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Sex is Cheap and It’s a Buyer’s Market—If You’re a Man

“Virtually no one, it seems, is happy with the state of maleness,” observes Mark Regnerus in the opening pages of his new book, Cheap Sex [1]. It’s not the central point of the book, but this comment serves as a poignant starting point for reflection, especially since a similar claim could be made of “femaleness,” and of relations between the sexes just in general. Is anyone pleased with the state of modern romance? Complaints come in a thousand flavors, but the discontent seems widespread.

Cheap Sex is an important book. As a sociologist, Regnerus has spent years studying American sexual habits, through extensive surveys and batteries of interviews. It’s rare to find such a nuanced discussion of this subject, offered from the perspective of a researcher who is willing to engage progressive assumptions critically. Regnerus does a remarkable job of combining big-picture analysis with copious detail on every modern sexual practice from dating apps to pornography to the rise in female masturbation. It’s hard to imagine any reader getting to the back cover without wanting to quibble. (This reviewer certainly didn’t.) In truth, this is a strength of the book. To the extent that you agree with Regnerus, Cheap Sex offers a treasure trove of supportive data. Insofar as you disagree, it’s an excellent foil.

What do we see when we look at the sexual landscape of contemporary America? In a way, the title says it all. We live in a world where sex is cheap. The choice of an economic term is very deliberate here, because the whole book represents an effort to analyze American sexual practices through the quasi-economic lens of “sexual exchange.” When he claims that sex is cheap, Regnerus isn’t pricing prostitutes. He’s assessing what a person (specifically, a man) must do to secure access to sex. Nowadays the answer is: not much. It has not always been so.

If it seems odd to analyze sex in market terms, consider that people always have reasons for seeking romance. We all hope to gain something in entering into a sexual relationship, whether a marriage, a one-night stand, or anything in between. Men and women tend to want different things, though. Men have a higher sex drive, and are slower to invest emotionally in their relationships. Women enjoy sex too, but intimacy and moral support tend to be higher relationship priorities for them. (Even sex is more pleasurable for women in the context of committed relationships.) The “terms” of our sexual exchanges are continually being shaped by our appraisal of our real options. What are we obliged to give to our partners, and what can we realistically expect in return? Thinking about sex in quasi-economic terms can help us to understand this ongoing process.


How did sex become so cheap? Regnerus puts considerable weight on contraceptives and female careerism, both of which facilitated female promiscuity. When men can access sex without proving themselves as husbands and breadwinners, many will decide not to shoulder these onerous burdens. Pornography is another factor, which does seem to reduce men’s interest in romancing (or marrying) flesh-and-blood women. In a more traditional world, everyone had strong inducements to get and remain married. Today, outside pockets of religious conservatism, marriage is no longer seen as the high road to sexual access. It is a pinnacle of relationship fulfillment and a seal of social respectability; unless and until people see those goods in the cards, they will shy away from marriage and linger in the netherworld of cheap sex.

For women, cheap sex means significant pressure to accommodate the expectations of men. In this book, we meet men who expect (usually with justification) that women will be willing to have sex with them after a single shared meal or a few drinks. We meet women who acknowledge that they would like to develop their relationships for a bit more time before getting to sex. It’s difficult, though, to swim against the tide of male expectation. Many women spend years hopping from one disappointing relationship to the next, while marriage lingers on the ever-receding horizon.

Men have an easier time achieving their relationship goals. Whether he is looking for marriage, medium-term companionship, or just a lot of low-commitment sex, a resourceful man can likely find what he seeks. A cheap-sex market is a man’s market, in the sense that men’s expressed preferences are more often fulfilled than women’s. We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking, though, that cheap sex promotes real thriving in men. Although women are more likely to want expensive sex, many men sorely need it to push them towards healthy and productive life habits. Marriage is also riskier for men nowadays, especially since modern women tend to have (sometimes unreasonably) high expectations for the quality of their marital relationships. Years of youthful promiscuity are poor preparation for that kind of test, and divorce tends to have a significantly negative impact on men’s health and happiness.

Is there an exit from this grim world of loveless copulation? Diagnosis is not really the focus of Cheap Sex, but it’s clear enough that Regnerus sees a more traditional breadwinner-and-homemaker marital model as the obvious alternative to our male-centric dating market. When both sexes have something valuable to contribute to the sexual exchange, long-term commitment will be a good deal for all concerned. But that’s not likely to happen unless women pull back somewhat from the labor force, restrict men’s sexual access, and force would-be lovers to woo them with promises of fidelity and material support. Regnerus doesn’t see this happening anytime soon, so his last chapter is devoted to gloomy predictions of more of the same for the foreseeable future.

