The Concept Of The Sexual Market

Baumeister, the primary coauthor behind the seminal 2004 paper titled “Sexual Economics: Sex as Female Resource for Social Exchange in Heterosexual Interactions”, has released online the latest addition to that work, titled “Sexual Economics, Culture, Men, and Modern Sexual Trends“, another steely-eyed examination of the sexes that pretty much validates the core Chateau Heartiste concept of the existence of a merciless sexual market, and its primacy among all markets.

I was planning to write a sole synopsis and commentary on the recent study, but others, like Mangan (back from hiatus), have done a good job covering the essential hypotheses and conclusions in the paper, so instead I’ll post in addition, in the near future, an email from a reader who forwarded to CH his astute objections and comments to the original Baumeister paper in an email sent to the author. (I don’t know if Baumeister replied.)

(Quick aside: Mangan asks a related question regarding a prominent claim in the Baumeister paper that men supported the entrance of women into the workforce to increase men’s sexual access: “Is there a direct relationship between looser morals and more women in public life?” I would bet that there is, and that a trend toward higher female participation in the workforce, and particularly in government and similar social gatekeeper occupations, is one of the crucial indicators that a nation is beginning the downward spiral into stasis and eventual decline.)

Continuing, some choice quotes (with editor commentary) pulled from the latest Baumeister/Vohs (a woman!) paper to give you a flavor for its contents.

In simple terms, we proposed that in sex, women are the suppliers and men constitute the demand (Baumeister and Vohs 2004). Hence the anti-democratic, seemingly paradoxical sex ratio findings that Regnerus describes. When women are in the minority, the sexual marketplace conforms to their preferences: committed relationships, widespread virginity, faithful partners, and early marriage. For example, American colleges in the 1950s conformed to that pattern. In our analysis, women benefit in such circumstances because the demand for their sexuality exceeds the supply. In contrast, when women are the majority, such as on today’s campuses as well as in some ethnic minority communities, things shift toward what men prefer: Plenty of sex without commitment, delayed marriage, extradyadic copulations, and the like.[ed: yep, life has been good for those of us who know the score.] […]

Sexual marketplaces take the shape they do because nature has biologically built a disadvantage into men: a huge desire for sex that makes men dependent on women. Men’s greater desire puts them at a disadvantage, just as when two parties are negotiating a possible sale or deal, the one who is more eager to make the deal is in a weaker position than the one who is willing to walk away without the deal. [ed: this is why practiced male aloofness is attractive to women — it signals that the man is holding a stronger market position, and that his goods are therefore valuable.] Women certainly desire sex too — but as long as most women desire it less than most men, women have a collective advantage, and social roles and interactions will follow scripts that give women greater power than men (Baumeister et al. 2001). [ed: culture emerges from sexually differentiated genetic roots.] We have even concluded that the cultural suppression of female sexuality throughout much of history and across many different cultures has largely had its roots in the quest for marketplace advantage (see Baumeister and Twenge 2002). Women have often sustained their advantage over men by putting pressure on each other to restrict the supply of sex available to men. As with any monopoly or cartel, restricting the supply leads to a higher price. […]

Recent work has found that across a large sample of countries today, the economic and political liberation of women is positively correlated with greater availability of sex (Baumeister and Mendoza 2011). Thus, men’s access to sex has turned out to be maximized not by keeping women in an economically disadvantaged and dependent condition, but instead by letting them have abundant access and opportunity. [ed: was the sexual and feminist revolution fomented by undersexed beta males? a case can be made.] In an important sense, the sexual revolution of the 1970s was itself a market correction. Once women had been granted wide opportunities for education and wealth, they no longer had to hold sex hostage (Baumeister and Twenge 2002). [ed: that is, they no longer had to suffer the indignity of beta provider courtship. now that they had the resources, it was open season on alpha male cock hopping. the sexual revolution appears to have backfired on beta males expecting a bigger slice of the snatch pie.]

What does all this mean for men? The social trends suggest the continuing influence of a stable fact, namely the strong desire of young men for sexual activity. As the environment has shifted, men have simply adjusted their behavior to find the best means to achieve this same goal. Back in 1960, it was difficult to get sex without getting married or at least engaged, and so men married early. To be sure, this required more than being willing to bend the knee, declare love, and offer a ring. To qualify as marriage material, a man had to have a job or at least a strong prospect of one (such as based on an imminent college degree). The man’s overarching goal of getting sex thus motivated him to become a respectable stakeholder contributing to society.

