Fuckers Vs. Raisers

Disclaimer: Pure conjecture, riddled with a ton of what-ifs – probably none of which are original.

One day in a stereotypical medieval town, a bard comes through.

This is a very sexy bard, violet-eyed, good with a lute, and experienced in the ways of women. During his short stay he sleeps with four of the village wenches, and then bounces off to a new village, to seduce more wenches.

The men in the town don’t know about this, of course, and when one of the wenches gets pregnant, everyone assumes her husband did it. Years later, a new child with violet eyes is running around. Life goes on.

There are two sexual strategies for men – Fucking and Raising. Fuckers, like our friend the Bard, do the ol’ fuck-and-run. Move frequently, shoot seed everywhere, and hope that this results in violet-eyed toddlers getting raised by other men. Raisers, by contrast, shoot seed into comparatively few women and end up raising the children they produce.

A society probably can only tolerate so many Fuckers, because Raisers are doing all of the work. If too many men are Fuckers, the kids will stop getting raised, and then the Fucking sexual strategy loses effectiveness.

Kind of like charity/hospitality/welfare. A society only has so much excess to give to people who take advantage of it.

My question then is why are women attracted to Fuckers? Is there any female advantage to this?

Women are attracted to men who indicate they would help their child survive – and to a woman, only Raisers will help her child survive. Having a child by a Fucker is dangerous – if she doesn’t have a Raiser lined up, then she’s on her own, and historically this is Very Bad News. If she does have a Raiser and he finds out the child isn’t his, again – Very Bad News.

So when the Bard fingers his lute, why do all the women around him sigh?

I think their sighs don’t have anything to do with the fact he’s a Fucker – I think it’s because his traits, if they were present in a Raiser, would be ideal. He’s presenting confidence, skill, and high social standing. If a Raiser like that moved into town, all of the women would be trying to wife themselves at him like crazy. The Bard also is a potential Raiser in the women’s eyes, and he probably has to emphasize that idea in order to get her to sleep with him.

This is maybe where the trope of “guy tells girl he loves her in order to sleep with her” comes from. Women don’t want to fuck Fuckers, but they will fuck Fuckers disguised as Raisers. And when they find out, they usually describe the feeling of “being used.”

This makes me think that women’s sexual strategy involves defending against Fuckers at all costs, and that there are minimal or no evolutionary benefits for women to be charmed by the Bard (beyond maybe getting some fresh gene material into the town?). Fuckers only succeed by disguising themselves as Raisers.

This frames things a lot more in terms of ‘battle’ between the genders. I have held the idea until now that human sexual strategy is a lot more of a complimentary competition, but this seems like it has really disproportionate benefits.

Of course this is very general, and cultural norms are changing. Birth control means that women aren’t threatened by Fuckers, and so Fuckers don’t have to pretend (as much) to be Raisers to get laid anymore. Sleeping with a Fucker who isn’t pretending to be a Raiser has given rise to the new fun sort of relationship called Casual Sex.

Okay I am done writing now but I don’t know how to do a closing paragraph. I don’t really want to learn.

19 thoughts on “Fuckers Vs. Raisers”

  1. As a biologist, there’s a very specific approach to this problem. The theory that supports the behaviours you mentioned is called “the sexy son”. It is beautifully and divulgatively illustrated in “the red Queen” book about sexual selection.

    In very few words, investing in a son who is seductive and have him raised by a raiser is a dangerous but potentially rewarding activity for a female’s genes. There is no other specific advantage in having a sexy son except that he/she is likely going to mate way more than a raiser’s son. In this process he’ll carry to the next generation half the mother’s genes.

    This is a great blog, btw

  2. I think things are more random, though there is a common element and that is there’s a new guy in town.

    In 1990 my partner and I were members of a fairly small urban punk community. If there was any movement outside of the closed community it was a type of code switching as people went to jobs and school and returned to what felt like the real world. A guy joined the community who was traveling cross country. He didn’t code switch, he was entirely in the desired world. His facial tattoos meant he could never have a straight job.

