How A Sexually Transmitted Disease Made Me A Better Man

Getting diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease was one of the best things that ever happened to me. If you haven’t yet done so, I highly recommend you try it.

You think I’m being ironic. I promise that I’m not. My diagnosis with a common and transient sexually transmitted disease led to one of the more difficult and psychologically painful periods of my life. But the end result was worth it.

Lifting heavy weights will give you bigger, stronger muscles. Sparring with better fighters will make you tougher. Reading challenging books will make you smarter and more focused. Pushing through discomfort in negotiations and awkward approaches will make you more socially confident.

In the game of life, pain and difficulty lead to growth. Comfort leads to stagnation.

Going through six months of medically-enforced celibacy was a painful experience. It was frustrating and inconvenient on a physical level. More importantly, it made me acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about my values, my self-image, my inner resolve, and my priorities in life. It was painful, frightening – and necessary.

The Power Of Rejection

My first rejections weren’t particularly harsh or embarrassing. I asked out a few girls in middle school, and they said no. Other girls eventually said yes. Life went on.

But, those early rejections were traumatic. They created memories that stuck in my mind for years, creeping up unbidden during quiet moments of inward shame. It took four years of social and sexual success as an obnoxious high school bully for me to get over the feelings of inadequacy that I developed during a mildly awkward pre-teen phase.

If these brief and mild rejections were enough to hurt me as much as they did, I can’t imagine how much more difficult it must be for a young man to overcome a young adulthood of constant rejection. A man who is unsuccessful with women until his mid-twenties (not an uncommon story) will feel inclined to carry a chip on his shoulder for the rest of his life. He will pursue sexual conquests not for the sensual pleasure or the emotional connection, but rather for the base thrill of petty revenge. He will pursue sex, because sex is a confirmation of his value. He will take excessive pleasure in stories of older women ‘hitting the wall’, and of women rationalizing self-destructive relationships with men out of their league. He will waste precious hours of his life reading forums such as r/relationships and r/askwomen, reading gleefully the stories of the sort of women who rejected him years ago, receiving their comeuppance in the great karmic circle of life.

If all of this sounds familiar to you: Relax. I’m not here to lecture you on the morality of what you feel. But I will ask you some questions:

  • Are those feelings helpful and productive?
  • What purpose is served by holding on to your feelings of anger and inadequacy?
  • How many girls will you have to sleep with, before you can truly leave the past in the past, and focus on building the future that you want?

Rejection hurts. I get it. You can’t control what has happened to you in the past, and how it has affected you. But you do get to choose how it affects you from this minute onward. To quote Marcus Aurelius:

“Choose not to be harmed, and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed, and you haven’t been.”

Marcus_Aurelius_Metropolitan_Museum

The flip side of the sting of rejection, is the joy of acceptance. If you give a woman the power to crush your ego, you also give her the power to build it. There is no ego boost so powerful as the approval of an attractive woman. A woman’s interest is the validation of the sum total of your being, and it is much more powerful than any other achievement. Lifting a heavy weight suggests that you are physically strong. Earning money suggests you are intelligent, conscientious, and have skills that others value. But a woman’s desire demonstrates that, on a fundamental genetic level, you are worthy.

As men, we play games to measure our worth and sort ourselves into status hierarchies – but not all games are equal. Who is the true winner: The world champion Magic: The Gathering player? Or the team captain in an NHL franchise? No matter what pretty lies we tell ourselves, the final arbiter of earthly status is sexual access to pretty young women. Every fiber of a healthy man’s body desperately wants him to have sex with pretty young women. He is biologically programmed to judge his worth as a man according to his success at that task.

In the face of this awesome force, modern pick-up artists (often the closest successors we have to the ancient Stoics) preach the doctrine of outcome independence. According to this ideal, not only is it psychologically healthier for a man to base his self-worth on metrics other than his success with women; doing so will also make him a more effective seduction machine.

When I started having a lot of success with girls, I lacked outcome independence. I believed: Attractive women desire me. Therefore, I am a worthy man. I am accepted. I am complete.

But as the years went on, I started to tell myself that I had severed the link between the quality of women I was getting and my perceived self-worth.

If you had asked me, I would have told you that my confidence, my happiness, my pervading content – it was all unrelated to the validation of female approval. Even to the extent that I would have admitted an external basis to my self-esteem, I would have pointed you towards other accomplishments, other talents, and other relationships, and I would have said: “There! There is my self-worth! There is my ego!”

