If there is one thing Americans have unrestricted access to regardless of gender, race, socio-economic status, age, or education, it’s sex.
It wasn’t a shocker to me when University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus said in a Washington Times article last week that the price of sex today is pretty low. Whereas men (allegedly) used to have to promise women marriage in exchange for sex, birth control allowed women to enter the sexual market with the same indiscretion as men. Now both genders bask freely in the sexual market before walking down the aisle.
So what’s the problem? If you ask men on college campuses and in urban cities, there isn’t one. Because these sexual markets are dominated by women, men can decide how much (or how little) they will exchange for sex because for every woman who decides that she wants to hold out, there are plenty more who are willing to put out. It’s the rule of supply and demand.
But while women have power when they are the minority in the sex market, allowing them to decide just how high the “cost” of sex will be for a man, women lose power as they enter their 30s—the marriage market—where women also outnumber men. Hence, Regnerus says that women “underestimate the long-term risk of sex-market behavior.”
While the underlying notion here is not to put the cart before the horse (or why buy the cow when you’ve already got the milk, et cetera, et cetera), saving oneself for marriage is seen as a high-risk strategy. Using an interesting analogy, Regnerus says, “You can’t just decide that your house is worth $500,000 if everyone else is getting $200,000. … You can try for that price, but it’s unlikely you will get it.” Well then.
This little tidbit reminded me of a conversation I had with a guy friend some time back about women feeling pressure to have sex with a man before they are in a committed relationship, and the elimination of true dating in today’s society. His solution: “Why don’t all women just get together and make a pact to stop opening their legs before a man makes a commitment to them.”
I don’t know if the proper word is unfortunately, ironically, or oddly enough, but nevertheless, the Washington Times article comes to the same conclusion: “If women were more in charge of how their romantic relationships transpired … we would be seeing greater male investment in relationships, more impressive wooing efforts, fewer hookups, fewer premarital sexual partners … shorter cohabitations, more marrying … and more marrying at a slightly earlier age. In other words, the price of sex would be higher. It would cost men more to access it.”
In some ways I agree with this advice, but I think it’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow, as all of the onus is placed on women. It suggests women have to sacrifice their sexual desires for the seemingly greater good—getting a man to commit. While it may be worthwhile to forgo ones desires to hit the sheets in the interest of getting a man to settle down, it is frustrating that no one asks men to control their sexual urges, settle down sooner, or become less promiscuous.
On the other hand, this friendly reminder speaks to the power of the p-u-s-s-y. The more in demand it is, the more power women have to require longer courtships and upfront commitments. Of course this article operates under the assumption that all women want to settle down, but with the majority of women—black, red, white, and yellow—expressing frustration about the lack of men stepping up to put a ring on it—and in a timely manner—perhaps this suggestion might warrant a second listen.
Still, even if a select few of us decide to put the kitty on lock, unless women present a unified front across the board, a man can always find sex elsewhere—hence the pressure most women feel to engage in sex sooner rather than later.
So, in navigating this messy arena of sexual economics, should women band together and raise the cost of sex?