July 09, 2014

Sex in Numbers: Why Waiting is NOT Manipulation - but a filtering process

Response to "Economics of Sex" and to other responses

"Making men wait" is a filtering process that protects women who do want relationships from men who just want to get laid. 

This post is a response to many posts about this video, and the video itself. Please watch first, read second.

Youtube/Austin Institute


Based on the post and/or the comments on the following posts | Why Women Should Make Men Wait For SexSex Is Not An 'Economy' And You Are Not Merchandise, and The 'Economics of Sex' Theory is Completely Wrong | it seems like this video has been seriously misinterpreted. While some of the points mentioned in the video are questionable (attributing lower marriage rates and marriage happening at later ages solely to the existence of contraception while ignoring variables such as: women's rights, the growing push toward economic equality for women) I feel that the overall point is valid. It isn't sexist - not quite. Perhaps it comes off that way because in an attempt to simplify it over simplifies at some points? But many of the responses I've read to this video seem to interpret it as an attack on women - as though it's encouraging women to stop exploring dating in a casual way in order to avoid the destruction of society - when overwhelmingly I feel like what this video is trying to do is to educate and protect women.

Let us explore some of the objections to "Economics of Sex"...

The "Economics of Sex" theory implies that men want sex more than women

Actually, it doesn't. 

What it does is imply that men tend to have different reasons for having sex than women do, and/or associate sex with different things. It says that men are motivated to have sex mostly for pleasure (agree), whereas women are more motivated by expressing and receiving love (agree), strengthening commitment (agree), affirming desirability (disagree), relationship security (agree/disagree). 
Bottom line: Men and women do not share the same motivation for having sex MOST of the time.

It doesn't mean that all women JUST want commitment and all men JUST want pleasure. Men are perfectly capable of wanting commitment and having sex to deepen a bond, and women are perfectly capable of having sex in a short-term, pleasure oriented fashion.

While the umbrella topic of the video talks about the effect that contraception has had on the dating market, it also address the issue that the genders do not always having equal footing in sex because they are not doing it for the same reasons or looking for the same things. I don't think this video is encouraging women to "go back" and be chaste in order to fix what casual sex has allegedly broken. I think it is cautioning women against assuming that sex means the same thing to a man that it means to her - especially early on.

The "Economics of Sex" theory is saying that the only thing of value that a women has to offer in a relationship is sex, and she should "price" it better and/or use it as a bartering chip.

No. In no way is this saying that all women have to offer up is their sexuality, nor is it encouraging using said sexuality in order to build a "trap".

The video talks about the dating market being split - on one side there are the "looking for a good time" people, and on the other side there are the "marriage minded" people. Supposedly there are more men looking for a good time than women, and more women looking for marriage than men. Thus, while women get to be more selective about sex, men get to be more selective about commitment. 

One objection to this was simply in the numbers - if there are more men looking for a short-term fuckathon than women, HOW could it be so easy for a man to get laid? If there are fewer women up for "no strings", how could it be so easy that it is destroying the dating game and causing the "value" of sex to drop tremendously. Shouldn't it be harder for men to just get laid if more women want relationships and less of them just want sex? It simply doesn't make sense. 

Ah, but it does. Here's the problem: Just because women are looking for a deeper commitment does not mean they will not have sex before/without said commitment. Men often assume that women are looking for relationships and know how to dangle the possibility of a future to get what they want in the present. Men playing the short game have so many options even though fewer women are interested in the short game because women with long term desires mistakenly participate in the short game without realizing it!

This is why I object to the statements that this video is claiming that women have become "slutty", and that sluttiness is ruining the dating market. No. No one is saying that. What it's saying is that women who are looking for long term relationships will likely have trouble finding one if they participate in short term activities. It is saying that women who want more are collectively receiving less because they 1 - expect less, and are 2 - willing to give more for less.

Now this video tries to focus on the "math" of things, and therefore oversimplifies this fact. Does sex on the first date ever lead to relationships? Sometimes - but this is the exception, not the rule. Do two people who are generally not promiscuous get into bed early and still retain respect for one another? Yes - but more often than not this isn't the case. 

Again, there is NOTHING wrong with having sex in the short-term if what you are looking for is a short-term situation. However, if you are looking for long-term, than it is not a good idea to have sex in the short-term. Why? Yes, the man you're seeing could have long-term intentions that having sex in the short-term will not change. But he could also have short-term intentions. 

