Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The value of women's sex in the romantic marketplace

This is from an article by Baumeister and Vohs (Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2004) in which they apply economic principles of supply and demand to the romantic marketplace.

They state that "a heterosexual community can be analyzed as a marketplace in which men seek to acquire sex from women by offering other resources in exchange." The question then becomes what effects the value of the sex offered by women. Here are their answers:
Assumptions of the romantic marketplace
- In general, men want sex more than women want
- In general, men have resources women want
- Women are free to make sexual decisions
- The man and woman live in a culture in which information about others' sexual activities is known or hinted about, so that each person knows the current market price

Factors that decrease a woman's market value
- Woman's age is past young adulthood
- Woman is unattractive
- Other women also want the man (competition)
- Woman has high drive sexual drive
- Man has much higher status than the woman
- Woman lacks alternate access to resources
- Woman has had many prior sexual partners or has the reputation of having had many - partners
- Larger pool of women than men (supply exceeds demand)
- Permissive sexual norms (low market price)
- Men have easy access to pornography or prostitutes (low-cost substitutes)

Factors that increase a woman's market value

- Woman is attractive
- Woman is in young adulthood
- Woman wears sexually attractive clothing
- Other men also want the woman (competition)
- Man has high drive sexual drive
- Woman has had few or no prior sexual partners, or has the reputation of having few or no partners
- Larger pool of men than women (demand exceeds supply)
- Female collusion to restrict men's ual access to women (monopolistic manipulation)
- Men have few opportunities for sexual satisfaction
Two questions
Do you think this is accurate?

If so, do you think this is moral?
(Thanks Mark for the article!)


Anonymous said...

I think you're trying too hard to keep from going back to that NC-17 rating. Either that or Personality and Social Psychology Review has really bad copyediting. For example:

"Men have easy access to ography or s"

"Woman wears y clothing"

"Woman is in young hood"

Brad Wright said...

That's pretty funny... we have a filter on the computer at home, and it deletes R-rated words. Didn't notice that.