Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Promiscuity Data: Guest Post.

A while after putting up my first post of subject of promiscuity and divorce risk, I was contacted by an individual who wished to analyse the data further. That individual, whom I shall call INTREPID, was able to analyse several cycles of data from the National Survey of Family Growth with regard to the promiscuity effect on the risk of divorce.

As far as I'm aware the data that has been obtained is not available anywhere in the published literature. I'm not a statistician and cannot vouch for the veracity of the data but I believe the analysis was done truthfully and without bias. 

I want to publicly thank INTREPID for performing the task. I've had access to the findings for a while and have decided not to post them till now so that no trace could be linked to INTREPID. (The other reason was that I lost access to the account which contained the data and only recently was able to gain access to it) 

INTREPID provided a report on his findings which I reproduce in full below.


Following up on your post regarding the Heritage Foundation Study, I thought to explore the same
National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) data and see if there’s more to the story. I think there is. Like the Heritage Foundation, I find a negative relationship between non‐marital sex and marital stability, but the relationship is more complex than the Heritage Study leads one to think. In particular, the effect of the number of pre‐marital sex partners on marital stability isn’t linear. Rather, it’s a U‐shaped relationship and invites some further exploration.

For starters, the chart below simply reproduces a finding from the Heritage Foundation study. I use the same axis definitions (as best I can tell) that the Heritage Foundation used (for the 1995 NSFG data). But I now add to it two further waves of the NSFG data (2002 and 2006/2008). The pattern is the same across study waves. An increase in the number of non‐marital lifetime sex partners is related to less marital stability. 

I should point out that my data display for 1995 is slightly different from that reported by the Heritage Foundation. I suspect the difference arises in how “sexually active” is defined. I defined it as ever having had sex. It’s not clear how the Heritage Foundation Study defined it. However, I’ve got some gripes with the above axis and definitions used by the Heritage Foundation. For example, the vertical axis showing “stable” marriages includes some marriages that I wouldn’t consider to be “stable.” Also, the horizontal axis includes some sexual relationships that, in my opinion, are unlikely to be clear  causes of marital instability but might instead be the effect of instability. Specifically…,

• Per the Heritage Foundation’s definition of “stable marriages”, second or third marriages that go on to last five or more years (at the time of the NSFG interview) would be considered “stable”. That is,  the Y‐axis could include some women who have divorced at some point and are poor representatives of “marital stability.”

• It’s likely not a big issue (nor is likely to correlate with non‐marital partner count), but marriages that ended with the death of a husband would fail to count towards the Heritage Foundation’s definition of a “stable marriage”.

• The causal direction isn’t clear. Women who have left a marriage (leaving the pool of those in “stable” marriage) may have increased their non‐marital partner count after leaving the marriage, not before the marriage or during it. A knee‐jerk interpretation of the chart, however, suggests that a high number of non‐marital partners leads to marital instability. Yet it may be that a rise in the number non‐marital lifetime partners follows marital instability. Once divorced, women might sleep around more.

• By looking at the count of non‐marital lifetime sexual partners, we count the sexual episodes of women who perhaps got married as virgin brides, then divorced and subsequently slept around before entering into a “stable” marriage (i.e., one lasting five or more years). From the viewpoint of one desiring to minimize his chances of ever experiencing divorce, looking at the number of non‐marital lifetime partners isn’t perfectly helpful. One ought to instead look at the number of pre‐marital sex partners and the rate of first marriages ending in divorce or separation. This is what Jay Teachman looked at in his paper: first marriages that ended in divorce or separation (marital dissolution)

So, for a more careful look at the effect of extra‐marital partner on marriage success, I create Chart 2 that focuses on divorce outcome (vertical axis) rather than the broader concept of a “marital stability” Specifically, Chart 2 below looks at the effect of non‐marital lifetime partner count (same horizontal axis as above) on the rate of first marriages ending in divorce at the time of the NSFG interview. In other words, and compared with Chart 1, the below excludes those women who may have been  divorced and then re‐entered back into a “stable” marriage by the time of their NSFG survey interview. The pattern looks very similar to that in Chart 1 (albeit reflected since the measure is marital divorce rather than marital stability). 

For an even further revelation, I create Chart 3 which improves upon the horizontal axis as well as the vertical one. The vertical axis is the same as in Chart 2 and looks at the rate of first marriages ending in divorce (same outcome measure that Teachman looked at). But the horizontal axis now groups women by their count of pre‐marital sexual partners as opposed to lifetime non‐marital sex partners:


This tells a different story from that in Chart 1. In my opinion, Chart 3 is more helpful than the  Heritage Foundation chart as it permits one to come closer to drawing a causal connection between partner counts marital outcomes. The most interesting element in Chart 3 is the U‐shaped relationship between pre‐marital partner count and divorce rates. This surprised me so much that I had to chart the 2002 NSFG data alongside to be  certain that the 2006/08 data wasn’t just a fluke, a sampling artifact. This chart most clearly shows that divorce rates are the lowest for those with zero pre‐marital partners. That part is unambiguous. Virgin brides are the least likely to divorce, all else equal. But why do  divorce rates rise with one or two premarital partners only to reverse and drop after two or more sexual partners? And next, why do divorce rates reverse and climb back up after the pre‐marital partner count goes into the double digits?

