atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2574: Sexual economics

Ace of Spades has an excellent post on the economics of sexual mores.

Small wonder feminists are all socialists if they think men want sex to be socioeconomically expensive.

Everything that has happened in the sexual revolution--everything, from free access to contraceptives to abortion on demand, "free love", the decline of marriage, the end of the expectation of chastity, all of it--has benefitted men. Even though nearly all of it has been sold as being "liberating" for women, all it's really done is reduce women to the status of sex objects--exactly what it was supposed to be fixing.

Here's a quote from the article Ace links to:
Jill, a 20-year-old college student from Texas, is one of the many young women my colleagues and I interviewed who finds herself confronting the sexual market's realities. Startlingly attractive and an all-star in all ways, she patiently endures her boyfriend's hemming and hawing about their future. If she were operating within a collegiate sexual economy that wasn't oversupplied with women, men would compete for her and she would easily secure the long-term commitment she says she wants. Meanwhile, Julia, a 21-year-old from Arizona who's been in a sexual relationship for two years, is frustrated by her boyfriend's wish to "enjoy the moment and not worry about the future." Michelle, a 20-year-old from Colorado, said she is in the same boat: "I had an ex-boyfriend of mine who said that, um, he didn't know if he was ever going to get married because, he said, there's always going to be someone better." If this is "the end of men," someone really ought to let them know.
Welcome to the laws of supply and demand: commonly available goods are not as expensive as highly-rationed ones.

In this society, men don't have to work for sex. They don't have to woo and court to get it; half the time all they really need to do is project a sufficient aura of alpha maleness to get a woman in the sack.

As high a value as women place on male fidelity, they are cavalier about their own: if they see a man they like better, they'll drop their current relationship in a heartbeat and "commitment" be damned. Sooner or later this works against them, though, as no one remains young and beautiful forever. Men can woo younger women; women have trouble wooing younger men, particularly for any relationship involving long-term commitment. (The myth of the "cougar" is just that. There are some older women who can attract young men; but the young men don't hang around long and these women are in a very, very tiny minority.)

Couple that with no-fault divorce and a system of divorce courts which inevitably award the woman a sizable fraction of the man's economic output. She can end the marriage when she wants and automatically receive continued monetary support from the man. If they have children, she gets even more money from him, at least until the youngest kid reaches 18, and the court doesn't care if the man can support himself on what's left of his income.

All this means that marriage is a serious risk for the man, with few benefits; if he chooses the wrong mate, he essentially becomes an indentured servant to the woman. There is no downside for the woman.

Economically speaking, it makes the price of commitment unacceptably high for men in general. In this society, men no longer have to marry to have sex; they can get all the sex they want just by acting the right way and saying the right things. Because they can obtain the benefits of commitment without actually committing, why on earth would they commit? It makes no sense to.

The situation does not favor women, for all that they are desperately trying to convince themselves that it does. There is a tradeoff in everything; while these women have won the ability to go their own way, to live without men in their lives, they have also foregone the benefits that went with the old societal norms. Commitment is that much harder for them to secure because commitment no longer has any benefit whatsoever for the man. Particularly not when the man can easily bypass the woman who says "not until marriage" and go out with the woman who says "not until after this drink".

Yes, it's ironic; but this kind of thing frequently is. "Be careful what you wish for" is a common aphorism for a reason.
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