And I would have believed it – until I spent half a year unable to use sex to reassure myself of my worth, and learned that I was completely full of shit.

Sexual Success Was A Necessary Part Of My Narcissistic Self-Image

The first thing I did when my doctor put me on sexual hiatus was think about the lies I would tell my friends. I was in no rush to share the truth with anyone. So, how was I going to explain to the world why I no longer had a new random girl on my arm every week?

During my celibate months, my story changed according to the audience I was in front of. For my work colleagues, who had grown accustomed to living vicariously through regular stories and Snapchats of debauchery, I invented a serious girlfriend who I didn’t like to talk about. While trading stories with friends over pints, I re-used past escapades that I had never gotten around to sharing, rather than sit in silence.

A better man could have told them something as simple, vague, and honest as, “I’m taking a break from dating right now.” But I wasn’t that man. I was incapable of defining myself independently of my sexual conquests. I was afraid of how I might appear to the world, without the incontrovertible social proof of constant access to desirable women.

For my entire adult life, I had defined myself as “the guy who gets a lot of girls.” It was one of the central pillars of my self-image. Maintaining this pillar had cost me time, energy, and a few relationships. Now it had cost me my health, but I still couldn’t put it aside. I couldn’t see myself as a man of value, unless that value was constantly validated by girls who wanted to sleep with me.

It’s easy to act like you’re outcome independent, when every outcome is coming up in your favour. But when that measuring stick was taken away from me, my ego flailed helplessly. Without sex, I became desperate for some instrument I could use to take stock of my worth.

Sex With New Girls Was My Purpose In Life

What’s my purpose in life? Surely it’s not to have sex with as many cute girls as possible, as often as possible. At least, that’s what I used to tell myself.

So how come I reacted to my diagnosis by drifting into spiritual ennui?

Even with the knowledge that my affliction was trivial and almost certainly temporary, and the logical understanding that a hiatus from the game would be a good opportunity to focus on other areas of my life, my motivation to become a better version of myself waned. What’s the point of working out and eating healthy? Why should I improve my skills, pursue leads, and grow my business? Why should I read great books for men?

I found that I didn’t have an answer. In retrospect, I had never come up with a good answer. Sleeping with a new girl every week was enough of a distraction to keep me from ever asking the question. Once that distraction was taken from me, I had nothing to keep me on track except for the good habits I had developed in the previous years of my life.

I had believed that success with women was an entertaining sideshow to my life, but my actions betrayed the reality of my reliance on sex for self-esteem, and a sense of purpose. Without the promise of sex with more and better women, I was adrift.

Pick-Up Culture Is A Road To Nowhere

Pick-up culture is a dead end. It is better than sitting in your room and doing nothing, and it is often a valuable stepping stone. But an identity built on the ability to attract women is a castle built on sand.

The pick-up movement has taken a set of genuine masculine virtues – social skills, sexual prowess, dominance, the ability to lead women – and turned them into cartoon caricatures. Every man should have the ability to approach and confidently seduce a woman. If you don’t, learning game should be a top priority in your life. But the existence of an entire sub-culture, with dedicated communities, language, and styles of dress – is odd and unhealthy.

The seduction community is an invaluable resource, and I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the men who have built it. But unless you are one of the few men who has made it his life’s work to understand and teach sexual dynamics – take what you need from it and move on. Don’t fall into the trap of defining yourself by the women you’re sleeping with.

You Are Not Your Notch Count

Sexual profligacy offers men an easy way to avoid difficult questions. Taking a vacation from the player lifestyle – voluntary or otherwise – is an important exercise towards better understanding who you are, and what motivates you. If sexual deprivation leads to a frustration of your physical desires, good – you are a healthy and vital man. But if it leads to an identity crisis and major psychological distress – as it did for me – you might benefit from asking: What needs am I really addressing with the pursuit of fresh conquests?

Jack Donovan and Chuck Palahniuk, authors of The Way Of Men and Fight Club, are two of the most insightful contemporary writers on the subject of men and masculinity. I once thought it was peculiar that they are both homosexuals, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Donovan and Palahniuk cannot define their worth as men by their ability to sleep with tons of women, so they are forced to look deeper.

In twenty-first century Western society, traditional masculine values are suppressed and demonized by a subversive culture committed to our destruction. Masculine energy is prohibited from finding its natural outlet in the construction and maintenance of a healthy civilization, so young men are confused, frustrated, and directionless.