This is a very interesting finding that neither the Heritage Foundation Study nor Jay Teachman’s hazard model analysis examine. I’m not even sure they’re aware the relationship exists. I’m anxious to hear reader opinions on the drivers here. My own hypothesis is that a higher partner count (up to 5‐9 or so partners) is correlated with age and maturity in dating experience. Older women, and women with more dating experience, are more likely to have learned which personal qualities will work best for them in a marriage partner. As a result, such women choose more wisely and tend to experience lower divorce rates. Now, it also happens to be the case that older women have had more time and occasion for pre‐marital sex! Specifically, I suspect it’s not the 5‐9 pre‐marital sex partner count per se that drives the relative drop in the divorce rates, but rather it’s the maturity and experience that women have acquired while they’ve dated more men.

It’s too bad the NSFG doesn’t have a variable for something along the lines of “pre‐marital dating experience” or something similar to tease this out. I don’t believe that it does. The NSFG does, however, collect age and education data which I’ll look at in a future analysis. Indeed, my own quick look (not charted here) reveals that the age is positively correlated with partner count, offering some support of a dating maturity hypothesis. But it warrants some additional charts and analysis. …But this idea of partner count as a proxy for dating maturity doesn’t hold forever. On the right‐hand side of Chart 3, I suspect that some women with a high double‐digit pre‐marital partner count begin to make poor marriage candidates due to yet other personality traits. I suspect that some women who have had 21+ marital partners may also have a high need for variety‐seeking across mates such that marriage or settling down with one man might be considered boring. A resulting marriage, if it happens, is less likely to last.

To further understand partner count on divorce outcome, I need to show yet one more data result. The question I have is: does the divorce rate for women change if her pre‐marital sex partner becomes, in fact, her later husband? If one sleeps with one’s (otherwise virgin) female fiancĂ© prior to the wedding, what’s the effect?

The table below contains the answer. I build this from the 2006/08 data (the 2002 data show a similar result). One can see that the divorce rate is nearly 50% for women who had only one pre‐marital partner and if that partner did not develop into her husband. The divorce rate falls to half the above rate (25.6%) if a woman later marries her first and only pre‐marital sex partner. However, both these divorce rates are higher than the divorce rate for virgin brides. Pre‐marital sexual experience with one’s future spouse does not beat out having no pre‐marital sex at all.


Distilling all the above, the practical advice for a single woman seeking to lower the risk of her first marriage ending in divorce is to remain a virgin bride. If she sleeps with even one person, her risk of divorce increases, at the very least, by roughly 10% (from 14.9% to a value of 25.6%). …And it could easily go higher. Indeed, her overall divorce risk could jump to 50%—which is higher than any value shown in Chart 3—if she doesn’t marry her first partner (and assuming she doesn’t go on to sleep with other pre‐marital partners). And moving on to sleeping with two or more pre‐marital partners doesn’t ameliorate her likely divorce rate over that of her having zero pre‐marital partners. The best option for a women seeking to lower her divorce risk is to remain a virgin bride (all else equal).

The practical advice from the man’s perspective is only a little less clear. A man never truly knows if  his dating partner is a virgin or not unless he sleeps with her—at which point he would only know that she’s not a virgin. (Sleeping with someone to determine their virginity is a destructive test!) But by definition, a man’s own risk of divorce is connected to his wife’s risk of divorce. Therefore, if he  suspects the woman he’s dating is a virgin, his risk of divorce (just like his wife’s) is lower if he  doesn’t have premarital sex with her and she remains a virgin bride. The question is what to do if he strongly suspects (or if she admits) that he wouldn’t be her first pre‐marital sexual partner. If she’s had just one pre‐marital sexual partner, then Chart 3 suggests that her risk of divorcing him is lower if he becomes her second pre‐marital partner (a roughly 40% divorce risk) than if she has sex with just one pre‐marital partner who isn’t her eventual husband (a 50% divorce risk as found from the Table). One could perhaps extend this logic to the case of a man considering a potential wife who’s had two, three, or even more pre‐marital sexual partners. However, the NSFG doesn’t collect the data needed to  extend the Table above and confirm. Besides, this train of thought related to a male’s pre‐marital sex  strategy sounds like an unfolding “tragedy of the commons” type problem. (The strategy that might be  optimum from a personal standpoint is sub‐optimal once everyone tries to pursue it. ) …In addition, we don’t yet know the effect of the husband’s pre‐marital sexual history on divorce outcomes. That  could have a bearing. These male data on divorce and pre‐marital sex are in the 2002 and 2006/08 NSFG and I’ll be looking at those data in the future.


Some comments:

The first thing that strikes me about this report is the confirmation that no premarital sexual experience powerfully and significantly lowers the risk of subsequent divorce. Whether or not you agree with the sexual revolution, I don't care, rather, it's that repeated analysis of the data confirms what common wisdom has always asserted; marrying a girl who has not slept around before is the best long term bet from a divorce-avoidance point of view.

Secondly, some of INTREPID's findings seem to contradict. In the last table, INTREPID  indicates that should a woman sleep with one pre-marital partner who later does not become her husband, her risk of divorce increases to near 50%, ye,t the 1 previous partner divorce risk, in chart 3, is listed at somewhere near 35%. If INTREPID can provide an explanation I can be contacted through the usual channels.

Thirdly, the Heritage Study is vindicated. Women who sleep around are far less likely to be in stable relationships.

