Yesterday the New York post ran an opinion piece entitled Cheap Dates: How the Price of Sex Has Dropped to Record Lows. Though the article doesn’t reveal new research, it brings sexual economics into the mainstream, and it’s caused many ripples around the webz. It’s sobering and jaw-dropping, especially when you think about all the good folks who will read it despite little interest in the topic of hooking up. Of course, I welcome the conversation, and am totally on board with the article.
Women are jumping into the sack faster and with fewer expectations about long-term commitments than ever, effectively discounting the “price” of sex to a record low, according to social psychologists.
More than 25% of young women report giving it up within the first week of dating.
Kathleen Vohs, a professor at the University of Minnesota who co-authored a recent paper on sexual economics with Roy Baumeister, sums it up this way:
The price of sex is about how much one party has to do in order to entice the other into being sexual. It might mean buying her a drink or an engagement ring. These behaviors vary in how costly they are to the man, and that is how we quantify the price of sex.
The NY Post:
By boiling dating down to an economic model, researchers have found that men are literally getting lots of bang for their buck. Women, meanwhile, are getting very little tat for their . . . well, you get the idea.
Sex is so cheap that researchers found a full 30% of young men’s sexual relationships involve no romance at all — no wooing, dating, goofy text messaging. Nothing. Just sex.
Men want sex more than women do. It’s a fact that sounds sexist and outdated. But it is a fact all the same...With gender equality, the Pill and the advent of Internet porn, women’s control of the meet market has been butchered.
With an imbalanced sex ratio [on college campuses], women are using hookups to compete with other women for men’s affections. Once they get out of school, the pool of successful, educated men also is imbalanced, and the bed-hopping continues.
Regnerus likens the price of sex to the housing market. Too many foreclosures in one community, and the price of neighboring homes start to plummet. This is why single women in New York sometimes feel as though sex on the first date is a given: According to the market, it is.
“Every sex act is part of a ‘pricing’ of sex for subsequent relationships,” Regnerus said. “If sex has been very easy to get for a particular young man for many years and over the course of multiple relationships, what would eventually prompt him to pay a lot for it in the future — that is, committing to marry?”
Did you answer, “Love”? You’re adorable.
“Sexual strategies for making men ‘fall in love’ typically backfire, because men don’t often work like that,” Regnerus says.
It’s little wonder that the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds who are married has shrunk by an average of 1% each year this past decade — down to 46% now. Single women have been catching on, but those who don’t discount sex say they can’t seem to get anyone to “pay” their higher price.
Vox Day at Alpha Game points out that this news is bound to be unwelcome for the men not getting any action in this fire sale:
I’m not sure this news is going to cheer up the deltas, gammas, and omegas of the world. Failure is bad enough, but failure when success has never been easier throughout the course of human history really tends to indicate that you’re not going about it properly.
Back to the NY Post:
So, what can women do to return the balance of sexual power in their favor? Stop putting out, experts say. If women collectively decided to cross their legs, the price of sex would soar and women would regain control of the market. Like a whoopie cartel.
Women in less egalitarian countries do tend to restrict sex as a means of keeping the cost high. This makes sense when women have no access to education and employment. But in the US, it would take a major cultural movement for women to convince each other to say no to nookie.
“Let’s be realistic: It’s not going to happen here,” Regnerus says. “Women don’t really need men and marriage — economically, socially, and culturally — like they once did. What I hear in interviews with women is plenty of complaining about men or about the dating scene, but their annoyance is seldom directed at other women.
Stuart Schneiderman, in Love on the Cheap at Had Enough Therapy? acknowledges that a whoopie cartel isn’t realistic, which is a shame, because it really is the only solution; women policing women:
The research raises an important point that needs to be underscored. In a marketplace your behavior does not just affect you. It affects all other participants in the market.
When a group of participants bands together to lower the price of its merchandise, this affects all other market participants. Many other merchants will discover that they have a choice between matching the low price or closing up shop.
The solution is for women to band together and withhold their sexual favors, to pull a Lysistrata.
Women have unique psychological cues. Irresistibility and adorability are feelings a woman has about herself that influence her self-esteem.
I think there is really a 3-leg effect occurring here in the way guys respond and promiscuity in and of itself is the least relevant:1. Promiscuity2. The discriminatory price of sex charged3. Deception by either flat-out lying or omission
3>2>1 in terms of how much it damages the guy’s ability to commit to you.
If I were single today, and I met a girl and had sex with her on date 2 or date 3, and early in our relationship found out she had slept with 20 guys but otherwise she was an awesome woman, I think I would really try hard to work through any misgivings. I really do.
Now, if I have to date her for 3-6 months to finally have sex, put in a ton of time and commitment, prove my “worthiness” and then I find out she had a bunch of one-night stands and sex on dates 1, 2, 3, then I feel like a chump. Basically, in a nutshell, your sexual attractiveness must not hold a candle to all these guys she fucked right away. I think you actually nailed it when you made the comment that it feels kind of like a minor cuckolding.
The most serious is the deception. I suspect for 99.9% of guys this is the deal-breaker they cannot get beyond. And omission is basically the same as lying in this regard once the subject is brought up. I think, “What if my girlfriend told me today she hadn’t been with 4 guys but actually 30 before me?” I would be DEVASTATED. It would literally break my heart into a ton of pieces, but I would know I couldn’t put a ring on her finger and commit to her for the rest of my life.
Blogger Rollo Tomassi at Rational Male (#2 hat tip to Mike C) recently went further and admonished men not to wait for sex:
When a woman makes you wait for sex you are not her highest priority. Sexuality is spontaneous chemical reaction between two parties, not a process of negotiation. It’s sex first, then relationship, not the other way around. A woman who wants to fuck you will find a way to fuck you….The girl who tells you she needs to be comfortable and wants a relationship first is the same girl who fucked the hot guy in the foam cannon party in Cancun on spring break just half an hour after meeting him.
…If you’re still trying to figure out what the magic words are to convince some girl that she ought fuck you after 3 dates – or longer – you’re in desire negotiation hearings, counselor. You are wasting your time and limiting your opportunity with better prospective women in waiting out a woman who would defer less than 100% of her real desire to have sex with you. The sex will NEVER be worth the wait.
…If she’s perceiving your value as as high as it should be, she wont hesitate longer than a few dates to become sexual – and she certainly wont tell you she’s making you wait. Hypergamy doesn’t afford a woman much waiting time with a man she sees as superior stock.
…If a woman, point blank says, “I’m not having sex with you until X,Y, and Z happens”, what is her MEDIUM telling you? That there is a precondition that’s more important to her than fucking you with genuine, uncontrollable passion.You want her to be so into you that she’s willing to break the rules. The ideal situation is for her genuine passion to be so uncontrollable for you that she’d renounce her religion and throw her convictions to the wind to be with you.
This is a lot to think about. I recently explained how men want a woman to be easy to get – selectively. That is, easy for him, hard for every other guy.
Women who don’t want to go the slutty route are up against it today. On one hand, the number of men willing to invest time and resources for sex is rapidly dwindling. On the other, men are reluctant to commit to sluts.