Exploring the Sexual market value

I first heard of sexual market value or SMV when I started reading Rollo Tomassi. It figures prominently in his books “The Rational Male” and “The Rational Male: Preventative medicine”. In short, the theory is that women and men peak differently in regards to their value on the sexual market. While women are primarily valued based on beauty and fertility, their rise and decline is rapid, with a peak at 25. Where as the rise of the male is slower, yet declines more slowly. As illustrated by the following graph:

SMV Curve from Therationamale.com

SMV Curve from Therationamale.com

As you can see, the male starts out much lower value, but at approximately 30 years old the SMV values intersect and the male’s value increases to beyond that of the female.

The impetus for writing this article came from a criticism of the curve that I found on hookingupsmart [2] . The criticism presents a range of arguments, and I will address them in correct order.

The first one draws from a study of 3000 Canadians of all ages and concludes:

Participants with stronger fears about being single were more likely to stay in relationships they were unhappy with – and more likely to date people who weren’t good for them, the researchers concluded in a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. [3]

The first challenge with this data is the sample size. A sample of 3000 people is hardly a representative sample of the population the SMV is attempting to address of 7 billion people.

Secondly, it is a circular argument. People who fear being single are more likely to settle in order to not to be single. This is the equivalent of saying “People who fear flying, are more likely to avoid flying

Thirdly, likelihood to settle doesn’t play into the alpha fux, beta bux, dynamic in the expected way, since a beta male is just as likely to settle as the female. So it is to be expected that both genders would be roughly equal to settle. Beta males who are deprived of female “attention” over-invest in single females, and are especially prone to settling down too soon. Females at least tend to ride the carousel for a while in their 20s, the beta male is more likely to be serially monogamous through his twenties, only to marry in his late 20s and early 30s.

“People doing statistics badly”

The author also cites another blogger by the name of “Midnight in the Garden of Epsilon and Delta” who makes a few arguments as well. [4]

  1. This graph is entirely subjective speculation sans any sort of data. This is a fact pointed out by a variety of people.

Yes and no. There are a lot of sources out there for male and female fertility, and most of them agree that by age 35 the fertility of the human female falls drastically up until the age of 45 where there is a 50 – 80% chance that no live birth will take place. [5,6] The fertility of the human male on the other hand declines much more slowly. [7]

The subjective aspect comes in the form of other variables that are not stated in the construction of the graph. For instance, “Beauty” will always be a subjective variable.

In an appeal to logic, there is no problem to argue that in a market place of mating, that fertility will undoubtedly play a major part of a person’s value, and as male fertility declines slower, this will naturally cause male values to decline slower. If we use the variables of physical beauty for females and wealth for men, beauty tend to depreciate where wealth accumulates.

The second argument made is:

2) No axis labels. Petty but true.

I always love when the second argument against numbers is their formatting. Moving on.

3) For a graph that is supposedly an average over time, there should be a non-zero value (including for women) out to at least the average life expectancy. Which, last time I checked, was around 78.

I actually somewhat agree with this argument. Even though, the subject of the graph is sexual market value, and the argument could be made that the entry time into the sexual market place is once a woman has menarche and a man can produce ejaculate that can impregnate said woman. A value prior to this, would be a “projected sexual market value“. Another argument could be made that once someone can no longer become pregnant or impregnate, their value goes to zero.

4) What are the units of sexual value and how is it computed? It strikes me that averaging preferences is closely related to at least some of the literature on what we in the US would call alternative voting schemes, in particular preference voting. The OkCupid data from further down seems like the closest to sort of preference vote data which would seem applicable. As Mrs. Walsh points out, the data doesn’t support the model.

Here is the OKcupid graph:


Graph from Okcupid

This graph does support parts of the graph posted at rationalmale.com. It does support that women “peak” earlier than men, and that the decline of women is more rapid than that of men. The start of the decline seem to match up quite closely, in both graphs. Around 26 years of age, the lines cross and men are dominant until the line ends at 48.

