How Sexual Competition
The game of romance. It is truly a game, because it is a balancing of making yourself wanted by others, and letting others know that you want them. One must fear being too available, as this will give no challenge to the acquaintance; similarly, one must fear being too desperate, as this will make the the other person feel as though they have found a compatible match. The game was born from our passions, our lusts, our affection, and longing towards the sensual touch of another. But it is played with calculating strategy, cunning, and deception, like any game.
The act of trying to befriend someone, or simply the act of "showing interest," can be like rolling the dice or drawing a card. Our social environment is permeated with standards, rules, and expected behavior. The territory covered by such rules is extensive, including the dress, the tone of speech, and the use of eye contact. There are restrictions based on class and race, age and body type. It can be considered impolite or unacceptable for someone to violate any of these expected standards when trying to meet potential lovers. And these standards are not uniform everywhere that the game prevails. Every culture has its own concept of acceptable and unacceptable, so variation in rules can be extreme.
Why do people play this game? Why do they follow the rules, uphold expectations, and show their approval or disapproval to others? There is a fear of embarrassment in failure and a sense of accomplishment in success. Many of the impulses will be guided by instinct and social conditioning, but what is the motive behind all of this activity? Sex and the pleasure that comes with it. There is more that surrounds this desire, such as intellectual, emotional, or social fulfillment, but these exist in varying degrees. The primary core found throughout almost all romantic interest between individuals is sex, though other elements of the relationship may be stronger.
The intensity, the passion, and the meaning of sex -- this forms the foundation to the romance game. It is not simply a competition over social status, but it is a struggle over a powerful, mutually-pleasing activity. Interacting socially only fills the mind with more images of a potential lover; it only entices and excites lust. This partly explains why everyone is overly conscious of whatever appearance they bring to the socializing environment, whether bar or school dance. They interact and exchange socially with the individual of their desire, and this intensifies the lust. It continually occupies the mind of the flirting person, since they think of both the conclusion in sex -- as well as being socially stimulated by the to-be partner.
The effects of the game can overwhelm the entire social environment. Any type of interaction between two individuals is starts and develops along the lines of the game. Someone who thinks they are withholding their sense of desperation actually might just be failing to show their interest; and, they may actually be speaking with someone who has no interest in them. Those who are looking for a sex partner may find someone looking for a social partner, as well as the reverse. This is not always the case, but it does frequently occur. The social environment becomes an uneasy conglomeration of interests, some opposed and some mutual. The game values itself on concealing or manipulating how these interests appear. As a place of socializing, it may not completely satisfy the interest of all involved.
Players don't question the rules of the game, because they're playing to win. But does this type of socializing really work to satisfy their participants? For those seeking intellectual satisfaction, they may only find emotional, and for those seeking emotional, they may only find sexual. Or, what is more likely, they'll have social experiences with others who have a combination of all these, but not exactly in the desired amount.
The problem is accelerated by a variety of factors: first, there is deception, or at least a withholding of the primary emotions and thoughts that come to mind. An inhibition of the heart, which is why the word "deceive" fits. Second, the player constantly watches the prize of playing, the satisfaction of some want, whether social or emotional or sexual. None of these are any more noble or honorable than the other; they are simply different wants that an individual may seek from other people. And third, the traditions of society encourage withholding from sexual activity, either in wanting it, in obtaining it, or having it. These three factors -- lies, passions, and standards -- create a cramped, uninspiring area for meeting with your fellow humans.
In viewing the other species, we see that they have sex games, too. Whether it is through dancing or fighting, whether birds or reptiles, they are less inhibited than humans in expressing themselves sexually. There is still playing for the chances of romance, as there is within human society. It occurs, though, without so many artificial barriers, as withholding want, deceiving others, or being taunted by acceptable standards.