Men Going Their Own Way

By , 24 July 2016

Men Going Their Own Way
Men Going Their Own Way

Today I discovered a fascinating community of men online. They call themselves "Men Going Their Own Way" (MGTOW), and all of them have opted out of the dating game. Some have even opted out of participating in society altogether.

Sounds whiney, right? Well, only on the surface. What you discover when you dig a bit deeper is that many of these men are quite the catch, and they know it. Instead of spending their time dating, they share information about entrepreneurship, commit themselves to creative projects, learn about investing, look after their health, and practise self improvement. And they do this all for themselves.

The MGTOW community congregates around one core belief: that dating is not worth it. This is a surprising conclusion, since thanks to the introduction of the contraceptive pill and women's liberalisation, the cost of sex is at an all time low. Throw in hook-up apps and dating websites like Tinder and OkCupid (is that still the main one?), and the dating marketplace looks heavily stacked in men's favour.

So why opt out? There are two sides to this equation. On the one side, the speed dating culture that technology swept in does not actually favour men. It simply reinforces how replaceable they are. Men (and probably women too) are sick of being discarded. On the other side, some men no longer feel sufficiently incentivised by what women have to offer. Or to put it in economic terms, dating fails a cost-benefit analysis.

Sex has little value to men who have had plenty of it. For them, women need to bring something else to the table. Traditionally, this was maternal care, emotional support, and a promise of fidelity. Today, however, the same forces of liberalisation which drove down the cost of dating also scattered those auxiliary benefits to the wind.

In hindsight, this shouldn't be all that surprising. Markets, and dare I say it, nature itself, do not tolerate imbalance. When the environment changes, behaviours change, and the ecosystem adapts. Once buyers and sellers hit evolutionarily stable strategies, the market settles around a new equilibrium point. MGTOW communities are just part of that new equilibrium.

It's difficult for me to decide whether the MGTOW choice is healthy or not. All we can say is that it exists, and it is growing in popularity. But the market will shift. It is always shifting. Which makes me wonder... when will we see an active WGTOW community?

Men Going Their Own Way

About Roger Keays

Men Going Their Own Way

Roger Keays is an artist, an engineer, and a student of life. He has no fixed address and has left footprints on 40-something different countries around the world. Roger is addicted to surfing. His other interests are music, psychology, languages, the proper use of semicolons, and finding good food.

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Comment posted by: , 4 years ago

Some great comments there.

@Otheus, Ironically I think I never knew about MGTOW because I'd been going my own way for so long. It was really weird to see other people arrive at the same conclusions independently.

@DGM, you make some pretty compelling arguments. If found this video on the subreddit interesting. One of the guys in it points out that supporting a family is a key motivator for men to work. He's suggesting that each man who goes his own way weakens the economy to some degree. This is a possibility, though it's hard to really judge if there will be a significant effect.

Reading your comment reminded me of sea lions, which (like so many species) mate by male competition. Natural selection favours the larger males, and the smaller ones form bachelor groups and do not mate. The alpha male spends all his energy protecting his harem. There is a feedback loop since the larger males sire 90% of the next generation, which are then larger than the previous generation. You end up with high sexual dimorphism, where the males are four times heavier than females.

It would be ironic if a side effect of feminism was to increase male-male competition, thereby driving the sexes gradually to become less equal (although the blame for such a result could equally be laid at the feet of the digital revolution).

Comment posted by: DGM, 4 years ago

A very fascinating little article on Men here, though I have a few things to add. Women do not have the option of "going their own way" and abandoning society that men do. It may sound strange to say "women are more important than men" after 60 years of socialization saying women are second class citizens, but women are actually the more important gender: whereas men can die on the job, or end up homeless, or drop out of society with very little impact on that society, the loss of even a single woman has dire consequences. Men can go their own way because society has little use for them, and will not show up demanding they do something. Women will always have society demanding they produce the next generation: any demands women make will be met to further this goal. To some degree, women have already "gone their own way." It's called feminism, and it didn't just change an individual womans lifestyle the way MGTOW changes how an individual mans... it changed society. 