Might not this be pushing the “exchange” analysis beyond its reasonable limits? When we get to the grim predictions, I start worrying that Regnerus may be reducing culture to less than it really is. That’s interesting, because I suspect that he and I would mostly want the same things when it comes to sociological trend lines. We might disagree about the extent to which sociology walks hand in hand with solid moral analysis concerning relations between the sexes.

As a Catholic and a marriage traditionalist, I love expensive sex. Sex should be expensive, because it’s very significant, socially, psychologically and morally. When we treat sex as a triviality, people get hurt. Having said that, I doubt whether “market-based” sociological analysis can really lay the groundwork for a more equitable sexual and social world.

The problem can be explained rather nicely using the exchange model itself. Insofar as we’re viewing sex as a mutually-beneficial exchange between self-interested agents, who’s to say that both parties come to the table with an equally strong hand? Isn’t it possible that nature herself has put self-seeking men in a better position to advance their personal interests?

There are plenty of reasons to believe that this might be the case. Let’s grant that men have a higher sex drive, while women have unique physical and psychological vulnerabilities reflecting their orientation towards childbearing. The result is that each sex has something to offer in a sexual exchange. Men, though, are physically stronger, while women shoulder a far more onerous reproductive burden. In a market driven by self-interest, man can surely turn these imbalances to his advantage in myriad ways, demanding compensation for his social contributions while taking the woman’s largely for granted. Woman’s unique contribution to civilization has in a sense been “assigned” by nature herself, so her negotiating position is weaker. She can try to bolster it by restricting sexual access, but is that tool really potent enough to compensate for men’s other advantages? A man may buy a cow for the milk, but cattle are not respected citizens.

In the financial world, parties with unequal holdings quite regularly enter into mutually-beneficial exchanges. However, the inequities of the original position tend to be reflected in the outcome, and the same may be true here. It seems entirely possible to build a stable society in which men extend certain essential protections to women, while allotting themselves a notably disproportionate share of available goods (which might include material pleasures, personal liberties, fulfilling opportunities, and social respect). That arrangement might be genuinely beneficial for women in comparison to (say) a Hobbsean state of nature, while still seriously failing to respect their true worth as rational beings, created in God’s image.

We shouldn’t fault Regnerus for failing to address moral questions that go well beyond the methodological constraints of his discipline. At the same time, we should be wary of amoral theories that try to explain a little too much. If we agree that modern men and women aren’t what they should be, the obvious next step is to determine what men and women should be. We won’t achieve that just by collating everyone’s expressed preferences. People often want things that aren’t good for them, especially when it comes to sexual appetite.

Despite the sad state of modern romance, men and women still want to be together, just as they always have. It may be naïve, though, to expect that healthy relations can be established without the application of any moral principles. The gulf between Mars and Venus can ultimately be bridged only when each is willing to sacrifice, for the other and for the children who are the natural fruit of sexual union. Romantic love will only flourish when we accept the fundamental truth that sex is never really cheap.

Rachel Lu is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist and a Robert Novak Fellow.

85 Comments (Open | Close)

85 Comments To "Sex is Cheap and It’s a Buyer’s Market—If You’re a Man"

#1 Comment By Jones On September 15, 2017 @ 1:40 pm

Yeah. Regnerus wrote a good book but he made a few huge mistakes. The second half of his book doesn’t make any sense with the first half.

He completely misses the modern harem system–a new form of polygamy, but without any of the stability or rights that come with marriage. Sexual relationships today are between the top 15% of men (I think even 20% is an exaggeration) and somewhere between 60-80% of women. Concededly, within that 60-80% there will be some variation in the frequency of sex, but they will all play a few rounds.

As others have already pointed out, the majority of women will be able to convince one of the 15% to have sex with them. The frequency with which they pull this off will vary, but those that are not actually having sex will either by trying to have sex or vainly trying to lure those same men into a relationship. Whether or not they are having sex, they are all obsessed with the same fraction. And their occasional (or more than occasional) success in getting those guys into bed is what encourages them. This continues until they literally age out of the sex market and look for something else to do (attempted marriage). They will not attempt a different strategy, from puberty until they are literally near the end of their natural fertility.

And all of the problems with marriage follow straightforwardly from what you would expect about these girls’ preparedness for marriage. 1) Over a decade of meaningless fornication with numerous men, for almost the entirety of her natural fertility; 2) the impossibility of respecting your husband as a man in comparison to the guy you had sex with, in a vain and failed attempt to get commitment. One thing Regnerus cannot explain is why the vast majority of divorces are initiated by women, since according to him they are all desperate for commitment. Only by distinguishing the 15% from the 85% can we explain this.

