Robert Briffault: the reality of male-female relationships.

For a male and female to live continuously together is biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition. Robert Briffault

robert briffault
Robert Briffault

Robert Briffault (1876-1948) was a French surgeon who moved to Britain. His interest spread to anthropology and he later became a successful novelist. He was a polymath, a raconteur and a wit.

Below is Briffault’s Law, which is one of the most important pieces of social anthropology you’ve never heard of.

‘Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.’

 

By ‘association’, Briffault specifically meant a sexual encounter. His Law has an effect every time a man and a woman have sex as well as in the broader context of ongoing relationships. The consequences of this affect everyone.

 

 

 

The original Law is simple enough: women will only provide sex if doing so will bring them a tangible reward. That is, something other than sexual pleasure itself. It comes with three corollaries.

Corollary 1:

Even though a woman has accrued past benefits from her relationship with a man, this is no guarantee of her continuing the relationship with him.

This has been expressed as ‘what have you done for me lately?’ The implication is that the benefit, to the woman, which has attracted her to have sex with a man, must be ongoing. He has to continue to provide it. Further, although Briffault does not expressly state it, this element is subject to another general rule:

In economics there is the concept of diminishing marginal utility: the benefit derived from a product lessens with each successive unit consumed. Consider an all-you-can-eat buffet. If you arrive hungry, the first plate from the buffet provides 100% utility in satisfying your hunger. The second plate provides less utility, although you still may be a bit hungry when you begin filling the second plate. But by the time you’re eaten the second plate, you are no longer hungry. If you return to the buffet for a third plate, you will probably feel overstuffed after eating it. In terms of utility you are now in negative territory.
(Briffault posits that) women derive (such) diminishing marginal utility from their relationships with men after acquiring the desired benefits.

Psychology Today

This, in turn, means that the demanded tangible benefit, for a given level of sexual reward, must increase through time, as the woman perceives herself as receiving less marginal utility; or, it means that for the same amount of tangible reward, women will provide less sex in return.
This explains two things: the first is women’s well-known need for increasing material reward, in a relationship. A new car, a bigger house, holidays in the Bahamas, private education for her children and so on. It also explains why so many men live in miserable, sexless or practically so marriages: they have reached their maximum ability to earn money. Once that has established a stable plateau, the amount of sex they get must diminish.

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Corollary Two:

Any agreement where the male provides a current benefit in return for a promise of future association is null and void as soon as the male has provided the benefit.

Essentially, this means that he bought her dinner, but she doesn’t have to give him sex afterwards, because ‘a woman gets to choose’.

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Finally, Corollary Three:

A promise of future benefit has limited influence on current/future association, with the influence inversely proportionate to the length of time until the benefit will be given and directly proportionate to the degree to which the female trusts the male.

He promises her a new house. Will that get him sex? Maybe, but only if the woman believes him and the waiting time is not too long. And if he fails to deliver once, her conditions in future will be much more stringent.

Briffault was no misogynist. In fact, he emphasised the importance of mothers to human survival and made them central to his conceptions of our behaviour. It’s just that modern feminism has become anti-natalist, anti-feminine and indeed, anti-women.

Humans evolved to live in small, closely related groups of 80-180 individuals, including children and the elderly. This is a social structure in which nothing happens in isolation. They are famous for the complexity of their interpersonal relationships. Anyone whose family comes from rural Scotland or Ireland, Wales, the Levant, much of southern Europe or even Appalachia, not to mention Latin America or Asia, will be familiar with the massed gatherings that occur every time there’s a birth, a death, or a wedding. They will also know how fraught these can be.

Such social groups, whether we call them tribes or clans, are invariably ‘two-group’ societies, a matriarchy and a patriarchy acting in tandem.

However, a social paradigm that was evolved over hundreds of thousands of years of collectivist tribal life, can have unforeseen consequences in the fractured, atomised – and some would say inhumane – culture of the modern Anglo-Saxon West.

The other thing to be aware of is that this is only half of an equation. It explains women’s behaviours towards their sexual partners, but men select too. They are not passive. In fact they are usually more active in pursuing sexual partners than women. But they have a different sexual paradigm.

In a sense, we might consider human society to be an attempt to resolve the differences between men’s sexual paradigm and women’s.

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Men and Briffault

Briffault encapsulated, with remarkable intuition, exactly how sex is turned, by women, into a currency that can be traded for tangible benefit. What men see as sport, women see as wealth and thereby, power.

