Sex in Zero Gravity

A review of mine on Mark Regnerus’ recent book, Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy has just been posted over on The Gospel Coalition website. Within the book, Regnerus describes and seeks to explain the shape of contemporary sexual culture in the West. It is a worthwhile book and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to delve into these issues:

Regnerus draws our attention to the readily demonstrated (yet controversial) fact that the mating market is naturally asymmetrical. In the relational dance, men are primarily pursuers, while women are primarily the “recipients of sexual pursuits” (53). Men naturally have a more pronounced sexual appetite than women (there are exceptions to this pattern, and women clearly want sex too, but the pattern of greater male sexual appetite is a clear and crosscultural one), while women naturally bear the greatest costs of procreation. Women historically had great need for men’s protection and provision, while men needed women to have children and satisfy their sexual appetites.

While women formerly controlled access to sex—collectively keeping its “price” high in order to defray the costs of bearing and raising children and to select for provident and committed husbands and fathers—with the advent of contraceptive sex, the price of sex no longer has to be high (this article by Timothy Reichert helpfully describes some of the “market” dynamics at work). Contraception proved to be a great trade-off: women gained the means for greater economic independence from men and increased sexual autonomy, while losing their power as sexual gatekeepers as the price of sex plummeted. “Women want men but don’t need them, while men want sex but have more options now” (60).

Read the whole thing here and consider buying a copy of the book for yourself.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Culture, Economics, Ethics, Guest Post, Reviews, Sex and Sexuality, Society. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sex in Zero Gravity

  1. Mario says:

    Thank you very much for your book review. I love the insights you share there, such as this:

    “Such differences between the forms of male and female desire find evidentiary support in, among other things, the many firsthand accounts of transgender persons’ experiences on hormone therapies. ”

    I did read the links you provided to the transgender people on hormone therapies. I’m curious about those “other things” you write about. I love reading about differences between males and females, especially those that are filtered through your thinking. If you could share these “other things”, that would be great. 🙂

    • I presume you are referring to the links provided in this post. There’s also research on the subject of female desire more specifically and its differences from male desire, presented on a more popular level in books such as Emily Nagoski’s recent Come As You Are (chapter 7 in particular) and elsewhere in the literature.

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