An awesome question: what is 'mojo' and can you have too much?

Here’s an awesome question (plus a friendly trigger warning to go with the answer – discussion of relationship violence):

Can women/transwomen “sense” a man’s sexual ‘MOJO (“riz-in”)’; and is it possible to give off a natural, uncontrollable vibe that’s too hot and heavy for average people? This is a serious question.

To which the only honest answer must be:

I don’t even know how science would go about measuring that.

Let’s think systematically about how you could operationalize “mojo,” so that you could study it scientifically. How do you measure it? How do you select participants with “high” mojo?

Do we measure it behaviorally, like people who have lots of sex with lots of different people? That won’t work, since number of partners doesn’t necessarily tell us how many of those partners were fully consenting and fully satisfied – and if the question is “Is there too much?” then those would be people who DON’T necessarily have much sex because it’s overwhelming.

Do we measure it hormonally? People with, say, high testosterone for their sex?

Do we measure it by self-report? “On a scale of 1-5, how high is your mojo?” That seems like the most promising place to start, and then we can begin to look for behavioral, hormonal, or psychological correlates, in an effort to describe what “mojo” is actually made of.

As a basic starting point, I’m inclined to think of “mojo” as “charm” or “nearly universal attractiveness,” the people you are just drawn to right away, whose smile you can’t resist. In terms of the dual control model, it’s a personal energy that BOTH “turns on the ons” and “turns off the offs” – it’s excitingly novel and attractive (hitting the sexual accelerator), while also inspiring trust, relaxation, and self-confidence (easing off the brakes).

Which is sort of the opposite of “too hot and heavy,” right? “Mojo,” in my mind, is by definition, “just warm enough and just weighty enough,” like a gravitational pull toward a fluffy down duvet. If it puts people off, it’s not mojo.


The more I think about this, the more I’m inclined to add this one comment:

As a woman with a stalker in her (distant) past, the concept of man with “a natural, uncontrollable vibe that is too hot and heavy” is not distinguishable from “a predator vibe.” I – like many women with histories relationship violence or sexual trauma – have quite a sensitive radar for people’s “vibe.”

What activates any particular person’s “predator” detector will be different depending on the person’s experience with predation, but it’s not stuff like “hair color” or “body type,” it’s stuff like “he crosses my physical boundaries and invades my space,” or “he didn’t back off when I said no.” And yes, sometimes I can tell without having to interact with someone directly – a guy across the room who makes inappropriate eye contact with the people he’s around, who crosses other people’s boundaries

The guy who would go from being my “boyfriend” to being my stalker? My roommate at the time could not be in the house while he was there. She could just tell he was creepy and gross. I didn’t know what his “vibe” meant. I had to learn. I did, when he called in the middle of the night, told me what he read in my email, and threatened to kill me.