Why the ‘price of sex’ is at an all-time low

Sociologist Mark Regenerus on hooking up, marrying down, and the effect of women’s success on our sex lives

by Kate Lunau

On hooking up, marrying down, and how women's success lowers the 'price of sex'
Photogaph by Sara Wilson/Getty images

When it comes to having a career and education, women have more opportunity than ever. But their chances of finding a stable, long-term relationship have actually declined, argues Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin. In his new book, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying (co-authored with Jeremy Uecker), he says that the “price of sex” is at an all-time low.

Q: What do you mean by the “price of sex”?

A: Sex is, at bottom, an exchange between a man and a woman. One can use this exchange in [homosexual] relationships, but I didn’t go there; it would double the size of the book. It’s not a simple pleasure-for-pleasure exchange: men and women tend to seek different things from the act of sex. They often mean different things by it. This isn’t to suggest that women don’t like sex or that they don’t gain pleasure from it. We know that they do, but there’s more to it than that. Women tend to prefer sex that comes with commitment, attention, conversation, love and, sometimes, material gifts. As the price of sex diminishes, that commitment becomes harder to get.

Q: What’s driving down the price of sex?

A: Part of the story is women’s success: they make up the majority of college students today. When you look at the college campus, 57 per cent of American college students are women. In Canada, it’s comparable. And that’s a big imbalance.

Q: You argue that when women outnumber men on campus, it gives men more power to dictate the terms of sex. Your book notes that virginity, for example, is more common on campuses where men outnumber women.

A: Isn’t that interesting? When men outnumber women, women tend to get more commitment in exchange for sex. And women tend to like to marry someone of a comparable education status. But I don’t know how that’s going to happen 10 or 15 years from now. If the college imbalance remains stable, there will be a large oversupply of college-educated women interested in marriage, and there won’t be enough college-educated men. So they’ll have to marry down, and I know some who have. It’s not that it can’t work, but it is a little bit different.

Q: In your book, you talk about young women prepping for law school or med school while the boyfriend is glued to the Xbox.

A: That was a real person, and that seemed like a gross imbalance to me. She was nursing him along. She eventually dropped him, and I was happy for her. One thing I see at the University of Texas is college women dating men who are not in college. It’s not like they’re not productive. But I think in the future, women will find themselves doing a lot of explaining about their boyfriends.

Q: Is it possible that high-achieving women are looking for a mate who can stay at home, just like the stereotypical businessman might have done a few decades ago?

A: I don’t think that’s happening yet. People talk about [how] maybe there will be a move to stay-at-home fathers. This is a bit speculative, but on average, I think women like the idea of the stay-at-home dad in theory, and they prefer an egalitarian orientation. But I think the average woman isn’t there yet. Will they get there, I don’t know. I don’t think the tables will turn such that women will marry a domestic man who will stay home and raise their children, but some people think so.

Q: What about “hooking up” on college campuses? Is that impacting the price of sex?

A: Hooking up is more common in fraternities, and it’s more common in elite universities. This sort of makes sense. College students are more stressed today than ever: they have a gun to their head from kindergarten these days, it seems like, in terms of achievements. So, you get to an elite college, and there’s tons of pressure, but you’re also entering the most sexual years of your life. There’s biological urges pushing people together—but there’s also all this achievement pressure that says you cannot spend time on expensive relationships, expensive in terms of time. So the impulse is to give your hormones their due, but to compartmentalize it: do it on the weekends because you know you can’t afford the time it takes to actually nurture a real relationship.

The average college student is not in a fraternity at an elite university. The average sexual act is occurring in some form of relationship, but the definition of what counts as a relationship, and how long it lasts, does seem to be comparatively brief. People talk about friends with benefits. Those happen, of course. They tend to be short-lived, generally because it gets awkward. Like this new movie that’s out, No Strings Attached—that doesn’t work well long-term. Long-term friends with benefits, long-term being a year, account for about one per cent of all sexual relationships that are going on. By their nature they’re very unstable: they either move into a romantic relationship, or break up.

A lot of young adults tend to segment the early adult years completely away from when they have to “settle down” and get married. But settling down is easier in concept, I suspect, than in reality. If men get used to accessing sex cheaply, it makes it harder for women [who are seeking commitment] to turn around and say, this time it’s going to be expensive.

Q: You find that, for most people in their twenties, marriage remains a goal.

A: Marriage offers several obvious benefits, like the pooling of resources, emotional support, and a secure relationship for child-bearing and child-rearing. Generally speaking, we see better mental health—even more so for men than women. Marriage tends to pay more benefits to men than women. I think the long-term trend is that we’re going to see a further delay of marriage. But it’s not necessarily about people saying, I don’t want to get married. It’s about market expectations of what you think you can get at a certain age. One interesting finding is that 30 per cent of unmarried young women said they’d like to be married right now, and 20 per cent of men said the same thing. Cohabitating men and women were the most likely to say that. We’re seeing the emergence of an almost institutionalized approach to cohabitation: starting cohabitation at the age we used to get married, 20 or 22. So it’s not like we’re not fashioning relationships, but they’re less secure, less committed. Cohabitation seems to me to be a concession to marriage in some cases—it’s the kind of commitment we can get when we’re in our mid-twenties. I think you’ll see people continue to delay marriage because they think they can’t find what they want in their twenties.

