How the Sexual Revolution Has Hurt Women

From The Wall Street Journal:

Critics of free-market capitalism have observed that the pleasures of freedom are not equally available to all. As the economic historian and socialist R.H. Tawney wrote in 1931, “freedom for the pike is death for the minnows.” This is also true in the sexual marketplace, which was once strictly regulated but has now been made mostly free. In this case, however, the classes are not the workers and the bourgeoisie but, rather, men and women. More precisely, the group of people who have done particularly well from the free-marketization of sex are men high in the personality trait that psychologists call “sociosexuality”: the desire for sexual variety.

The standard questionnaire used by researchers to assess sociosexuality asks respondents how many different partners they have had sex with in the past 12 months, how many partners they have had sex with on only one occasion, and how often they have spontaneous fantasies about having sex with someone they just met, among other questions. Worldwide, there is a significant difference in average sociosexuality between the sexes, with men generally much keener to sow their wild oats than women are.

In a study of male and female sociosexuality across 48 countries published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 2005, psychologist David Schmitt and colleagues found large sex differences to be “a cultural universal,” regardless of a nation’s level of economic and social equality between the sexes.

This difference is explained by what evolutionary biologists term “parental investment theory.” Put simply, women can produce offspring at a maximum rate of about one pregnancy a year, whereas promiscuous men can theoretically produce offspring every time they orgasm. Although there are some limited circumstances in which multiple short-term mating might be advantageous for women—in conditions of danger and scarcity, for instance, in which sex might be exchanged for resources and protection—in general, natural selection has favored women who are choosy about their mates.

We see this play out in male and female sexual behavior. Men, on average, prefer to have more sex and with a larger number of partners, while the vast majority of women, if given the option, prefer a committed relationship to casual sex. Sex buyers are almost exclusively male, and men watch a lot more pornography than women do.

Men and women also differ dramatically in their baseline levels of sexual disgust, with women much more likely to be revolted by the prospect of someone they find unattractive. Disgust induces a physiological response that can be measured through heart and respiration rate, blood pressure and salivation, although the individual may not be aware of these indicators, and studies find that, on average, the sexual disgust threshold is much lower for women than it is for men.

Being groped in a crowd, or leered at while traveling alone, or propositioned a little too forcefully in a bar—all of these situations can provoke this horrible emotion. It is an emotion that women in the sex industry are forced to repress. In fact, as the prostitution survivor Rachel Moran has written, the ability not to cry or vomit in response to sexual fear and disgust is one of the essential “skills” demanded by the industry.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

PG hesitated before publishing this post due to its content and the potential for improper comments.

He hopes that anyone who comments will do so without any adolescent commentary or “all men are pigs” attitudes.

A long time ago when PG was practicing retail law, he was appointed to represent an underage girl who had been treated badly by her mother’s boyfriend and perhaps other adult men. That experience made a deep impression on PG and he doesn’t believe he ever declined a pro bono or low-fee case where he was asked to represent a mistreated woman thereafter.

For the record, PG doesn’t claim to wear or have worn a halo in his legal life, but some types of cases really push his buttons.

13 thoughts on “How the Sexual Revolution Has Hurt Women”

  1. I would disagree slightly. The primary group that benefited from the sexual revolution were those, men and women, who scored high on what the article calls “sociosexuality” and were willing to fulfill their desires at the expense of others.

    Or, to put it in more pejorative terms, cads, lechers, and vamps.

  2. I’m not sure what free market capitalism has to do with the issue. The solution is socialism?

    There must be a popular guide somewhere that offers profoundly meaningless first sentences.

    • In point of fact, we do not live under a “free market capitalism” system. In the US, the market is highly regulated and any intentions of capitalism have been replaced by cronyism, with price fixing, handouts, and legislation designed to reward corporate political sponsors being routine, in addition to the thousands of regulations affecting (and often crippling) businesses and workers.

      The term “free market capitalism” is always used in a derogatory way, but it’s meaningless in actual practice and only demonstrates the user’s ignorance. Still, its use is quite popular among a certain set.