Every man growing up today has had the same experience. You look around you and think, “all these girls are advertising cheap sex. This is insane.” Then, you find out that they are not advertising for you. This is weird, but it accounts for most of the awkward dynamics of contemporary sex culture, like the strange excess of contempt women have for men (it’s based on the inability to advertise with sufficient precision, and the resulting encouragement of unwanted advances).

It’s also impossible to credibly signal one’s willingness to commit as a man, without simultaneously signaling your inferiority. As a man signaling commitment of any sort, even the mildest sort, is dangerous and even inherently self-defeating. Because you are assumed to prefer casual sex, and would be doing that instead if you could.

#2 Comment By Jones On September 15, 2017 @ 1:50 pm

Two more points:

1) women cannot be trusted to notice let alone understand the 15/85 dynamics, because they suffer from the apex fallacy. Most of that 85 percent is completely invisible to them. This is also crucial to understanding the vast majority of modern feminism: it’s based on an obsession with the behavior of the 15%, and then simply applied to the other 85% without any qualification.

2) the role of dating apps has been simply to make the harem system more efficient: the 15% of men and the 60-80% of women can now more easily and quickly find each other for cheap sex, with somewhat less publicity and shame for the women. It mainly solves a problem of access for the women, and of efficiency for the 15%. It is now much easier for women to simply screen out the other 85% of men and focus their efforts. This leads to even more anger from women when the 85% futilely attempt to hit on them in real life–at this point the awkwardness of having to reject people in person seems like it should be completely eliminable.

#3 Comment By grumpy realist On September 15, 2017 @ 1:58 pm

mrscracker–Giuseppe should have brought up Japan, where in certain areas and tiers of society you can still find arranged marriages (my secretary got married that way.) As I’ve gotten older the intelligence of having your putative spouse picked out by your elders rather than by the hormonal call of two sex-obsessed teenagers does seem much wiser. Am reminded of a comment from one of Dorothy Sayers’ novels: “They made a pretty pair–magic and moonlight people said. What Peter was supposed to do in twenty years with a wife with neither brains nor character no one except Peter’s mother nor myself worried about.”

#4 Comment By TA On September 15, 2017 @ 1:58 pm

@Giuseppe Scalas

Regarding India, I’m familiar with the study that you are probably citing. While Indian marriages had the highest average satisfaction in that data set, they also had the shortest average length of marriage.

As the paper’s authors themselves noted, reported marital satisfaction decreases with time married. Some of the other countries in that survey had average marital durations almost three times as long as the Indian’s surveyed.

So technically, we can say that Indian marriages at 7 years are, on average, happier than British marriages at 19 years. However, we can’t say anything about how, say, Indian and British marriages compare when both are at 7 years or at 19 years without additional analysis.

#5 Comment By Jones On September 15, 2017 @ 2:19 pm

According to this NYT article, rates of Tinder likes supports my claim that it’s not even 80/20, but 85/15: women only swipe right on 14% of profiles.


#6 Comment By mrscracker On September 15, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

grumpy realist ,
I think there’s a lot of wisdom in your comments.
I’d add the Jewish variety of arranged marriage, too. Professional matchmakers screen out posers & the young people can choose from suitable candidates.

#7 Comment By mrscracker On September 15, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

Jones says:
According to this NYT article, rates of Tinder likes supports my claim that it’s not even 80/20, but 85/15: women only swipe right on 14% of profiles.”
Those percentages change with age. Trust me.

#8 Comment By Selvar On September 15, 2017 @ 3:47 pm


While the dating market is hardly an egalitarian or nice place for low-status men, the logical implication of the vastly lopsided sexual ratios you are claiming is that the majority of adult men are virgins. Such a claim is rather absurd and has no statistical backing. Tinder is primarily a hookup app, and is hardly reflective of the overall dating market.

According to the ABC survey below, the median number of sexual partners for men is 8. Even assuming that men inflate their partner count while women deflate theirs, there is little reason to believe that most men are “invisible” to women, or that most women would rather be the third option for a man in the top 15% than the first option for a man in the top 50%.


In any case, in all my time in manosphere/Alt Right circles I have never seen the claim that most women only have sex with the top 20% of men even close to empirically proven. My theory is that the bottom 10% of men–who are genuinely repulsive to most women on a sexual level–are exaggerating the extent of female hypergamy so as to project their sense of sexual dispossession onto most men. With this in mind, the truth about the availability of “cheap sex” for most men likely lies in between what Regnerus claims and what the manosphere/Alt Right claims.

