Sex Economics

The idea that we predominantly treat sex as though it’s a marketplace is just a theoretical construct, an assumption.

Their theory of economics and transactions within a sexual marketplace doesn’t parallel the theory of the labor market. The fact that both parties are at least somewhat motivated by sexual desire, that mutuality, doesn’t fit in with how exchanges and transactions are usually conceptualized.

In sex, both parties are demanding and supplying at the same time. In economic transactions those are mutually exclusive, independent positions.

It’s quite telling that Baumeister and Vohs use the idea of men having higher sex drives as what puts men and women on different sides of the bargaining table of sex transactions. If you’re going to think about people’s costs and benefits for a sex transaction, the difference in COST of production of sex for women is a major factor. But they say the difference is in the DEMAND being stronger for the product than the demand the “producers” have for their own product? Stupid.

It’s like, yes, cultural practices and ideologies are what has spread through generations. But that’s cultural evolution, social forces. Our genetic code would not have changed quickly enough to account for humans in the past several centuries. Millions and millions of years would be needed and i just don’t buy that those “ancient” things are more responsible than historical sociocultural things.

ALSO. Evolutionarily… men didn’t have viagra. They had a childbearing wall too, just with more flexibility and sure, later in life deadline. So this complicates the investment thing.

Sexual strategies related to investment? Yes, that’s D Bss. Baumeister describes evo psych’s approach to sexuality as resting on “reproductive contingencies.” (Competing for love paper)

The focus of sexual economics theory applies the logic and principles of economic marketplaces to the onset of sexual intercourse among heterosexual couples. The core idea is that women are the sellers and men are the buyers. This starts with the abundant evidence that ‘‘everywhere sex is understood to be something females have that males want” (Symons, 1979, p. 253).”

BUT that rests on the assumption that women DON’T want the sex men have, and that’s patently false. Just because men want what women have more than women want what men have, doesn’t mean the “buyers and sellers” are so easily determined, black and white like that.

Hence sexual economics theory begins with the assumption that female sexuality has exchange value, whereas male sexuality does not.

IDK about this. Male sexuality has zero exchange value to heterosexual women? Sex is a domain of life, it’s part of biology, sociology… something LIFE AND SOCIAL. It’s the 3rd part of the human condition– basic survival needs, love, and sex. All three include the body, mind, soul. Spirit. Whatever makes us human.

They go on to say “Men cannot trade sex for other benefits” so is this something that uniquely women can do? I feel like this is a reasonable argument. I need evidence of the contrary! I somehow feel this is related to the assumption that “women have the power” (Because the man typically wants sex more than the woman, she has a power advantage. According to the ‘‘principle of least interest,” the person who desires something less has greater control and can demand that the other (more desirous) person sweeten the deal by offering additional incentives or concessions (Waller & Hill, 1951).) But I’m not sure how. I just feel like these assumptions rest on the fact that we live in an even playing field, where women have as much opportunity to be buyers or demanders. I feel like that patriarchy means women have been subjugated, and therefore never allowed the chance to help shape the marketplace? Not sure.

Also, women have learned through culture that their value to men is their sex. Does the current sexual landscape have more to do with the fact that men’s sexuality doesn’t have exchange value the way women’s does, or that men have valued women for their sex only and men, being the owners and operators of society, have always been valued as full human people to women. If our society tells us men do things and women are looked at, and have a primary purpose to please men, then of course we have a sexual “marketplace” if that’s what you want to call it. I call if a sexual landscape that is the product of a long running, deeply rooted patriarchal society in which women have only recently (relatively speaking) begun scratching and clawing to gain equal footing. 

RB would probably say that if women NATURALLY had stronger sex drives, maybe they would have started to run society. Idk. Based on the book that the link above reviews.

i just dont view sex as a [limited] resource. maybe i do view it as a resource but a renewable one- like energy, love, creativity, art….

“Evidence suggests that many women’s sexual desire is limited to begin with and drops off sharply as soon as she settles into a committed relationship (e.g., Arndt, 2009; Baumeister et al., 2001; Hakim, 2015; Kontula, 2015). We shall return to this problem later.”

you’re fucking blind. sorry your masculinity so fragile

“It should hardly be controversial that women compete to look sexually attractive to men. Women have long sought to use clothing, jewelry, and makeup to enhance their attractiveness. They also select clothing that shows off their bodies, in order to attract men. In a field study at a disco, Grammer, Renninger, and Fischer (2004) found that the more motivated women were in terms of seeking sexual partners, the more skin they displayed. They noted that women were aware of altering their garb for purposes of attracting men. Durante, Li, and Haselton (2008) found that women showed up to the laboratory wearing more sexually revealing clothing when they were close to the most fertile segment of the menstrual cycle (when presumably the biological impetus to compete for”

Okay but we live in a society in which women are primarily valued for and judged by their sexual appeal based on hetero male criteria. ANd you’re forgetting all about the sociocultural norms that come from patriarchal capitalism for these things. Of course they would probaby take the view that the norms we have must be here for a “naturally occuring reason” a la, if things were meant to be different, they would be. Ugh. Power corrupts what is the natural. There is no such thing as inherent or the default. Everyhting is shaped socioculturally.

“Here’s the invisible elephant in Baumeister and Vohs’s world:  The fact that women give birth to children.   The piece I write about in this series almost pretends that children don’t exist.  No, they are not one possible consequence of intercourse, and no, they in no way ever handicapped women who wanted to be artists, composers, generals or stateswomen.  It’s mind-boggling when you think about it, that omission.

Yet the fact that women are the sex which gives birth, combined with no good access to contraception, is probably the most significant historical reason why women have not participated in the public sphere to the same extent as men have.  It is also one of the central reasons for the exclusion of women from many public sector institutions:  The desire to guarantee that the reproduction of the next generation would take place, together with traditional views on how to accomplish that task.”

bold mine.

More from after talking with MeKenna about asexuality & intimacy

SET starts from the assumption that sex is a resource, a good, and also from basic assumptions about economic marketplaces, such as supply & demand.

What is my assumption about sex from the perspective of “sex as a musical jam”? What do we call the music, art, products of creative collaboration? Under what field do art, music, dance, improv comedy all reside? Idk. They’re all creative collaborations that mutually constitute or create something organic and intimate… I was talking with Kenna about the intimate sphere or domain. If there is a mutual motivation or shared goal? Idk, that seems reductive. Shared responsibility in supply and demand?


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