As the graph stands, it does support Mr. Tomassi’s graph for women, it fails to do so for men. If the claim that men peak in SMV at the tender age of 35, then it follows that the highest portion of OKcupid users should be interested in a man aged around 35, not a man aged 27.

There are 3 potential reasons for this:

A) OkCupid is not representative of the general population.

I tried to do some research on this but despite all the stats available, I struggled with finding any user demographics except this chart:

OKCupid user distribution

OKCupid user distribution

If we look at the demographic, it lines up very nicely with the other graph of attractiveness rating. Like being interested in like. Or arguably, a large part of the male pool interested in a small part of the female pool (20 – 24) and a large part of the female pool interested in men 22 – 26. Another interesting observation is that most of the user base is aged 22 – 26.

When we compare this to the latest data I could find on the U.S population the two are very different.

U.S population pyramid.

U.S population pyramid.

This means that the market Mr. Tomassi  is referring to, is a very different market demographically speaking than the market used in the criticisms. From a marketing perspective, demographics are vitally important. The reason for the SMV peak of men at 35, rather than 26 in the original SMV chart is that a male aged approximately 35 appeals to a very wide market segment. From a “buyer” perspective, he is also a sell-able piece of merchandise in that segment.

My take on the topic

The curve from therationalmale.com is a curve that shows market value. Market value can be translated into 2 variables: Supply and Demand. Approaching the variables using pure logic, and supply & demand theory would indicate that:

A) Females experience a curve that sharply increases between ages 15 and 23 and then declines. This indicates that from ages 15 to 23, there is a shift in either supply (the supply becomes smaller) or demand (demand becomes higher) or both.

Mathematically the increase for females is as follows:

15 – 23; 5; 10; 100%

B) Males experience a curve that rises both slower, but also in a different manner. The male curve rises sharply from age 15 to 25, then rises at a slower rate until age 30, and then increases rapidly to age 37, when it begins to decline at an even, but somewhat slower rate than that of females. This indicates that reduction in supply or increases in demand happen at intermittent times (15 – 23, 30 – 37).

Mathematically the increase is as follows for men:

15 – 23; 1 – 3.8;  280%

24 – 30; 3.8 – 5; 31.58%

31 – 37; 5 – 10;  100%

The comparison between the two is that the female rise to SMV max is done in 8 years and is a 12.5% increase per year during those years. Male SMV rises in periods over 22 years with an annual increase of 39.13% per year.

The rise from the middle (SMV 5) to the peak (SMV 10) is identical between both genders, being an increase of 14.29% over a span of 6 years.

I’m tempted to ascribe the problems with the increases in the mathematics because the author omitted the rise in female SMV from 1 – 5, and starts females off with an SMV of 5 at age 15 vs a male SMV of 1 at age 15.

I also took into account the point from the blogger, and decided that the lowest SMV any gender can have is 1.

If we look at the decline, females decline from 10 to 0 at 60.

Males decline from 10 to 1 at age 70.

Thus the female decline is done in the span of 37 years at a rate of 2.43% per year.

The male decline is done in the span of 33 years at a rate of 2.73% Thus males actually decline in value from the peak at a faster rate than females do.

So, based on these numbers I made a new graph:

Full SMV graph

Full SMV graph

As you can see the graphs do line up, however males are delayed in roughly 15 years compared to females. The female SMV correlates with female fertility by age [5, 6] and the male SMV correlates with when a man in a modern life should be reaching achievement milestones.

If we look up age disparity in marriage [7] in the US (similar patterns exist in Australia [9] and the UK [10]

33.2% of marriages are where husband and wife are both within 1 year of each other.

33.7% of marriages the husband is 2 – 5 years older than his wife.

9.8% of marriages have the wife 2 – 5 years older than the husband.

The average age of a first marriage in the US is 29 for men, 27 for women [11] in the UK it’s 33 for men, 30 for women [12]. Is it coincidental that the countries where the proposed hypergamy and CC are allowed to run the most free, the average marriage takes place right around the time where the male SMV is about to eclipse the female SMV?