Fourthly, The U Shaped graph is interesting:
  • I would go with the 2006/8 Figures more than previous ones. I understand that it was only in this cycle that ACASI interviewing was used. Here a computer prompts the questions and the responder enters the data into it. This way there is very limited face to face contact with the questioner and hence, the responder gains a greater degree of anonymity. Previous research has shown that women are prone to give "socially acceptable" responses when interviewed by a real life interviewer as opposed to answering anonymously.
  •  The graph is not controlled for age of marriage.  Girls who marry early will have less sexual experience than girls who marry much later. Age at marriage is a big predictor of divorce and  I imagine that the one to two non-marital partners category is inflated because of this effect.  It would be interesting to see what the age at divorce would be in this  group.
Other reader comments are invited.

Once again, a sincere thanks to INTREPID for all his/her work.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some Data on Infidelity.

Understanding Infidelity: Correlates in a National Random Sample by Aktins et al, is a paper with several interesting bits of data. Using data from the 1991-1996 General Social Survey, the authors attempted to identify factors which were correlated with infidelity.

Some comments.

The authors tried to control for multiple variables including religiosity, previous divorce, income etc. However one of the really strong risk factors for infidelity was age of first marriage.

This is an interesting graph, open to a lot of different interpretations. My personal view is that it is a graphic illustration of the the "grass is often greener syndrome" with those who got married wanted to dabble in what they missed out on.  Anecdotally, I have a few female patients who married in their late teens and early twenty's who have have never strayed, but have expressed some regret at not having "had some fun" before they got married. Still, the culture they were surrounded in was actually hostile towards divorce and infidelity so I imagine it is this which may have helped keep them in check. I think that a combination of today's strong cultural emphasis on sexual hedonism in conjunction with an early marriage would provide a strong temptation to stray. I imagine that the high risk of infidelity amongst the married young is probably motivated by this factor to a high degree.

The second graph which I found interesting was this one.

What we see in this graph is just how powerful hedonic satisfaction is in keeping partners on the straight and narrow. Now I'm a big proponent of religion, but it's dispiriting to see just how much "hedonic" considerations seem to override religious commitment. 

I think this graph says a lot about the reason for marital instability and its decline as an institution; marriage has become another vehicle for "personal happiness" instead of a fundamental societal unit. Our forefathers were quite perceptive and recognised that, even in their time, there were many unhappy marriages. Yet they made it very difficult for the couple to part because of both religious imperative and societal considerations. They were big believers in doing one's duty regardless of the cost, our age has far less commitment to sticking it out for the bigger picture; everyone is in it for themselves.

Marriage is no longer seen as a commitment to one another, or even the children, rather, it's a vehicle justified in how much happiness it gives to the participants. It's over once the fun stops. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sexual History Divorce Risk II: Addendum

I just wanted to put up some more data from the previously mentioned Scientific paper in response to a comment by TDOM.
There may be other factors than attractiveness involved in why older women have fewer partners. They may be busy putting working in order to put children through college, or just taking care of children may scare the men away, they may find men their age less attractive, or perhaps their sex drive declines, menopause, or their marriage may have put them off men. But being less attractive does sound good as an explanation.

The first thing that we notice from the data is that having children at home seems to only marginally decrease the odds of having two or more partners in the last twelve months. Secondly, compared to the never married, we notice that divorcee's are over twice as likely to be riding the carousel, and more than five times more likely than the cohabiting; divorcee's seem sexually willing.

What we also see is a drop off in the partner count as women get older.  Now, it's true that this may be due to female factors independent of attractiveness, and I imagine dating burnout is a factor, but menopause is not an issue, since most women enter menopause in their late 40's and the data suggests that child caring is only a small component of this decline.

But the common lament amongst the femmentariat is that men don't want to commit, or in other words, there are suitable males who want women for sex but not marriage. This implies that women are pursuing men with the "if I give him sex he will marry me" strategy. Therefore, it is not female choosiness that is limiting sexual activity but male choice.

I imagine that there are two factors at play. Firstly, amongst the pool of men that are unmarried, they can be divided into the sexually attractive and unattractive. Secondly, as the sexually unattractive males are "invisible" to women seeking a mate, this means that divorcee's must compete with remaining pool of attractive males. The relative scarcity of attractive men and the surfeit of divorced women mean that it is men who exercise mating choice. The older women are getting less hit upon.

What I find most interesting however is the data listing the odds of having five or more partners by age group. Most of the women who've clocked up five or more notches have done it by their late 20's. Does having so many when they are young destroy some ability to bond. We all know that the children from divorcees have a higher divorce rate, but perhaps promiscuity, too, somehow destroys the commitment capability.

Sexual History Divorce Risk II

A scientific paper that may be of interest to men who frequent this corner of the blogosphere is  Divorce and Sexual Risk Among U.S. Women: Findings from the National Survey of Family Growth. Published in the Journal of Women's Health, in November 2011, the statistical findings were based on the 2002 cycle of National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) involving 5800 women.

The authors of the study set out to fill a gap in the the literature with regard to the sexual behaviour of divorces and single adult women for the purposes of disease prevention. i.e the authors did not have some religious or social policy axe to grind. The paper is very interesting because it seems to be the first scientific paper to acknowledge a clear correlation between the risk of divorce and sexual risk.
Our study has several limitations. The data are cross-sectional and thus only correlative. We cannot conclude that divorce causes increased sexual risk any more than we can suggest that sexual risk causes divorce. The relationship exists, and further studies should focus on causal relationships between the two.
I think that the authors are being modest.