Q: Why are they holding off marriage?

A: The parents say, oh, don’t rush in. Travelling is a big narrative, too. Some of this, I suspect, is about what young adults think they’re supposed to do in these years. But if you stand back, none of those should inherently block marriage, if you want it. You can travel together—it’s more fun. And you’ll accumulate cash faster when you combine incomes. I didn’t have a dime to travel until I got married and got a job.

Q: What’s the impact of porn on the price of sex?

A: Playboy‘s been around a long time, but porn is just different today. It puts you bed-side. Classically, women have been concerned about whether [her mate will] be able to relate to a real woman. But economically, it seems more likely that here is another thing that diminishes the value of what she has to offer him. In terms of the cost of sex, if he can satisfy himself cheaply, online, he’s less motivated to woo a real woman. And she feels like she has to compete with this virtual woman and, in some ways, that’s true. That’s what we see: women doing things [sexually] they’d sometimes rather not. It can put them in a position of a lack of power.

Q: It sounds like you’d argue the sexual double standard is alive and well.

A: The sexual double standard always has negative connotations, and I’m not going to give it a positive one. But it’s just permanent: men and women experience sex differently. Basically, until men and women feel the same about sex and until men can get pregnant, there will be a double standard, because we’re different kinds of creatures. I don’t see any evidence of men becoming more like women, looking to commit early, being very emotional about the relationship. No, we don’t see that at all. We see women being more like men, and trying to have sex like a man.

Q: Aren’t you assuming that most women are looking for a committed relationship, and most men are looking for sex?

A: I’m not saying men aren’t interested in commitment. I’m saying they are interested in sexual activity, generally speaking, more so than women. Women tend to prefer sex within some kind of relationship.

Q: So what motivates these particular women to engage in casual sex?

A: Because they look around, and they feel like if they don’t compete for men on men’s terms, they will not have a relationship with a man. I actually don’t think it’s true, but the perception makes complete sense to me.

Q: Do you see the price of sex rising again?

A: None of the structural indicators would suggest that it’s happening. I do think that some things are more tweakable, one of which is: we can work to bring men back into college, even if we have to do an affirmative action program for men, which sounds kind of funny. It’s better to have balance. When I look at the rates of men in college, I think: where are all the missing men?

When it comes to having a career and education, women have more opportunity than ever. But their chances of finding a stable, long-term relationship have actually declined, argues Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin. In his new book, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying (co-authored with Jeremy Uecker), he says that the “price of sex” is at an all-time low.
Q: What do you mean by the “price of sex”?
A: Sex is, at bottom, an exchange between a man and a woman. One can use this exchange in [homosexual] relationships, but I didn’t go there; it would double the size of the book. It’s not a simple pleasure-for-pleasure exchange: men and women tend to seek different things from the act of sex. They often mean different things by it. This isn’t to suggest that women don’t like sex or that they don’t gain pleasure from it. We know that they do, but there’s more to it than that. Women tend to prefer sex that comes with commitment, attention, conversation, love and, sometimes, material gifts. As the price of sex diminishes, that commitment becomes harder to get. 

Q: What’s driving down the price of sex?

A: Part of the story is women’s success: they make up the majority of college students today. When you look at the college campus, 57 per cent of American college students are women. In Canada, it’s comparable. And that’s a big imbalance.

Q: You argue that when women outnumber men on campus, it gives men more power to dictate the terms of sex. Your book notes that virginity, for example, is more common on campuses where men outnumber women.

A: Isn’t that interesting? When men outnumber women, women tend to get more commitment in exchange for sex. And women tend to like to marry someone of a comparable education status. But I don’t know how that’s going to happen 10 or 15 years from now. If the college imbalance remains stable, there will be a large oversupply of college-educated women interested in marriage, and there won’t be enough college-educated men. So they’ll have to marry down, and I know some who have. It’s not that it can’t work, but it is a little bit different.

Q: In your book, you talk about young women prepping for law school or med school while the boyfriend is glued to the Xbox.