From a male perspective his ideal mate based on fertility alone should be between 20 and 24 years old, definitely no older than 32. In order to take advantage of max SMV, the male should be in his mid to late 30s. However, the question is that if females ride the carousel during their prime years, wouldn’t a male be best advised to take advantage of his peak SMV in the same manner?

If this was actually done, a male from 35 – 37 would marry a woman 15 years his junior, but this only makes up 6.4% of marriages.

If we approach it from a market perspective, the female is quickly dropping in demand, while supply is increasing of marriage ready women in their late 20s and early 30s, at the same time a new supply of young women at or near their SMV peak.

Whereas for men, the supply of eligible bachelors with no severe financial or emotional baggage is rapidly decreasing, at the same time as demand is going up not only from the women who after their “fun years” in their twenties are getting ready to get married and have a family. But also from a new supply of young women who are ready to have their fun with an older man.

However, the men of the same age as the female have yet to come into their peak SMV, and are coming off the female’s peak in SMV, where they have observed and lived the female in high demand, and their own low demand and are thus seduced by the shift.

Think of it like buying an Iphone, lets say an Iphone 19 costs $500. You buy the phone not knowing that a new model is coming out that will then cost $500, and that the model you purchased will be reduced to $350. In this case, you either paid $150 too much for the old model, or you could have gotten a new and better model for the same money.


[1] Therationalmale.com

[2] http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2013/12/05/relationshipstrategies/beta-bux-myth-debunked-science/

[3] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/settling-for-someone-because-you-fear-being-single-youre-not-alone/article15773294/

[4] https://epsilongardener.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/people-doing-statistics-badly-1/


[6] https://dx.doi.org/10.1093%2Fhumrep%2Fdeh304

[7] http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/files/cps2013/tabFG3-all.xls

[8] http://www.indexmundi.com/united_states/age_structure.html

[9] http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/2f762f95845417aeca25706c00834efa/a8d1bea8a2ff1b33ca2570ec001b0dc3!OpenDocument


[11] http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/getting-married-later-is-great-for-college-educated-women/274040/

[12] http://w3.unece.org/pxweb/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=052_GEFHAge1stMarige_r&ti=Mean+Age+at+First+Marriage+by+Sex%2C+Country+and+Year&path=../DATABASE/Stat/30-GE/02-Families_households/&lang=1


22 comments on “Exploring the Sexual market value

  1. Beta males who are deprived of female “attention” over-invest in single females, and are especially prone to settling down too soon.

    From Martie Hasslton on Sexual Pluralism and Mating Strategies:

    According to strategic pluralism theory (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000), men have evolved to pursue reproductive strategies that are contingent on their value on the mating market. More attractive men accrue reproductive benefits from spending more time seeking multiple mating partners and relatively less time investing in offspring. In contrast, the reproductive effort of less attractive men, who do not have the same mating opportunities, is better allocated to investing heavily in their mates and offspring and spending relatively less time seeking additional mates.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] my gendernomics series, I reference supply and demand theory a lot, and will continue to do so in future posts, as it is my argument that many behaviors […]


  3. […] the negotiating power until they hit “The wall”, I explored this in my essay on the SMV. At this point, the power-dynamic in the negotiation changes. A woman’s ability to attract […]


  4. […] We further assume that women view both investments as equally valid, depending on their own SMV and […]


  5. […] core issue with men in the sexual market place is that we are from nature all equal. Sure, some of us have better genetics, some of us are lucky […]


  6. […] affects the deal that the women are able to offer the men for pairing up. A young woman, with a high SMV has many options for pairing off with a man at that point in time. As her SMV drops as a function […]


  7. […] paradigm within the SMV. Where the macro of the supply demand equation has women as the in demand commodity until they hit the wall, at which point male SMV starts to eclipse the female SMV. The top 15% of men are always men in demand, because thanks to the Pareto Principle [2] more women […]


  8. […] of her man finding a better option, it is a case where her man may becoming aware of his rising sexual market value and his girlfriend’s diminishing sexual market value. Women work very hard to keep their man in the dark about the fact that their own SMV is rapidly […]


  9. […] in the market. This is by large an extended metaphor employed to a philosophical concept, “The Sexual Market Place“. The goal is to offer quantitative and anchored concepts that permit men to understand and […]


  10. […] means that a male who wants to realize his maximum possible sexual market value has to make contributions to it over many years prior to realizing it fully. Naturally, some men […]


  11. Wizard Prang says:

    I loved the iPhone comparison. Nicely put.