As a result, men understand sex as something they get in exchange for tangible benefit. They are conditioned, by women, to understand that sex must always be paid for, while, for women, the sex is the currency, with which they purchase tangible benefit. They have it. They have complete control over it. They must receive tangible benefit in return for it.

Time

Men are interested in other sports than sex, however. They might enjoy fishing, going to the football, driving a motorcycle, sailing their boats, playing golf. At the same time, men are aware of their own mortality, which women are not. Women gain immortality through their daughters and granddaughters. Men are expendable, women less so. Men are risk-takers, women are risk-averse. Although death comes to us all, a look at the stats shows that men live shorter lives, on average. Put bluntly, it’s dangerous to be a man. Men know that.

As a result of being aware of their own mortality, men value time. Women do not, to anything like the same extent. What they value is the ability to control others: power.

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The Soviet Union of Sex

The difference between the female sexual paradigm and the male can be reduced, in modern terms, to this: for women, sex is money but for men, time is money. Women hoard sex like misers and men hoard time in the same way. Women use sex to buy tangible benefit, including control over men. Men use labour – which can be expressed in time – to buy sex.

But – and it’s a big but – men are not physically tied to children in the way that women are. A man could have several women who were his sexual partners, all carrying forward his genes through her children. And remember, until recently no man could ever really be sure which children were actually his. So a man’s acceptance of paternal duty is more conditional than a woman’s.

Inside the man’s head there is an algorithm running that goes something like this: ‘I need to expend X amount of time (or its material equivalent) to do the things you want me to do before you’ll agree to give me sex. But there’s a woman down the lane there who’s pretty hot, and she might give me it for a lot less. So maybe I’ll make a baby with her instead.’ If the cost of sex with a particular woman becomes too high, or, for reasons we’ll discuss in a moment, the value of her sex diminishes, men are perfectly capable of going elsewhere.

Men’s ability to act on this and pick up some cheap side sex, horrifies women, because in a free sexual market, Briffault collapses. There will always be some woman who’s prepared to exchange sex for whatever the man has to offer, even if it is significantly less than his wife would accept. That’s why women invented things like monogamous marriage and constantly try to ban prostitution and pornography. Each woman’s ability to keep men under control, through the supply of sex, has to be protected. So we end up with a controlled sex market, in which all the power lies with the supplier.

It is the Soviet Union of sex.

Marginal utility

We mentioned the concept of diminishing marginal utility earlier. This has the consequence of reducing the amount of sex awarded to a man, if there is no increase in tangible benefit returned. We have all heard the old adage that ‘after six months the amount of sex a couple has goes down.’ But if men are programmed to have as much sex as possible, then this could only be the result of women reducing the supply; and this happens because of diminishing marginal utility.

As time goes by, most men reach a performance plateau above which they cannot rise, in economic terms. As a result, in married couples, sex may diminish. In a recent study carried out in the USA, 26,000 couples were examined. This found that the average was 54 times a year, or once a week. In another study, it was found that this was approximately the minimum required to maintain well-being.

In other words, most people are having only just enough sex to avoid psychological issues and, because these rates of frequency are averages, significant numbers are having less.

 

briffault-sex

Nevertheless, most people are having some. This is probably because women understand that persistently withholding sex may have negative consequences on their ability to secure tangible benefit in return for it. There are a number of reasons why this might happen. The first is that even in a nominally closed sex marketplace, it might still be possible for a man to purchase sex elsewhere, in secret, and he is more likely to if he is being denied at home. Alternatively, he might find that the other form of relief, masturbation, is adequate. While masturbation is healthy and a useful way for an older man to maintain erectile ability, when it actually takes over from sex, problems loom on the horizon.

Some men, especially as they enter middle age, may simply give up sex altogether. There is no such thing as a ‘male menopause’ but men who abandon coitus in this way can lose erectile ability. If that happens, then women’s power over them is devastated, since withholding something men no longer desire has little persuasive utility.

Desirability

There are other potential factors to consider, however. Men are attracted to women in roughly the fourteen to twenty-four age range. But the young, slender princess, might, by the time she’s forty, have allowed her body and face to go to the dogs and cut the long tresses that were once so attractive; the ninety pound nubile has become a two hundred pound land whale. With the best will in the world, it is hard for men to accommodate this and if the woman has set the tariff for sex too high, they might not bother. It is difficult to ‘reset to zero’ in a marriage wherein the man is fed up of his wife’s demands and in any case no longer even finds her attractive. Men are not interested in just fucking any woman; they want to fuck a desirable one. Men may also become unattractive to their wives, which just adds to the misery.

