The Economics of Sex

A brilliant video showing who has the power in today’s dating and mating power dynamics, and why, from The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

Hint: Women have power in the short game but men do in the long game (marriage). And we can thank the pill and online dating for those shifts in the power balance. Depending on your view, that’s either awesome or scary. Your view probably corresponds with your gender and current relationship status….

All the info is backed up by science, and you can find the links to the various studies and papers here:

  • Mating Market Dynamics, Sex-Ratio Imbalances, and Their Consequences. By Mark Regnerus.
  • Sexual Economics: Sex as Female Resource for Social Exchange in Heterosexual Interactions. By Fory F. Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs.
  • Online Dating: Does Where You Meet Matter? By The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.
  • Why Young Men Have the Upper Hand in Bed, Even When They’re Failing In Life. By Mark Regnerus.
  • An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States. By George A. Akerlof, Janet L. Yellen, Michael L. Katz.



4 thoughts on “The Economics of Sex

  1. Having sex is a lot less of an investment than several hundred thousand dollars isn’t it? It seems like traditional thinking that fewer sexual partners is a bad thing. But if everyone’s being safe, consensual, and enjoying it, then I don’t understand the problems. The chances of properly used contraception and protection resulting in STDs or pregnancy is far less than the chances of a marriage resulting in divorce. That’s my take on it at least, but I’m a guy.

    • You’re absolutely right. For women and men who just want to enjoy casual relationships, then there’s no problem. But the problem arises when women want to get married and/or have babies (which is something of increasing concern to nations who need new generations to keep the economy going – for example, check out the concerns of Japan and other developed nations). Women are increasingly faced with the decision of going at it alone with having and raising kids, or getting married for a short period of time. There’s no longer the incentive of men to get and stay married. So the consequences of that societal change are much bigger and broader than we often realize. Interesting stuff, right?!

    • That seems to be emerging view of younger generations, where consensual sex is something to be enjoyed, not counted. However, it’s interesting how culture and biology still can combine to create some pretty long lasting perceptions of desirable partners.

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