A: That was a real person, and that seemed like a gross imbalance to me. She was nursing him along. She eventually dropped him, and I was happy for her. One thing I see at the University of Texas is college women dating men who are not in college. It’s not like they’re not productive. But I think in the future, women will find themselves doing a lot of explaining about their boyfriends.
Q: Is it possible that high-achieving women are looking for a mate who can stay at home, just like the stereotypical businessman might have done a few decades ago?
A: I don’t think that’s happening yet. People talk about [how] maybe there will be a move to stay-at-home fathers. This is a bit speculative, but on average, I think women like the idea of the stay-at-home dad in theory, and they prefer an egalitarian orientation. But I think the average woman isn’t there yet. Will they get there, I don’t know. I don’t think the tables will turn such that women will marry a domestic man who will stay home and raise their children, but some people think so.
Q: What about “hooking up” on college campuses? Is that impacting the price of sex?
A: Hooking up is more common in fraternities, and it’s more common in elite universities. This sort of makes sense. College students are more stressed today than ever: they have a gun to their head from kindergarten these days, it seems like, in terms of achievements. So, you get to an elite college, and there’s tons of pressure, but you’re also entering the most sexual years of your life. There’s biological urges pushing people together—but there’s also all this achievement pressure that says you cannot spend time on expensive relationships, expensive in terms of time. So the impulse is to give your hormones their due, but to compartmentalize it: do it on the weekends because you know you can’t afford the time it takes to actually nurture a real relationship.
The average college student is not in a fraternity at an elite university. The average sexual act is occurring in some form of relationship, but the definition of what counts as a relationship, and how long it lasts, does seem to be comparatively brief. People talk about friends with benefits. Those happen, of course. They tend to be short-lived, generally because it gets awkward. Like this new movie that’s out, No Strings Attached—that doesn’t work well long-term. Long-term friends with benefits, long-term being a year, account for about one per cent of all sexual relationships that are going on. By their nature they’re very unstable: they either move into a romantic relationship, or break up.
A lot of young adults tend to segment the early adult years completely away from when they have to “settle down” and get married. But settling down is easier in concept, I suspect, than in reality. If men get used to accessing sex cheaply, it makes it harder for women [who are seeking commitment] to turn around and say, this time it’s going to be expensive.
Q: You find that, for most people in their twenties, marriage remains a goal.
A: Marriage offers several obvious benefits, like the pooling of resources, emotional support, and a secure relationship for child-bearing and child-rearing. Generally speaking, we see better mental health—even more so for men than women. Marriage tends to pay more benefits to men than women. I think the long-term trend is that we’re going to see a further delay of marriage. But it’s not necessarily about people saying, I don’t want to get married. It’s about market expectations of what you think you can get at a certain age. One interesting finding is that 30 per cent of unmarried young women said they’d like to be married right now, and 20 per cent of men said the same thing. Cohabitating men and women were the most likely to say that. We’re seeing the emergence of an almost institutionalized approach to cohabitation: starting cohabitation at the age we used to get married, 20 or 22. So it’s not like we’re not fashioning relationships, but they’re less secure, less committed. Cohabitation seems to me to be a concession to marriage in some cases—it’s the kind of commitment we can get when we’re in our mid-twenties. I think you’ll see people continue to delay marriage because they think they can’t find what they want in their twenties.
Q: Why are they holding off marriage?
A: The parents say, oh, don’t rush in. Travelling is a big narrative, too. Some of this, I suspect, is about what young adults think they’re supposed to do in these years. But if you stand back, none of those should inherently block marriage, if you want it. You can travel together—it’s more fun. And you’ll accumulate cash faster when you combine incomes. I didn’t have a dime to travel until I got married and got a job.
Q: What’s the impact of porn on the price of sex?
A: Playboy’s been around a long time, but porn is just different today. It puts you bed-side. Classically, women have been concerned about whether [her mate will] be able to relate to a real woman. But economically, it seems more likely that here is another thing that diminishes the value of what she has to offer him. In terms of the cost of sex, if he can satisfy himself cheaply, online, he’s less motivated to woo a real woman. And she feels like she has to compete with this virtual woman and, in some ways, that’s true. That’s what we see: women doing things [sexually] they’d sometimes rather not. It can put them in a position of a lack of power.
Q: It sounds like you’d argue the sexual double standard is alive and well.
A: The sexual double standard always has negative connotations, and I’m not going to give it a positive one. But it’s just permanent: men and women experience sex differently. Basically, until men and women feel the same about sex and until men can get pregnant, there will be a double standard, because we’re different kinds of creatures. I don’t see any evidence of men becoming more like women, looking to commit early, being very emotional about the relationship. No, we don’t see that at all. We see women being more like men, and trying to have sex like a man.
Q: Aren’t you assuming that most women are looking for a committed relationship, and most men are looking for sex?
A: I’m not saying men aren’t interested in commitment. I’m saying they are interested in sexual activity, generally speaking, more so than women. Women tend to prefer sex within some kind of relationship.
Q: So what motivates these particular women to engage in casual sex?
A: Because they look around, and they feel like if they don’t compete for men on men’s terms, they will not have a relationship with a man. I actually don’t think it’s true, but the perception makes complete sense to me.
Q: Do you see the price of sex rising again?
A: None of the structural indicators would suggest that it’s happening. I do think that some things are more tweakable, one of which is: we can work to bring men back into college, even if we have to do an affirmative action program for men, which sounds kind of funny. It’s better to have balance. When I look at the rates of men in college, I think: where are all the missing men?




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Why the ‘price of sex’ is at an all-time low

  1. Yikes! That was confusing.

    I still haven't figured out if the "price of sex" is lower for all American women, or just college aged & enrolled women. The interviewer doesn't seem to ask questions about any other group. It seems to me that he is really trying to say that there is an increasing spread between the bid/ask price of sex. Could also say that there is price deflation in the sex market. Could also say that a flood of counterfeit sex offerings are competing with traditional producers for market share.

    He should get in touch with Mr. Schiller of Case/Schiller real estate index fame. Then he could put together some an index showing differences in various regional or demographic market prices. Then there could be market arbitrage, rating agencies, etc., …

    Goodness sakes! Will the relentless quantification of human relationships ever find it's antidote?

  2. Yikes! That was confusing.

    I still haven't figured out if the "price of sex" is lower for all American women, or just college aged & enrolled women. The interviewer doesn't seem to ask questions about any other group. It seems to me that he is really trying to say that there is an increasing spread between the bid/ask price of sex. Could also say that there is price deflation in the sex market. Could also say that a flood of counterfeit sex offerings are competing with traditional producers for market share.

