Thought Bubble 004 – Desire Dissonance and Overtones of Sadness in Online Dating

TL;DR: Quick thought bubble on the disconnect in desire with women you meet online. Also sadness with 25+ women and starting a seduction from Step One.

RP Musicology and I were talking about the strange phenomenon of “desire dissonance” and “overtones of sadness” experienced on dates when you meet a girl online.

Some guys do not experience it; perhaps for RP and I, we are emotionally sensitive and can feel the vibe and sense of the girl.

Online Dating and Sex

The table below highlights a major trend in the increasing isolation of American males in relation to sex.

The chart in particular shows a sharp increase in sexlessness from about early 2011/2012.

Curiously, the major swipe online app Tinder was introduced in 2012 – an app based mostly on one parameter – looks.

Seems obvious, right?

I might be attributing too much to this one major change but I cannot see any other explanations being put forward.

Tinder allows for very few masculine qualities to be presented to a woman in an online format. While we know that women value looks in a man (and find most men physically unattractive), we have created a platform where it is the only metric for a woman.

Combine a positive match on Tinder with sexual desire and you create a possible “desire dissonance” where sexual desire is built on one quality only.

I suspect that Tinder has facilitated a huge amount of anonymous sex for women with a smaller pool of men. I wonder what the psychological consequences (not moral consequences – I don’t see it from that prism) are of mechanised looks-based seduction so-to-speak.

Example – The Economist

I went on a date with a hot 20 year old German Colombian girl (“The Economist”) while in Berlin. This chick was HOT and joked that no guy ever said no to her.

We had a great date over drinks and dinner. I asked her why she reached out to me:

“Your pics – that was it”.

At the end of the date I started physically escalating on her however she seemed like a cold fish and was unresponsive to it – not saying no, just unresponsive.

In the end I let her go because I felt there was very little desire on her part.

It felt almost transactional.

Desire Dissonance

From my experience, “desire dissonance” is when you meet a girl online and establish some “online chemistry” only to meet and find that there is no chemistry in person.

What is that sensation?

I suspect it is for a few reasons:

1. You have already formed a connection without assessing for DNA genetic compatibility and desire

2. The connection may induce you to attribute desire to the person even when it is not there

3. It might feel like a post-purchase rationalisation where you are trying to justify your “purchase” of the person.

Another example of “desire dissonance” is when a woman decides to go off the Pill in order to get pregnant to a long-term partner. Some women describe the experience as totally losing desire for their partner or not being able to tolerate their smell. DNA compatibility is very important in desire.

Overtones of Sadness

RP Musicology talks about a general “overtone of sadness” experienced on dates with girls he has met on Tinder.

It is a difficult sensation to describe – a general malaise and sense of a lack of genuine excitement when meeting each other.

Some of these women could be described as having a Borderline Personality Disorder and tend to be older women 25+.

It is hard to assess where the sensation comes from. RP Musicology speculates on this:

1. Women are not bringing any value to the date except the offer of sex

2. Women are lacking emotion in their interactions with the guy

3. Women have transactionalised the process of sex

The last one tends to ring true – by “transactionalisation”, women feel a desire to have sex and then choose the easiest outlet without emotion.

Pure, physical sex can be very exciting for a woman but when it is emotionless a man can often sense it. It’s like the lowest form of sexual interaction.

It may also amount to a masculinisation of sex for women where they forego any bonding process (ie. oxytocin, cuddling post-sex) in order to facilitate the hookup.

Seduction Starting From Step One

Nash and I have talked about how exciting it is to start a seduction from Step One – when you first cast eyes on each other.

Of all the seductions I’ve had in my life, I remember the moment that I have cast eyes on those women for the first time. None of these true seductions have been from online.

I suspect that a seduction starting from Step One creates:

1. a full romance/seduction narrative for the woman (and less so for the man)

2. higher levels of dopamine in males and females (due to delayed gratification)

3. A greater sense of that “knife edge” feel where the seduction can go ether way

Taking a risk to approach a girl is one of the most exciting and scary things a man can do.

Online filters out this step as you have already accepted the premise that you are attractive to each other.

Daygame (or any other non-online game) could be figuratively described as “old school” seduction.

Complaints from Top Guys

Last night I went out with two “woke” German guys – 19 and 21. They were attractive guys, good with women and “woke” in the sense they genuinely understood intersexual dynamics.

One of the complaints from the younger guy was how easy it was to get sex these days. He felt that there was no challenge or excitement to it and specifically targeted older women who would make him put in some effort. This was a very unusual view from a young guy.

The older guy also complained about how there was a lack of romance with the women he had hooked up with. One time he even suggested ice cream and going to the movies with a girl he had hooked up with so as to create some romance with her! He even suggested treating a girl like a princess for a bit just to create some kind of different feeling with her.

This is very unusual talk from young guys – overly empathetic and seeking something more than the average hookup.

So the melancholy appears to be spreading among men as well.

