Dopamine Vs. Oxytocin

Susan Walsh talks about seeing Gloria Steinem on Stephen Colbert, and then at the end mentions male and female brain chemistry-

I left this comment-

“I love dopamine. Dopamine has never let me down. Oxytocin only brings pain and sadness.”

To which she replied-

“Yeah, and you can flip that script for women.”

I thought that was a bit flip of her. I was a little confused about all the brain chemicals she lists, but she has another post where she explains these, with reference to Helen Fisher, whom I have never read but is a popular sociobiological reference on relationships-

This is a matter of understanding what the other party wants in a relationship. It is critical to understand that what they want is not necessarily, or even likely, what you want.

OneSTDV compares groupies flocking to Joran Van Der Sloot versus a guy writing an advice columnist in Slate who can’t get a girlfriend despite offering emotional and financial support to many women-

This man believes women want emotional and financial support in a relationship. Why? Probably because that’s what he wants.

Alpha males don’t want support in a relationship because they don’t need it. They are dominant and in control and have comfort and security because of that; they want fun, pleasure and novelty. Women in general do not want much support in a relationship; the world is a much kinder and safer place for women than for men. They get emotional support from their girlfriends and female relatives, and can usually at least get by with the jobs they have. They also want fun, pleasure and novelty. Sounds like a good match right? The one problem with this is that for the alpha male novelty means multiple and new women. Plenty of women won’t even mind the multiple part; they just don’t like the new part, as in being dumped for new women.

Lower status males will to various degrees look for emotional shelter in a relationship, as they are taking more of a beating in the world. Women who would provide emotional support to a female friend or relative might do this to some extent for a male partner, but to a lesser extent. The idea of women as nurturing is pretty oversold in my opinion. Supposedly they are attracted to “nurturing” professions like teaching and nursing. Most of the female teachers I had were sour, burned out bitches. I don’t find nurses to be particularly nurturing either. The idea that providing care of some kind for children or sick people is “nurturing” rather than just traditionally a female function is something women like to promote for their own benefit but doesn’t really hold up.

The last part is important. Women have a vested interest in women being caring, and relationships being about caring. This gives them power in relationships, power which until recent times they have needed. But relationships are not about caring. Relationships are about each party getting something they want from the other party. The relationship lasts as long as that is the case, and when it is not, the relationship ends.

Isn’t that pretty cold? Maybe. But caring is not really a relationship, it is doing something for another person without expectation of reward. I like to donate toys at Christmas. I do it because it makes me happy to think of a little kid who would not otherwise have a toy at Christmas getting one and being happy. I expect nothing, not even gratitude. This meets, I suppose, the Randian definition of selfishness- I am purchasing a feeling for myself but that’s OK.

Robert Ringer talks about this in “Looking Out For Number One.” He says at the end of his discussion about friendship “Am I saying you should buy friendship? I’m not saying you should, I’m saying you must.” People do not want to be around you out of the goodness of their hearts. They want to be around you because you make their lives more enjoyable in some way.

The guy in the advice column is not as many of OneSTDV’s  commenters suggest a fag, an idiot or a complete loser, he is just dense. He would like to get support in a relationship, so he thinks they want it. After some years he is realizing something is wrong.

OneSTDV doesn’t provide a link, but I looked it up. It’s incredibly mean and ugly, but the kind of thing I expect from liberals-

Cary Tennis basically says the guy must really be rotten bastard, and not really a nice guy after all. This is a frequent attack on nice guys. “You’re not really nice! There is something seriously wrong with you and that’s why women don’t like you!”

I doubt the guy is especially ugly, has bad breath, or needs a therapist. He wants and expects reciprocity in a relationship, which is perfectly normal and rational. And nice, not evil. But he wants to give nice and get nice in return, which despite the massive social propaganda devoted to it, is not primarily how male-female relationships work.

Women don’t want nice because they are evil, or because they don’t need it, but because that is not primarily what they want from a man.

4 Responses to Dopamine Vs. Oxytocin

  1. Susan Walsh says:

    Thanks for the link, OM. I’m sorry I came across as flippant, I didn’t mean to. I meant to point out why it’s so hard sometimes for the sexes to get together. We want different things, and that’s part of what makes the attraction work, but it’s also a complicated negotiation. And lots of people experience pain and sadness along the way. I understand that men risk a lot when they offer intimacy, only to get kicked to the curb. And women, who really want intimacy, find they are just wanted for sex. There are a great many people of both sexes who are lonely, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to.

  2. […] “What is Love? II – In the Sexual Marketplace, What Are You Buying?“, “Dopamine vs. Oxytocin“, “The Rise – and Ongoing Fall – of Beta […]

  3. This is a good blog about relationship problem.

  4. […] also writes with stunning perspicacity about relationships. For example, in perhaps his best post, Dopamine vs Oxytocin, he writes: Alpha males don’t want support in a relationship because they don’t need it. They […]

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