    Another way to explain this to skeptical females/blue-pills is the simple fact that a girl turns 18 in the US *every twenty seconds*. That, ladies, is your competition. And that is why putting off marriage until your thirties rarely ends well.

    Folks may disagree with Rollo’s original graph, but I have found it to be fundamentally true. Your modified one suggests that at a female’s SMV at 31-37 is the same as it is at 8-14.


  12. […] man being higher SMV, in addition to the SMV curve assists a woman in building a solid margin of safety when she seeks a long term relationship. A […]


  13. The SMV rating on the y-axis and age on the x-axis are useful to describe the concept.

    After reading your post with the time spans of SMV by gender, I have been thinking that there may be other important variables affecting SMV, but not easily represented on a linear scale.

    For instance, between the ages of 18 and 27, how many different sexual partners a female has had is an unknown value to the market, and certainly can remain hidden and undisclosed for all time to any potential “buyers”.

    This explains some of the hesitancy and lack of enthusiasm of even the most marry-minded of men about marriage, since their guesswork today is equivalent to trying to make an informed decision in a used car lot. He might be able to trust the mileage on the placard. He will also read the price. But what about the care, upkeep and any mistreatment of the transmission, brakes, etc.?

    Although her past sexploits are an unknown value, that doesn’t mean that such a modifier of her SMV doesn’t exist.
    It does exist.
    And such variables should affect her actual sexual market value decisively – positively or negatively (e.g. a negative modifier of female SMV due to her prolific CC career). Of course, males in western culture have been heavily conditioned and shamed to overlook cc-riding to a large degree. Despite such social justice efforts, even the most beta of males usually won’t agree to marry porn stars.

    Those males who do decide to overlook such potential modifiers of female SMV, and decide to marry her anyway, WILL experience unpleasant “price discovery”.

    I’ve previously read on Chateau Heartiste about some brutal modifiers of SMV for both men and women. For example, bald and overweight men over 40 years of age tend to get their SMV value chopped down 70%+.

    P.S. BTW I loved both of your podcasts with Mark Baxter, and the recent one with Mr. Tomassi. Well done and thank you.


    • The difference you outline could be argued the difference between the asset value of a company Vs. the market price of that company. If we take the asset value as the money gained if it was broken up and net assets were divided among shareholders, then that value would differ from the price that a shareholder would be willing to take for his shares. This is due to one of them having a time-value, the asset value + future value of earnings that he has ownership of as a shareholder.

      This is objective sexual market value, which breaks down to reproductive value, and subjective value which is affected heavily by market factors such as demand. The demand for a woman drops if one finds out she contracted an STD, prior to obtaining this information her value is perceived as higher, even though it was the same. It’s Schrodinger’s Sexual Market Value in a sense.

      To draw a parallel the efficient market hypothesis states that the current market price of an equity represents all the information that is both known and unknown to the general market, meaning both public and insider information. If this was the case, her market value should already be adjusted for the CC riding in her past history. However, a less stringent formulation of the EMH states that the price reflects public information only, and this would hold, as once the information that was previously private is now known to you, your perception of her value changes, however it does not change her value to the market participants who are unaware of her previous exploits.

      I’m glad you liked the podcasts, I very much enjoyed doing them, and I will probably do some more in the future.


      • Appreciate the thorough response above. Even more to think about. Analogies like these really do help in crafting a more clear understanding. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog posts here (I’m just getting started) and listening to more of your podcast contributions.


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