If you’ve ever read Jane Austin, you will know that dating has always been a challenging aspect of life. But the modern age has ushered in more complications than ever before. Men in particular face unique challenges when it comes to dating in the current era. Many factors have contributed to these difficulties, including changes in social norms, advances in technology, and the shifting gender roles in society. In this blog, we’ll dive into the reasons why it’s difficult for men to date in the 2020s.

Changing Social Norms

Changing Gender Norms
Photo Source: August De Richelieu

One of the most significant changes in dating over the last few decades is the shift in social norms and expectations. Traditionally, men were expected to be the initiators of romantic relationships, pursue women, and be the breadwinners. In contrast, women were supposed to be submissive, nurturing, and supportive of their male partners. In most developed nations, however, such sentiments have fallen to the wayside – to some degree at least.

Women have more autonomy than ever before, which allows them to be more picky when it comes to who they settle down with. After all, it’s not like they need to find a partner to 100% financially support them like they did 50 years ago. Additionally, with sperm banks on the rise and the destigmatization of adoption, women who want to have children now have the option to do so without committing to a husband. 

Speaking as a woman, most of my female peers find themselves caught in the crossfires of these shifting cultural norms. On the one hand, we are innately drawn toward strong, stoic alpha types. Yet the feminist within also wants someone who is not overly alpha — the kind of guy who is emotionally intelligent enough to sit down and have tough conversations and express his feelings, and whose ego is mellow enough to handle an independent and assertive woman who speaks her mind and potentially brings home more bacon than her partner. 

Look no further than the evolution of leading men and you will see how the ideal aesthetic of a man has morphed from burly (think Bruce Willis in the 90s) to delicate (think Timotheé Chalamet). Modern women romanticize the he’s-so-comfortable-with-his-sexuality, metrosexual types, oftentimes going so far as to emasculate their partners to the point where they start to lose sense of their masculinity and self-worth. This poses an existential dilemma for men because they are being forced to adapt to radically shifting norms in order to stay desirable to the increasingly alpha female population, at the expense of their own dignity.

Technology-Fueled Dating Complications

Sensuali Blog: Technology Makes Dating More Complicated
Photo Source: Cottonbro Studio

The proliferation of social media and dating apps has made dating more accessible and convenient in many ways. However, it has also made things more complicated. Men may feel that they have to constantly compete with other men for a woman’s attention because statistically speaking, women are inundated with far more matches and messages than men are. I’ve seen more than one male peer utterly shocked upon scrolling through a female friend’s dating profile. A woman will receive hundreds of messages, which gives her the upper hand in picking a partner. Men, meanwhile, grow frustrated when they send out messages but don’t get a response.

The prevalence of “ghosting” and other forms of online rejection can make it challenging for men and women alike to build long-term relationships. They may feel as though they are constantly starting over, rather than building on existing connections. While social norms are changing, most women I know (myself included) still wait for the man to initiate contact after a match has been made because to us, it signals that the guy is very interested and thus a good dating candidate. As such, the energy-draining and oftentimes demoralizing burden of reaching out to dozens of women in hopes that one of them will respond falls predominantly on the man.

Cutthroat Competition to Be Successful

Sensuali Blog: Men Face Cutthroat Competition

Despite the progress that has been made in gender equality, men are still often judged by their careers and financial status. Many women want a partner who has a good job and can provide for them and any future children. This pressure can be overwhelming for men, who may feel as though they are constantly competing with other men for the same limited resources. This sentiment rings especially true in large, metropolitan cities – where ambitious, power-hungry men dominate the social scene.

My last boyfriend was initially very hostile towards the men who had been my sugar daddies, insisting that I cut off contact with them entirely when we started dating. At first, he framed his disdain for sugaring in a slut-shamey way in which I was at fault, but later he confessed that it was really just his own insecurities that made him so spiteful. Though he was very successful for someone his age, he admitted that he felt threatened by older, more established men who had the resources to take me out to Michelin-star restaurants and 5-star getaways. He also felt bitter towards the current dating landscape, in which women often lead men on to score free meals while facing zero repercussions.

In all honesty, I have been guilty of doing this. Being young and broke in an expensive city, I often found myself going on dates with financially stable men I wasn’t all that interested in, just so they would buy me fancy dinners and provide me with experiences – like a weekend trip to the Hamptons – that were way out of my budget. Even my more financially stable female friends often size a guy up based on how willing he is to shell out on her during a first date. It’s paradoxical to the financial independence women have been granted in recent years, yet it does signal to us the degree to which a potential suitor fulfills the provider archetype – something which seems to be hardwired into us to seek out.