Additionally, if you look at the statistics that OKCupid and Tinder provide on occasion, you will see something strange about womens dating preferences that shows the dating marketplace is *not* stacked in mens favour: women only find 20% of the male population attractive. Great for that population, but the other 80% of men who can spend years on dating/pick-up sites and activities without ever seeing a nibble, it rapidly seems like the deck is stacked towards women instead. Take divorce statistics into account as well (Women initiate between 70% and 90% of all divorces) and the picture looks more and more stacked against men.

Marriage also fails the same cost-benefit analysis as dating. Elizabeth Warren (who has since become a very liberal senator) wrote a book about liberalizations effect on the family called "The two income trap", which is largely research into why american families are worse off than the previous generation: the conclusion, as per the books title, was that it was due to married womens entrance to the labour-force. Yes, you read that right: a family where both mom and dad work is financially *worse off* than one where dad works and mom stays at home. Many of the issues in the labour force (income inequality and wage stagnation being two notable ones) can actually be placed at the feet of married women entering the workforce. 

Dating is not worth it because Marriage is not worth it. Marriage is not worth it because we changed what marriage was/is about. For hundreds, if not thousands, of years the purpose of marriage was to have and raise children: this has changed, and marriage is now about "love". The supply of sex may have increased, but if men are seeking children and not sex as biology would indicate, this increase in supply adds nothing of value to the market. If anything, the introduction of things like contraception make it *less* likely men will be able to get what they want out of a relationship with a woman. 

MGTOW is *not* a healthy choice. It is the choice presented to those born to a dying society: you can abandon the dying beast, you can take advantage of it, or you can hopelessly try to save it. Men going their own way have made the first choice: abandon the beast, and let it die. Pick up artists and their sort fall into the second category: take advantage of it and get what you can before it dies. Anti-feminists and MRAs make up the bulk of the third group, pointlessly holding in the beasts organs in a hope it will get better. 

To some degree, women have already "gone their own way." It's called feminism.

Comment posted by: Johnny, 4 years ago

MGTOW can have as much sex or as little sex as he chooses. MGTOW has nothing to do with sex basically. MGTOW means you spend no effort (or almost no effort) and no money (or almost no money) on women. You do not court women, and you do not provide any type of financial security to women. So marriage is obviously out, as with marriage you lose control of your financial future. Anything that may allow woman to control your financial future is out.

I personally love banging chicks, but only as low hanging fruit. I approach women on the street and ask them out. I take them to 30 min $5 coffee. And that either leads to something sexual or not. If not, she is out. I don't care how hot she is, if she wants me to take her to say a restaurant, she is out. I obviously tell all women I have zero interest in love or relationships (I don't). I am 45yo. There is amazingly high percentage of women in their 30s and 40s who have no interest in serious relationship, so I have have as many hassle-free FWBs as I can handle. Every woman I bang is totally replaseble. 

The best part of being life-long MGTOW is that I have no money problems, paid off house, no stress, no responsibilities, no chores, just an easy and happy life I am 100% happy with. My core cost of living is only $1K per month - property taxes, food, electric bill. 

Comment posted by: otheus, 4 years ago

I've been familiar with the MGTOW community for some time, and I actually assumed you were a part of it, or at least an adherent. From my understanding of MGTOW, it's not one that rejects sexual activity, but one that rejects the goal and lifestyle of pursing a family. Thus, "dating" and any kind of courtship is wasted behavior and energy. It is realized that outside of reproduction, sex has a function, but a limited one, and its importance should be considered proportionally. The modern notions of sexual activity make this easier, as do the change in attitudes toward porn and masturbation. These were all in the not-too-distant past considered taboo and immoral, but no longer. With that change in attitude, MGTOW becomes an acceptable life-policy.