    He should get in touch with Mr. Schiller of Case/Schiller real estate index fame. Then he could put together some an index showing differences in various regional or demographic market prices. Then there could be market arbitrage, rating agencies, etc., …

    Goodness sakes! Will the relentless quantification of human relationships ever find it's antidote?

    • as ever, bad money drives out good :)

    • Its not supposed to answer everything – its supposed to get you to buy the book!

  3. What an interesting effort this person has made to take a bunch of questionable research statistics and then use them to underpin the usual blanket assumptions about the narrow roles that each gender is supposed to play. I'm sure he'll get on all the talk shows and people will believe him and, meanwhile, the world will keep turning in a way that is completely different from how he imagines it. Good show.

  4. What an interesting effort this person has made to take a bunch of questionable research statistics and then use them to underpin the usual blanket assumptions about the narrow roles that each gender is supposed to play. I'm sure he'll get on all the talk shows and people will believe him and, meanwhile, the world will keep turning in a way that is completely different from how he imagines it. Good show.

  5. as ever, bad money drives out good :)

  6. Wow, this guy has a really low opinion of men.

  7. Wow, this guy has a really low opinion of men.

    • Not at all he was explicit about not judging seems obvious, why people just can't accept men and women are different, why that is dosen't mater it just is.

  8. The bottom line: all these "sexual revolution" and related "achievements" have really made life more difficult for the vast majority of women. Any thinking woman out there still likes feminism?

  9. The bottom line: all these "sexual revolution" and related "achievements" have really made life more difficult for the vast majority of women. Any thinking woman out there still likes feminism?

    • Not more DIFFICULT, just different more EQUAL remember! hahahaha but seriously we are more the same than ever yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! becareful what you wish for and all that.

  10. Not at all he was explicit about not judging seems obvious, why people just can't accept men and women are different, why that is dosen't mater it just is.

  11. Not more DIFFICULT, just different more EQUAL remember! hahahaha but seriously we are more the same than ever yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! becareful what you wish for and all that.

  12. The argument presented above hinges on two propositions:
    a. people largely pursue mates/sexual partners in the same educational group
    b. the price of sex is determined by the relative representation of men and women in each group

    Based on this, shouldn't we assume that the price of sex is HIGHER for non-college educated women? After all, they have fewer competitors, and more same-education men to target. Indeed, the focus on college-educated women is bizarre, given that the majority of people are not college graduates.

  13. The argument presented above hinges on two propositions:
    a. people largely pursue mates/sexual partners in the same educational group
    b. the price of sex is determined by the relative representation of men and women in each group

    Based on this, shouldn't we assume that the price of sex is HIGHER for non-college educated women? After all, they have fewer competitors, and more same-education men to target. Indeed, the focus on college-educated women is bizarre, given that the majority of people are not college graduates.

    • You're right. Go to any small town, where young men outnumber young women, and you'll see a huge number of overweight young women who get men way above their market value.

      • Voluptuousness has gone in and out of fashion. Could just be another pendulum swing.

        • Voluptuous and obese are two different kinds of beast.

  14. Also, the data contradicts the theory. If college-educated women suffer most from the falling price of sex due to the undersupply of men, why has their marriage rate RISEN since 1950?

    % of white women ever married in 1950, by education
    < HS: 93%
    HS: 90%
    Some College: 92%
    College grad: 74%

    % of white women ever married in 2008, by education
    < HS: 81% (-12%)
    HS: 88% (-2%)
    Some College: 90% (-2%)
    College grad: 86% (+12%)

  15. Also, the data contradicts the theory. If college-educated women suffer most from the falling price of sex due to the undersupply of men, why has their marriage rate RISEN since 1950?

    % of white women ever married in 1950, by education
    < HS: 93%
    HS: 90%
    Some College: 92%
    College grad: 74%

    % of white women ever married in 2008, by education
    < HS: 81% (-12%)
    HS: 88% (-2%)
    Some College: 90% (-2%)
    College grad: 86% (+12%)

    • This might still be relying on old data. Since women and men were still 50/50 on campuses back in the 90's, those who are married today went to university back then.

      Also, women always want the top guys, even within their education level. The academic term for this is hypergamy. From this new york times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/fashion/07campu
      "Jayne Dallas, a senior studying advertising who was seated across the table, grumbled that the population of male undergraduates was even smaller when you looked at it as a dating pool. “Out of that 40 percent, there are maybe 20 percent that we would consider, and out of those 20, 10 have girlfriends, so all the girls are fighting over that other 10 percent,” she said. "

      So then,
      "“A lot of my friends will meet someone and go home for the night and just hope for the best the next morning,” Ms. Lynch said. “They'll text them and say: ‘I had a great time. Want to hang out next week?' And they don't respond.”
      "

      • Once a man realizes he has the pick of the flock he ain’t gonna settle down with one hen. He’s gonna go through the whole henhouse until he tires and finally settles down with a younger chick… leaving all the old hens for the married foxes.

    • If you're trying to sell 100,000 books to disillusioned women in their 30's who are obsessed with the ticking of their biological clock, it's best not to muddle the argument with numbers, analysis, or scientific rigour.

      It's best to focus on what will resonate with them, which is "a lack of suitable male partners, through no fault of your own, has caused you to end up unmarried in your mid-30's. It's all their fault."