The study first cites other research which gives the rate of marital dissolution in the U.S to be 20% at 5 years,  33% at 10 years and 43% at 15 years. This "baseline" divorce rate is important in understanding subsequent findings. Secondly, they also cite research which shows that the probability of a divorce woman remarrying is 54%, this too, is important. Also important that the mean age of marriage for women is 25.3 years.

Now the authors divided women firstly into two groups. Those who had five or more partners and those who had four or less. (n=4 being the average number of partners a U.S. woman had at the time of NSFG study)

Then they divided the women according to their marital status. Separating women into four groups. Those who were never married, those who were co-habitating,  those who were currently divorced, and those who were currently married (including those who remarried).

What I've done here is plot the "natural divorce rate" against the statistical findings of the "5 or more lifetime partner group".

The first thing we see that if a woman has five or more life time partners, she is more more likely to be never married,  cohabiting or  divorced  than married. Now remember, the married group includes women who have remarried. So the actual number of women who have never been divorced is actually smaller than what is indicated on the graph.

Secondly, the NSFG obtained data from women who were between 25-44 years of age The authors of the paper did not list the average length of marriage in the group, but since the mean age of marriage is 25 years of age, it would be safe to expect (using the worst case figures)that 43% of marriages should have dissolved at the based upon the 'background" divorce rate.  Now, if promiscuity is not related in any way to divorce there should be no significant variation from the natural divorce rate, and yet, what we see  in the "five or more group" only 37% of women married (and this includes the remarriages) instead of 57%. (Based upon a rough "back of envelope" calculation, I estimate that roughly 20% of the "five or more" group have never been divorced) Something quite real is going on here.

It gets worse.

When you look at all the married women (i.e including those with four or less partners) women with five or more partners were 70% less likely to be married.

The study authors noted that the two groups of women did not appear to differ in any other meaningful way apart from partner count. Regardless of what anyone's position on social issues is there is a real phenomenon going on here. Number count does seem to matter. That's not to say that a woman who has had five or more lovers is unable to form a stable marriage, approximately 20-30% do, it's just how do you pick? Is it worth the risk? Do you want to put your kids through it? Now presumably, in a significant portion of marriages it was the men who instituted the divorce, but that does not explain  the huge variation in divorce rates based on partner count.

Finally, the authors were able to extract another interesting piece of data which I will call the "carousel index".

It's a quantitative measure in the decline of sexual market value. The near exponential decline in attractiveness is quantifiable.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Then and now.

Iconic photo of the 1960's. (Christine Keeler)

Some more pictures.


And now.

(Image from Daily Mail)

 Not fair, isn't it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Heart of Darkness. Epilogue.

Mimi Alford copped a lot of criticism from the mainstream media for her autobiography. The Kennedy administration enjoys an almost divine like status on the left and any criticism of it is akin to sacrilege. Had Alford produced an expose detailing the extramarital affairs of a Republican President, the feminist yenta commentariat would have been thumping the table for his impeachment, but since the perpetrator in this case was a charismatic male Democrat, it was the "victim" who was the object of their scorn.

The media, with their typical celebrity worship and superficiality, were more interested in the lurid details of her presidential liaisons than the effect that it had on the rest of her life. Yet, it was this aspect of her biography which I found the most interesting. It's true that a book about the break up of two, otherwise ordinary people, would not have not garnered any commercial interest, and yet,  the mechanics of their estrangement is probably of more practical interest to students of male/female dynamics than the sexual persona of JFK.

In trying to understand the mechanics of their marital failure it was neccessary to try and form a character assessment of Tony Fahnestock.  Which is not that easy to do,  because with a few exceptions, either deliberately or not, she more alludes to his behaviour than explicitly states it, and when trying to look at the book from a psychological perspective, in an effort to understand him,  I was left trying to fill in the gaps based upon my clinical experience.  What we do know is that he was initially romantic, chivalrous and sexually restrained. We also learn that he was capable of decision and action but tended to avoid conflict. His tastes were simple and he had friends. It's pretty safe then to assume that he was an "ordinary guy."

Now, Love doesn't get much time in the man-o-sphere, and  yet it is what ultimately motivates most good men and gives life its meaning. For most normal men, the sex is not enough, and life devoid of love is empty. Normal men are not content enough to possess a woman's body they also want to posses her soul. That's what's so divine about love; is that the thing that you cherish most loves you back in the same way. It's a state that can exist amongst two people who feel the same way about each other. The well being of the lover is contingent upon the well being of the loved: it's symbiotic.  The problem for  Fahnestock however is that he got he loved Alford symbiotically, but she loved him parasitically; and this was his private hell. Alford's primary concern was not for her partner but for herself.

Alford may deny this, but that's because she suffers from that universal romantic notion which confuses love with affection. I have no doubt that she had affection for Fahnestock, but love is not just a feeling, it's an obligation to another person's happiness. The medieval theologians, who were frequently far more hard-arsed than the moderns, recognised that love and affection were two separate things. To them, love was a disposition of goodness toward another person and it was manifest by doing good toward other, the happy feelings of affection are therefore in a way irrelevant. They would have argued that if a person was acting in a way that could harm another,  there was no way that they could be considered as loving.

