The 3 Levels of Dating Mastery
When talking about dating and relationship techniques, I will sometimes refer to those who are “beginners,” those who are at an “intermediate” level of skill, and those who are “advanced.”
I’ve received some questions about this, and about how I’ve never clarified what these terms actually mean. It’s only fair that if I use these terms, I should be more specific about their definitions.
Below are these three levels of mastery and what they mean, at least to me. To be clear, what constitutes these three levels is strictly my opinion. I’m sure other dating experts / PUA gurus will have definitions for these three terms that may look different from mine, and that’s fine. I’m just here to tell you what these three terms mean to me when I happen to use them in my writings.
The beginner is obviously the guy who is just starting out. At one extreme, you’ve got guys who are literally virgins and who are terrified of talking to women. One notch above these guys are extroverted virgins who’ve never had sex, but have lots of female friends and have never learned how to get out of friend zone.
At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got beginners who’ve had sex with a few women, perhaps five or six, or maybe even ten if they’re older, but have no actual skill enabling them to go out into the world and pull new women into their sex life with any predictable reliability. The only sex they’ve received thus far in their life is the sex that dropped into their laps through women they met organically at their work, through family, school, or their social circles.
Many beginners have reached the point where they can meet girls and get first dates or day2 meets (through night game, daygame, or online dating), but they don’t yet have the balls and/or the skill to close the deal with any predictability. If they do get laid, and usually they don’t, it’s almost by accident, in that they happen to be exactly the woman’s type to begin with and didn’t screw it up too badly.
Most beginners tend to come in two flavors; young guys who haven’t had a lot of woman experience yet, and older guys who are just out of a long-term relationship or divorce, and who are very out of practice.
You are a beginner if some of the following conditions describe you:
- You’ve had sex with well below ten women in your entire life.
- You haven’t yet gotten to the point where you can meet women cold (either in real life or online) and actually turn that into real-life sex with any reliability or predictability.
- The only way you know how to get laid for sure is by paying for it and you’re under the age of 50.
- You would not rate most of the women you’ve had sex with as attractive.
The way to get from beginner to intermediate is to start with a dating system (if you have not done so already) and stick with it, devoting at least three evenings a week, every week, to getting better at your chosen system (night game, daygame, or online dating). If you have no idea where to start, read this article right now. If you’ve chosen online dating as your system, get this book. If your system involves one-on-one dates / meetups, get this book.
The number one thing a beginner must do is stick with it. Being a beginner is hard and painful. I was beginner for many months, messaging women, going out on dates, dealing with cancels and flakes, dealing with women ghosting me, getting turned down, and wasting a lot of time and money. Being a beginner is the worst stage of these three stages, so you want to put in as much work as possible to get through this stage as fast as possible.
(Interesting side note: many PUA haters and angry MGTOW’s are actually men who reached the beginner stage, but never stuck with any system long enough to achieve results, and have resided in the beginner stage for years and years. Well, yeah, if I had to remain at the beginner stage for years on end, I’d be furious too.) The goal of the beginner is to not be a beginner anymore.
The intermediate guy is someone who has been working his system for several months and is now getting results. His results are spotty and time consuming, and he does a lot of things wrong. Yet, he does get laid at least semi-regularly with new women. Unlike the beginner, the intermediate knows that if he puts in X amount of action, he will get laid with someone. This is because he can look back over the last several weeks or months and see some results.
The women he has sex with range from low-average to the occasional hottie. Most intermediate guys get whatever they can take. They are also hugely susceptible to oneitis when they have sex with a really hot woman, as I discussed in item #9 here.
Being at the intermediate level is pretty exciting, at least most of the time. For the first time in your life, you’re actually having sex with multiple women, and many of them are actually pretty cute or hot. Intermediate guys are usually very excited and enthusiastic; it’s almost the opposite of being a beginner.
On the flip side, intermediate guys often get easily frustrated. Putting in the numbers starts to get to them, and when women don’t play ball the way the men expect, these men often get upset.
You are an intermediate if some of the following conditions describe you:
- You’ve had sex with several women (at least 3-6 or so) whom you’ve met completely cold (i.e. from real life cold approaches or from online dating; women you did not know beforehand via friends, family, work, or school).
- Some women you’ve had sex with, you consider really cute or hot.
- You have some kind of track record, in that you know for a fact that if you put in X amount of activity (approaches, openers, dates, whatever), you will get laid with at least one new woman (regardless of her attractiveness). It’s not a total unknown like when you were a beginner.
- You’re at least somewhat pleased with what you’ve accomplished with women so far, but you want a lot more.
While the goal of the beginner is to stick with it, the primary goal of the intermediate is to identify what you’re doing wrong and stop doing it. The intermediate level is when you need to closely examine your system and your game and find the problems with it. Intermediates have a list of both successes and failures, and it’s your job to analyze your failures and determine why they keep happening. This is particularly true if you’re encountering the same problems over and over again.
The challenge is either with what you’re doing, the type of women you’re approaching, or both. I’ll give you two examples from when I was an intermediate.
