: Societal Programming.
Let’s say you took the vast majority of men in the Western world, of all ages (including men over 40 and 50), isolated them in a private room far away from everyone they knew (particularly their moms, sisters, girlfriends, wives and female friends), promised them absolute, 100% anonymity and confidentiality, got them a little woozy on either alcohol or sodium pentothal (truth serum), hooked them up to lie detector, and then asked them, “Ok, be honest. What makes you hornier? A hot 18 year-old or a hot 23 year-old?”
I could be wrong on this, but I’m convinced that if you remove all the societal factors, most of those men will answer the 18 year-old. I agree that there are many men over 30 who have no sexual interest in 18 year-old women, but these are the minority. The only reason you don’t see most Western men publicly stating preferences for 18 year-old women is they fear the horrific negative reaction they’d receive from others in society, particularly women over 33. So they temper their biology and answer “women in their 20s” instead of “18 year-olds.”
(Note for you women about to call me a disgusting pig: I no longer date women under the age of 23 any more, and haven’t for quite a while.)
Therefore, Societal Programming places a strong influence over the SMV of men and women. I suspect the true peak SMV of females is 18 or 19, but the societal peak SMV is around 23. (You may argue that societal peak SMV is actual peak SMV, and you might be right.)
What We’re All Forgetting
You may have noticed that I have never discussed SMV on this blog before, while it is a very strongly discussed topic on most other blogs like this.
This was intentional. Over-focusing on things like SMV is, in my opinion, a self-defeating exercise. If you read that male SMV peaks at age 38, if you’re 22 or 47, it simply gives you one more excuse to throw your arms in the air and declare that you’re Screwed™ and Can’t Get Laid™.
Above I described how I, as an individual, have a higher SMV now at age 44 than I did at the average peak SMV of 36-38. This is because your desirability factors as a man, your appearance, income, confidence, and social status, are all within your control. Even better, you don’t need all four. If you have three of them very strong, you’re probably good to go. In my case, my “social status” is pretty much zero (other than a few web sites I own, most of which don’t even have my name on them). However, my income is high, my confidence is sky-high, and my appearance is decent (even arguably above average for the typical American man my age), so I do just fine.
More importantly, your SMV doesn’t account for one very important factor: game skill.
As I discussed here, I know numerous men, both in real life and online, who get laid with hot chicks like rock stars, yet they have NO money, little or NO income (often unemployed), NO muscles and below-average looks.
How do they do it then? They have strong game. They learn the skills, get their asses out there, put in the numbers, deal with the rejection, and get laid. Their SMV is pretty much zero, but they get laid anyway.
That’s the problem with focusing on SMV. It directs your focus from the right place (your own, individual efforts) to the wrong place (macro-societal averages and preferences).
By the way, this applies to women too. At the Girls With Game site, there are women over there who I know for a fact regularly out-game other women who are better-looking and/or younger (in other words, higher SMV) and snag the higher quality men. Once again, SMV has nothing to do with it. Game does.
Game > SMV.
It’s important to remember this, since this goes against much of the narrative I see online today. Over the years, I’ve seen things move in this direction:
Early PUA (early to mid 2000s): “Looks don’t matter at all! You can lay any girl you want!”
Mid-PUA (late 2000s): “Looks matter and are a strong factor, but you can overcome a lot of that with strong game.”
Manosphere (today): “Looks and money are ALL THAT MATTER! If you’re not ripped or rich, you’re screwed!!!”
As is so often the case, we’ve moved from one stupid extreme to the other. We should have stopped halfway. I’ve been very clear that looks do matter, but I’ve also been clear they’re not the deciding factor that so many men today think they are (odd cities excluded). Game (including confidence and outcome independence) is hugely important. Never let all this focus on esoteric concepts like SMV dissuade you from the truth: unless you’re an odd exception to the rule, you have control over at least 95% of the variables involved in your personal SMV. Society’s SMV doesn’t matter much.