But while women can line up a date every night of the week without so much as blinking an eye (because we typically aren’t putting money down nor investing energy into planning the dates), men are stuck feeling pressured to invest their hard-earned money into an introductory hang that on some level they know is going to go under-appreciated by the woman, given all the options she has to go out with richer, more powerful men.

Increasing Pressure to Be Physically Fit

Sensuali Blog: Modern Men Are More Pressured to Be Attractive
Photo Source: Memin Bi̇li̇r

Historically, women have been the ones expected to meet impossible beauty standards, while men have been judged more on their character and accomplishments. But this has changed in recent years, and men are now under more pressure to be physically attractive than ever before. This pressure can manifest in several ways, including the popularity of gym culture, the rise of male beauty influencers, and the prevalence of cosmetic procedures for men. When swiping on dating apps, looks matter almost as much for women as they do for men. But while man will likely swipe right on a woman if she is hot regardless of her job and zip code, a woman typically looks for the full package: handsomeness (or at the very least, style) and wealth. 

This makes things exceedingly difficult for men who don’t check either box or who simply aren’t as concerned with taking and curating dazzling photos of themselves in the same way women are. It’s typical for a woman to take selfies when she’s feeling herself or pose for group photos when she’s out with her girls. In contrast, most of my guy friends simply don’t take as many pictures of themselves and/or tend to be clueless when it comes to selecting images that portray themselves in a way that is alluring to women. This results in an even greater disparity in matches between hot, successful alphas who know how to brand themselves and the everyman. 

A lot of men who fall into the latter category have all but given up on online dating, hoping to find love in real life. But living in a post #metoo climate presents its own set of challenges. Women these days get easily offended when men hit on them, especially if the man is not her type. If he’s hot, it becomes an adorable story about how they first met, but if he’s not, he’s likely to get written off as just another creepy dude batting out of his league. It’s honestly no wonder that legions of rejected men have banded together to form communities with other, equally disenfranchised men. The rise of the incel and red pill movements serve as grim testaments to the fact that modern men feel as though the odds are stacked against them. This, in turn, leads them to romanticize an older, simpler way of life when women were repressed and men called the shots.

The Silver Lining

All in all, my heart goes out to men when it comes to dating in modern times. Women face their fair share of challenges, but I’ve got to admit, we are currently enjoying a world in which we get to have our cake and eat it too. We hold men to the provider standards of yesteryear, while getting to fuck and suck whoever we please. After thousands of years of inequality, I’m certainly not mad at the fact that women are reaping the benefits of sex-positive feminism but I can’t help but feel for the men getting left behind. The good news is that the destigmatization of female sexuality yields a silver lining for down-on-their-luck men.

You see, women are experimenting with far more partners than their mothers and grandmothers. Furthermore, sex work is not condemned nearly as much as it used to be back when religious zealots perpetuated a shame-infused narrative around prostitution. If anything, calling yourself a sugar baby carries a certain cachet in cosmopolitan bohemian circles these days because it is all in the name of pussy power and financial empowerment. As such, the pool of available women offering sensual experiences – ranging from escort services to online relationships – has skyrocketed in the last decade.

Men now have access to women of all different shapes, sizes, and pedigrees willing and able to provide physical and/or emotional intimacy. Just as sex work has become less stigmatized for women to partake in, the same rings true for men. There is absolutely no shame in a man searching for a healthy outlet to satiate his sexual needs. If anything, he should feel a sense of pride. Gone are the days of pimps and sexual exploitation of women. Now more than ever, women are in charge of their bodies, rates, etc., which means that the men who take on the role of patron are contributing towards an ecosystem of female empowerment and sexual liberation.

Women may have the leg up in the dating app game, but given how flush the sex work market is of high-quality sensual masseuses, sugar babies, dominatrixes, and so on, there’s no denying that it’s a buyer’s market. Today’s online sex work offering is the stuff Hugh Hefner could have only dreamed of – thousands of beautiful women at your fingertips, gunning to help you act out your fantasies and treat you like the king you deserve to be treated as.

Culture
Feminism
psychology of sex
Sex positive
Sex Work
Jules

Jules

Author

Based in Brooklyn, Jules has dedicated her twenties towards harnessing her pussy power, exploring the muse, whore, and wild woman archetypes along the way. When not blogging, you can find her sweating the toxins out in a hot yoga class or sipping a matcha latte at a pretentious coffee shop, whilst she scribbles away in her journal.


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