Academics say the “price” of sex comes with a discount these days

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Even though we don't like to discuss it in these terms, academics tell us that the "price" of sex, in the non-prostitution sense, is operating at a healthy discount in this day and age due to a number of factors. The University of Minnesota's Kathleen Vohs, who has written extensively about "sexual economics," tells us that "The price of sex is about how much one party has to do in order to entice the other into being sexual. It might mean buying her a drink or an engagement ring. These behaviors vary in how costly they are to the man, and that is how we quantify the price of sex."

With more than a quarter of young women reportedly uninhibited within the initial week of dating, changing mores have caught the attention of social psychologists, who have delved into what underlies these bargain-basement transactions. Researchers have discovered that around thirty percent of young men are engaging in sexual relationships devoid of any ancillary courtship rituals, to the consternation of Titanic fans.

Whereas in more traditionally conservative times the folkways of dating were more formal, today hook-ups are more casual, and as a result, University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus says men are "quicker to have sex in our relationships these days, slower to commitment, and just plain pickier." The sub-par economy further discourages men from commitment, as they worry about potentially supporting a family, and the consequences of divorce.

With fifty-seven percent of college students women, the imbalanced gender ratio has led to increased social-Darwinistic competition between young ladies for men's affections. In cold, analytical terms, Regnerus points out that "Every sex act is part of a 'pricing' of sex for subsequent relationships. If sex has been very easy to get for a particular young man for many years, and over the course of multiple relationships, what would eventually prompt him to pay for it in the future — that is, committing to marry?" Or, the old cow and milk thing.

The changing sexual marketplace is reflected in the percentage-decline of married twenty-five to thirty-four-year-olds, which currently stands at forty-six percent. Besides gender equality, the Pill, and liberal television shows like Sex and the City, the ubiquity of internet porn and its unrealistic, fantastical wares has altered the sexual playing field in dramatic ways. Regnerus again:

"If men don't want to take the time to woo a real woman, they can watch sex acts in high definition with images of women who never say no. If you have a suboptimal date with someone you met online, you're apt now to log on and see who else is available, rather than to have another try at it."