  3. Many men are pigs. So are many women. (Forty plus years of life experience teaches you this, if nothing else.)

    The problem, to me, is that the culture being pushed sees piggishness as being acceptable good behavior, not something to be discouraged.

  4. People have a tendency to be themselves, true to their Buddha nature. I think that connecting sexual revolution to hurting women is turning correlation into causation.

    So the problem is as always that people are people tending to maximize their rewards, and minimize their disadvantages.

    The solution is complicated. I suggest that discussing way to level the playing field, equality of opportunity, alongside teaching enlightened self-interest leads to all kinds of confrontations over how, why, and when?

    I don’t have any specific answers, only that these problems need to be discussed. The trouble is that this has been discussed to death.

    Perhaps it is the fate of being human beings that we will be trapped in a discussion that goes around in circles until the end of eternity…

    • Men, on average, prefer to have more sex and with a larger number of partners, while the vast majority of women, if given the option, prefer a committed relationship to casual sex.

      So, where are those partners coming from? I remember the Sixties and Seventies very well.

      • They’re painting with too broad a brush and with dated numbers.
        The ratios of sexual activity is much closer than admitted and closer to equal. It’s just that men admit it more openly. Culture.

        Admitted Infidelity rates vary by country:

        Also, there is “cheating” and there is “cheating”. Not always is sex actually involved.

        As exemplified by US Statistics, from

        “With the divorce rate in the United States getting higher every year, so is the cheating and infidelity in relationships. Also it has been found that infidelity rate has increased dramatically within the last twenty-five years in the United States.

        Infidelity is the act of cheating on a spouse or a committed relationship partner. There are various reasons for this, ranging from a lack of satisfaction in the existing relationship to the presence of opportunity.

        Why Women Cheat?
        For women, the reason behind cheating her husband is not sex. Most women cheat for an emotional connection. This fact is quite common amongst women over the age of 30. It has been found that women can have an emotional relationship with some other person without taking it to the physical level.
        When ignorance is there from their husband’s end, women choose the path of infidelity. They start a relationship with other person just for the sake of love and nothing else.When women are not satisfied emotionally they initiate an affair with some other person whom she trusts.
        Why Men Cheat?
        Usually, men cheat for a single primary reason that is sex. After children are born, many men do not see their wives as sex objects, but rather they just find them as maternal figures.
        Men find sex in long-term relationships as routine or mechanical. Such feelings make men involved with some other partner just for the sake of physical adventure.
        Many men will seek sex outside of a relationship simply to see if they can do it. It is just the male ego that leads to infidelity.
        When can it happen?
        Infidelity can take place anytime during a relationship. However, there are certain times when the chances of cheating a partner can be higher. Also, there are certain conditions in a relationship which can gradually lead to such situation.

        After completing the first year of married life, the honeymoon period ends and a couple gets settled to a routine life. This is the time when life becomes boring for some people and they start looking for some adventure outside their family which ultimately results in cheating.

        Also after the first child is born, couples find that priorities of life have changed suddenly. This occurrence can sometimes become too hard to handle. Due to the need to give your attention to someone other than your husband or wife, the emotional feelings between the two change a lot. So, illegal affairs after the birth of first child can be noticed often.

        During the 5th to 7th year of married life, the chances of husband and wife having an illicit affair is also high. This is due to the relationship running its natural course, and most of the goals have been achieved, and there is nothing new in life. Just to add some excitement in life, people start seeing other. Affairs occurring during this period will continue for the longest period of time as well.

        Also during the middle age which is also known as the mid-life crisis, infidelity rate is high. This is the time when children are all grown and busy with their own lives. At this time a couple living together with no children to care for look for ways to establish their new identity. Hence, they try to start a new journey in their life by coming close to someone else.