 

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Effectively, the two paradigms have results that can be described as curves. The female, derived from Briffault, starts high and slopes down; the male, derived from sexual attractiveness, does the same, but they move in different directions. The amount of sex in a relationship is found where they intersect.

Pregnancy

Briffault’s Law exists because, prior to modern methods of contraception, sex had a high chance of causing pregnancy. This drastically limits a woman’s ability to care for herself and any existing children. Natural selection worked against those women who did not take steps to bind their male lovers to them, because more of their children died. At the same time, Sexual Selection promoted socially acceptable characteristics in partners, one of which is male obedience to women. But the purpose of this is always the protection of children. The fact that women are generally weaker and less aggressive than men does not stop them becoming violent if their children are threatened. ‘Steel is a great leveller’ and women will not hesitate to use weapons if they have to.

I have actually seen women in my family brandishing firearms in anger, and (they) tend to be fiercely protective of all children, not just their own.
Appalachian Lady

Sex has a cost for women that it does not have for men; and women have therefore attempted to equalise the burden, through applying Briffault and Sexual Selection. Over countless generations, the behaviours necessary to achieve this have become innate. This is a result of the need to procreate our genes, which can only be done through the protection of women and children. Whether or not women enjoy the act of sex, they are constantly aware of the potential consequences of it, in a way that men are not.

In evolutionary terms, in all species, the simplest way that a male can procreate his genes is to get as many females as possible pregnant. But humans have a long gestation period and their young are not capable of being independent until their teens, and then only relatively so. This means that they have to be protected, because getting a hundred women pregnant is of no use, if all the offspring die in childhood. Remember that many species have birth-to-adult survival rates in the order of 1000:1 or even less. Because it takes so long to raise human babies and they cost so much in resource terms, human survival rates need to be as close to 1:1 as possible.

 

briffault wedding

Humanity responded to this challenge by evolving social structures in which the tasks that must be performed to enable children to survive are separated by sex. This is the root of gender. Women also developed means to sexually attract men and then to keep them coming back for more, by making sex a commodity that could be dispensed in return for reward. ‘Bring me some fruit, make me a shelter, bring firewood, and we’ll see about some nooky.’ Note: only women know which babies are really theirs, men have to take it on trust, or rather, they did until recently. This means that persuasions other than fatherhood are needed to bond a man to a woman. Making socially-sanctioned sex available only from a legitimised partner is one way to do this. This is the closed sexual marketplace, the Soviet Union of sex.

Women, however, are constantly fighting against the slow loss of their sexual desirability. That is why they invent notions like ‘age appropriate’ sexual relationships, intended to harm men who choose younger partners. But again, unless the closed sexual marketplace can be maintained, this is unlikely to be effective. There will always be young women willing to be seduced by older, more powerful men.

Testosterone

Men – whether they understand this or not – are driven to have sex by the same agent, testosterone, that makes them hunters and fighters. Why would boxers avoid sex before a bout? It’s because they instinctively know that the sexual release is the same as the violent one, and in this case, they want to be as violent as possible. They believe that having sex will release the pressure and they will be less so, after it.

A violent man in a rage could easily kill his wife and her children. One way to control that, as a famous English madame put it, is ‘to regularly de-spunk them’. Sex, in other words, makes unpredictably violent, powerful male killers into sweet, biddable little boys. Binding men to individual women and managing their violence are the reasons why sex is pleasurable for both men and women, and why women are sexually receptive all the time, even when pregnant.

Camille Paglia, an even smarter woman than many realise, hit it right on the head when she opined that the sex instinct in men and the hunter instinct are the same. They are. That is why men ‘objectify’ women. We objectify everything; women are not special. We see something and we apply a process of discrimination. Is it a threat? Can I catch and eat it? Could it catch and eat me? – and, very shortly after the ‘edibility’ issue is decided – ‘Well, can I at least fuck it?’

Men do this with everything, literally. They are completely target-oriented and constantly weigh up the world in terms that are totally alien to women, because underneath women’s paradigm is the assumption that their sexual desirability means they will be protected and provided for, by men. But men are at the coalface (often literally). They have to do the hunting and killing, fight off the wolves and bandits. So they objectify and categorise everything.

