Dollars and Sex

How economics influences sex and love

Too Many Lovers, Too Little Love

When starting a new relationship, do you care about your partner's sexual history? If the answer is “yes”, then how about this: When deciding to have casual sex, do you worry that one day your bedfellow-count will hurt your future chances of finding true love? Evidence suggests that is a question that every single who hopes to one day marry should be asking themselves. Read More

Interesting but...

I always have reservation about survey on relationship because when actual person comes in game instead of hypothetical one things can changed and become more complicate. As man I will probably answer survey same as results suggest but if I found woman who is interesting to me I will probably overcome sexual history because there is much more in person then just her history. Maybe correlation lies in fact that people with many sexual partners are just have more problem to maintain long term relationship because of them self.

Everyone faces tradeoffs

What you say is true, anyone can compensate for having qualities that a potential partner doesn't like, but that is really the point here. Chances are that the woman you find interesting enough to make up for the fact that she has an sexual history that you disapprove of might very well have ended up with a man who was a better match for her had she not had that sexual history - she might have done better on the market. In this regard, men who don't care about a woman's sexual history probably end up with a woman who wouldn't never have dated them had it not been for her past. That doesn't really sound like a recipe to a happy marriage to me.

I got your point

I can not speak for other man but for me most important part is how this woman is related to me, what we have now and what we will have in future. It is of great importance to me to understand why she had such life and hoPast what less conserw it will reflect to our relationship. We all make mistakes but what is important do we learn from them. I think this problem is just as any other problem in relationships for example if she was alcoholic or drug addict... If it is problem it takes effort to fix it, do we need take that effort? Absolutely! I am not worry about past much but I worry about future and present.

You speaks about chances I think she have same chances as any woman I met. If we work than we are going if not I move one. I don't speak that to be seen as progress man and I think most man that find number of past partners problematic is not secure in sexual performance/manhood or afraid for reputation.

thanks for good discussion

i don't think so

I tend to doubt that a woman who is inclined to have a lot of partners will be well-matched with a man who disapproves of that. And vice versa, for men who are inclined toward many partners. The advice to forgo your desires in the hopes of landing some guy who doesn't have similar desires sounds like an even worse recipe for a happy marriage.

Speaking as a married man, my wife's sexual history was not something I didn't care about. It was a plus. I could never see myself settling down with someone who wasn't similarly driven to enjoy sex. Not that other personal qualities are unimportant, but there are really no other qualities that can compensate for a mismatch sexually. Intelligence, kindness, generosity, sense of humor... I wouldn't marry someone without those. But, expecting those qualities to meet my sexual needs or to cause me to forgo those needs... it's like putting wiper fluid in the gas tank and wondering why the car won't run.

Be wary of studies and statistics

We quote studies and statistics as if they are the 10 Commandments.
This is very similar to the thousands of algorithms that informed us that everything was fine right before: 1)The Dot-Com collapse 2)the implosion of the Housing bubble and 3) the 2008 October financial market melt down.

Hey these mathematical models were developed by very high IQ people from top universities all over the world so we should take these experts at face value, right ?

These psychological/social studies are really not that much different. Given the infinite nuances and moving variables involved in human relationships, to place a precise % on finding true love because of our sexual history is, I think, absurd.

To say generically that if you sleep around a lot, your overall likely hood of having a deep, intimate, satisfying relationship might be lower, that is probably correct in a very general way. But no need for a study to come to that conclusion.

It is absurd.

It is absurd because of one simple fact -- people lie all the time (for different reasons) about their sexual habits. You really can't trust the data.

Exactly -- a women that let

Exactly -- a women that let herself get used by 100 guys is just going to lie anyway and some poor naive sap will be happy to marry her.

People with no morals or self discipline have no trouble telling big lies and there are plenty of lonely, clueless men for them to rook into a marriage.

Point of clarification

The dot-com bust, housing bubble and financial meltdown were all predicted by data. We knew we were on the bullet train to hell before we left the station; we just didn't care

To an extent, the same is true in our sexual lives. We know the risks are high and the rewards are relatively few. We also know we won't really be the same person a year from now. So, we get what we want now and let future us deal with the fallout.

In a land where we claim to

In a land where we claim to be free. It certainly raises some eyebrows when people choose to exercise their freedom and want to do things their way. Who cares if some people do not want a partner that has been in several gangbangs or with a new partner every weekend.
That is the beauty of freedom is it not? Or are we all living a lie and when someone does something everyone else does not like then it is a social issue?
If you chose to steal and had a criminal record and 33% (just a random number) of people decided they would not date someone with a criminal record is that a problem too? No it is a choice. Get over it.

If you want to be a gang banging whore for your first 10 years of adult life that is a choice and a right and it is someone elses right to refuse you based on that. Simple

A couple problems... 1. How

A couple problems...

1. How old is she? Is that 33 lovers by age 16? Or age 36?

2. I suspect that the data has a sort of selection bias; a gal who has boinked more than 100 dudes is not acting very interested in committed relationships in the first place.