      This guy is going to be so rich.

  16. You're right. Go to any small town, where young men outnumber young women, and you'll see a huge number of overweight young women who get men way above their market value.

  17. This might still be relying on old data. Since women and men were still 50/50 on campuses back in the 90's, those who are married today went to university back then.

    Also, women always want the top guys, even within their education level. The academic term for this is hypergamy. From this new york times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/fashion/07campu
    "Jayne Dallas, a senior studying advertising who was seated across the table, grumbled that the population of male undergraduates was even smaller when you looked at it as a dating pool. “Out of that 40 percent, there are maybe 20 percent that we would consider, and out of those 20, 10 have girlfriends, so all the girls are fighting over that other 10 percent,” she said. "

    So then,
    "“A lot of my friends will meet someone and go home for the night and just hope for the best the next morning,” Ms. Lynch said. “They'll text them and say: ‘I had a great time. Want to hang out next week?' And they don't respond.”
    "

  18. Voluptuousness has gone in and out of fashion. Could just be another pendulum swing.

  19. I would like this guy to take a look at the UK and see if he gets any different results

  20. I would like this guy to take a look at the UK and see if he gets any different results

    • I would like this guy to take a look in a mirror and see if he gets any results.

  21. If you're trying to sell 100,000 books to disillusioned women in their 30's who are obsessed with the ticking of their biological clock, it's best not to muddle the argument with numbers, analysis, or scientific rigour.

    It's best to focus on what will resonate with them, which is "a lack of suitable male partners, through no fault of your own, has caused you to end up unmarried in your mid-30's. It's all their fault."

    This guy is going to be so rich.

  22. What a fascinating read, diagnosing what is wrong with us guys. I come at it from the other side, which is to say trying to get men to wake up and think about how to be better, at being husbands and fathers. Also to get a lot closer at romance from a male perspective since I don't think the epidemic of porn and sex trade is fulfilling or helpful to MEN as well as women. You can see a series that I have recently done on love and marriage from a male perspective here: http://bit.ly/Good-is-good

    @tmatlack

  23. What a fascinating read, diagnosing what is wrong with us guys. I come at it from the other side, which is to say trying to get men to wake up and think about how to be better, at being husbands and fathers. Also to get a lot closer at romance from a male perspective since I don't think the epidemic of porn and sex trade is fulfilling or helpful to MEN as well as women. You can see a series that I have recently done on love and marriage from a male perspective here: http://bit.ly/Good-is-good

    @tmatlack

    • While I don’t disagree with the whole issue of an impending ‘man-child’ crises, I would argue that you’ve got your ‘other side’ mixed up.
      The other side as I see it, is with the women of today & their brand of feminism that has gone way off the tracks. The strange thing is that most women still short circuit back to old school pretenses in spite of this-that is, all this nonsense of hours & hours of imaginary foreplay in the form of walks on the beach, candle lit conversations etc-all fantasies just like porn is for men.

      The ‘other side’ is that women need to get in touch & exercise their animal lust & start desiring the act just as much or more then men need to rein those same instincts back.

  24. No question about it. Men have the advantage in today's "market." Just look at Mark Regenerus's facial hair. Twenty years ago a beard like that would doom a man to celibacy. But there he is, looking satisfied, confidently gesticulating, and informing us that "Sex is, at bottom, an exchange between a man and a woman." The only problem is . . . with a beard like that, I wonder whether Mark really is (at bottom) interested in women.

  25. No question about it. Men have the advantage in today's "market." Just look at Mark Regenerus's facial hair. Twenty years ago a beard like that would doom a man to celibacy. But there he is, looking satisfied, confidently gesticulating, and informing us that "Sex is, at bottom, an exchange between a man and a woman." The only problem is . . . with a beard like that, I wonder whether Mark really is (at bottom) interested in women.

    • You speak the truth.
      Just look at some of the guys getting wooed by women-Ed Sheeran comes to mind-how in the world does a fat, pasty white, thinning red haired extreme ginger become such a hit with the women-truly unbelievable.

      I guess good for him, otherwise he would be hanging out with the Palmer sisters.

      • Attraction isn’t a choice when you display the right traits.

        • I’m gonna go out on a limb & suggest that the physical traits he has aren’t any women’s idea of the right ones except for his voice I suppose & the drippy lyrics he sings with it.

  26. I would like this guy to take a look in a mirror and see if he gets any results.

  27. Could Macleans not find a CANADIAN sociologist who studied CANADIAN women and men? I used to read Macleans for its Canadian perspective on issues, and the increasing number of articles like this is why I did not renew my subscription to the magazine.

  28. Could Macleans not find a CANADIAN sociologist who studied CANADIAN women and men? I used to read Macleans for its Canadian perspective on issues, and the increasing number of articles like this is why I did not renew my subscription to the magazine.

    • Dear Joanne,

      The explanation is simple: CANADIAN women are already sexually satisfied by CANADIAN men. But look what American women have to work with. Long live the TRUE NORTH, strong and free.

  29. Why does a college educated woman have to "explain" about her boyfriend who didn't go to college? Do you know what plumbers and electricians make? Personally I'm thrilled that my beautiful, educated daughter married a tradesman. He's a great guy and all of a sudden we have access to all these "skills" that the rest of our university educated family members don't have. I've got to say, he seems like a way better catch (and considerably smarter) than a guy who doesn't know better than to have that thing on his chin.