Viewed in this light, Alford could never be considered as loving Fahnestock. Sure, she had affection for him, but she acted in a way (with JFK) that was guaranteed to hurt him. And remember,  Alford's infidelity was not episodic, as a in a moment of weakness, rather it was systematic and deceptive. Had she had truly loved Fahnestock she would have acted in his best interest. For example two options which would have shown that she loved him would have been:

1) Not get into a relationship with him, in order to avoid hurting him,  and continue sleeping with Kennedy. Or,
2) Stop sleeping with Kennedy before she got into a relationship with him.

Each one of these options would have resulted in a loss to her, something she was not prepared to take, as she was out for number one.

I imagine when he found out about her infidelity, what knocked him out completely, was the realisation that he'd been taken for a fool as Alford was manipulating the situation to her advantage. But what really put the twist to the knife in his heart was the realisation that she was acting as if he did not matter, whereas he was acting if she did matter...... completely.  He loved her but she enjoyed being in his company.  Her delight in him was for her own pleasure, her love was solipsistic.

Fahnestock was a man who thus could not trust his wife even if he wanted to. He could never be sure of her love to him especially (as it appeared to him) that she denied him her body whilst giving it to another man.  So it escapes me why he married her, especially when Alford description of him is that of a man of resolute action. The only reason, I feel, that adequately explains his actions is love. Reading about their early days together, Fahnestock seemed totally awestruck by Alford and pedestalised her. Even though she betrayed him, he loved her and still wanted to make a go of it. Even though he was angry, his disposition to her was one of goodwill. He wanted her to be happy, to have a good reputation, to have a wedding: he wanted to keep her. In going ahead with the wedding he had forgiven her even though he could not trust her.

This was his first fatal mistake. It's one thing to forgive, but another to forget, and infidelity is one of those things that is very, very,  hard to forget. Fahnestock could never be sure if Alford is being true to him and was always insecure in his relationship with her.  Therefore by his insecurity he radiated beta. But on a more fundamental level he was choosing to marry a woman who was incapable of the gift of the Magi. They individually, approached the marriage from different psychological perspectives.

What Fahnestock should have done is dumped her. Any love he had for her could have been expressed in trying to break of the engagement discretely, and in a manner that could have preserved Alford's reputation. Some Christian types may argue that it was his duty to forgive her. But it needs to be reminded to these types that it is possible to forgive a person but not marry them.  A man must choose his mate not just on infatuation but on a hard-arsed assessment of her long term potential. Fahnestock ignored the warning signs.  But then again he was in his early twenties, a nice guy, and he loved her.

His second fatal mistake was his approach in dealing with their problems. He ignored them. Whilst this may keep the peace in the house, it is a defacto abdication of the natural order. The husband is the head of the household and must give it direction,  and in the absence of any direction,  the wife will assume it with a corresponding contempt towards her partner. Once again, a beta behaviour.

So it's no surprise to students of game that after twenty-six years of marriage, it was Alford who initially was so desperate for marriage that initiated the divorce. 

I recommend Alford's book to the students of Game. Not only because it so superbly illustrates the automatic female willingness to submit to an alpha male, but because it also illustrates  the consequences of infidelity and the fate of the beta male. At the end of her book, she credits JFK, the man who treated her as a concubine, with more veneration than her "good provider husband" of twenty-six years. She still thinks being his mistress was the special formative event in her life.  Such is the power of alpha.

I can't but feel an overwhelming sadness for Tony Fahnestock. Here was a man trying to do good and suffered for doing so.  Even Alford seemed to express a certain pity towards him:
He was right in a way.  I didn't know exactly what I had wanted, but I knew I had to take a step toward change. I knew that Tony wasn't solely to blame for my unhappiness or the ruin of our marriage. It was my fault as much as his. I had not made his life happy. But I also knew that I had reached an endpoint to the misery we created for each other.

Mimi Alford dated for the next sixteen years and was married again in 2005. In her book,  she describes the marriage as happy.

Meditating on events, I cant help but be melancholic when it comes to the life to Tony Fahnestock. He seems to be a good representation of a type of man that has done particularly badly in love since the sixties. In the clamor that arose after Alford's revelations, no one seems to have taken notice that he was an unwitting victim of the affair. The female commentariat seem more interested on what it was like to be part of JFK's harem or have devoted themselves to protecting JFK's memory. Alford was particularly savaged for desecrating the Camelot memory by Barbara Walters; herself, an adulteress.

Alford doesn't write much about what happened to Tony Fahnestock afterwards. However a little bit of searching on the internet revealed that he had married again, this time to a New York socialite, Andrea Henderson. She has kept his dignity and refused to comment on the affair.

Tony Fahnestock, who was divorced in 1989,  died in 1993 from cancer.  Alford was not allowed to attend the funeral.

I hope he found both love and peace.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Heart of Darkness. Part IV

Alford tried to be a good wife to Fahnestock after the marriage, but even she recognised that "tone" of their relationship had changed after her revelation. Although she pretty much obeyed Fahnestock's demand that she never mention JFK, she still managed to keep some "mementos'  from the relationship which she hid through the apartment. (This little fact says a lot about her commitment to Fahnestock at the time of marriage.).Still, her conscience or self-interest at fear of discovery must of bothered her, and so, unhappily, she got rid of the evidence of her previous life.

She describes the first thirteen years of their marriage as happy, but a prevailing pattern had developed; whenever some emotionally charged issue came up, it was swept under the carpet.  Even when their prematurely born son died, the issue was not talked about between themselves.