#9 Comment By Steve On September 15, 2017 @ 3:53 pm

Reading this article and some of the comments was like being a starving farmer in India reading about this country’s obesity epidemic. “What ARE they talking about?” I’m not in any position to sexually oppress ANYONE.

Now, let’s speak of choices and consequences. I’m one of the invisible 80% of men for whom “nothing’s happening”. An aunt once said to me 40+ years ago, “Steve, when your brother walks into a room, all the women notice him. When YOU walk into a room, all the dogs and children notice you. Someday, you’ll be glad about that.” Sure…someday.

I’m 61, single, in good shape with no more than average looks. I earn a great income. At church, the kids and married women hug me. But…single women decline to have dinner with me. Perhaps it’s the “3-Date Rule” that keeps women from being willing to have dinner even once. Perhaps that’s considered a committment of some sort that they can’t bear the thought of.

I’m not chasing younger women either. I’ve seen how that ends. A younger woman has the right to want a husband who won’t leave her a widow at 56. A man that really cares wouldn’t ask that of her.

Yet, too many women my own age are tired and certainly not interested in sex (“dogs and children”, remember?). They are heavy and look like they just finished a ten-year sentence in a Turkish prison. They have no savings because the TV told them early on to be good little consumers. They have un- or under-employed adult children and semi-feral grandchildren. Some unfortunates are just a few phone calls away from hearing unpleasant results from the oncology lab. They are not potential partners, they are potential financial disasters.

The only women who have shown an interest in me tend to be desperately poor and don’t know the difference between Play-Do, Plato, Pluto or Plutarch. I’m not the solution to their lifetime of bad choices. Even then, that’s only happened twice in the 11 years since my schizophrenic wife of 22 years moved out.

Freedom is a two-way street, ladies. I doubt I’ll be marrying again. After a long marriage to howling madness, I have learned the hard way that there are worse things than celibacy or loneliness.

#10 Comment By JonF On September 15, 2017 @ 4:40 pm


Men do not have “harems”. Good grief where are you getting this from? Do you live in a parallel reality where things are very different? First off, significant number of people still live according to something like traditional moral standards, if not quite as rigidly as in my grandmother’s youth (she was born in late Victorian times). Among the promiscuous there are several patterns, but serial bed hopping by both sexes is what you’ll find (with rules that I have never bothered or cared to understand– it’s not my scene, I merely observe from the outside)– but not some large number of women corralled by a few guys.

#11 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On September 15, 2017 @ 5:08 pm


But I imagine you’ll see comments too regarding tragic things that occur to women in parts of India. And it’s more than yellow press lore, unfortunately.

Of course there are those tragic things, but sadly other similarly tragic things happen to some women in the West too. Unfortunately, when it happens in India we have a tendency to see it as an indictment of the whole Indian culture. Not so much of the Western culture.

#12 Comment By LFM On September 15, 2017 @ 10:18 pm

Among the promiscuous there are several patterns, but serial bed hopping by both sexes is what you’ll find (with rules that I have never bothered or cared to understand– it’s not my scene, I merely observe from the outside)– but not some large number of women corralled by a few guys.

Perhaps you have somewhat too literal a view of the ‘harem’ culture the other commentator described. He didn’t mean to suggest that some men today have anything that looks like an actual harem. He meant that a few men get to have sexual relations with a [much] larger number of women, women being fussier than men about their sexual partners even when they are not seeking lasting love, while even the most demanding men are often willing to have sexual relations with anyone youngish and moderately attractive. The point is that the sexual revolution has benefited only the most attractive members of both sexes, allowing them a wider range of the most appealing partners than they would have had in the days when most people married the boy or girl next door, or someone chosen for them by their parents. Everyone else has to choose mates from the ‘leftovers’, often from people damaged by wounds acquired in the sex wars.

#13 Comment By Tim On September 15, 2017 @ 10:23 pm


I don’t think he meant the term harem literally. One can question some of what he said, and the percentages, but I think he does bring up a good point. Sex may be cheap for some men, but for a large minority, if not majority, it isn’t. Many find it hard to have sex or relationships, especially if they want someone close to averagely attractive (to be blunt – looks aren’t everything, and if you are unsatisfied unless your partner looks like a model you’re a fool, but most do want a certain attractiveness in their partner, whether they’re a man or woman).

I have friends who can get women relatively easily, and those who struggle. I’m not bad looking, but somewhat shy, so I have experienced both sides. I think that this is something Regnerus seems to have missed, going from the review.