    • Joe Plumber and Eric the electrician might have money and be handy around the house but you ususally can't have a conversation about metaphysics or the political spectrum with them. Different strokes for different folks, I don't care what
      my girlfriend or wife does for a living but I do want heightened, continuous cnversation, especially if I'm with them for the long haul. I've dated uneducated girls and we run out of conversation after a year of two because they just quit learning, want to have kids and build a nest, there's nothing wrong with that but it's not for me.

      • I've had conversations about metaphysics and politics with butchers, carpenters, and truck drivers, and although those conversations often require significant quantities of alcohol in order to initiate, that's simply because they're frequently intimidated by they're self-perceived lack of knowledge. Quite frankly, I find that many of them have indeed put significant thought into it, but are worried about relating their opinions because they don't want to look stupid.

        And, quite frankly, many 'educated' people are much better at speaking than listening, from what I've found. If you can't solicit this kind of feedback from people whom you don't think are educated, you should probably take a good look in a mirror and start asking yourself what is wrong with your approach.

        • Good points, Its just been my overall experience that my fellow tradesmen are not as interested in politics or philosophy. If it turns to it they make a snide remark and turn the conversation as quickly as possible. I find the alcohol part and "frequently intimidated by they're self-perceived lack of knowledge. Quite frankly, I find that many of them have indeed put significant thought into it, but are worried about relating their opinions because they don't want to look stupid," fascinating. I think it goes to show that many men out there are trapped in an arcane idea of their role as a man in society and what is expected of them by both sexes.

          • I agree with all of your points, having spent the majority of my youth in the trades, having the majority of my relatives in the trades, and many of my friends in the trades. The mental traps you described are very real, and I wish our culture didn't place such a high emphasis on occupation as it's linked to perceived intelligence.

          • It seems that you are assuming trades people don’t need an education to practice their trade, however, this is completely wrong. Trades people like “Eric the Electrician” do need formal education to be able to work, so I don’t think that you can stick them in the same “uneducated” group as your ex-girlfriends. It is unfortunate that you could not find suitable conversation in some “uneducated” people, but information about metaphysics and politics can be found outside of universities and it is only peoples choices which limit them in their discussion topics. So why don’t people attending university take interest in electricians work such as calculating electricity loads for breakers or circuit systems? Oh wait, they do! They are called electrical engineers! It is true that a university student has more formal education, but just because an electrical engineer has attended university doesn’t mean that he will be interested in metaphysics.

          • “It seems that you are assuming trades people don’t need an education to practice their trade…”

            Precisely! We can’t have idiots wiring up our homes – everyone would die!

        • In addition, many 'educated' people have very strong and definite views on subjects that are outside their area of expertise, but because they are 'educated' they speak with great confidence and authority even when they're wrong.

          • Good point, society today in my opinion makes people feel that they should not want to learn or discuss a certain topic because there is no point to it since they will never be considered an "expert" on the subject. Why do we feel
            that we can't discuss something out of our expertise? People just give up, tune out, and turn to materialistic values.

        • “And, quite frankly, many ‘educated’ people are much better at speaking than listening, from what I’ve found.”

          Bingo. One need not have an expensive piece of paper from an University to qualify for the debate(s) on the meaning(s) of life (and death).

  30. Why does a college educated woman have to "explain" about her boyfriend who didn't go to college? Do you know what plumbers and electricians make? Personally I'm thrilled that my beautiful, educated daughter married a tradesman. He's a great guy and all of a sudden we have access to all these "skills" that the rest of our university educated family members don't have. I've got to say, he seems like a way better catch (and considerably smarter) than a guy who doesn't know better than to have that thing on his chin.

  31. Dear Joanne,

    The explanation is simple: CANADIAN women are already sexually satisfied by CANADIAN men. But look what American women have to work with. Long live the TRUE NORTH, strong and free.

  32. I'm really not sure how I feel about this article, I can say that from my perspective a lot of his generalizations on the feelings of women were incorrect, but of course I'm just one person, as such I'm not even going to begin arguing his extensive gender stereotypes.
    My main issue with the article is that Regenerus more or less predicts that the women of our generation will be unable to find lasting satisfying commitment because we'll be forced into the dreaded NSA relationship, or be forced to cavort with men addicted to WOW and the like. But I think that his analysis fails to take into account the pay rise of the trades, and the shifting attitudes towards tradespeople. Even ignoring the idea that a shift towards a more egalitarian or female led marriage model would not necessarily be a bad thing, there is no reason for it to become necessary for anyone who wishes otherwise.
    He states that women like men who are of at least equal education to them, but I think it is more of an intelligence and financial thing. When the woman is the breadwinner in the family it shifts the balance of power away from the traditional mold. I think that perhaps the excess of men in the trades, which now often out earn college graduates, will balance out the percentages of post secondary educated adults. These guys areas of intelligence and interest may or may not include Shakespeare, Russian revolutionary history, or cell biology. However, there are lots of cross faculty relationships on a university campus, meaning there are often two distinct areas of expertise in a university relationship, there is no reason that this wouldn't extend to men studying the trades.
    The chief barrier is a social one, that calls for women to seek out a doctor, or lawyer to marry; in short someone that will work 80hr weeks and will be unable to figure out how to unclog a drain or install an Ikea shelf. Now more than ever skilled trades people are making good money, and are some of the few men that have retained the "fix-it" skills that so many women remember their fathers having, but have yet to see in a university man of their own age.