I'm not one for psychobabble, but a marriage is meant to be  both physically and emotionally intimate, and I agree with Alford here, in that this state of affairs was a precondition to their eventual marital disharmony. A woman without an emotional bond is a woman with a void, and it's a void that will get filled with something else.

I would be a mistake to think that Alford was completely duplicitous towards her new husband. Through a combination of will power and events she was able to suppress memories of Kennedy and was able not to think about him for long periods of time. Yet, quite unexpectedly, the memories would return:
And yet on crisp spring day in 1969 when I took the afternoon walk with the baby in the carriage, I passed a hair salon on Massachusetts Avenue advertising Frances Fox hair products in the window. It had been six years since I'd given the President his regular hair treatments, but suddenly I was overcome with emotion. I looked both ways down the street to make sure no one was watching me (ridiculous, I know) and, carrying Lisa in my arms, walked into the store to see which products they sold. I wasn't planning to buy anything. I just wanted to luxuriate in the warm memory of President Kennedy, if only for a few minutes. I picked up the bottles and turned them over in my hands. I carefully set them back on the counter and walked out. I felt so guilty about what I'd done, I tucked the incident away, deep in my mind.
Six years later, five minutes of alpha.  The emotional infidelity lingers long after the physical has stopped. Perhaps this is part of the reason that those who have been promiscuous have a greater propensity to infidelity.  Memories of intensely happy, sexually charged episodes serve as a serve as an escape from drudgery or a reassertion of happier times. Times we may wish to recreate.

 Fahnestock, at this stage, was working for the pigmen at Goldman Sachs, and was by her account, a "wonderful provider husband". They were materially and socially successful and and yet they were slowly drifting apart. When conflict or confrontation came up, Fahnestock's response was to shut down and withdraw to his summer holiday house. This meant that Alford started making more and more of the decisions, especially after they bought a new house and started renovating it. Fahnestock was becoming beta. ( Why he chose this course of action is open to speculation, as he was a very successful man of finance. I suspect it was his chivalrous upbringing which pedastalised females and emphasised the lack of conflict with them. But this, of course, is a speculation.)

Their marriage was becoming progressively more stale. Though she does not explicitly mention it, it does appear that she had gotten out of shape during marriage and made demands which Fahnestock tried to satisfy but did not make her happy. The lack of emotional and physical intimacy led her to a fling with another man, something she instituted.
Alone in the hotel room that night, I realized how much I yearned for physical affection and connection. So I made a bold, spontaneous gesture that surprised both of us. I climbed into Bill's bed instead of mine. It seemed like such a natural culmination of all the encouragement we'd shared during our months of training. I had turned thirty-nine two days before, and Bill was my third lover.

I had no regrets the next morning as we rode the train.........The guilt wouln't fully take hold until I was on the plane back to New York, and facing the prospect of seeing Tony again. As the reality of my infidelity sank in, I couldn't avoid one obvious fact: After years of accumulated silence with Tony, my marriage was crumbling.
It was interesting that when she confessed her infidelity to her sister, they were surprised that she had been as faithful to Tony for so long. (People on the "Social Reigister" obviously have different morals to myself).  Still, her infidelity with Bill provided her with psychological comfort:
Sometimes I would daydream about a life with Bill, though he never even held out that as a possibility. [Ed: Bill sounds alpha] Whatever fantasies I had harbored about us ended when I accepted a full-time job as a manager of a local tennis and squash club and ever so slowly, drifted away from the world of runners and back into my unhappy marriage.
Eventually though, the she found the lack of intimacy in the marriage unbearable. The man whom she was so desperate to marry in 1963  was the man she no longer wanted to be with.
"I want a divorce" I said
"What?" he asked.
"I think you heard me." I wasn't saying anything more. I waited for him to respond.
"Are you sure?" he said, "You've never known what you wanted, but if that's it, then that's what you'll get", I think you're going to regret it."

His words hung in the air, more a threat than an attempt to change my mind. He was right, in a way. I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but I knew I had to take a step toward change. I knew that Tony wasn't solely to blame for my unhappiness or the ruin of our marriage. It was my fault as much as his. I had not made his life happy. But I also knew that I had reached an endpoint to the misery we created for each other.
Twelve months later they were divorced. This is an important passage from the book, especially for students of Game.  If you look at Alford's life, the times when she appears most happy is when a man "directs her life". Not in the sense of "bossing" her around, but rather in giving her life direction.  She was happy serving the president, she was happy in the initial stages of their marriage when her and Tony were setting up their life according to Fahnestock's  direction. She becomes unhappy only after that leadership vanishes.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Heart of Darkness. Part III

Fahnestock's response to his fiance's confession was to go silent and go to bed. Alford was staying over at his place, however it was the early 60's, and the custom was for them to sleep in separate rooms. During the night, Fahnestock, who had never pressed her for sex, without saying a word, came into her bedroom;
Saying nothing, he yanked back the covers, climbed into my bed, and, without a word, initiated our first sexual encounter. I was so desperate to keep him I didn't resist.  It was forceful and clumsy-and I had no idea how to behave [Ed: ?], neither how to express my sorrow at hurting him nor how to offer my love to heal the pain. He left the bedroom as abruptly as he had entered it...... It was sex but there was no love.
Later on Alford describes the event as sexual violent. [Ed. Rape?]