#14 Comment By Le Cracquere On September 16, 2017 @ 12:06 am

Are … are you KIDDING ME? Sex is cheap? Where? WHERE, for God’s sake? What on Earth parallel universe has the author been spending time in? And where are they selling tickets to that universe? Where, in God’s name, is it even to be had, much less “cheap”?

After such a mindblowing thesis, Regnerus had blasted well better follow up with some details. If there’s some world where such experiences are even attainable, to say nothing of “cheap.” I demand directions. I demand to know in what universe one’s entire net emotional & social resources will suffice for much of anything. I demand to know in what universe there’s anything but icy contempt from all sides on offer.

“Cheap sex.” The very idea. The very concept. God damn you, Regnerus. Why don’t you go find some starving men to lecture about their carbohydrate vs. lipid intake ratios?

#15 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On September 16, 2017 @ 9:07 am


“85%” and “15%” might be true of online dating, but that’s a highly artificial environment that promotes being extremely selective (when you can scroll through hundreds of profiles in half an hour, why not?) I wouldn’t extend the dynamics of online dating (which is a very, very strange environment) to the sexual marketplace in general.

An average man has a much better chance of hooking up with someone if he goes to a bar, meets them in regular life, etc., because in those situations proximity is an important determinant of attraction.

#16 Comment By KS On September 16, 2017 @ 1:06 pm


Yes, there are tragic things happening in India. Going away from the extremes, there are aspects of the Indian system that have beneficial effects towards martial longevity and happiness (thought of course, on an individual basis, ymmv).

As has been mentioned
– partners are chosen from the family network and the screening is done for looks, wealth and cultural compatibility, which is usually helpful. In most urban settings couples do date, but not for very long before they tie the knot.
– often the partner is their first sexual partner, so the pair bond that forms is very strong and there isn’t anything else to compare it with.
Consequently the emphasis in sex is not on performance, level of excitement etc, but intimacy and nurturing the pair pond
– Euphoric romantic feelings are deemphasized, at least you are encouraged to look for a deeper connection, as well as enjoy the connection that comes from commitment and familiarity.
– The marriage is indeed a union of families. This helps provide outlets for the couple where otherwise they would depend on each other for everything. You do not expect your partner to be everything to you. It is considered perfectly reasonable for the husband and wife to have their own spaces as well as time with their own kind i.e. the man with his male friends, the woman with her sistergroup.
– Indians are generally a very social people and would prefer companionship with compromise over living alone. Indeed, living alone would be considered a horror. While Indian women (at least in the urban areas) tend to be highly educated now and earning their own income, they would consider much of modern feminist gender-neutralizing rhetoric to be absurd, and would much prioritize family and companionship versus dubious ideology, that could leave them living alone.

All of these contribute to the longevity and happiness you see written about.

It is said, that at the time of their marriage, a modern western couple is ecstatic. They have been dating for a few years, and have been living together for a few years too, have slept together for that much time at least, and this marriage is the peak of their romantic euphoria for each other.

On the other hand at the time of their marriage the Indian couple is apprehensive. They have known their partner maybe just two-three months. They have not been intimate together. They know that a difficult period of get to know you and adjustment is coming up. They will be leaving the comfort zone of their family lives to enter into this new space.

Seven years later the picture is different. The western couple is (very often) bored and jaded. The romantic euphoria faded a long time ago, replaced by the mundane daily daily of living together. The sex got stale, and endless comparisons came up. Since they entered the marriage already having lived together for a while, there were few surprises and little more to discover about each other. Since they lived far away from any family, there were no outlets for companionship, sharing of frustrations etc. Their expectations were sky high that they would each be the 24/7 be all end all for their partner. Such expectations proved a little overdone.

The Indian couple on the other hand, have after a period of adjustment come to an understanding of how to live together. And they have settled down to companionship, and affection from just knowing the person and knowing that they have committed themselves to you, they are ‘yours’. They don’t expect their partners to provide all of their emotional needs. The family network is very close, with lots of visits, holidays taken together etc.

So that is how it goes. Not all western marriages go this way, and not all Indian marriages do either, but this is the general pattern.

For those who are unhappy with the way things are in the west, what can change things? It is the woman’s hypergamy that is the issue here, and while it would be logical to say that it will depend on women to restrict this, that won’t happen, it is men who take the lead, women will follow them into the new space.

But men no longer can take the lead anymore in this area, they have ceded over control completely. ergo Houellebecq’s submission, where a weary society – women weary from the merry go around created by their own hypergamy, and what happens when they are no longer attractive enough for the sexual merry go around, and men weary from the relentless sexual competition – which most men lose by defintion – a weary society submits to whatever is the easiest accessible structure that will put an end to this merry go around and give them some stability once again.