    On a separate note his assertion that women need to compete with women in porn is one of the stupidest things I've read in a while, it completely discounts female masturbation, and the obvious fact that another person touching your junk and you touching your junk while looking at a prerecorded image of another person are two very different things.

  33. Joe Plumber and Eric the electrician might have money and be handy around the house but you ususally can't have a conversation about metaphysics or the political spectrum with them. Different strokes for different folks, I don't care what
    my girlfriend or wife does for a living but I do want heightened, continuous cnversation, especially if I'm with them for the long haul. I've dated uneducated girls and we run out of conversation after a year of two because they just quit learning, want to have kids and build a nest, there's nothing wrong with that but it's not for me.

  34. I know a lot of tradesmen out there and nine times out of ten there into sex, sports, food, and cars. I don't see a balance happening any time soon if a woman wants a little bit more.

  35. I know a lot of tradesmen out there and nine times out of ten there into sex, sports, food, and cars. I don't see a balance happening any time soon if a woman wants a little bit more.

  36. Danny is a metrosexual.

    Learn to be a man!

    • Because I'm an educated tradesman who's interested in more things than sex, sports, food and cars?

  37. Danny is a metrosexual.

    Learn to be a man!

  38. Because I'm an educated tradesman who's interested in more things than sex, sports, food and cars?

  39. I've had conversations about metaphysics and politics with butchers, carpenters, and truck drivers, and although those conversations often require significant quantities of alcohol in order to initiate, that's simply because they're frequently intimidated by they're self-perceived lack of knowledge. Quite frankly, I find that many of them have indeed put significant thought into it, but are worried about relating their opinions because they don't want to look stupid.

    And, quite frankly, many 'educated' people are much better at speaking than listening, from what I've found. If you can't solicit this kind of feedback from people whom you don't think are educated, you should probably take a good look in a mirror and start asking yourself what is wrong with your approach.

  40. Good points, Its just been my overall experience that my fellow tradesmen are not as interested in politics or philosophy. If it turns to it they make a snide remark and turn the conversation as quickly as possible. I find the alcohol part and "frequently intimidated by they're self-perceived lack of knowledge. Quite frankly, I find that many of them have indeed put significant thought into it, but are worried about relating their opinions because they don't want to look stupid," fascinating. I think it goes to show that many men out there are trapped in an arcane idea of their role as a man in society and what is expected of them by both sexes.

  41. In addition, many 'educated' people have very strong and definite views on subjects that are outside their area of expertise, but because they are 'educated' they speak with great confidence and authority even when they're wrong.

  42. Good point, society today in my opinion makes people feel that they should not want to learn or discuss a certain topic because there is no point to it since they will never be considered an "expert" on the subject. Why do we feel
    that we can't discuss something out of our expertise? People just give up, tune out, and turn to materialistic values.

  43. This article infuriated me. Women's success is bad for sex. Please. So we'd rather go back to the 1950s then is that it? Oh and I agree with above comments that porn does not equate with the real thing. Oh, and men aren't going to change. Real optimistic. Let's just not even try to improve men's attitudes because the double standard is permanent (well it will be if that's what you keep thinking). And if I'm looking for sex, it is definitely not to "compete for men on men's terms" – why should I compete? "It's more fun to travel together" – comparing apples and oranges, I've done both and both have advantages and disadvantages. "Economically it seems more likely that here is another thing that diminishes the value of what she has to offer him" – right, because all I am is an empty uterus or vagina with nothing else going for me – perhaps a man is just a free dinner and a movie?

    I really could go on about the many ridiculous unsupported generalizations he makes, but I don't feel like typing that much. I am a sociology student at UofA, and I think this guy is a disgrace to the discipline.

    • I can't say I agree with the article, but I think the assertion he was making in his book, from what I'm reading here, is that college-educated women who view less educated males as as not being suitable long-term partners reduces the pool of eligible males available to them.

      So, for yourself, if you're happy dating a male irrespective of his occupation and education, more power to you. You'll have a much greater pool of males to choose from if you ever decide to head down the long-term relationship path.

      • Seems she didn't dig your pep talk.

    • This article does not do a great job articulating an anecdotal truth that many men are finding; namely, that when modern women aggressively seek multiple partners like hetero-normal men, then most hetero-normal men place a lower value on the sex that they participate in with these aggressive women.

      Meaning, sex is cheaper; both in terms of our time commitment to obtain said sexual encounters, and what we have to spend by way of entertainment (“dating”) to charm easy women.

      Of course, not all women are easy, and this – in my opinion – is a great thing for men that have their lives together and are seeking a long term relationship. I won’t judge a former party girl, but I may not be inclined to propose to her either.

      For the past few thousand years, men have had to cultivate interesting skills and hobbies to attract a mate; to pursue women. They have had to ruthlessly compete with wealthier, smarter, and more attractive men while simultaneously displaying their high value to their potential mates. Likewise, for the past few thousand years, women have really only had to rely on their good looks and breeding to secure a position in life, and during these times, so long as a woman is realistic about the types of men she can attract, finding a sexual partner – for her – is comparatively easy.

