Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

The Price of Sex

Sexual equality is unstable but not fatal.

The New York Post published a controversial article about women and the price of sex. The writer said that because of a shortage of marriageable men, intense competition from fellow women and the recent phenomenon of porn, withholding sex to get commitment from a man, and marriage itself, are decreasing in America.


 Eric S. Raymond of  the internet blog Armed and Dangerous noted that " before 1960, the price of sex was held fairly high by fear of pregnancy and social stigmatization. Then came The Pill; fear of pregnancy receded and social stigmatization of unwed birth effectively collapsed with it."  This technological advancement coincided with the transition from the oppressive patriarchal marriage model, which dictated rigid roles that each partner would fulfill, regardless of romantic feelings, to the enlightened companionate marriage model, which emphasized men and women as co-equals. Whereas a patriarchal husband merely had to "bring home the bacon" and his wife attend to her considerable duties to satisfy the letter of the marriage, companionate unions required such ethereal notions as "intimacy, companionship, someone to understand us and be a soul mate."  The result was the weakening of commitment between men and women once the ephemeral high of a relationship fades.

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50 years later, the very notion of marriage and family formation is in jeopardy. But we can't return to the patriarchal model of romance and marriage. We must instead call on our leaders and institutions to support the healthy companionate marriage model and make allowances for it's key weakness: the requirement of honesty. If both partners are candid in their courtship, there is a strong possibility they will chose to marry based on a full disclosure of the strengths and weaknesses of each partner. As co-equals, negotiations and allowances will be made before irreversible commitment to the diversity of both partners so their individuality won't be smothered in the marriage union. Neither will then feel defrauded after marriage by the reasonable behavior of the other. This will will result in solid marriages and stable homes from which to raise healthy children. And if more single people see that companionate marriages can result in happy homes and fulfilling long-term relationships, they will be more willing to join them and pull our society out of its demographic nose dive.

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.


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