One of the ideas that I have championed in the past, and one which hasn’t really caught on in the greater manosphere, is that men have psychological need for women. Not feeling especially imaginative, I labeled it The Need, and I delved into this idea in depth with my post The Need and The Void. As I explained therein:
Men need women to provide comfort and reassurance, to be a warm blanket that allows men to forget, for a short while, the horrors of the world. A man runs to a woman to escape the toils of the world.
This is a simplistic explanation, but it works as a metaphor for how men perceive and need women. Women act as a source of release for men, and I don’t mean that in the purely sexual sense. It is far more than that. A good woman can help a man release all of the tension, the stress, the angst which accumulates as a result of the “toils of the world.” As for the consequences to a man without that release:
A man without a woman feels like there is a void in his life. The longer he is lonely, the greater the void becomes. For someone who goes without female companionship for long enough, that void eventually consumes him, leaving a shell of a man behind. By the way, when I say companionship, I don’t merely mean One Night Stands or flings. I mean a serious relationship with a woman. Something lasting during which a man can give attention to a woman, and receive it back.
Unlike the physical need that a man feels for a woman, this psychological need is not something that can be easily alleviated. Further on in the post I explained this in greater detail, and provided a name for this condition:
While the lack of physical contact with a woman (sex) might cause physical symptoms like an ache, the real harm is mental. Instead, I think I will refer to it as The Void, because the lack of femininity in a man’s life leaves him with a terrible emptiness which nothing else can fill. While a man might use porn or “sex-bots” or a Holodeck to satisfy the physical demands of The Need, that is the limit to their capabilities. The true harm of The Void can only be met by a real, live, flesh and blood woman, although I suspect much time and money will be spent to prove me wrong.
And this takes us to the subject of this post: various methods by which the Void can be filled. The first method, one which is a not infrequent subject in the manosphere, is that of pornography.
The Substitute Product
Cail Corishev has recently addressed the subject of pornography, and how it has changed in the past few years. Cail provides a window in a world that some of us, this author included, don’t know a whole lot about. The main point of his post was to try and convey how Porn has become so much more realistic than it was in the past. As he puts it:
[H]igh-definition video takes it to a completely different level than pictures ever could. With a skin magazine, at least you had to use your imagination a little. But with video, she looks and sounds like she’s right there having sex with you. That’s two of the five senses, and they’re working on the other three. The intensity of that is far beyond anything that came before, and to compare it to pictures and stuff like drawings on cave walls is laughable — no one ever got addicted to staring at naked stick figures.
There is no doubt that Porn has been pushing the envelope when it comes to technology. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the online porn industry was the driving force behind online credit card transactions and streaming video. But the later piece of technology is what is relevant in the context of this post. Because streaming video provides for another technology which carries things even further:
But even beyond videos, now there are live webcams. I can go to a web site right now and do a search for whatever kind of girl I feel like today — maybe one with dark hair, small breasts, librarian glasses, and a southern drawl. Just like on a dating site, it’ll give me a list of women to browse through. I pick one, and there she is on my screen — a real girl, pretty and smiling, sitting in front of a webcam in her home or dorm room, maybe wearing some lingerie or a t-shirt, maybe not. I can chat and flirt with her in real time. Her main purpose, of course, is to get me to pay for a private session where she will do whatever I ask her to. But even if I never pay a dime, she’ll show off the goods, so I get to see a girl naked and talk to her — a girl who will be on her best behavior, because she wants me to stick around and want more.
So now I not only have two of the five senses filled with a woman I picked out to fit my desires, but she’s responding to me in real time, just like a real girl, plus she’s being totally pleasant and fun. And if I decide to pay for “sex” with her, she’ll respond to me just like if it were the real thing, turning over or moaning louder or whatever on command. Now we’re getting awfully close to the real thing, and it’s starting to include some of the other comfort factors that you don’t get from pictures or a recorded video. This girl you can sort of cuddle with and talk to afterwards.
The bolded parts are mine, for emphasis. I added them because what Cail is starting to describe at the end of this quote is something much more… meaningful(?) than mere sexual release. Instead, it is almost sounding like web cam girls can offer a means by which The Void can be filled, because they provide an opportunity for a man to mix sexual release with the psychological need for positive feminine interaction. The responsiveness and interactivity that a web cam provides bridges a gap that was lacking earlier in outlets. I think Cail is right that they really change the game in ways that we are just beginning to realize. In the context of the general Market Failure we are experiencing now, this can have a profound effect on whether men will marry or not. If there are methods to fill The Void without a woman, then I suspect that given the current climate that many men will leap at the opportunity. And speaking of possible methods to fill The Void, this leads to one that I discovered somewhat recently: ASMR.
ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is something of a novel and recent concept. As described by Wikipedia, it is:
…a neologism for a recently described perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, olfactory, and/or cognitive stimuli.
There are a number of videos up on Youtube by various “ASMR artists” who use their videos to try and generate those kinds of responses. Many of them involve whispering or speaking softly and various repetitive noises, including brushing, scratching, chewing and tapping. Some I find to be more effective than others (scratching and tapping, for instance), but the nature of ASMR means that the proper stimulus varies from person to person. A nickname seems to have developed for those who find themselves fans of ASMR: “tingle-heads” (something some manospherians will no doubt find highly amusing).
I don’t recall exactly where I first became familiar with ASMR, although I think it might have been from one of the various bloggers in this part of the internet. [Nightskyradio has clued me in that it is TempestTcup who was the blogger in question, with her post “Pull My Hair.] Either way, in the few months that I have known about it I have discovered that it is a particularly effective method of stress relief. In that time I have listened to, and watched, dozens of different ASMR artists ply their trade. Along the way, I have developed several favorites, whom I will watch and listen to on a regular basis. As I was compiling a mental list of my favorite ASMR artists, I realized that there was a common theme to all of them:
They were all fairly attractive young or youthful women with pleasant voices.
When I first set out to experience ASMR, I didn’t consciously focus my efforts on artists who matched that description. But I naturally gravitated towards them. And what I have realized is that I was unconsciously drawn to them because their efforts were the most enjoyable for me to experience. I had, without setting my mind to it, been attempting to use their videos to fill The Void. Or at least, that is what I speculate has been motivating me. With matters of the unconscious/subconscious it is always difficult to be certain.
What I have noticed is that the videos I enjoy the most involve soft whispering combined with some other kind of repetitive or “white” noise. I theorize that the combination of these noises plus the whispering acts to mimic or parallel the psychological reassurance which women can provide. Essentially, the stress reducing component of ASMR noises plus feminine whispering creates a mental bridge that simulates the effect on the brain of positive interactions with a woman. At least, that is what I think may be going on. [I hope that some of you can provide your own thoughts on the matter.]
And by no means do I think that this is a complete replacement for women. Only two of the five senses are met here. The lack of physical touching (which I believe is essential to filling The Void) is a glaring hole with these videos. And simulating “the warmth of a woman’s touch” is much more difficult than sight, or sound or smell. Still, this is an effect that I think merits close observation, to see what will become of it.
In The Need and The Void I expressed doubt that it would be possible to fill The Void with technology, but now I am no so sure. Web Cam Girls and ASMR vids are only the tip of the iceberg. As science develops new understanding of the human brain, I have to concede the possibility that the particular neutral triggers which satisfy The Void might be located, and methods developed to safely stimulate them. In such an event, men really will be able to Go Their Own Way, and we might see a collapse of the Marriage Market after all. What that will mean for society I cannot begin to predict, but I suspect it will not be the positive impetus for change that some hope for. Truly, we live in interesting times.