Fahnestock decided to go ahead with marriage on the condition that her affair with Kennedy was never mentioned or that his name was never bought up in conversation. She had to bury her previously life in order to get married. But it is interesting to see her psychological reasons for agreeing to marry Fahnestock on those terms.
I felt relieved as he pulled back on the road. I took what he'd said to mean that if I obeyed him, then the wedding would go ahead. There would be no scandal, no disgrace, no tearful explanations of why the wedding had been cancelled.
She was scared about her social standing, not the harm she had done to Fahnestock.
For a long time I'd like to think that he was protecting me by demanding my silence, but I've come to realise that he was only protecting himself and his own ego. My revelation had embarrassed him. He must have hated the fact that the President had claimed me before he did. He must have felt humiliated that I continued to see the President after we met. He must have felt he would never measure to someone so charismatic and powerful. Perhaps he event felt I was mocking him.
However she writes; 
If our roles had been reversed, I know I would not be so forgiving.
Her own attempts to understand Fahnestock are more an reflection of her own solipsistic though patterns than his. I suppose it never occurred to her that he loved her passionately and that her affair was a betrayal of his love. The woman who he had intended to pledge the rest of his life to was screwing another man during the most emotionally intense period of any relationship.  Indeed, the tone of his interrogation of her in the previous post suggests that he was concerned more about when the affair was happening than the fact that she was a virgin. He lapsed into silence only after she told him that she was still sleeping with the President whilst they were engaged.

I imagine that Fahnestock was a normal guy of the times with normal young male desires. The fact that he didn't press her for sex means to me that he was probably living by some chivalric code and trying to be some sort of honourable man. He probably "snapped" the night when he found out the affair, but it's hard to wipe away an upbringing overnight, and  I can only speculate as to why he decided to marry her after her became aware of her alter life.  When I was young and I was strong in the way of romantic beta, and putting myself in his position, I imagine that the reason he decided not to call off the marriage was,  despite the betrayal, because he loved her.  He knew what the consequences would be if he called off the marriage; her reputation would suffer more by any hushed revelation to close friends and family than his.  In other words, Fahnestock had very little to lose by calling the marriage off  and everything to gain, except losing her. So the only explanation for his actions which makes sense to me is that he went through with the marriage for her benefit. Fahnestock, from her description of him in the book, seemed a man of both decision and action, and I have no doubt that he would have dumped her if he had decided on that course.

I imagine that his demand (that she never raise the subject of her affair with JFK) was his attempt to blot out the memory of her infidelity. I think he wanted to love the pre-confession Mimi back, and I imagine that he was hoping,  that with the passage of time, the memory of her infidelity would fade. I think it was his way of "forgiving" and taking her back.

And yet, wanting to forget is not the same as being able to. 
Tony, for his part, was completing his Army tour of duty, which kept us apart for a big chunk of time before the wedding. But even when we were together, as much as I might try to deny it, the tenor of our relationship was different  We had always been light and playful with each other, as if we didn't have a care in the world. Now I felt a creeping unease with him, as if he was constantly scrutinizing me and finding me wanting.
Tony was never able to trust me from completely that day, and for good reason. Nothing could erase the depth of his hurt. He carried that baggage for our entire marriage. It was forever woven into the emotional fabric of our lives together and I could sense it. The anger and jealousy never completely disappeared.
Alford believes the Fahnestock's insistence that the subject of JFK never be raised was the cause of their subsequent marital disharmony. She feels that had they had the chance to "talk about it" and "seek therapy" and bought the secret out into the open, things may have been different.  In one of her most callous passages she writes:
If we could put this behind us, perhaps years later we could marvel over--even laugh about--the time when Tony's wife had an affair with the President of the United States when she was very, very young.
 [Ed: And engaged to Tony]
How do you laugh about infidelity? How do you laugh about betrayed love? Initially, she went along with Fahnestock's demands and describes their early marriage as reasonably happy, however later on, conditioned by modern psychobabble, somehow she suggests that Fahnestock's response to her infidelity was pathologically abnormal. In this woman, the whole moral calculus is inverted. Contrition, which is a precondition of forgiveness, consists in recogonising the wrongness of the act. Nowhere do I get the impression that she regrets the affair. She didn't want Fahnestock's forgiveness, she wanted his happy acceptance of her infidelity which she equated with forgiveness. She perhaps wouldn't have felt the same way if she loved Fahnestock in the same way that he loved her. His love was symbiotic, her love was parasitic.

In the early stages of their marriage, Alford did try to be a good wife, however it wasn't only Fahnestock who could not forget. She too seemed never able to shake off the memories her past; of her "five minutes of alpha."

(Photo of the wedding can be seen here. Scroll down.)

(to be continued)

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Heart of Darkness. Part II

Whilst many people who read Mimi Alfrod's book will be interested in her liaisons with JFK, I must admit that it's this  aspect of the book that hold the least interest for me.  The fact that JFK had numerous affairs really doesn't interest me that much. I can separate the politician from the man. Lincoln, on being told that Grant was drunkard, disregard the information on the grounds that he needed a fighting general and not a moral but militarily impotent one. No, what interests me about her book is the insights she gives with regard to alpha behaviour and the psychology of love and infidelity.

