Sex is Strategic. So Should You Be.

“Here’s what he wants:  to have sex with you. 

Here’s what you want:  to be courted, adored, wooed, admired, listened to, understood, wooed some more, forgiven for your foibles, your little peccadilloes, chased, called, pleaded with, cared for, kissed, loved and to have great sex. 

You see the problem here?  We want more stuff than they want.” 

Jamie Callan   

Hooking Up or Holding Out:  The Smart Girl’s Guide to Driving Men Crazy and/or Finding True Love

 

Today’s hookup culture is the product of a variety of “market forces” that have created a relationship between the supply and demand for sex that provides few benefits for women.  There is a power imbalance because men want a ton of casual sex, and women are supplying a ton of casual sex.  But women aren’t getting what they want in return.  Women want relationships, and men are withholding relationships.  So why are women acting against their own interests?

Mating, romance, love and sex are all inherently strategic.  Humans have always developed strategies to achieve success in mating.  Men and women prefer different sexual strategies by nature, but both will employ the full range of strategies when market conditions demand it.  Today women are helping to execute the strategy that is preferred by men.  They don’t like it much, but, in effect, market conditions demand it.

In thinking about how girls can approach the dilemma to shift things a bit, I found myself thinking as a professional strategy consultant.  Could the strategic planning process used to solve business problems be applied here to the hooking up scene?   As a tool, it enables us to systematically evaluate the dating marketplace and craft strategies to help you succeed.  When we’re through you will understand what you’re up against and how to maximize your chances of success.

Working with large organizations to formulate a strategic plan includes several important steps:

I.  Understanding the Environment

  • What does the environment look like?

Perform a marketplace assessment.

  • Where are the challenges and opportunities? 

Describe the problems and/or opportunities confronting the organization.

  • What do you want?

Identify the strategic objective.

II.  Formulating a Strategy to Solve the Problem

  • What is your product?

Design the product offering.

  • Who’s the end user of your product?

Specify your target market.

  • Who are your competitors?

Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the competition.

III.  Executing Your Strategy to Achieve Your Objective

  • Create demand.

Educate the consumer.

  • Sell the product.

Establish targets and craft the approach.

  • Advertise and demonstrate product advantages.

Communicate unique benefits and package the product for maximum sales appeal.

  • Distribute your product.

Make the product available.

IV.  Sustaining Success

  • Ensure client satisfaction.

Provide follow-up customer service.

  • Respond to changes in market conditions.

Incorporate market feedback.

 

We’re going to journey through the strategic planning cycle together.  Piece by piece, we will systematically figure out the challenges you face in the hookup culture.  Then we’ll create a winning strategy to overcome those obstacles so that you can get the relationship you want. Most importantly, I’ll show you how to execute that strategy.  You will feel inspired and empowered once you have been furnished with the tools to change your life!  So stay tuned; the next post in this series will take a closer look at how we got into this mess.  You’ll learn some interesting things about DNA, the 1960s, the media, demographics, and technology as they apply to relationships.


  • BKOsuper

    The theme is opened completely and very actual! Thanks the author of a blog!
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  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Thank you so much! Check back often – I try to have fresh and interesting content updates several times a week.

  • http://FT.com/ VJ

    Geez, it's so nice and logically well laid out as a fine marketing plan. But I'm weeping here. Most of us cannot be 'mass marketed'. Most really shouldn't (other than actors & performers etc). Most of us are in markets we do not understand, and can not compete 'well in'. Further, many of us will not willing see ourselves as a 'product' or bend to the demands of such a mindset. (That's left mainly for our work, K?) Most of us are the same 'product on offer' as ever, and mainly refuse to change. (I've been married for almost as long as you have, and we've not seen it here!) Worse, for some, most of this 'product' may be actually less available after marriage than before! There was nothing 'on sale', and everything was pretty 'cut rate' from the start. There was never any serious competition. (She still does not suffer fools gladly!)

    Neither were our prospective 'target markets' when we began dating. In 20+ years, she's been trying to 'educate' & train me, and I've got to say most dogs would come off better! I know HER. She knows Me. She does not know me as a 'product', nor I her. And if I suggested as such, I'd get smacked! We do not 'consume' one another. We Care for one & another. We learn together how to live & enjoy life together. She's irreplaceable. I can't find another remotely like her.

    Marketing? Perhaps not bad to think of for a date. Freshen up a bit. For Human Relations? One of the worst perspectives for love & Loving that was ever invented, IMHO. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    VJ, I agree with you here! Your wife sounds awesome, congrats. So glad to hear she does not suffer fools gladly, she probably has a lot of wisdom to share. Yup, marketing is about the date. About when to first have sex. The idea of marketing myself to my husband is preposterous. There is no place for marketing oneself in any real relationship, though I do think every one of us engages in marketing every time we share an idea or speak persuasively.