There are two ways that you can figure out which he has. 

1 - give him what he wants in the short term (i.e.: sex) and see if he sticks around after he gets it. 

2 - allow some time to pass, allow short-term to become long-term and see if he sticks around without instant gratification. 

Option 1 will leave a long-term, commitment minded woman who values sex and her body feeling disappointed, used, and compromised if, after sex, he leaves. 

Option 2 will allow that woman to hold onto her values and her dignity as she gets to know a man and figures out his intentions AND hers. 

Option 2 also allows a woman to feel good about herself EVEN IF HE LEAVES, because she hasn't given anything up that she did not want to give. 

Often women have sex in the short term, not because they want to, but because they feel like they have to in order to stay in the game. Men turn on the pressure, indicate that they're getting bored or "looking around". They pull a "going, going, gone..." move, and women think they have to put out to keep him interested. This is what the video was talking about when it said that women often respond to men being selective by competing with other women and giving men everything they want upfront, not realizing that they are doing themselves a disservice by making what men want far too easy to get for the wrong reasons. The woman that has sex because she thinks she needs to, not because she wants to, DOES get hurt by short-term sex, because short-term isn't what she's looking for. She thinks she's having sex as an investment into the relationship, or as a way of negotiating the terms, and thus gets disappointed (or devastated? Depends on the situation...) when she doesn't get what she thought she was "bargaining" for. 

This does not mean that ALL women who have sex in the short-term do so as a means of trying to barter for a relationship. However, this does not apply to those women because those women will NOT be disappointed when and if the man they have sex with does not want a relationship with them or cuts off communication completely, as they never wanted or expected anything more.

It also does not mean that women who wait to have sex do not enjoy sex themselves. HELL TO THE FUCKING YES I enjoy sex! But that doesn't mean I don't understand the reality that not all men feel the same way about the meaning of sex as I do. And I choose to wait despite my strong desire for a stiff one inside me because I would rather suffer temporarily in the short-term than experience instant gratification in the short-term and suffer heartbreak in the long-term over and over again.

Why Waiting is NOT a "Trap"

Claiming that the act of waiting to have sex with a man until after there is a commitment is a trap is based on some false assumptions.

1 - It is assuming that while this woman is waiting to have sex, she already knows that she wants a relationship with this man.

2 - It is making the assumption that women do not have standards, the same way that men have standards.

3 - This assumes that women are happy to be with ANY man, while men are more selective about the women they settle down with.

This is absolutely untrue. Women DO have standards, and women ARE selective about who they decide to settle down with. One of the reasons that dating can be so hard and that women find themselves with fewer "options" is - not that there are "fewer" men out there, but - that there are fewer men who meet the criteria that women consider necessary to take a man seriously.

In order for a woman to try and "trap" a man with a relationship, she would need to have already chosen him. She'd need to have already decided that this is the man she wants. But when a woman is waiting to have sex until there is a commitment, it simply means that she is STILL DECIDING whether this is a man that is worth her while. And that she only has sex with worth while men.

Patriarchal society conditions us to hear:

She will only have sex with people who commit to HER

What is actually being said is:

She will only have sex with people who SHE commits to

Sure, it may sound a bit old fashioned. It may sound like "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?". It may sound like "pricing" - but in a sense, it is. Not because YOU are a commodity that you are "selling". It is about the value that you place on the experience of sex.

When you have sex right away with a man who insists it's "casual" and "doesn't mean anything" - you are telling him that sex is casual and doesn't mean anything to YOU. If that is TRUE for you, then having sex right away is FINE! If you are not looking for anything serious but still want sex, it doesn't make sense for you to get offended by advice to wait to have sex so that you know that the man you are sleeping with values sex with you - because that is not what you are looking for. You are looking for pleasure, and nothing more. Just like him.

However, if you are not looking for pleasure just like him, but you decide to have sex before commitment has happened...

If you decide to have sex even though you're not yet sure this is a man that you think you could be with...

If you decide to have sex even though this man has not yet shown you that he could be with you...

You send the same message. That sex is "casual" and "doesn't mean anything". And if this is NOT true for you; if it DOES mean something - treat it that way! Take your time deciding, the same way you and ESPECIALLY he will likely take his time deciding about commitment.