        Statistics on Infidelity Rate and More:
        Surveys show that 22% of married men have committed an adulterous act at least once in their life
        14 percent of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives
        It is in the younger generation where these values are considerably higher and the numbers of both sexes are closer together
        The percentage of men and women who admit to having an affair with a co-worker is 36%
        The percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity on business trips is 36%
        The percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity (emotional or physical) with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law is 17%
        30% of the married women knew of their spouse’s infidelity, while for married men the number is higher and it stands at 46%
        90% of American believes it is morally wrong to commit an adulterous act only 61% would like to see it punished as any other crime
        In the United States, 17% of all the divorces that occur are due to adultery on the part of either or both the parties
        While a large number of divorces are caused by extramarital affairs most of them do not end in remarriage between the parties involved in the affair
        36% of the people admit to having an affair with a co-worker, with whom the usually spend more time than their spouses
        36 % percentage of people admits to having had an affair on a business trip
        Statistics say that nearly 85% of the women are right when they think their partner is cheating on them while for men it is around 50%
        2% to 3% of all children are due to infidelity and shockingly most of these children are unknowingly raised by men who are not their biological fathers
        70 percent of married women and 54 percent of married men did not know of their spouses’ extramarital activity
        Men are more likely than women to have a sexual affair, regardless of whether or not they are in a married or unmarried relationship
        Note: Due to the secretive nature of infidelity, it is impossible to find the exact figures about cheating and extra-marital affairs. In many cases, infidelity never gets discovered.

        Why the rate is getting higher?
        Due to women entering the work force, there is a rise in cases of office romances and eventually rise in infidelity rate.
        Internet and its increasing popularity have made it easier for people to engage in infidelity.
        Jealousy is such a fundamental, universal emotion that can compel people to have a relationship with someone else.
        Final Words:
        To conclude, a close analysis of Infidelity rate and its growth pattern clearly indicates that nearly one half of all married men and women are involved in extramarital affairs.

        • There are lies, damned lies and statistics…

          I’ve re-framed some of the ones posted above.

          Surveys show :

          That 78% of married men have not committed an adulterous act.
          86% of married women have not had affairs.

          The younger generation where fidelity is lower, the percentage of men and women of both sexes are closer together:

          Men and women who have not had an affair with a co-worker is 64%
          Those who have not committed infidelity on business trips is 64%

          Men and women who have not committed infidelity (emotional or physical) with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law is 83%

          In the United States, 83% of all the divorces that occur are due to other factors than infidelity.

          Just saying…

          • Human interactions are complicated and messy. Attempts to oversimplify them results in…less than useful outcomes.

            Most of these attempts fail in the same way: causality vs correlation. As if infidelity numbers depend *solely* on bulk cultural trends. (You can make a more persuasive case tying women’s rights to the deployment of electicity.) 😀
            They also assume respondents are universally honest and representative. Assumption not in evidence.

            These studies aren’t even reproducible.

            • Agree. The reproducibility of anything that has a component that comes under ‘psychology/mind.’

              It becomes a confounding variable that impacts repeating experiments, which I’ve decided to label ‘conscious irreversibility.’

              That is, once something is learnt it becomes impossible to act in a way that isn’t affected by what has happened before.*

              *This is meant to be a slightly tongue in cheek play on the difference between the assumptions of classical and quantum physics.

              • “That is, once something is learnt it becomes impossible to act in a way that isn’t affected by what has happened before.*”

                *Totally true, though. 😀

                That is actually going to be worth remembering in the days to come as globalization continues to unwind. The lessons of the pandemic lockdowns, the supply chain collapses, and the shortages in food and fertilizer (outside the US and most of the anglosphere) from the War are going to stick with millenials and zoomers just as the lessons of the great depression stuck with WWII generation.

                Some things cut so deep not even willfull ignorance can unlearn them.

  5. Let’s not underestimate the impact of simple misunderstandings between well-meaning individuals. All social scenarios tend to be awkward; add inexperience and insecurity and alcohol to even the best-intended sexual advances and, well, …

    A sense of humor is the very best medicine (assuming you haven’t wandered into a psycho killer situation).

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