What is 'golden penis syndrome'? Expert alleges men ruining romance for women

Short supply of male college students has led to 'dastardly dating practices' says expert, allege men take advantage of imbalance in sex ratio

                            What is 'golden penis syndrome'? Expert alleges men ruining romance for women
Single New Yorkers chat during a HurryDate speed dating event on May 28, 2003, in New York City (Representative image by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Men are ruining dating and romance for women because they are "in short supply and high demand" one expert has revealed. In fact, the issue has become so commonplace it even has its own name, 'Golden penis syndrome' or GPS. It has now made its way to our lexicon thanks to journalist Jon Birger, who said men have an "inflated ego" because there are more women in college.

The complexities of the modern world have radically changed how people date and find love. Digital media has also seen a drop in the number of Americans engaging in sex. At the same time, there's also been a sharp increase in sexual harassment and rape, made worse by the fact women are more likely to be victim-blamed. Amidst all this, there's the challenge of the pandemic, that left people locked indoors and unable to date for a year.


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As if all that wasn't bad enough, it appears women now have another challenge to deal with - golden penis syndrome. Birger summed it up as a set of "dastardly dating practices" that ruin romance for women, because of men's ego. The reason? It all has to do with the sex ratio in higher education.

A young woman walks past a billboard advertisement for the dating app Tinder on February 18, 2019, in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


What is Golden penis syndrome?

The term itself was reportedly coined by frustrated female students at Sarah Lawrence College in upstate New York. It was then popularized by Birger through his book 'Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game'. Basically, the term GPS is used to describe bad dating practices like ghosting, stringing women along, and cheating. It can also encompass a lack of effort to dress up, or even in their sexual performance.

The issue leads men to become "accidental casanovas", with the "delusional belief that you are unusually and uniquely gifted as a man, sexually or otherwise, and are above-established norms of good manners, respect, and dating etiquette," according to Relationship therapist Charisse Cooke. Briger said, "We're seeing a generation of young men who think they're Adam Driver or Michael B Jordan.  Of course, it's not about them."

Birger goes on to note that the syndrome drives a lax hookup culture, that is leading to a declining marriage rate amongst the college-educated. It's not all to be blamed on ego though, Birger added that "If a guy is getting a lot of attention from women, he's going to think he's deserving of all that attention. It's human nature. When women get a lot of attention from men, some women think they're special too."

A young couple is seen walking their pet dog on June 29, 2021, in Perth, Australia. (Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)


What's the cause?

If you are wondering why this exists, Birger points the blame solely on the sex ratio of men and women in higher education. "The dating culture tends to be more monogamous when men are in oversupply. But when men are in undersupply, the dating culture becomes less monogamous — men are more likely to treat women as sex objects and treat relationships as disposable," he said. 

The issue isn't a new one, sex ratios have drastically changed over the past several decades. "1981 was the last time that four-year colleges in the US graduated more men than women. Ever since women have been leaving men in the educational dust," Birger noted. A 2021 study found that only 40.5% of college students were male, which means that they are in extremely short supply on campuses. 

GPS isn't just reserved for colleges though, Birger believes it can also translate to the workplace. "Because of the way the math works, Golden Penis Syndrome probably affects men in their 30s and 40s more than those in their 20s," he said. It's the reason "we all know so many fabulous women in their 30s and 40s who cannot seem to find a decent guy," he added. In fact, Birger calls men who have never married by that age "unmarriageable".

"Especially the better-looking ones with good jobs. These men are having too much fun playing the field. And the longer they stay single, the less interested they are in getting married or settling down with one woman. I’d go so far to call a lot of them unmarriageable," he said. He also offered some advice to tackle the issue, telling women, "to be assertive and to make the first move with the men of their choice. Fact is men like women who like them. Also, a man is much less likely to take advantage of a woman who puts herself out there."

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