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Author predicts big change in male-female sexual dynamics in near future

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Everyone knows that America is not quite a meritocracy, with a shameful glass ceiling not yet shattered. But the dividends of feminism cannot be denied, as author Liza Mundy highlights in her new book, The Richer Sex, just out on shelves, and the subject of a March 26 cover story in Time. Mundy argues in the book that, before too long, a majority of American households will see women as the main breadwinners, and the ramifications of that give pause. As Mundy points out, "Almost forty percent of U.S. working wives now outearn their husbands, a percentage that has risen steeply in this country and many others." 

According to the author, the period after World War II was the "highwater mark of the male-breadwinning ideal," but things have changed dramatically in the last sixty-odd years , as traditional gender roles have been upended. This is why, with the perspective of time, Mad Men's Matthew Weiner has become such an esteemed pop sociologist, catering to those fascinated by a time that seemed in denial of itself. 

Nowadays, women are besting men when it comes to real-wage growth and education, earning the majority of academic degrees by a clear margin. And with what she calls "the Big Flip" in gender roles on the horizon, we can expect to see a dramatic transformation in the dynamics of male-female relationships. 

So will we have more house husbands and Mr. Momism? Pretty much. Women now head companies like IBM, Pepsico, Xerox, Sunoco, etc., a pipe dream mere decades ago. Women's increased power and independence is changing the sexual landscape. Mundy writes that "Women are becoming the gender that wants sex more than men do." Successful women tend to be more open to sexual variety, and will often fly cross-country to establish relationships with equally-successful men, preferring long-distance love to settling for more accessible underachievers.

A good number of women Mundy interviewed said the available pool of men worth committing to is more like a puddle. She writes, "If sex, for women, were about nothing more than securing commitment, at present there would be very little sex going on, because there are relatively few men worth committing to." The author explains that women are putting the c-word on the back burner, as they feel less pressure to get hitched earlier, not needing a provider. 

Another manifestation of the creeping role-reversal pointed out by the author is the number of younger women interviewed having lots of sex with assorted partners, or "test-driving a lot of cars before you buy one," as one practical woman put it.

Somewhat amusingly, though many fellas are happy to embrace the golddigger role, Mundy suggests that men outearned by wives and girlfriends are often less interested in sex with those women, feeling emasculated by this economic cuckoldry, so to speak. Mundy writes, "Just as women are said to do, men in some cases withheld sex, strategically, as a way of exerting what power they felt they still had."