Go here for a stellar rant by Ozymandias about a New York Post article that’s yet another in a series on a topic I rant about often, which is the transactional model of sex and the assumption that women who put out too easily are “destroying the sexual marketplace”, because men only have relationships or get married in exchange for sex and women only have sex in exchange for relationships.
I managed to go through several different versions of this post in my head ranging from one involving a lot of statistics to a (still may do this) examination of “evolutionary psychology” from the end of what that really currently looks like as done by real evolutionary biologists as opposed to the internet and fringe psychologists*, but in the end I think I’ll simply link to Ozy- which is a reaction to the depth of misandry buried in the article’s assumptions- and make a few more observations.
“Sexual marketplace” economic models are spherical racehorses. That is, if you haven’t read that old post, it’s a model that intentionally leaves out important variables that exist in reality in order to demonstrate principles or examine local effects, or effects in which those variables are, in that specific context, relatively homogenous. Since these models are intentionally built with important variables excluded in order to make a simple model that can be manipulated, as soon as you forget what they are and why they are that way, you can use them to draw all sorts of wrong conclusions while wondering why reality obstinately refuses to match your model.
If you’re looking at an environment in which men and women meet to have sex and negotiate for longer-term sexual arrangements- the fabled “meat market”- sexual marketplace theories work pretty well. Everyone involved is after the same relatively narrow range of things, everybody is likely to share the same outlook on sex as a transaction, and everybody has a similar set of expectations and understanding. However, it falls apart to greater and greater degrees the further away you get from a population of economically homogenous twenty-somethings in a bar; men do enter relationships for reasons other than securing a steady supply of sex, and women do have sex simply because it’s enjoyable.
Or, to put it in blunter terms: if your economic model shows a good that is given away for free thirty percent of the time but is still routinely paid for at a much higher price, either the market is in serious trouble and is about to collapse completely out of existence any day now, or your model is completely fucked for describing and predicting what you’re actually looking at.
*Here’s a hint: if you don’t know what sexual strategies theory is versus pleasure theory and how they relate to each other, the term “phenotypic plasticity” and how that relates to culture, you have not seen evolution-as-applied-to-psychology in much depth yet.