Understand that devaluing sex by having it in the short-term is NOT the same thing as saying that a woman has devalued HERSELF. No one is saying that! A woman's value as a person is NOT linked to how or when she has sex. No one is saying that you should withhold sex to avoid having a man or anyone else make some kind of negative value judgement about you as a person. It is simply a way of assuring that you and the person you are doing it with have common relationship goals

"Men will only behave as well or as poorly as the women in their lives allow"

This can be taken a number of ways, and I think it is too often taken to mean that women have some magic power over men to make them behave better - the magic being conveniently located between their legs. As it applies to the greater point here, I think it is misunderstood to make it seem like women should and do use sex to manipulate men into behaving a certain way. That is NOT what this is trying to say.

A better way to look at it is this:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

In other words: If men are treating you badly, it is because you are allowing it to happen. If you didn't allow it, they wouldn't be able to do it. They'd have to make a choice instead - step up or leave. And if they didn't make it on their own, you would make it for them by cutting them off. In any case, at the end of each day you would look around to discover that you only had people in your life that behaved up to your standards. Because you insisted on it.

Does is mean that men will treat some women more poorly than others because some women allow them to?


The idea that women should "cooperate" and form a collusion in order to improve the behavior of men on a grand scale? That's a bit ridiculous. No collusion necessary.

What is necessary? - STOP settling for less if you want more.

IF you want more! Read it; see it! IF! This is not saying that ALL women want more! This is not saying that all women are looking for marriage RIGHT NOW. However, many women do not appreciate the fact that men sometimes take a lazy ass approach to dating. That more men text, tweet, DM, write on their Facebook wall instead of picking up the phone, even though most women prefer to be called. More men now expect to split 50/50 on first dates. I even had a man try to negotiate a "you get this one, I'll get the next one" situation on a third date. Third! We hadn't even kissed yet, and he was already too damn lazy to bother putting his best foot forward. Men expect that they can disappear for a few days at a time, then text "hey" with no further explanation, and that this will lead to a relationship that involves sex. And how many times have you been on two or three dates with someone, only to have them later tell you that they aren't looking for a relationship? So why the hell are you dating! I often wonder. Then, when I stop taking their calls or become a hell of a lot less available, they are perplexed, and so am I. I wonder why they would think I'd still be interested in "getting together" when they made it clear it won't be going anywhere. And then the lightbulb goes on.

Oh, they say. So you were looking for, like, an "actual" relationship?


...because apparently that's unimaginable nowadays. But I digress...

The point is, just because a man proposes these things does NOT mean you have to accept them. You have the power to say NO! And when you do, one of two things will happen:

1 - He will respect your standards and rise to meet them

2 - He will MOVE ON to a woman with lower standards

No, you cannot control men - but that isn't the point. The point is not coercion or Jedi mind tricking. The point is controlling your own experience. I have the power to make sure that I don't get dumped after one date by a man I've had sex with. Not by stalking him afterward. Not by giving him the best sex of his life. But by NOT having sex on the first date. I control MY behavior, and that's how I control my experience.

So yes, you can expect more of men, and if you do, you WILL get it. Eventually. It doesn't mean that you will get what you expect from EVERY man that you encounter. Some men will have no interest in "working that hard" if they are looking for something quick and easy. Which is GOOD! Weed those "fuckers" out! It may mean that you will have fewer options. But what sounds better? More low quality options, or fewer high quality options?

When a man is actually interested in YOU - waiting for sex will not be a deal breaker. Taking the time to get to know each other before getting intimate will not be some punishment, some prison sentence, or some kind of "trick". You do not have to "trick" a man into getting to know you! That's ridiculous. Getting to know you is a privilege, not an obligation, and if he doesn't see it that way - FLUSH his ass and find someone who does! Don't waste your time on someone who doesn't know your worth if you know you're looking for someone who places a high value on you.

That's why waiting works. Are some men devious little shits that will realize that sex is meaningful to you, that you value it highly, but will essentially wait around, make you think the relationship means more than it does to him, even pretend to be your boyfriend just to have sex with you no matter how long you waited or how clear you were about what you wanted? Yeah, that can happen. But it most likely will not, because - and THIS was the point of the video - if all a man wants is sex in today's world, he just doesn't have to work that hard to get it. He doesn't have to! So why would he? Why would he hang around and go through the motions just to sleep with you, when he can just sleep with someone who is looking for the same thing?

Or...as "Economics of Sex" might put it, with someone who doesn't "charge" as much?

Something to chew on, ladies...


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