    He got several of the women pregnant but this wasn’t where the women already had “raisers” to help support the kids. Women expected to raise their kids on their own with the support of the community. At least that was their plan.

    I saw the same thing 20 years earlier, though there weren’t children, at college. People drifting onto campus and settling within a fairly closed community for a short time and having relationships. The English guy who brought heroin or the woman who’d made porn films. People who brought an appeal at least to some.

  3. This lecture series from Stanford is related to your raiser/fucker dichotomy. Basically, other species of animals typically arrange themselves into a tournament or pair bonding structure. In a tournament species, there’s more sexual dimorphism, one alpha male reproduces and lets the women raise the kids. In a pair bonding species, there’s less sexual dimorphism, men and women tend to pair up and stay together, and women tend to abandon their children with the men. The conclusion of the lecturer is that humans sit somewhere in the middle, so we have conflicting sexual interests, with individual humans falling somewhere on the range.

  4. There’s clearly a geographical continuum WRT the need for paternal investment. It’s clear why a woman in a low-paternal-investment culture would want to avoid having children with high paternal investment men. Any sons they produced would be likely to have low fitness.

    Also, of course, in every case we’re dealing with an effort to hack reward channels by both parties, so we should expect everyone to optimize for one-anothers fitness to some degree at the expense of their own. We should expect older and more sexually experienced players to have an advantage in hacking contests, within limits characterized by the development of expertise.

  5. I would argue the problem has little to do with the current defined terms and more with the expectations and desires believed by each individual.

  6. Might be overlooking a big component here: the raisers that many women are attracted to could become the fuckers via positive reinforcement and short-term planning.

    The way I see it is that each gender has short term and long term sexual strategies. For women, these are finding desirable genetic traits (to give their children an advantage), and finding a stable partner to protect them during vulnerable pregnancies, respectively. For men, they are to have as many kids as possible (usually with multiple women due to incubation periods), and to protect and support the offspring they have, respectively. The fuckers are merely the most desirable men, that are able and willing to maximize a short-term strategy. Just as the settlers on the female side are willing to maximize a long-term strategy with an undesirable man. As with most social systems, the potential exists for war or peace, depending on who’s playing the game.

  7. This same sort of male strategy dichotomy happens in some animal populations as well. And some of those female animals make the same choice as some of those medieval wives did. If there is a parallel between these animal populations and the choices of those women then this hints at a possible reason. In these animal populations the reason some females take up with the fuckers is because it increases the odds of those offspring also being fuckers and thus being able to spread their genes far and wide. Genes are selfish and any behavior that leads to the further spreading of those genes – in this case both the behavior of the fuckers and the behavior of the females taking them up on it – will have a tendency to persist in the population. With limits, however: there is a natural equilibrium maintained in the population between the fuckers and the raisers because, as you point out, the species also needs raisers to thrive.

    Of course we’re talking here about sentient humans and not animals. But while humans can use rationality to overcome their genetic drives, it isn’t rationality that is the driving factor in the choice made by either the bard or the wives. As you point out there’s a lot of risk of tragic outcomes for those wives, and for the bard as well if he is caught. What’s at play here is emotion which is just another word for instinct and is part of how our genes express their control.

    tl;dr: fuckers are genetically successful, and fucker children may also be more so than raiser children so sometimes it may be worth the risk.

  8. “My question then is why are women attracted to Fuckers?”

    Thus is a question many Raisers have asked, particularly on /r/AskMen. Just replace ‘fuckers’ with ‘assholes’.

    Are you yourself attracted to Fuckers, Aella? What do you think are your personal reasons for such attraction?

  9. It sounds like your model of the woman’s choice is ExpectedValue[ mate with this man | Not Fucker] >> 0 and E[mate | Fucker] = 0, so the whole game is to guess correctly if he’s a fucker. I think that’s true in some cases but I don’t think it’s the whole story. If that were true then the only reason to choose one man over another would be the value of his services as a Raiser. But men also differ in the quality of their genes. So women may often face a tradeoff between higher quality genes versus higher quality Raising services.