One of our most common outlets is pick-up culture. We have identified one aspect of positive masculinity – sex with desirable women – and we have defined ourselves by it. We have built our egos, our lifestyles, and our identities around that one goal, and that’s not healthy.

You don’t have to become a monk. I’m certainly not. I continue to pursue sex, with the women I desire. But at this point in my life – after twenty-nine years, over a hundred girls, and a harsh reminder that I’m not as invincible and immune to consequences as I once thought – I’m no longer chasing sex to impress anyone, least of all myself.

  • ActionJackson

    haha this sounds like an epic rationalization but it’s true you always gotta make the best of a bad situation and at least learn some lessons from your mistakes …

  • Aurini

    Good post.

    When you’re in the depths of Game, it’s easy to forget about the bigger picture – that, quite frankly, most of these women just don’t deserve your time or attention. The combination of physical/psychic pleasure can distract, but when you’ve gone “cold turkey” for a while, you realize that you haven’t been missing much.

  • ladderff

    Points well-taken, Frost, however I am left with the sense that you are right back where you started. I relate to the post. I find myself in a cycle: put in the work and assemble a small stable of girls; then, when I’m no longer horny, decide they’re not good enough to spend any more time on and redouble my efforts toward other pursuits; then, horny once again, start to ask myself who is really going to care or notice whether I master Russian or piano or Urbit. I find myself flagging for want of a new flag.

    Also, I don’t parade my transient conquests around in sight of my relatives, who are very important to me. This has me worrying about them worrying about me. Whether that’s in the same vein as “chasing sex to impress [others]” or not, I don’t know. I’m not going to brag or insinuate to them that I’m laying pipe out of their view, but neither do I want them to think I’m a failure in this regard, resulting in lowered esteem or even pity.

    This post contains two notions in considerable tension—(1) “No matter what pretty lies we tell ourselves, the final arbiter of earthly status is sexual access to pretty young women” and (2) “Don’t fall into the trap of defining yourself by the women you’re sleeping with”—and in my own life this tension remains unresolved. Thoughts?

    • Edward

      This is a tension I feel too. I figure it’s a product of having feral animal desires in a civilized, ordered world.

      When you’re not getting laid, it’s all-encompassing. It consumes you 100%.
      Eventually, you can convince yourself that sex is easy enough to come by, and THEN you can focus on other pursuits.

      Even Frost admits he went through a phase of sleeping with women for the stories and narcissistic validation. Perhaps if he hadn’t gone through that phase, he wouldn’t be able to define himself in any other way.

  • http://dcllive.wordpress.com/ dcl

    Cool post.
    Thanks for sharing it. -dcl

  • Jackr

    Hey Frost –

    Love the site, which is why I’m leaving one small piece of unrelated feedback—

    When my browser window isn’t wide enough (and it never is on this netbook), the links in your persistent nav overflow onto a second line, which doubles the header’s height and makes reading on a little screen like mine a shitty experience.

    Seems like your header goes non-persistent @ the 1020px breakpoint, so if you just make the links fit on one line down to that point, all would be right with the world.

  • Jace the Platespinner

    Would someone legitimately choose hockey over M:TG domination?

  • LaidNYC

    Great point about Donovan and Palahniuk, that has piqued my curiousity before as well but I couldn’t arrive at a satisfactory explanation. I think you’re right on the money.

  • Snakes on a Car

    Isn’t it time for you to just get married and start making reactionary white babies?

  • http://michaelrolls.com/ Michael Rolls

    “No matter what pretty lies we tell ourselves, the final arbiter of earthly status is sexual access to pretty young women.” – is this still, then, the final arbiter or can there be a different measure? Unlike any others anyone may comes up with this one has the virtue of simplicity and that everyone instinctively agrees with it (whether they want or or not).
    If the the measure of a man is neither a simple totting-up of sexual conquests nor any of the pretty lies he tell himself, what else could it be based on? Income? Moral worth? Strength of character?…. and how would he know whether they’re pretty lies or not?

  • GM

    Excellent, excellent post.

    I’m not sure I quite agree that pick-up culture teaches men to base their self-worth on their success with women. In my experience, the modern pick-up movement has shied away from that belief and espoused the opposite. But your general line of argument is spot-on.