The fact that men became useful members of society as a result of their efforts to obtain sex is not trivial, and it may contain important clues as to the basic relationship between men and culture (see Baumeister 2010). Although this may be considered an unflattering characterization, and it cannot at present be considered a proven fact, we have found no evidence to contradict the basic general principle that men will do whatever is required in order to obtain sex, and perhaps not a great deal more. [ed: that last clause is critical. men will always take the path of least resistance to sex. it is up to women to make that path more difficult if they want to extract more concessions from men.] (One of us characterized this in a previous work as, “If women would stop sleeping with jerks, men would stop being jerks.”) If in order to obtain sex men must become pillars of the community, or lie, or amass riches by fair means or foul, or be romantic or funny, then many men will do precisely that. This puts the current sexual free-for-all on today’s college campuses in a somewhat less appealing light than it may at first seem. [ed: what’s interesting and unspoken here is that the sexual free-for-all is chugging along nicely well beyond and outside of the college years, with the difference being that, in their 20s and 30s, a select number of fewer men (let’s call them… alpha males) are enjoying the ample premarital rewards of sexually available women.] Giving young men easy access to abundant sexual satisfaction deprives society of one of its ways to motivate them to contribute valuable achievements to the culture. [ed: damn, i’m torn. do i want a thriving society or easier access to sex? yeeeeah… i’ll take the latter and leave the self-sacrifice required of the former for the anti-poolside chumps.]

The changes in gender politics since 1960 can be seen as involving a giant trade, in which both genders yielded something of lesser importance to them in order to get something they wanted more (Baumeister and Vohs 2004). As Regnerus states, partly based on our own extensive survey of research findings, men want sex, indeed more than women want it (Baumeister et al. 2001). Women, meanwhile, want not only marriage but also access to careers and preferential treatment in the workplace. [ed: women are the reproductively more valuable sex, and so it makes sense that evolution would have “gifted” women with an oversized entitlement complex and the inability to engage in self-criticism.]

The giant trade thus essentially involved men giving women not only easy access but even preferential treatment in the huge institutions that make up society, which men created. [ed: but the grand bargain did not work out as intended for the masses of beta males who acquiesced to the new girl order. while alpha males certainly saw more action from “liberated” women, the average joe did not. instead, all the average joe got in return for sacrificing his workplace status in hopes of easier sex was… a heaping helping of humiliation and wage stagnation and anti-joe animus, which continues at an accelerated pace to this day. this is a critical distinction i would like to see Baumeister address.] Today most schools, universities, corporations, scientific organizations, governments, and many other institutions have explicit policies to protect and promote women. It is standard practice to hire or promote a woman ahead of an equally qualified man. Most large organizations have policies and watchdogs that safeguard women’s interests and ensure that women gain preferential treatment over men. Parallel policies or structures to protect men’s interests are largely nonexistent and in many cases are explicitly prohibited. Legal scholars, for example, point out that any major new law is carefully scrutinized by feminist legal scholars who quickly criticize any aspect that could be problematic or disadvantageous to women, and so all new laws are women-friendly. Nobody looks out for men, and so the structural changes favoring women and disadvantaging men have accelerated (Baumeister and Vohs 2004). […]

Even today, the women’s movement has been a story of women demanding places and preferential treatment in the organizational and institutional structures that men create, rather than women creating organizations and institutions themselves. Almost certainly, this reflects one of the basic motivational differences between men and women, which is that female sociality is focused heavily on one-to-one relationships, whereas male sociality extends to larger groups networks of shallower relationships (e.g., Baumeister and Sommer 1997; Baumeister 2010). Crudely put, women hardly ever create large organizations or social systems. That fact can explain most of the history of gender relations, in which the gender near-equality of prehistorical societies was gradually replaced by progressive inequality—not because men banded together to oppress women, but because cultural progress arose from the men’s sphere with its large networks of shallow relationships, while the women’s sphere remained stagnant because its social structure emphasized intense one-to-one relationships to the near exclusion of all else (see Baumeister 2010). All over the world and throughout history (and prehistory), the contribution of large groups of women to cultural progress has been vanishingly small. [ed: what do you think will happen to a nation’s cultural progress when it goes out of its way to give preferential treatment to its women who, as a sex, prefer tawdry one-to-one relationships to men’s preference for the growth potential in large shallow relationships? that’s right, the economy and the culture come more and more to reflect women’s preferences. result: progress that is the hallmark of rising empires grinds to a halt.] […]

