There is a longer backstory behind this post, and it seems worthwhile discussing it openly. I recently took an online course in Behavioral Economics on Coursera. The teacher, Dan Ariely, is knowledgeable and also lovingly flippant at times. For instance, he started every lecture with an inappropriate joke, and plenty of the examples he used might have easily offended some people's sensibilities. As a bonus, there were guest lectures at the end of each week, given by professors teaching in behavioral economics or related disciplines like psychology.
In week 2, though, I saw some giddy woman in front of the camera, telling about her "research". She was making some rather daring statements, such as "women have all the sexual power", "women decide how soon in a relationship sex happens", or, my favorite, "men's sexuality has no worth". Of course, she referred to the mainstream media model of dating, according to which a guy has to wait three weeks before some chick will spread her legs for you. Needless to say, in her little world, this applies to "all women", and we as men are at their complete mercy.
I had a hearty laugh because I assumed Dan Ariely had put an actress on stage to drive the point home that sloppy reasoning quickly leads to absurd conclusions. I just didn't want to believe that a middle-aged woman with teenager-like antics and absurdly sloppy reasoning would really be a professor. The course was on irrational behavior in the context of economics or, more generally, decision-making, so it wouldn't have surprised me if she had been a mere actress, having had the purpose of cheering us up a little bit.
As it turned out, that woman was not an actress. Her name is Kathleen Vohs, and she's a professor of marketing at University of Minnesota. Here is the video, in case you are interested. Within the first few minutes you'll hear zingers like, "sex is a female resource", "men trade resources with women in exchange for sex", or the aforementioned "male sexuality has no value or worth". The video is about 20 minutes long. I nearly made it to the six-minute mark.
Even if you don't have the time to expose yourself to her drivel, the idea that we men are at the complete mercy of women when it comes to sex is probably familiar to you. In the video, one of the examples of the alleged sexual value of women was that some retail store offered women a 40 Euro voucher (real worth: close to zero) and a glass of champagne if they showed up topless. In my book, this is a case of complete lack of dignity if not of outright stupidity, though.
But let's get back to dating. In the course forum, one woman wrote what could have been taken from some feminist blog, Jezebel, or that disgraceful Manboobz blog:
To put it pretty crudely, a woman can get sex whenever she wants. There will nearly always be a man willing to (gosh, what is the right way to say it...) fulfill that need. However, a man can't always find a willing female partner. Again, this points to women holding most of the value of sex.To my surprise, one woman replied to that, writing that she, "listened to that lecture and I thought my head was going to pop off. [Kathleen Vohs] made so many generalizations about women and so many giant leaps in her conclusion". She also punched a hole in Vohs' argument by asking, "What happens to the theory of sexual economics when it is a homosexual couple?" But let's not get critical thinking get in the way of some feminist fantasy!
Does the theory of unlimited female sexual power make any sense to you, like the first commenter expressed it?
Sure, put some woman into a bar, and there will be some dude hitting on her. But will it be the kind of guy that makes her gina tingle? Women might have the perception that they have all the power because the social reality is such that the guy has to make a move and women can then lean back and make their pick. Expressed in more abstract terms, women trade activity for a restricted range of choices since they can only select from their actual suitors. However, put that woman in a bar and tell her to exert her "sexual power" by getting the hottest guy in the place, and her confidence will quickly falter.
Of course, if a woman stoops low enough, she might find some guy who is willing to have sex with her. Yet, it's the same with men. If you forget about your standards and are willing to go for the bottom of the barrel, you should find it pretty easy to get laid. Maybe start hanging out at "fat acceptance" meetings if you're really desperate. However, what you desire is not always what you can realistically expect to get. Millions of girls want to fuck Justin Bieber, but how many really get the chance?
If you are in the unfortunate position that you don't enjoy a reasonably high sexual market value, you can either force yourself to fuck some woman that only grosses you out (let us know how it was!), or you do the sensible thing and remain involuntarily celibate. Either that, or you pay for sex. Now imagine you are a woman who holds "all sexual power". She's in a club, wanting to get laid. She's a bit on the short side, her chin is far from feminine, and she's got fat in all the wrong places. Now she's doing her best to attract some guy. Sadly, she notices that all the hot guys don't even notice her, and the average ones, well, they all look so average to her. So what's she going to do? Having some more beers is one possible solution, since she knows that it will make her feel attracted to guys she's otherwise be repelled by. Or turning lesbian. Or simply avoid going to nightclubs. All three are common strategies.
Please comment below if you've got something to add or ask.