#17 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On September 16, 2017 @ 10:51 pm

Giuseppe Scalas,

Personally I have less than no interest in “happy marriages” per se, I think an ideal society would aim at having well-flourishing people. Traditional marriage might be a part of it, or it might not (personally I doubt it). Judging the quality of a society by the strength of its marriages, though, is rather begging the question.

I’d like a cite that marriages in India are particularly happy (personally, speaking as an ethnic Tamil, I think that gender relations and sexual norms in India are *terrifically* dysfunctional), but even if it were true, so what? Self reported happiness isn’t always a very valuable metric, because people’s happiness is largely based on how well their life matches up to their expectations. If your expectations are low enough, you’re going to be happy, but what does that really mean? I’m sure women in India are happy with a kind of life that I (and if you’re honest with yourself, probably you) would find degrading and stultifying, because as they say, to know nothing else is to want nothing more. I’d like to change that, personally.

And yes, the really terrible treatment of women in India is in fact an indictment of Indian culture, because you can find explicit warrant for it in the Hindu scripture and tradition. With due respect, either you’re not that well acquainted with Indian culture or else you’re picking and choosing elements that you like to fit into your ideological preconceptions.

#18 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 17, 2017 @ 8:43 am

“It’s also impossible to credibly signal one’s willingness to commit as a man, without simultaneously signaling your inferiority. As a man signaling commitment of any sort, even the mildest sort, is dangerous and even inherently self-defeating. Because you are assumed to prefer casual sex, and would be doing that instead if you could.”

This is answered by tie. Over time, woen figure that when I say there are limits, there are limits. It doesn’t matter what they think or say about me.

If one wants to communicate that the relationship is not merely about time, ten one must give the relationship. I think what is clear is that there are plenty of women who aren’t interested in committing any more than men.

That is whyy I a a firm believer that en, not women should be leaders on te issue of chastity and celibacy. It is male leadership in this area which cratered.

#19 Comment By Jimmy On September 17, 2017 @ 6:50 pm


You are either willfully misunderstanding @Jones, or you don’t know much about modern dating culture.

@Jones is referring to “soft harems”… see the following link for a definition:


That should clarify things a bit. The women in a modern harem don’t know that others in the harem exist. The alpha Chad texts and talks to them individually.

I was in a frat in college and witnessed this personally. The elite guys would have a rotation of women that they would see regularly. The same thing was witnessed with college athletes (to a much greater degree).

#20 Comment By KS On September 18, 2017 @ 12:14 am


“Personally I have less than no interest in “happy marriages” per se, I think an ideal society would aim at having well-flourishing people.”

What exactly does this mean? If you are here on this site, surely you know that the ‘conservative’ understanding here is that happy marriages lead to well-flourishing people.

What you wrote is the enabling ideology of our post-modern deconstructionists, and in practice it doesn’t work very well, it leads to us being ‘atomized’.

We are social creatures and few can live life alone. In order to make relating work we have to accept some compromises, some restrictions on our individuality. From time immemorial people have understood this.

The avant garde post modern berkeleyesque ideology tell us that any restriction on ourselves is a form of oppression. And then ‘all you need is love’. In practice this leads to a merry go around of relating, one partner to the next, with little to stand on, little to call our own. In the short run it is exhillerating, in the long run devastating.

#21 Comment By Ronald On September 18, 2017 @ 1:04 am

I’m quite a bit confused? Gut instinct tells me people are having way less sex today vs. 25 years ago.

I do a simple web search, sure enough a ton of articles pop up describing how people are having way less sex that 25 years ago.

What freaking planet are the rest of you living on?

#22 Comment By ayatollah1988 On September 18, 2017 @ 1:31 am

The idea that the dating market is the way it is today because men, rather than monogamous marriage-minded women are running the show is absurd. Young women wield an extraordinary amount of sexual power. And those run-of-the-mill hot 21 y/o college coeds call the shots just as much as the Patrick Bateman’s of the world.

Young hot women do not want to get married until WAY later. They want to have careers, which I think in their mind means being really hot and professional and important and doing exciting things rather than office drudgery. I think they imagine themselves in an episode of The Good Wife when picturing what life as a career gal will be like. They want to “play the field,” which means they want to spend their best years giving their bodies to strange men rather than the husband they expect to come along and sweep them off their feet just when they are too old to be hot anymore.

#23 Comment By SOL On September 18, 2017 @ 2:06 am

Good for you Jones. Thanks for the effort to respond to the junk of Regnerus and the social conservatives.