    Add to this the fact that monogamy is a relatively recent situation. A woman in say, colonial Massachusetts may be permanently and catastrophically cut off from Raising services if she gets caught in just one sexual encounter with a Fucker, but is that true for most women throughout history? I don’t think it is. I think the tradeoff has often been a lot less steep than that, so women adopt a mixed strategy. They go for men with the best genes, subject to the constraints imposed by the need to attract the raising support needed.

    Also of course it goes without saying that most of this “sexual strategy” stuff goes on at the level of genes, not consciousness. Men and women do not generally aren’t attracted to people on the basis of an explicit strategy, they’re just turned on by some people and not by others.

  10. While I agree with a lot of what you say here, I think you give most humans more credit than they deserve with respect to their focus on the long term success and uplifting of the species. Sometimes girls just wanna have fun, and aren’t thinking at all about how their sex partner will be as a spouse and parent, or don’t even want a child themselves, but have sex anyway.

    We have more (and better, more reliable, more available) options for having sex without getting pregnant than back then, but it’s still hard to get the knowledge and the tools, and getting harder with the current administration.

    Disclaimer: I am a raiser.

  11. Note that there is a range of strategies here for the women, from monogamous arrangement to a raising children with no male support. Some of the choice would depend, I expect, of the resources available to the woman. If things are tight, a monogamous relationship will produce more progeny, even if the male is not the apex of fitness. On the other hand, if resources are readily available so that a woman can generate enough on her own to support children, a fitter man as the father is a better bet for healthy children. Note that where their current situation fits on this range will vary from woman to woman even when the circumstance seem the same. You will notice that Fuckers are never ugly, misshapen man.

  12. I guess the PUA-sphere has a similar typology (Fucker/Raiser ⇒ α/β), but there the idea is that the mother gets a payoff form having a genetically better kid. So genetically unattractive fathers need to offer more help with raising kids (and their sometimes raising someone else’s kid is a cost of business for getting a mate at all). In equilibrium, then, the expected reproductive success * chance of making it to adulthood should be the same for bastard and legitimate children.

    Be that as it may, I like how both yours and their model end up with someone feeling exploited; but in one it’s a man and the other the woman. Evo-psych arguments tend to be a bit underconstrained, so what comes to mind maybe depends a bit on what frustrations are most salient in daily life. 🙂

    1. I know I’m late here, but +1 – this is the correct answer. From the evolutionary perspective, a mother needs (a) resources for child-rearing, and (b) good genes for her children. Depending on the situation, she may be more driven by (a) or (b), but will always be trying for both. The genes of a successful sexy Fucker bard will make her children more likely to be successful, and will be very tempting to motivation (b), especially if she has sufficient resources from elsewhere.

      Yes, this is somewhat circular, which is why runaway sexual selection can lead to insane phenotypes. A trait is sexy because it’s sexy because it’s sexy, etc.

      Anyway, the explanation “Fucker’s are pretending to be ideal Raisers” seems to miss this point, and I think women can definitely be attracted to Fuckers who they have no illusions (either conscious or instinctual) will be sticking around.

  13. Minor quibble – in medieval society, bards definitely did not have high social standing. All entertainers were looked down upon as the dregs of society.

  14. I think you’ve got some solid evolutionary psych going on there. Painting the picture in simple cost-benefit analogy; there’s no real evolutionary payoff to dealing with a “fucker” without having the resources to handle it afterwards, emotional and material. That part of the population would probably be rare. More so, the attraction then probably isn’t in the consequence direction of the act; it’s more likely in the right-now, right-here personality traits of the individual. Let’s look at your hypothetical Bard there. He’s got practice, successful practice, so that means a much higher than average shot of winning out on social skills than a “Breeder” who has had less successes to learn from. Luck and outliers aside, practice wooing does make perfect when there’s a string of successes. There are features that cast a wide net of attractiveness that can be honed. Maybe the women in this hypothetical scenario are not thinking of the potential walk off, so much as they are the traits/attention/woo’ing in the moment? It’s fun to guess at.

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