Many years ago, PUA dogma preached on and on about the “makeout.” It wasn’t sex that was the goal, no – it was the makeout. The entire goal was to walk into a club and make out with a girl. Then you were a badass. PUA’s on the PUA forums would harp on this constantly. Mystery himself said “Mastery is four sets, four makeouts.”
Being an intermediate guy myself at the time and not knowing any better, I said, “Okay, I’d better start making out with women on first dates! Then I’ll get laid more!” So on my online first dates, I started making out with every woman I met, right on the first date, with rare exception. I already had a lot of confidence back then and at least an average level of game, so I made out with (or just kissed on the lips) something like 25 women on first dates in a row.
Annnnnnd my lay ratios were terrible. I don’t remember what they were exactly, but they were bad. I got a lot of makeouts, but I wasn’t getting laid. In examining my system, I found that perhaps making out with a woman on an online first date wasn’t a good idea, so I tested not kissing a woman at all on a first date, and instead saving that for the second date where I intended to have sex.
I did that, and holy shit… I got laid. A lot. My lay ratios tripled in less than two months (I think that’s the number; it was a long time ago now).
It was also during this time that I found some women would have an extreme amount of ASD on the second date when I tried to have sex with them, even though they were clearly attracted to me. I only had this problem with some women; other women had sex with me on the second date with no problem at all.
Reviewing my spreadsheets at the time, I was shocked to see that something like 95% of these ASD women were age 33 or over. I couldn’t believe it. Could something as simple as age make that big of a difference? I didn’t know, so I experimented again. I stopped messaging all women online who are age 33 or above, and holy shit, my lay ratios skyrocketed. By only focusing on women age 32 or below, I was getting laid on second dates left and right. I was so excited I couldn’t believe it.
Those are two examples of exactly what you need to do as an intermediate guy. Look at your problems, examine them closely, and experiment with new approaches and solutions. Only that way can you get to the advanced level.
When you’re at the advanced level, you’re pretty much “done” with learning how to get laid. Men at the advanced level can get laid pretty much whenever they want, reasonably fast, without paying for it, and with women they consider hot. There’s no guesswork to the process at all and the effort is minimal.
As strange as it may be to hear, many men at the advanced level actually get pretty bored. This is particularly true of Thrill of the Hunt guys who reach the advanced level. The hunt isn’t hard anymore, so they get bored, and in some cases, even a little depressed. This is why, sadly, most guys at the advanced level eventually become serial monogamists. They have a sad, “What else is there?” attitude and see monogamy as their only answer. (Cheating, drama, breakups, and divorces always ensue, of course.)
New guys at the advanced level are very different. Many of these guys get a little drunk on the power and start to develop a “habit” of having sex with new women all the time simply because it’s what they’ve become accustomed to. They constantly bang new chicks just to bang chicks, not because they actually have any reason to. For these men, having sex with new women becomes a habit instead of a means to an end. (I actually started doing this myself many years ago until I caught myself doing it and backed off.)
You are advanced if both of the following conditions describe you:
- You can get laid pretty much whenever you want, with relative ease, with women you find attractive, without having to pay for it. (Exceptions are older guys, over age 50 or 60, who have had sex with lots of younger women when they were younger, but now have to pay for it because of their age.)
- You’ve had sex with a large number of women, and at least a significant percentage of these women you consider hot.
The goal of the advanced guy is to determine a very specific long-term woman goal, stick with it, and only have sex with just enough women to meet this goal while you focus on your non-woman goals and Mission. Men at the advanced level who fail to do this (and sadly, this is most of them) meander around with either banging chicks for the rest of their lives or farting around with the ridiculous up’s and down’s of serial monogamy. Neither of these things will make a man happy in the long-term, as I’ve talked about in great detail before.
You also have to make sure your long-term woman goal is age appropriate. Getting married is not a good idea if you reach the advanced level at age 25, nor is a goal of having sex with 200 18 year-olds if you hit the advanced level when you’re 53 (at least in my opinion.) As always, it’s your life and your goal can be whatever you want of course; just make sure it makes sense in the context of your age and the rest of your life. Remember that long-term consistent happiness is the goal here, not pleasing your ego or your Societal Programming.
I reached the advanced level somewhere around early 2010 (I think), which means I’ve been at this level for about seven years now. Back then, I was entering my 40’s, so around 2011, I started formulating my long-term woman goal, that of an OLTR Marriage. This way, I could settle down and pair-bond with someone, back off on the crazy sexcapades, and focus on my Mission, but do so without all the horrible disadvantages of monogamy and the risk of turning into a pussy beta if the monogamy actually worked.
I’ve stuck with that goal for all these years and now, never wavered on it, it’s in the process of coming to fruition with Pink Firefly. Because I clearly defined a good goal and stuck with it, unlike the vast majority of other men in the PUA / manosphere who are at the advanced level, at no time in the last ten years have I been burned in any way by either monogamy or loneliness, It’s pretty nice.
So those are the three levels of dating or “pickup” mastery. One could argue that there is a separate three levels of nonmonogamous relationship mastery as well; perhaps I’ll cover those in a future article here.