Why have men acquiesced so much in giving women the upper hand in society’s institutions? It falls to men to create society (because women almost never create large organizations or cultural systems). It seems foolish and self-defeating for men then to meekly surrender advantageous treatment in all these institutions to women. Moreover, despite many individual exceptions, in general and on average men work harder at their jobs in these institutions than women, thereby enabling men to rise to the top ranks. As a result, women continue to earn less money and have lower status than men, which paradoxically is interpreted to mean that women’s preferential treatment should be continued and possibly increased (see review of much evidence in Baumeister2010). Modern society is not far from embracing explicit policies of “equal pay for less work,” as one of us recently proposed. Regardless of that prospect, it appears that preferential treatment of women throughout the workforce is likely to be fairly permanent. Because of women’s lesser motivation and ambition, they will likely never equal men in achievement, and their lesser attainment is politically taken as evidence of the need to continue and possibly increase preferential treatment for them. [ed: the preferences shall continue until morale improves.]

But this pattern of male behavior makes more sense if we keep in mind that getting sex is a high priority for men, especially young men. Being at a permanent disadvantage in employment and promotion prospects, as a result of affirmative action policies favoring women, is certainly a cost to young men, but perhaps not a highly salient one. What is salient is that sex is quite readily available. As Regnerus reports, even a man with dismal career prospects (e.g., having dropped out of high school) can find a nice assortment of young women to share his bed.

Mangan makes a valid objection to this Baumeister theory that affirmative action for women increased men’s sexual access by noting that it was likely contraception and cost-of-sex-reducing technology — the Pill, abortion, and penicillin — which opened the floodgates to “free” love. I put “free” in quotes because in reality, the sexual revolution did not benefit all men equally; alpha males got the lion’s share of premarital sex from economically self-sufficient women. Beta males suffered more than usual, having to endure watching from the sidelines as alpha males cleaned up, while simultaneously being deprived of the best leverage they had in the sexual market: their promise of marital resources.

However, I do think Baumeister is onto something true, in that increased female workplace participation meant that men with reasonably high status jobs had a lot more fleshy temptresses from whom to conveniently choose, and that women must certainly have felt less restricted in their sexuality once they were meeting their own financial needs and could afford to risk happy dalliances with sexually desirable, but more non-committal, alpha males.

Again, Le Chateau was on top of all this years ago, when we proposed a sea change in the American cultural landscape heralded by the coming of the FourFiveSix Sirens of the Sexual Apocalypse:

  1. Effective and widely available contraceptives (the Pill, condom, and the de facto contraceptive abortion).
  2. Easy peasy no-fault divorce.
  3. Women’s economic independence (hurtling towards women’s economic advantage if the college enrollment ratio is any indication).
  4. Rigged feminist-inspired laws that have caused a disincentivizing of marriage for men and an incentivizing of divorce for women.
  5. Penicillin (reduced the cost of contracting STDs)
  6. Widely available hardcore porn.

I added numbers five and six to the list of Sexual Apocalypse Sirens, because they seem to me just as important to understanding how the sexual market changed in the last fifty or so years.

So, a crib sheet of quippy replies if you ever need it to send a feminist or manboob howling with indignation:

1. The Pill
2. No-fault divorce
3. Working women
4. Man-hating feminism
5. Penicillin
6. Porn

Toss into a social salad bowl already brimming with an influx of non-European immigrants thanks to the 1965 soft genocide act, mix thoroughly, and voila!: a huge, inexorable, relentless leftward shift in American politics, an explosion of single moms, wage stagnation, government growth, upper class childlessness, lower class dysgenics, and a creaking, slow deterioration in the foundational vigor of the nation and the gutting of the pride of her people.

Into this pot pie of portent throw in the Skittles Man, Bring the Movies Man, Nah Man, and Disappeared Again Man, for whom girls have always swooned but who now, thanks to relaxed pressure from women themselves requiring men to put a ring on it before getting any huggy or kissy, and the incentivizing of risky sexual behavior by government policy and contraceptive technology, could enjoy sex without the entanglement of marriage or gainful employment.

Game, for all the shit it gets from the usual suspects, was just a rational response to a radically altered playing field. It didn’t cause this calamity; it just profited from it.

Meanwhile, beta males are left scratching their block-like skulls, wondering what the fuck just happened.

Back to Baumeister.

Nowadays young men [ed: correction: alpha males] can skip the wearying detour of getting education and career prospects to qualify for sex. Nor does he have to get married and accept all those costs, including promising to share his lifetime earnings and forego other women forever. Female sex partners are available without all that. [ed: …to those men with charm in the game.]