  • Zetetic

    This is eerily similar to the realizations I had about my gym habits after I got a nasty SLAP tear and couldn’t lift the way I wanted to for about a year and lost all of my gains.

    I was always weak and scrawny growing up and got bullied a bit because of it. All of that changed when I had a massive growth spurt my sophomore year in high school but despite my newfound size and strength I still saw myself as small and weak. Naturally, size and strength became how I defined a person’s worth and I got pretty involved with the powerlifting/bodybuilding community. Mushrooms have been very beneficial as far as getting to the roots of these feelings and starting to come to terms with them.

    My experiences also fit in nicely with your Caricatures of Masculinity post, you’re onto something here. Great post.

  • Zoe Wallenberg

    Men use their sexuality to be seen as men in the eyes of other men, where they have always found their identity or felt its lack.

    Without sex men fall into an existential crisis, as no longer belonging to the community of men
    Woman often feel this same way when they cannot have children so drift without identity in the community of women but this is less so as work as replaced being a mother for identity among women.
    We are vulnerable to a dependancy on sex and procreation for our gender identities but regardless anything that binds the individual to the group for identity makes them vulnerable to never transcending the primitive existential fears that keep them bound to the herd for protection.
    I have always enjoyed your writing and perspective and have found it compliments mine as a woman.

  • Tom Kaye

    I think I read a post recently from Roosh along the same lines. That simply scoring with women is an empty reason to live, or something like that. It’s nice to see the psychic/spiritual growth that is possible in this man-ghetto called the manosphere (although I’m not sure if I agree that a subculture is a bad thing).

    I am fairly new to Red Pill wisdom having only recently become able to “see the code”. I’m not sure I was ever completely plugged into the fem-matrix in that I never made my goal or purpose in life to hook up with as many women as possible or define myself by a woman’s approval/desire. I married for the same reason young Hassidic men are encouraged to marry: to obtain an outlet for the lusts of the flesh so they can get back to their true mission in life – studying Torah! My goal in life from the time I was 15 was to discover and do God’s will for my life. Eventually, being a man of flesh and blood and balls, one needs to get married.

    Nevertheless, my failure to understand what truly drives women, including the one I married, did come back to bite me in the ass after about 19 years! My biggest problem was she had bought into the mangina-feminist teachings of Gary Smalley, Ed Wheat, Jim Dobson, and Steven Curtis Chapman (to a lesser extent). Talk about Blue Pill Bull Shit! I saw through much of it at the time, but the zeitgeist was soooo strong and the Red Pill alternative hadn’t been discovered yet (pre-internet) that I tried to follow their advice. It was supposed to make my wife soooooooo haaaaaapppppyyyyyyy if I did!

    But of course, it didn’t. Trying to please a woman, as I have learned, will only piss her off even more!

    The reason I do not believe I was “plugged into” the matrix was because all of my beta behaviors were not decisions from weakness or fear or feelings of inadequacy, but from a strong and mistaken conviction that they were the RIGHT things to do. Not simply to appease and please her, but the actions God expected of me which were necessary to achieve my other goals for my life by having my wife pulling the plow along side me.

    Was I wrong? Whoo Boy was I wrong!! Wronger than wrong can be!

    But that doesn’t change the fact that I was doing all of it from a position of strength. And when I would point out to her how I was doing exactly what she and Smalley and Dobson had said I should do, so why aren’t you happy, she would throw it all back on me! Somehow it was still my fault because she KNEW I didn’t really MEAN it!

    The fact that I was operating from strength more than 80% of the time might even explain why it took my wife so long to divorce me. And that, when she did, she insisted she was doing it for my own good, because I deserved better than her and that she was only holding me back. I told her she was wrong. That she was good enough. That all she needed to do was repent and our marriage could be healed. But she wouldn’t and she left, taking nothing with her but a half-interest in our house and a few pieces of furniture. She even refused all but the court-mandated child support of $100 a month for my daughter (my son was 18).

    She did all that even though I had led her to the Lord 23 years earlier! And baptized her myself in Lake Chiemsee in Bavaria.

    Sorry. I got off-topic there. But this is the only place I have had to share any of my story. I am grateful for what I have been learning on all the blogs and I’m learning now what I should have done then, even though I’m convinced my wife would still have divorced me. She has her issues and I haven’t seen those mentioned much, so far.

    Congratulations on discovering a better reason to live! To your continued growth and thanks for sharing such an excellent article.