  • http://FT.com/ VJ

    Well that's fine, but whenever anyone's making a 'persuasive argument' about themselves, I naturally get suspicious! That sounds pretty political too. And more 'gamesmanship'. And over all? Too slow for most perhaps. Me? The way I did it to try and discern simple compatibility was through questions. A constant stream of very fast questions. This would be way before any considerations of 'hooking up', but again we're also talking about a different age too.

    So Humans as a product? Always needed to be tested to my mind. Was she/he intelligent enough to hang with me? That was it. Most were found wanting, but she did just fine. Still does.

    I enjoy the writing, but the marketing thing/angle needs more work. If you're just talking about a 'dating' context' (or even introducing dating vs hooking up) perhaps that needs to be set out more explicitly. And even then, you can only go so far with the metaphor. Presenting the best possible image? Possible. Even much of the time. But 'hiding' your true self or your essential nature? Most would consider that deceptive. The rest might fall under the rubric of 'good manners' too, which has ever been a lost cause in America. But thanks for your reply. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    Haha, VJ, you are wearing me out! You are playing some serious hooky! I actually really, really appreciate all of your thoughtful criticism. I agree with you about many of the points you've raised re the weak points of my arguments. I enjoy the debate. And I also agree that hiding one's true self or essential nature would be deceptive, as well as depressing. Good manners in America a lost cause? Yup, I'm afraid you're right, we're rough around the edges. But we're open and direct, and I think that counts for something, no? Are you a Brit with a stiff upper lip?

  • http://FT.com/ VJ

    No, I'm American, but I'm playing serious hooky. You would too if you had to do an economics column delayed by a month or so, and containing a side note on the irreversibility of the destruction of the Gold Standard. This is much more light hearted! Thanks again for your notes, Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    Oh man, I didn't know I was talking to an economist! Yikes, no wonder you have strong opinions on the supply and demand stuff. I knew there was a reason I felt like I was defending my thesis…

  • AnOminous

    Wow, ten points for reducing the motivations of the male gender to the simple act of casual f*cking… Good luck finding a mate in your “meat market”.

  • susanawalsh

    Unfortunately, luck isn't gonna get the job done, and that's exactly the point.

  • AnOminous

    Wow, ten points for reducing the motivations of the male gender to the simple act of casual f*cking… Good luck finding a mate in your “meat market”.

  • susanawalsh

    Unfortunately, luck isn't gonna get the job done, and that's exactly the point.

  • Rebecca

    I think you're gendering this problem too much. Some women want casual sex with no relationship, some men want casual sex with no relationship. Some men want relationships, some women want relationships. I have known many people from both category and have been in both myself at different times in my life. Both are fulfilling in different ways.

    It is a bit insulting to men to generalise, like you have, and say “here's what he wants: to have sex with you.” People go into relationships for a variety of different reasons and you cannot determine which simply by whether they have a penis or a vagina.

    Many of the tips you have on this website are fine, but you are held back by your reluctance to treat people as, well, people, rather than men and women who fit neatly into gendered boxes.

    Good luck!

  • susanawalsh

    Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for leaving a comment. Yes, perhaps I have made this too clearcut. I wrote it in response to the very real dissatisfaction of the part of so many women who want relationships and can't have them. Like you, I have been through phases where I wanted a serious relationship, and other times when I just wanted casual sex. However, overall, and the research is very clear on this, women are far more oriented towards relationships than men are, particularly in the college years. Because physical intimacy precedes emotional intimacy when hooking up, many woman go along to get along, hoping to establish a relationship, only to find they've been “pumped and dumped” yet again. It's the misery of women I'm seeking to alleviate here.

    The quote you object to is actually by Jamie Callan, who wrote a book on the hookup culture. Obviously, I wouldn't have quoted her if I didn't agree with her, though. Again, studies show that men are far more interested in casual sex, including sex with strangers, than women are. They also desire and have more sexual partners. In short, they have a different biological imperative than women do. It's not surprising to see that play out. Of course there are individual differences. But it really is possible to speak generally about the sexes here. At any given time, there are far, far more women discouraged by the lack of available relationships than women enjoying having no-strings sex

    • Michael

      Again, studies show that men are far more interested in casual sex, including sex with strangers, than women are. They also desire and have more sexual partners. In short, they have a different biological imperative than women do.

      This difference creates a lot of unneeded tension.

      If only there was a way to eliminate this difference…

  • VeriSeeker

    I think that the principal assumption underlying this whole thing is wrong: men don’t want just sex and sex only. Men want many of the same things that women want (i.e. to be wooed, to be listened to, to be forgiven…ect.). Perhaps if women took the time to learn about men and what we actually want (not what they assume we want) the world would be a happier place, divorces would be down, committed relationships would be up – all the things women claim they want.