      Feminism has changed the game; whether for good or ill for the ecology of the sexual market place is something we, as a first world civilization, are still discovering.

      No, we don’t need to go back to the 1950′s; however, men and women alike need to realistic about the consequences – real and perceived! – of their life choices in this brave new world.

    • Let’s clarify what is meant by success:
      To me it means a mother that makes the choice to stay home & raise the next generation into well adjusted & harmonious men & women-lots of daily chores & some late nights taking care of her children.
      To others, it means clawing up the corporate ladder-lots of daily tasks & some late nights taking care of herself.

      I’m not arguing that a working mother is bad, but that’s not what I’m trying to get across-I’m addressing the ‘success’ factor. Working at a job to support a family & ‘careering’ to support ones own success are 2 very different things.

      Either way, women’s success IS bad for sex-either they have given almost everything to their children or to their career leaving zero desire for getting it on.

      Men on the other hand are ready just about anytime because we don’t need all the BS foreplay like a weeks worth of conversation to be in the mood for Sunday. We can gladly work late, come home to a couple of hrs of house renovations & be ready to go for an 11pm shagging.

  44. This article infuriated me. Women's success is bad for sex. Please. So we'd rather go back to the 1950s then is that it? Oh and I agree with above comments that porn does not equate with the real thing. Oh, and men aren't going to change. Real optimistic. Let's just not even try to improve men's attitudes because the double standard is permanent (well it will be if that's what you keep thinking). And if I'm looking for sex, it is definitely not to "compete for men on men's terms" – why should I compete? "It's more fun to travel together" – comparing apples and oranges, I've done both and both have advantages and disadvantages. "Economically it seems more likely that here is another thing that diminishes the value of what she has to offer him" – right, because all I am is an empty uterus or vagina with nothing else going for me – perhaps a man is just a free dinner and a movie?

    I really could go on about the many ridiculous unsupported generalizations he makes, but I don't feel like typing that much. I am a sociology student at UofA, and I think this guy is a disgrace to the discipline.

  45. I agree with all of your points, having spent the majority of my youth in the trades, having the majority of my relatives in the trades, and many of my friends in the trades. The mental traps you described are very real, and I wish our culture didn't place such a high emphasis on occupation as it's linked to perceived intelligence.

  46. I can't say I agree with the article, but I think the assertion he was making in his book, from what I'm reading here, is that college-educated women who view less educated males as as not being suitable long-term partners reduces the pool of eligible males available to them.

    So, for yourself, if you're happy dating a male irrespective of his occupation and education, more power to you. You'll have a much greater pool of males to choose from if you ever decide to head down the long-term relationship path.

  47. Its not supposed to answer everything – its supposed to get you to buy the book!

  48. It seems that you are assuming trades people don’t need an education to practice their trade, however, this is completely wrong. Trades people like “Eric the Electrician” do need formal education to be able to work, so I don’t think that you can stick them in the same “uneducated” group as your ex-girlfriends. It is unfortunate that you could not find suitable conversation in some “uneducated” people, but information about metaphysics and politics can be found outside of universities and it is only peoples choices which limit them in their discussion topics. So why don’t people attending university take interest in electricians work such as calculating electricity loads for breakers or circuit systems? Oh wait, they do! They are called electrical engineers! It is true that a university student has more formal education, but just because an electrical engineer has attended university doesn’t mean that he will be interested in metaphysics.

  49. Seems she didn't dig your pep talk.

  50. I'm looking forward to being asked out for dinner by a woman and having her pick up the cheque.

  51. I'm looking forward to being asked out for dinner by a woman and having her pick up the cheque.

  52. Well this is eons out of date! What’s it doing here??

    • Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding

      Attention Shoppers – Attention Shoppers

      Emily the Internet Motormouth, has just moments ago reached an all time record of posting 7,800 Stupid Comments ( Seven Thousand Eight Hundred)

  53. Young university graduate women are also using sex to get ahead in the corporate world. One situation I’m familiar with is a male boss promoting a beautiful single woman over a more deserving married male with a family. She was shacking up with the boss to get the promotion while the married male was productively working his tail off. The dalliance was discovered and now the married male is the boss and the old boss and his office squeeze are looking for work. I wonder how many promotions are based on sex rather than competence on the job! It’s becoming nasty out there now!!

  54. There are a lot of dumb, fat, ugly single men out there living at home with mommy and jerking off late at night to internet porn and fantacising over the gorgeous babes. Meanwhile there are a lot of dumb, fat, ugly, single women congregating together wondering where the men are hiding. In the old days, these ugly people found each other and married, had a family of ugly kids and lived happily until they prematurely died from their obesity. Now the ugly men reject ugly women because they get sexually and psychologically turned off because the ugly woman just doesn’t measure up to his delusion of beauty. Every single man hiding from women is a internet porn masturbater and of that you can be certain…. unless he’s gay.

  55. I never wanted to get married and have kids and it was always my boyfriends wanting to get married. A lot of my friends had the same experience. I think there are some gross generalizations about men and relationships in this article.

    • You should hook up with your “friends” and leave the good men alone if you are unwilling to contribute your womb to the advancement of the human race. Of course please don’t complain in your old age that men are the cause of your poverty or unhappiness.

      • I’m assuming this is a joke?

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