Economics of value

It is interesting that you point out an inverse relationship between past sexual encounters and relationship value. To me, this seems like a rather gynocentric analysis, as the inverse appears to be true for men (at least, for straight men).

To women, it seems like there is a far more economic approach to valuation of men. Since every man is associated with the same costs (risk of pregnancy, risk if divorce, loss of time that could be spent evaluating other potential mates, etc.), the value of a man essentially boils down to his demand. Number of past sexual partners is one index of demand that us easy to quantify, and therefore rank. A man with few sexual partners has demonstrably less demand within the female population, and is therefore less valuable as a potential mate.

At the very least, a man without a robust sexual history is more likely to have something wrong with him that prevented him from acquiring said history. Perhaps he is hiding the details of said flaw at the moment, but the lack of sexual history indicates its presence.

Clearly, most employers would pass over a less experienced job applicant I'm favor of a more experienced one. The same phenomenon occurs when men apply for romantic relationship positions.

What about ...

Less number sexual partners doesn't mean that man is in less demand maybe he is just devoted as husband or boyfriend. Just same is employers. If some one too frequently changes companies it is red flag. Everyone who do hiring now that. We all are looking for quality not how many companies you change or how many sexual partners you had.

I don't see this is how women judge value

I suspect that when women consider a man who has had a large number of previous relationship they do not infer that he has a high value - as you say. In fact they see a man who has demonstrated a lack of commitment to many relationships. If a woman is seeking a man to marry and have a family with, why would she seek out a man who can't commit?

A man with one, two or three sexual partners doesn't necessarily lack a sexual history - he might have just committed to one woman for a long period of time.


Exactly my point!!!

The happiest guys I know are

The happiest guys I know are the ones who married women who like sex, and have high numbers because of this. I'm sure their relationships are like every other relationship, and that they argue about money, chores, and kids, but at least they have the glue to keep it together.

Women can have high numbers for a lot of reasons. It can be because they have emotional problems, but it can also be because they simply enjoy sex too much. I'd avoid the former and take the latter.

Some thoughts

Thought 1: Two resumes come across your desk. On one resume the person has work at 5 different places in the last 5 years. The other resume the person has worked at the same place for 25 years. Already with those two facts I can make some assumptions about these two people that will probably be correct. Everything you do says something about you.

The number of sexual partners you have had says something about you that does not necessarily have to do with sex.

Thought 2: A guy marries a woman because she likes sex. As time goes by here interest in sex drops off. I can't count the number of guys this has happen too. Many leave and many stay in unhappy relationships. Perhaps they were unhappy because their expectations were not realistic in the first place.

Thought 3: I know three women who became married to guys who obviously wanted someone who could supplement their income because of child support payments. Many of those men who don't care about how many partners a women has had are not as picky because they don't have a choice or they are more concerned about other factors. See thought 2.

Thought 4: According to Pew Research the unhappiest people taking into marital status and children are unmarried parents with minor children. Since 1980 the number children being raised by the mother absent the biological father has gone from 18% to 24.1%. What affect does sexual behavior have on this.

Interesting enough most research shows that since the 1970's the happiness of women compared to men has flipped in the direction of men. What this has to do with sexual behavior I don't know but it is obvious that if women's sexual behavior has improved it has not had much of an affect on their happiness.

The main problem is there is little research which is not biased. When it comes to sex and money people usually have agenda behind what they are saying. I claim to be no different.

Sexual Incompatibility

Thanks for your thoughts.

I hear people (i.e. men) say that they have friends whose wives have lost interest in sex putting stress on their relationships. I find this interesting because I also have many, many friends whose husbands have lost interest in sex and left them feeling sexually frustrated. Those women seem to stay in the relationships, but from what I have observed it is very harmful to their self-esteem. My one friend, whose husband describes her sex drive as "immature", has particularly suffered. I think that it need to be acknowledged that the world is not full of men who want sex more often than their wives, sexual disconnect can go both ways. In fact, the Coolidge Effect suggests that in a committed relationship it is the male who will lose interest in sex first.

One question?

When you say sexually frustrated what does mean for those women? Is it mean that she lacks of intimacy, feel biological needs that is not met, or she doesn't feel attractive if husband is not interested or something else? I heard lots of contradictory information but I want to hear your opinions.

Sexually Frustrated

Sexually frustrated because they have a much stronger sex drive than their husbands - they would like to be having sex a couple of times a week but their husbands only want to do it a couple of times a month - or even less.

I like the implication that women want sex from their husbands just because it makes them feel pretty and loved. Is it so hard to believe that women just want to get laid on a regular basis?

Thanks for replay

It is not hard to believe that woman want sex but it is not always clear when, why and how? I try to figure out what is missing ingredient in those situation. For example if those woman receive other form of attention to make them feel pretty and loved do they still be sexually frustrated? Is it sexual act is necessary to make them feel happy? Or maybe sexual act is not answer at all, maybe it is just symptom of something else?

Again thanks for your time and effort to educate one more foolish man in the world :)

Yeah, but tell me. How is he

Yeah, but tell me. How is he ever going to find out?

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Marina Adshade, Ph.D., teaches at the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia.


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