So maybe the young men don’t care that much about how the major social institutions in the world of work have become increasingly rigged to favor women. Sex has become free and easy. This is today’s version of the opiate of the (male) masses. The male who beds multiple women is enjoying life quite a bit, and so he may not notice or mind the fact that his educational and occupational advancement is vaguely hampered by all the laws and policies that push women ahead of him. After all, one key reason he wanted that advancement was to get sex, and he already has that. Climbing the corporate ladder for its own sake may still hold some appeal, but undoubtedly it was more compelling when it was vital for obtaining sex. Success isn’t as important as it once was, when it was a prerequisite for sex. [ed: success isn’t as important for beta males, either, because success doesn’t provide the same sexual market leverage like it used to for them. how is a no-game-having, 9-to-5er beta male supposed to woo a lawyercunt pulling six figures?]

If men don’t need career success to get sex, then what if anything do they need success for? Some research indicates that career motivation really intensifies for men when they become fathers. Indeed, it has long been known that the transition to parenthood has opposite effects by gender. New mothers withdraw from their work and careers; new fathers embrace work and career with enhanced seriousness and motivation (for a review see Baumeister 1991). [ed: the “pay gap” explained.] […]

With regard to work, the societal changes are producing less contribution by men and more by women. These might offset, with few or no costs to society. Still, replacing male with female workers may bring some changes, insofar as the two genders approach work differently. Compared to men, women have higher rates of absenteeism, seek social rewards more than financial ones, are less ambitious, work fewer hours overall, are more prone to take extended career interruptions, and identify less with the organizations they work for. They are more risk averse, resulting in fewer entrepreneurs and inventions. (Baumeister 2010, noted an appalling gender imbalance in new patents; nobody is seriously suggesting that the U.S. Patent office systematically discriminates against women, but women simply do not apply for patents in anything close to the rate that men do.) Women are less interested in science and technology fields. They create less wealth (for themselves and others)[ed: the roman empire wept.] […]

The female contribution of sex to the marriage is evanescent: As women age, they lose their sexual appeal much faster than men lose their status and resources, and some alarming evidence even indicates that wives rather quickly lose their desire for sex (Arndt 2009). To sustain a marriage across multiple decades, many husbands must accommodate to the reality of having to contribute work and other resources to a wife whose contribution of sex dwindles sharply in both quantity and quality—and who also may disapprove sharply of him seeking satisfaction in alternative outlets such as prostitution, pornography, and extramarital dalliance.

Baumeister is a serious realtalker.

We speculate that today’s young men may be exceptionally ill prepared for a lifetime of sexual starvation that is the lot of many modern husbands. The traditional view that a wife should sexually satisfy her husband regardless of her own lack of desire has been eroded if not demolished by feminist ideology that has encouraged wives to expect husbands to wait patiently until the wife actually desires sex, with the result that marriage is a prolonged episode of sexual starvation for the husband. […] Today’s young men spend their young adulthood having abundant sex with multiple partners, and that seems to us to be an exceptionally poor preparation for a lifetime of sexual starvation.

Game can save marriages from the fate of sexual starvation. At least until the wifey is no longer attractive enough to stimulate the hubby. Ah well, waddayagonnado?

Although we have noted warning signs and problems, we remain optimistic. [ed: i don’t.] Despite the obstacles and changing contingencies, men and women have always managed to find each other and work together to create a modicum of happiness for both and to create a sphere in which children can grow, thrive, and sustain the culture for another few decades. [ed: yes, men and women will always find each other. the question is, what form will that finding take? that is the issue which matters for those who seek to maximize the social good.] The coming generation will face novel challenges, but somehow we think they will muddle through and manage to reinvent family life yet again. [ed: sometimes the reinvention is not as good as the original.]

All in all, a stellar paper that lays down the hammer of hurt on the pushers of pretty lies. For this reason, I expect the liars and degenerates and serpentine sophists currently running the country into the ground to thoroughly ignore and/or distort it.

My main objections to the paper center around the fact that Baumeister/Vohs don’t explore female hypergamy and alpha male/beta male distinction in much detail, which is a shortcoming I hope the both of them will address in the future. Nonetheless, their work is essentially a huge vindication of the concepts that the proprietors at Chateau Heartiste have been elucidating since the first day this blog drove a stake through the heart of the reigning discourse and claimed a piece of this decaying culture for itself. And someday, perhaps soon, a real rain will come and wash all the lies off the streets.