A few years ago, I was your typical office-worker: stressed out, uneven energy, overweight, and inconsistent complexion. Now I'm just your typical 28-year old urban hunter-gatherer on a quest to be healthy, and having a few adventures along the way. See my full bio.
Power and corruption in the sexual marketplace
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton
Power corrupts. And when it comes to sexual dynamics, men and women have different bases of power. And this means men and women face different sources of corruption.
There is much overlap in the qualities each sex looks for in long-term mates (intelligence, kindness, sense of humor, etc.), but we all know where they diverge. Women tend to judge men based on status. Men tend to judge women based on looks -- youth and beauty being proxies for fertility.
So when men have status, they are sexually powerful. When women have youth and beauty, they are sexually powerful. And when either a man or a woman is powerful, it can corrupt their character -- whether they realize it or not.
For example, subordinates will often tell powerful men, like a CEO, what they think the CEO wants to hear. And wealthy men quickly learn that their wealth often changes how people interact with them, and everyone seems to want something. (This happens to wealthy women too, of course, but is mostly irrelevant to sexual dynamics since men don't throw themselves at wealthy old women.)
The same sort of thing occurs with powerful women -- i.e., young and beautiful women. Beautiful women can't help but know they're beautiful -- they get hit on all the time and many men explicitly tell them so. But like the CEO who is told what he wants to hear, beautiful women often don't seem aware how much people change their behavior around them. They assume that everyone is kind and nice and is always happy to do them favors. For example, young or beautiful women who travel in foreign countries have substantially different experiences than most other people -- because local high status males pick them up, show them a good time, and do them favors. I love to travel! It's so much fun!
These sources of power come about in different ways.
Men usually have to earn their sexual power, and these days, it tends to come late in life after decades of effort. (Many of these powerful old, men did things to earn their power: built a company, wrote music, or made a scientific discovery.
But women are given their sexual power, and it tends to come early in life with little effort required. It is an inheritance. But instead of it being a financial inheritance, it's a biological one. Women are born wealthy.
So this creates a bit of an asymmetry in how these sources of power corrupt men and women.
For men, corrupting forces tend to hit men late in life after decades of exertion. And these days, that effort usually requires a certain amount of discipline, and instills an appreciation for what brought you your success. (Note what often happens when young men inherit too much, too early -- it corrupts them.)
For women, corrupting forces tend to hit women early, after little to no exertion. Youth and beauty are the ultimate inheritance -- aging, the ultimate death tax. Thus, young and beautiful women seem to be the people who are most susceptible to corruption (since it happens when they're young and they do nothing to earn it). And they seem to be the people most easily hurt by their loss of power as they age...particularly if they squandered their inheritance rather than trading it for something of longer term value.
What to do about it?
My humble suggestion is to look to Old Money. Many Old Money families instill (or attempt to instill) certain values in future generations to prevent them from being corrupted by their financial inheritance. And then just apply those learnings to how we might think about a biological inheritance.