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Risk

Women see everything, not in terms of targets, but of threat. They comprehend the world in terms of the danger to them that whatever is in their environment presents. That is why modern feminism has devolved into an anti-men blame game. Men, potentially, are such a threat, so we had Andrea Dworkin inflicted upon us.

A man, perceiving a threat, will try to work out how serious it really is, and whether it represents a viable risk. He sees a water-buffalo with a calf. The buffalo is deadly but the calf could feed his family, who are hungry. So he weighs the risk. Could he kill the calf without the mother killing him? He will think about this, ponder strategies; and in the end he will make a decision either to attack or to retreat. A woman will not attack. She thinks only of the danger to her and her babies. And that is right and proper, because humans have evolved a system based on sex, called gender, in which men take these risks and women do not. Women rely on men to provide and to take risks in doing so, because this is a successful evolutionary adaptation.

Men assess risk and try to manage it. Women do not; they just avoid it and to do so will attempt to either completely remove the threat from their environment or themselves from its vicinity. This contributes directly to the present climate-change hysteria as well as, paradoxically, the reason why nuclear fission power, which could have significantly attenuated the man-made warming threat, has been effectively abandoned in the West. Women, and those men who, for whatever reason, adopt their ideas, seek a risk-free Utopia – which does not exist, never has, and never will.

Dimorphism

Recently, the tennis player and commentator John McEnroe caused a whirlwind of snowflakes in the liberal latte cup when he pointed out that Serena Williams, were she a man, would be ranked around 700th in the world – with which, by the way, she and other female players, agreed. Why? Because men are bigger, stronger, faster and more aggressive than women. It’s just a fact. And let’s be honest, Williams is hardly a petite little thing. But the truth, as ever, did not stop feminists and their fellow-travellers exploding in righteous, albeit unjustified, ire.

The dimorphism between men and women is not superficial, despite these protests, as Fallon Fox demonstrates. Fox was a US Navy SEAL who is now an Autogynephilic transvestite. She developed a career in MMA fighting and demolished the opposition, even when they were much more experienced than she was, because she fights as a female. Out of six bouts, she lost only one; she retired after fracturing the skull of an opponent. This is demonstrated across sports: when transwomen compete against natal women, they win, because men are bigger, stronger, faster and far more aggressive than women are.

Nong Toom, the Thai kick-boxer whom we mentioned in Chapter Seventeen, illustrates the same thing from the opposite side; she fought only against men and became national champion. No natal woman could possibly have done that.

Building big, strong, muscular bodies that can run quickly and fight comes at price. It requires energy to develop and maintain them. Evolution does not invest in such strategies unless there are good reasons to. In some animals, this power is developed as an essential part of mating, in that the biggest, most aggressive ones get the exclusive right to sex, by fighting off the others. But humans do not do that, or at least, not directly. Human social structures provide other means to establish mating privileges, which are under the control of women.

 

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So why are men so big, tough and aggressive? Because they are the risk-takers. They are the soldiers and the hunters. They protect the home base, with the women and children. Human evolution cannot be seen purely in physical biological terms; it has to be seen in terms of the societies that humans have evolved over millions of years. Sexual, rather than Natural Selection, then builds those social tendencies that work into heritable traits; some of these are psychological and others physical.

So, effectively, humans have evolved to maximise male strength and aggression and divert resources towards that, while, at the same time, women’s strength is attenuated and their bodies are more vulnerable. Here, women pay the cost of having strong defenders. They have effectively contracted out their defence, the hunter roles, and the strenuous, physical work to men. Sex and motherhood is how they pay for it. Sexual Selection, as we have seen, has helped by making femininity sexually desirable to men. So men are evolved to seek sex with women all the time, because their primary stimulus is femininity, which is a constant, more or less. Compare this with other animals where the male only becomes aroused when the female indicates, usually by scent, that she is receptive. Nothing happens for no reason, in Evolution.

Put another way, our ancestors could not rely on sufficient resources to make men and women equally powerful, so they economised, making men the tough fighters and defenders, but always with the end being the success of the population, through the protection of women and children. Essentially, women gave up any hazardous role they might have had and left it to men, so they could get on with caring for the children. This was efficient and parsimonious.

It has also been massively successful.

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