Lindy West did an excellent job (as always) of picking apart the latest argument in favor of seeing sex as a transaction where ladies are apparently supposed to dole out sexual favors like they’re hoarding a vagina-based currency which only buys engagement rings. This is bullshit for many, many reasons, most of which Lindy laid out brilliantly, but there’s one possibility usually gets missed in the Economic Valuation of the Sexing: what do you do when the woman makes more money?
Yes, women sometimes make more money than their male partners. Black is white, up is down, cats are making friends with dogs, et cetera. The wage gap is still very much a thing, but there are couples out there in which the man makes less money. I should know–I’m in one of these mystical arrangements myself.
So who’s the cow and who’s the free-milk-receiver in this relationship? Speaking purely from this mercenary perspective (and that’s what the proponents of this argument want to you to do, to consider your genitals’ worth as something disconnected from pleasure or love) I’ve got the financial upper hand. I have a stable income, better health insurance, no debt, and a great credit score. According to this pseudo-economic theory of human attraction, I should be the one holding the possibility of marriage over my boyfriend’s head in exchange for sexual favors.
Actually, according to these folks, I should dump my low-earning boyfriend (grad school? ugh, what a loser) so I can find a richer partner with whom to swap sexual access for jewels. Because sex is obviously so uninteresting to women that I cannot possibly be getting sufficient pleasure from the act; the use of my squishy bits must be carefully rationed, lest I somehow inflate my vaginal currency* and end up paying more for marriage than other ladies.
And yet, I continue to stay in a relationship that is less than economically optimal for me, and I continue to have sex that does not have value beyond my (and my boyfriend’s) pleasure. Is my Lady Money in danger of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflation? Or is sex supposed to be a finite resource, like oil, that I’m wasting with indiscriminate drilling? Is my relationship currently at Peak Sex, and are we going to have Sex Crisis? Wouldn’t that drive the value of my Sex up, not down?
Or maybe–and I know this is going to seem totally crazy–maybe there’s some other reason why I might be having sex with someone I love.
* If my vagina must have a currency, I will call it “the pound”