15 years and the American Conservative still doesn’t have a clue about the manosphere and is letting social conservatives parrot untruths about sociosexual dynamics. Unbelievable. It’s 2017. Catch up to reality.

#24 Comment By KS On September 18, 2017 @ 11:57 am

One other thing to note: in this setup, far too many men waste their youthful life hoping they can become the alpha harem owner. They reject the average girl in the vain hope they can do something or the other to become the head of the pack. This doesn’t happen, and they often realize too late, that they could have had a really good life with the average girl.

#25 Comment By mrscracker On September 18, 2017 @ 12:07 pm

Thank you for your comments. That makes a lot of sense.

#26 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On September 18, 2017 @ 5:56 pm


Well, here’s a [5].

One of the many you’ll find just by a quick Google search. But cites are irrelevant since I don’t trust Psychology or Sociology when they mimic Science (I appreciate them as branches of Philosophy though).
In those matters only anecdotes and experience have value.
Of course I probably don’t know India as well as you do, but I have traveled extensively across the sub-continent and met many people.
I also have a lot of professional connections there, of both sexes.
I used to be regularly surprised by how many people boasted their happy marriages and attributed it to the fact they were arranged.
Through further investigation and many conversations I concluded that two factors came into play: the fact that the parents looked for a match with the best interest of their children in mind, which included not marrying too far from one’s station in life, either above or below, and the fact that the women preserved a strong linkage with their native family, while creating an alliance with the women in their husband’s family.
Probably I have missed some aspects of Indian family life which are only accessible through intimate connections but, nonetheless, the difference with Western marriages is apparent.

#27 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 18, 2017 @ 6:09 pm

“Young women wield an extraordinary amount of sexual power.”

I think this has always been the case whether young or otherwise.

The power of intimate physical relations rests with women, always has.

#28 Comment By KS On September 19, 2017 @ 2:15 am


You are welcome. One of the problems we have in understanding all this is that what we are (men and women) isn’t very nice. This is especially difficult for men to see, conditioned as they are to be chivalrous towards women. We are human mammals after all.

The sexual revolution brought many things, and it unleashed many gremlins too including setting free our harsh darwinian instincts.

In our ‘nice’ view, everyone is noble and good inside, when love is free everyone gets love, and everyone meets someone who is meant for them.

In reality love is never free. Freed of cultural and moral constraints we are free to enact these harsh instincts.

For women, or really the WASPish liberal college going modern women, the ideal setup is to have a few male friends to unload on (with preferably one or two from a minority community to provide street cred for being appropriately multicultural, they guys whom they describe as being such nice sweethearts), an alpha guy to sleep with and marry, or if he isn’t going to marry, then a rich not so alpha to marry and successfully divorce.

Man’s darkness is well known now, his brutality etc. Men are also very stupid in these matters. They go by what their lower regions dictate. The sexual revolution created the illusion for men that just about all women are potentially available. This is very destructive to the male psyche.

I remember watching a show, dating a millionaire. Some 42 new york guy was introduced to a number of women. The host lady tried to steer him towards the 30 something teacher, who would have been a good match for him. But he of course went for the youngest prettiest girl, a 26 year old from southern california.

Needless to say their date was a disaster, and they never met again. The match that could have worked, with the school teacher, didn’t happen. So no one got anything in the end.

Please note also that we are talking only about a small section of the human population here, the WASPish liberal world. While this population has been setting cultural trends for a while, it is fading into obscurity.

The rest of the world has caught up or is catching up. Go east, young man/young woman. You will see useful things happen there.

#29 Comment By JonF On September 19, 2017 @ 12:17 pm


Once again, marriage remains the norm, and the majority of people will marry at some point, whether successfully or not. So just to be clear we are talking about a minority population here, nothing affecting the population as a whole. And as I posted above it’s about 20% of the population having 80% of the (non-relationship) sex. And that’s true of the female side as well. To “score” in the sexual marketplace a woman has to be fairly good looking, healthy, youngish and not obviously a [rhymes with witch]. Women who do not fit that bill don’t get far in the sexual marketplace either, just as guys who are not so good looking, don’t have a lot of money and are fairly cloddish tend not to get score very well. The ideal solution of course would be to have the “misfits” turn to each other rather complain that life is unfair because they cannot land Mr./Ms. Goodbar. And sometimes of course that happens. But my impression from the complaints (and sometimes outright whining) is that too many men think they are much better catches than they are, and their ego gets in the way of admitting that they are just not A-listers, maybe not even B-listers, so they blame the women for failing to notice their charms rather than lowering their sights a bit to their own level. (And God forfend the guys who have personality issues that are turn-offs would deign to work on some of those defects).
Also, the “hypergamy”* factor is greatly exaggerated. The vast majority of women have no more opportunity to marry (or even sleep with) a millionaire, than the vast majority of men will ever marry, or just sleep with, a flawless fashion model. Again, people need to be realistic about their prospects.