Ode on Melancholy

Finally, in the words of Keats:

But when the melancholy fit shall fall 

       Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, 

That fosters the droop-headed flowers all, 

       And hides the green hill in an April shroud; 

Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, 

       Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave, 

               Or on the wealth of globed peonies; 

Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows, 

       Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave, 

               And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes. 

4 thoughts on “Thought Bubble 004 – Desire Dissonance and Overtones of Sadness in Online Dating

  1. Hey Red. Some interesting topics in this post.

    > when you meet a girl online and establish some “online chemistry” only to meet and find that there is no chemistry in person

    Did you have “online chemistry?”

    There is an old theory in the seduction community comparing SOCIAL HOOK with SEXUAL HOOK. Think about what is happening in online.

    You chat a bit and establish basic social hook.

    You may have sexual feelings for that person, but are they really from “chemistry” with an actual person? Or does a couple that meat online essentially have “social” hook, and the rest is PROJECTION??

    >> You have already formed a connection

    Have you? If so, is it so easy to fade away when you’re in flesh and blood?

    ““The function of this fantasy is to ‘interpret’ desire, to cause the subject to imagine what it is that he desires.”

    A quote from something I wrote about last year on my blog.

    If our social/romantic needs drive us to fish online, and we get “matched,” what have we really created? Not much. A fantasy, at best. There might be something really there, but that is to be sorted out IRL.

    So… I don’t think we have “sexual chemistry” in these situations. Like when a fat girl can flirt and talk dirty online, but if you met her in real life… would you still want her? Or would you deflate? I would deflate. And that is because my SEXUAL attraction to her was always at the level of fantasy and projection only.

    And CONNECTION is particular inappropriate, as it is an “affirmative YES” to something that is in reality about to be proven a NO IRL.

    I think most pre-meet online stuff is projection and fantasy stemming fueled by unmet sexual/emotional needs after we get basic “social hook” – and our mind runs off out of control. And since the pics are cherry-picked/filtered or sometimes faked… there is that additional let down too.

    There is a picture of an apple. And then there is an actual apple. And they aren’t even remotely similar things.


  2. > Taking a risk to approach a girl is one of the most exciting and scary things a man can do.
    > Online filters out this step


    Sounds like nonsense, but there is some zen truth here.

    If there is an “easier” way to get her number (“maybe we could study together?”) then it will often be harder later to make that number count (“OMG, what are you doing, I thought you said ‘study!'”).

    Direct cold approach is hard… but when it works, everything is aligned. You don’t have to transition to the sexual – you started there. And you don’t have to see how it is IRL – as that was how it started as well.

    It was hard. Now it’s easy (and more real).

    Online is a sea of guys trying to “do things the easy way.” And the women are abusive, and it makes sense, as they are overloaded with choices, and the men are mostly weak guys that can’t take a risk IRL.. and the girls know it.

    >> The anger of women towards men also makes a little more sense… women don’t actually like having to choose between 30 different, very similar appearing guys, I think.

    Love this ^ comment from RedQuest. He is right.


    Years ago a friend of mine was using OKC. OKC is online, and still shallow, but not as shallow as Tinder. In fact, OKC hustled to make itself less shallow (I just don’t think it actually worked).

    You had to answer tons of questions, and then OKC would try to “match” you to people with similar answers.

    It was the “you like cats and baseball? So do I! We’re perfect for each other” school of match making.

    My friend was a “95% match” with some woman. They had chatted a bit. He couldn’t get her out. But WHY?? They were a “match?” Weren’t they?? He was genuinely surprised… and I was surprised he believed in any of that at all.

    Maybe she does like cats/baseball, and we have that in common… and that still means NOTHING in terms of sexual compatibility.

    Totally clueless idea… and yet… much more “high resolution” than Tinder. Tinder is actually worse than OKC as a screening mechanism. Much worse.

    The SEXUAL/EMOTIONAL UTILITY of a relationship will exist IRL, and IRL only (it’s partly why long distance rels don’t work). So shopping for a good fit is best done in the dimension where you’re utilize the relationship. IRL.

    And… you have the ADDED BONUS of (as you say) giving “a full romance/seduction narrative for the woman” and ALSO… you can DEMONSTRATE YOUR FITNESS.

    It is hard to approach IRL. And because it’s hard, it sets a precedent and it is a much more effective/high-resolution screen of compatibility.


    There are no “hacks” in life.

    Go deep… or expect/accept “shallow.”


  3. Great post! I haven’t seen much discussion of these things elsewhere.

    I agree that you can’t evaluate compatibility without meeting in person. So I think online dating is best if (1) you get to the meets as quickly as possible without wasting much time chatting beforehand, (2) you screen many women in person, and (3) you use a dating site that doesn’t have the presumption of first-date hookups (like Tinder).


    1. Magnum provides some very good perspective on online game. Check out his blog.

      And Nash provides a good perspective on the difference between online interactions and “in real life” (IRL) interactions.

      Meeting someone online is the default now – but it doesn’t need to be. You can still pick up a girl in real life wherever you are. In fact, in one week I slept with two girls – one from online and one from daygame. Two very different experiences.


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