Minim Alford led a double life.  She was part time college student, part time presidential mistress and was, like JFK, able to compartmentalise her life.  Long after she had started her affair with the President, she met a young man, Tony Fahnestock who eventually became her boyfriend. He had known her for barely eight months before proposing to her, so besotted was he. He came from the same social circles that she did and and both families seemed to be happy with the match. In her autobiography,  she states that she was "in love" with him. But it was a peculiar type of love, since whilst engaged she continued to have sex with JFK.  It is also true that the situation did seem to trouble her conscience, and she claims that she was hoping to end the relationship with the President. Still, two months before her marriage she was still sleeping with him.
As winter melted into spring, I began seeing Tony practically every other weekend, either at Williams or at Wheaton. We didn't have an intimate relationship at this point. He never pressed me for sex.
While his gentlemanly behavior was quite attractive, this situation did pose a bit of a conundrum for me. I was physically attracted to Tony and I had learned the pleasures of sexual intimacy from President Kennedy. This created a yearning in me for something more than necking in dorms and cars.  But pushing for sex with Tony would have raised questions; girls like me didn't do it back then. I might have to explain why it wasn't my first time, and that wasn't a conversation I wanted to have.
When I wasn't spending weekends with Tony, I was spending them with the President. Tony wasn't curious-or suspicious-about my other life in Washington. Why would he be? When we had started dating, I had already spent a full summer at the White House--and I had warned him that I continued to be needed at the press office even while I was at college. He not only accepted the lie, he was impressed by it.
The man was doomed. Reading between the lines in her autobiography, Tony Fahnestock seems to have been a regular  preppy gentleman of the times. He honestly loved and trusted her completely, and behaved towards her in the chivalric way of the West,  so besotted was he by her. When Fahnestock proposed to her, it was with a custom made ring, made up of sapphires  and diamonds from his grandfathers cuff links and stick pin.  A ring chosen from family heirlooms is act of profound significance. It all the more emphasis the contrast between the purity of his love for her with the terrible situation he was unknowingly in.

In her book, she gives a rather remarkable passage as to her psychology of infidelity;
And yet, being with the President and having his undivided attention was like taking this incredibly potent self-esteem drug. And that's a hard habit to kick. Despite the humiliations and uncertainty, I remained enthralled charisma and glamour of traveling with his entourage. My college life of dorm rooms, cafeteria dining, fraternity parties,  homework and moviegoing paled by comparison with Air Force One, Caribbean resorts, the Secret Service, and limousines.
Whilst Tony loved her, she was lounging poolside with the President. Also interesting was her psychology for accepting Fahnestock's marriage proposal;
There are many reasons why people say yes to a marriage proposal. Love ought to be the first reason, and mine was. But so is the need for security and certainty. I had just turned twenty that May and felt, as young people do, that I was dealing with so many unknowns. Where would I be working after the summer? How would this end with the President? Where would I live after Marnie and Wendy went back to college? When would I ever find a catch like Tony again?
In marrying Tony I was opting for security.
There was a lot of blatant self interest in her decision, and I got the impression that she loved him as a parasite loves a host; for what it can provide. People think love is a feeling, it is not. What love is, is a delight in the good of another.  The "love" she felt was probably an infatuation, a hedonic experience  and not a love that obligates itself toward the good of another. True love, wishes the good to the beloved, what she wanted was the best of both worlds for herself. Her primary consideration was her own well being.  Had she loved Tony for Tony's sake she wouldn't have been sleeping with President. She liked Tony, she liked the Presidential mistress role and she was optimising things for herself.
Kennedy was using her, she was using Fahnestock and Fahnestock was the patsy.

When Kennedy found out that she was engaged he acted as if it did not matter (Students of game will recognise this as alpha behaviour). Indeed, three months before their marriage, after another rendezvous in New York,  Kennedy's response was:
He took me in his arms for a long embrace and said, "I wish you were coming with me to Texas." And then he added,
"I'll call you when I get back."
I was overcome with a sudden sadness. "Remember Mr President, I'm getting married," I said.
"I know that," he said, and shrugged, " But I'll call you anyway."
Such is the way of amoral alpha. Kennedy did give her some wedding gifts. He paid for an expensive dress, which he wanted to see on her first (Ed: and presumably had sex with her after the modelling. I imagine Tony would have appreciated that as well.), two gold and diamond dress pins, and a signed photo of himself (Skittles man).

Alford found out about the assassination whilst on a weekend away with Fahnstock. Initially she was able to maintain her composure, but later in the evening, when the two of them where alone and watching television, she saw the President's coffin being lowered from Air Force one in the company of an close aid of the dead president, an aid whom she knew well. Suddenly she began sobbing violently. Fahnestock was perplexed by her response;

"What's happening to you?" he said.
"There's something I have to tell you."
"The President........"
"What?" He interrupted.
"It's more than you think......"
"I'm not as innocent as you think"
"There's a reason why I quit school"
"You have to let me finish please."
I stopped crying and tried to gather my thoughts.
"I was closer to him......"
"What are you telling me-that you slept with President Kennedy?"
I don't know how he made the leap from my distress to my infidelity but I nodded yes, relieved that I didn't have to say the words out loud.
Then Tony's tone shifted into a harsh interrogation.
"Since when?" he asked.
"Last year."
"Even after you met me?"
I nodded.
"Even after we were engaged?"
I nodded again.
"How many time?"
"I don't know. A lot."
Then there was silence.

Oswald's bullet had tore a hole into Fahnestock's heart.

(Passages quoted from the book have been done so on the "fair use" provisions of copyright)