Jimmy, see above. Also, women are not the naive snowflakes you think. A woman who into sleeping around knows perfectly well that the men she is sleeping with are also sleeping around (and visa versa). There’s no exclusivity on either side in those relationships. And also, again, this is fairly small, mainly urban (or collegiate), subculture and it does not describe the reality for the majority of people. “Sex In The City” was far more fantasy than reality.

* A word I detest since taken literally it does not mean at all what those who use it intend: it means “marrying a lot, even excessively.” Think, maybe, Henry VIII, not some soap opera gold-digger.

#30 Comment By ayatollah On September 19, 2017 @ 2:55 pm

A lot of the clueless social conservative drivel is due to the outdated assumption that because men have higher sex drives and because a woman’s eggs are very limited compared to male sperm, that women are naturally more monogamous than men. This might be the case to an extent, but men are only *slightly* less monogamous than women.

Look at how young women behave. Their behavior suggests that a lot of them LIKE PROMISCUITY. The reason why this eludes all these conservative dorks like Erick Erickson is because they think that sleeping around = promiscuity and only sleeping with your partner in a committed relationship does not = promiscuity, even if it’s your 25th boyfriend and the 25th guy who has been inside you.

Who’s more promiscuous- the girl who got too drunk a few times in college and ended up sleeping with 4 different random guys one time each throughout her college years before getting married, or the girl who has had 11 boyfriends, all of whom she has slept with dozens or hundreds of times?

#31 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 20, 2017 @ 2:07 am

“Look at how young women behave. Their behavior suggests that a lot of them LIKE PROMISCUITY. The reason why this eludes all these conservative dorks like Erick Erickson is because they think that sleeping around = promiscuity and only sleeping with your partner in a committed relationship does not = promiscuity, even if it’s your 25th boyfriend and the 25th guy who has been inside you.”

I am not sure what Eric Erickson believes. But in coaching ad facilitating for more than twenty five years I can say with some confidence that this is the horse without a cart.

A woman who flirts does not by definition mean she is having or even desires physical intimacy, certainly not as a matter of fashion or for the fun of it. I would say this is particularly accurate for younger women. Who are seeking attention, but not necessarily the physical relations.

I(n teaching and coaching I have come across many a young woman who was dressed provocatively, and had no idea of the impact. Their attention was on their looks, not the potential responses even if their look was to garner attention. Which is why men routinely miscue. It is also the reason older folks should be encouraging the value if prudence.

No, a flirtatious woman does not by definition want physical relations.

I have not read this book , but I could hazard a reasonable guess what the real point is. There are fewer consequences for men with respect to relations when it come having children. And given 250,000 years or so of male female dynamics, I would hazard that women giving up the emotional bonds once associated with their gender on the issue of the value of intimacy. That aspect associated with nurturing.

But again these are choices women are making. So it remains not the power of men but the power of women. Men for their part are still buying hoes, flowers, boats, chocolates, and diamonds for the mere shot of a potential relationship with no guarantees of physical intimacy, certainly not the ultimate act.

I have never shyed away from encouraging celibacy —

#32 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 20, 2017 @ 2:16 am

“The reason why this eludes all these conservative dorks like Erick Erickson is because they think that sleeping around = promiscuity and only sleeping with your partner in a committed relationship does not = promiscuity, even if it’s your 25th boyfriend and the 25th guy who has been inside you.”

two unsettling observations:

1. promiscuity can be a single act or multiple
2 whether in a committed relationship or not any such dynamic outside of marriage is promiscuity.

That’s from a biblical lean and if Mr Erickson and others social conservatives are leaning in that direction —

I would fully agree.

— These comments lend themselves to a view that suggests — a promiscuous act by a woman means she I inviting being taken advantage and deserves it. If so, I am more than a bit unsettled by the advocacy.

#33 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 20, 2017 @ 9:26 pm

correction: ” she is inviting being taken advantage of and deserves it. If so, I am more than a bit unsettled by the advocacy.”

#34 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 21, 2017 @ 11:23 am

There’s an interesting article, by Esther Perel, in this month’s Atlantic,

“Why Happy People Cheat”

Her perspective in my view is a little troubling, a laissez faire sort of way, but her article is a counselor, so I get it.

#35 Comment By mrscracker On September 22, 2017 @ 8:00 am

Thank you for your comments.