This is a part of the romantic notion that true love exists for everyone. The idea here is that all a guy has to do is “be himself” and at some point in time, through a combination of fate, mystery, and good intentions, he will meet the love of his life, his “destiny.”
Yet, this “obvious” wisdom doesn’t seem to be grounded in reality. In fact, a meme that seems to be much more accurate is “forever alone.” While it’s not the stuff of self-help books and kind parental words, statistics and even basic evolutionary biology seem to point to a sad fact: some guys (and women) will live and die more or less alone.
Today, we’re going to discuss the bad news of evolutionary science. But, don’t be too upset because down the line I’m going to discuss the good news, if you’re one of the lucky ones (or willing to become one of the lucky ones).
Anecdotal evidence from anyone who has ever walked this earth can tell you that there are guys who seem to just be terrible when it comes to meeting women. They rarely get dates, hardly ever even receive female attention, and might remain virgins (against their wishes) into their 20’s and beyond. Are there really forever alone guys? Science says “yes” is the right answer.
Sexual Reproduction in Animal Males
Let’s look at the evidence in animals first. While humans are different than say, deer and even monkeys, we share many similarities with other species, especially in our general behaviors.
In many animal communities there are male members that mate rarely or almost never. In some cases, the discrepancy is extreme. For example, among some primates only the alpha male is allowed to mate (although betas may sneak behind his back and get a little action). In other species of monkeys, more males get sex, but to varying degrees according to their dominance (or lack of it).
However, in many cases within nature, a few males reproduce a lot, while a large number mate rarely. For example, in red deer more than half the young are sired by twelve percent of adult males. In elephant seal communities, most offspring are sired by around two to five percent of the males! That means ninety-five percent of the males lacked reproductive success (Badcock).
Forever Alone Men
Of course this can’t be the case among humans…right? Wrong. And, it’s not just anecdotal evidence that suggests some men simply don’t have a lot of sex or get in relationships frequently. The statistics suggest that a small percentage of very successful men occupy more than their “fair” share of sex and relationships.
A study with British men showed that one percent of men accounted for sixteen percent of all female partners. Twenty four percent of all men had ten sexual partners or more; only seven percent of females had this distinction. In short, some men were monopolizing the sex and relationship pool (Badcock).
And, the opposite is true. There is a percentage of men who have little or no reproductive success and receive a very “unfair” share of sex and relationships. The same study revealed that seven percent of all men reported no sexual partners in a lifetime. The female number was six percent (Badcock).
In a way, these stats mirror the average college dormitory. You have a few “players” and very attractive women who want a lot of sexual encounters and can easily get them. They may literally have a new sexual encounter each week. You have a few other guys and ladies who are pretty successful and get into a variety of relationships. The vast majority may not be particularly successful at dating (or don’t want to be) and may luck into a few relationships, possibly later in life. Finally, there are a few guys and gals who have either voluntarily (or involuntarily) checked out of the dating game, and spend their time doing other things.
To see the radical nature of these stats, let’s look at a high school graduating class of 300 over a lifetime. Three of the guys will have sex with 48 of the women. And, 21 guys won’t have sex at all.
So, there isn’t some magical force ensuring that there is “someone for everyone.” And, there are guys (and women) for whom relationship success comes easy and often. Others struggle but find themselves in relationships occasionally. But, for a select few, forever alone really does seem to apply.
But, this is the bad news. Even though science supports the idea of “forever alone” guys, it doesn’t have to be that way. We have seen strong evidence among our own clients and readers that any guy can improve his social and dating success fairly quickly by making a few changes to the way he thinks and acts. And then, he can build on that to make huge social gains. Our books Be Popular Now, Size Doesn’t Matter, and Eleven Dating Mistakes Guys Make address these issues, as well as this entire website.
Works Cited: Christopher Badcock, Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction