Sunday, October 2, 2011

Economics vs. apples.

A day doesn't go by I don't see an article like this one.  I'm not going to try to deconstruct it point by point, because it's the same old shit.  I'm just going to pull some quotes and talk about my weekend.  I suspect you'll get my point.
Women are jumping into the sack faster and with fewer expectations about long-term commitments than ever, effectively discounting the “price” of sex to a record low, according to social psychologists.
Rowdy and I had agreed to a date, but neither of us was feeling in the mood for a "date" date on the night.  Instead, we just got snacks and juice at the drugstore and sat together on the cover of the subway tunnel, listening to street musicians in the square, laughing at little kids playing run-in-circles-really-fast games, laying back and cuddling on the concrete.  Because of the kids around, I whispered the dirty things into his ear, very quietly, so they wouldn't know why he was laughing.
“The price of sex is about how much one party has to do in order to entice the other into being sexual,” said Kathleen Vohs, of the University of Minnesota, who has authored several papers on “sexual economics.” “It might mean buying her a drink or an engagement ring. These behaviors vary in how costly they are to the man, and that is how we quantify the price of sex.”
We split up to head back to his home; he biked and I drove.  On the way I stopped at the liquor store to surprise him with a pack of beer from his hometown.  At home we drank the beer (he dressed his in a little lederhosen first), undressed, and cuddled naked while watching porn.  It didn't turn into sex.  The porn was too ridiculous for that.  It turned into giggling--helpless, naked, wiggly giggling.
By boiling dating down to an economic model, researchers have found that men are literally getting lots of bang for their buck. Women, meanwhile, are getting very little tat for their . . . well, you get the idea.
At the end of the night, I stroked his cock, at first slowly and gently, almost comfortingly, then for real.  I kissed the tip of his cock and when he groaned appreciatively I took the whole thing in my mouth.  It was a long, sloppy blowjob, popping his cock out of my mouth and then swallowing it down again, both of us still a little giggly.
Men want sex more than women do. It’s a fact that sounds sexist and outdated. But it is a fact all the same -- one that women used for centuries to keep the price of sex high (if you liked it back in the day, you really had to put a ring on it). With gender equality, the Pill and the advent of Internet porn, women’s control of the meet market has been butchered. 
It was my turn next.  I slipped a condom on his vibrator and went to town while he held me, stroked my breasts, gently pulled my hair, and whispered fucking filthy sweet nothings in my ear.  I came and didn't want to stop.  So I didn't.  I just kept pleasuring myself over and over, Rowdy's hands on my ass and his lips on my cheek, until I was exhausted.
“Every sex act is part of a ‘pricing’ of sex for subsequent relationships,” Regnerus said. “If sex has been very easy to get for a particular young man for many years and over the course of multiple relationships, what would eventually prompt him to pay a lot for it in the future -- that is, committing to marry?”
We slept late into the morning, curled around each other.  It's been more than a year of nights like this and I'm still stupid in love--the kind of love where I think his snoring is cute, the kind where I'm charmed and a little turned on when he scratches his balls.  When he woke up he held me and kissed me and reminded me that with him I'm safe enough to be that stupid.
Did you answer, “Love”? You’re adorable. “Sexual strategies for making men ‘fall in love’ typically backfire, because men don’t often work like that,” Regnerus says.
Later in the day, Sprite came over and we went apple picking.  It really makes no sense to pick your own apples, economically; I'm sure we paid three times what it would have cost at the store.  What we were really paying for was a day in the orchard, walking through rows of trees in light misty rain, eating impossibly sweet and crisp apples right off the trees.
So, what can women do to return the balance of sexual power in their favor? Stop putting out, experts say. If women collectively decided to cross their legs, the price of sex would soar and women would regain control of the market. Like a whoopie cartel.
After we gathered our apples, we sat together at a picnic bench under a tree, drinking hot mulled apple cider, talking about our childhoods and our schoolwork and tractors (that one was mostly Rowdy) and various forms of perverted sex we were planning to have.

The point here isn't that my relationship is super special, or that my relationship represents every relationship.  But my relationship exists in the real world--the messy, complicated, wonderful real world.  It's a place that has masturbation and apples, cuddles and really bad street musicians, group sex parties and muddy shoes.

I'm sure there are relationships in this big ol' world where women coldly trade sex to men for commitment and compete joylessly to see who can get the biggest diamond for the fewest fucks.  It's just that there's a universe of other relationships out there, and they're way more fun.  I mean, shit, if the woman's withholding sex strategically or having it pried out of her economically, when does she get to enjoy feeling a man's arms tighten around her as she comes?  And if the man's only giving as much love as he needs to get sex, when does he get to enjoy sneaking kisses behind an apple tree?

So I don't just want to brag here.  I want to tell stories to show that no one has to live that way.  And oh my God is life better when you don't.

Next time we're together, we're going to bake apple crisp.


  1. Yeah, love is too good for economic sexist bullshit. Life's too good for that.

    And thank you for sharing your stories. They were..gooey and schmoopy and lovely.

  2. I guess I must be adorable. And the writer of that 'article' is getting one adorable boot up the ass.

  3. "Did you answer, “Love”? You’re adorable."

    If I hear this kind of thing one more time, I think I just might explode.
    Oh, no! Some people out there might be feeling actual emotional connections and wanting the same from someone they care about! That's so *precious.*

  4. This probably has a lot to do with some of those false rape accusation scenarios from the earlier post. Bob winds up thinking he didn't rape Alice because she said yes, regardless of whether or not she meant it, because sex is reduced to an economic transaction in which consent consists of merely saying yes.

    It's all just dehumanizing.

  5. Wow. I found new blogs sex-and-gender blogs today, so I was archive binging-- I've been reading emotionally charged 'we deserve to exist' stuff all evening.

    Almost exactly as I was done with that, this post popped up on my CSS reader.

    Almost exactly as I started to read it, my music collection cued up Pachelbel's Canon.

    So I read this ridiculously sweet little anodyne to all that bullshit over one of the most haunting, stirring melodies ever written. (Here's one in your eye, 'the Canon is a cancer' snobs.) It about put tears in my eye. Just one of those perfect confluences...

  6. With gender equality, the Pill and the advent of Internet porn, women’s control of the meet market has been butchered.

    This whole article is coming from another universe for me - people in my circle do not behave according to the "sexual economics" model. But this part of the article, I not only can't relate to - I literally cannot understand what it means. The author seems to be saying that women have historically made men jump through hoops in order to get laid because the men wanted sex more than the women did. But now women have to grudgingly put out because of...gender equality? And the existence of the pill?

    "I want to have sex."
    "No. I don't enjoy sex at all. I don't want to."
    "But...but...GENDER EQUALITY!"
    "Oh, dammit, you're right. I guess I have to fuck you now."

    Seriously, I don't understand. If anyone out there has a bullshit-to-English translator, please clarify this passage for me.

    I do understand the point re: widely available porn, although it's laughable that the author believes masturbating to a picture is a fulfilling substitute for an actual partner.

    I'm not even talking about being in love with someone, since clearly men are incapable of our Earth emotions (EYEROLL). I just mean that a live partner can touch you, respond to touch from you, and has several orifices that feel nothing like a hand. Porn can't offer those perks.

  7. The sad thing is that either they actually believe what they're saying, or they're just going through the motions because this is the only way they can get published is by mouthing the accepted wisdom.

    I'm not sure which would be the greater sadness, to be honest. But even the one relationship I had that was tinged with money wasn't like that... it had its own problems, but that's because we're people, and we make mistakes.

    That's what this boils down to: The wholly economic models used here don't involve people, just emotionless and perfectly logical computers. And this is why pure economic models don't work... because we are people, with our own needs and thoughts and values.

    And that's also why apples picked with loves in an orchard are better for you than mere economics.

  8. God! I hate the idea that men don't want/feel/act out of love.

    People who say that can go to hell.

    I'm a man, (maybe not a straight, "manly" man) and what I want most in the world is to love and be loved. If I just wanted to have sex, I could pay for it.

  9. I must admit I've been having a little trouble fending these ideas off in my own mind, because, hey, women *are* having more sex and people *are* getting married later (which of course is the only manifestation of 'long-term commitment'), and articles like this connect the facts in a seemingly logical way....

    Then I read your post and realised how completely ridiculous this whole sex-economics thesis is. The pre-requisites for this 'market' include:
    -women only ever want goods and services (rides, restaurant meals, shows, home handy-work) from their relationship
    -men only ever want sex from their relationship
    -in any and every male-female relationship the woman will always want sex at all times
    -women, as a group, actually enjoy sex to a lesser degree than men as a group
    -all women have an end-goal for a relationship that will secure them a steady supply of goods and services and that goal is 'long-term committment' as manifest in marriage
    -despite their relationship end-goal and not enjoying sex very much very often, women are nevertheless persisting to act against their own best interests and desires by having sex with men more because of gender equality
    -gender equality means women acting like men
    -women are all poor dupes being suckered into having sex too much
    -women are being suckered by feminism, which wants them to be empowered, and not, say, the dumber sections of the mass media, which usually wants them to buy something

    What I want to know now is, where is the isolated and mysterious colony of humans where all of this holds true and where the proponents of this hypothesis clearly did all their research?

  10. oops, typo in my 3rd point above; should read:
    -in any and every male-female relationship the woman wil always want sex *less* at all times

  11. So women only give sex for love/commitment/shiny things, and men only give love/commitment/shiny things for sex? I can see about three holes in this idea.

    1. Just because soemthing is a social option doesn't mean people are going to do it if they don't want to. So women who have sex without 'demanding a high price' most likely do it because they want sex.
    2. If it is so much easier to get 'low-price' sex, then why are people still committing?
    3. If, as according to this article, women don't enjoy sex, then why do I and many other women spend time wanting sexual activity that specifically pleasures the woman?
    4. The existance and behavior of gay couples blows this right out of the water too. Why would gay men want to get married if all men want to get out of a relationship is sex (if this was the case, then casual sex would do the trick) and why would lesbians have sex if women only give sex for commitment?

    Also, Holly, your date night sounds awesome and adorable.

  12. Part of why I left my marriage was because I felt like a prostitute. There was something disgusting about putting out when I didn't want to, because that's what the agreement demands. Being told I couldn't afford to leave. Well, just watch me. Never. Again.

    Date night sounds perfect.

  13. ShadowCell - The creepiest part of it, for me, is the implication that no woman ever wants sex--she just agrees to it when her price has been met. If you think women's consent is a sale rather than an expression of desire, then your entire concept of consent (and of when and why someone might not consent) is going to be hopelessly fucked up.

    Anon - Also 5. Don't certain men experience this Earth emotion we call "love?"

  14. The joyless, bloodless model of exchange in which a neat supply line meets a neat demand line at equilibrium, graphed according to massive generalization and assuming all people are equally calculating machines, is one that's ruined economic thinking for decades.

    Now that all the economists who claim human thinking and feeling don't enter into it are finally, FINALLY, losing work in the shitty economy they've helped to build, they're apparently seeking part-time employment as relationship counselors.

    I would say the only real mystery is how these blithering idiots still get work at all, but I know too well that they've been hired by the network of their teachers and independently wealthy peers. It doesn't matter what they say; there is no accountability for accuracy in economics. None.

    I'm just here to reassure Holly and her charming commentariat that the world they describe does not and has never existed. It is a fantasy to make life maximally easy for the people whose sole purpose it is to draw graphs.

  15. I think the people writing and "researching" these articles must be lonely and very unsatisfied with their own lives.

  16. Galatea - That's the funny thing, isn't it? Not only is it bad sex, it's bad economics. Ignoring the human factor doesn't just leave you misunderstanding sex and romance, it also does a similar number on your ability to predict things like when someone will buy a house and why they might default on a loan.

    It's not that people are completely irrational, but we factor a lot more motivators than cost and return into our rationalization. And if you can't account for that, you can't describe the economy any better than you can a date.

  17. When my boyfriend i. and I first got to know each other, we spent a whole evening flirting and getting drunk together. Then he walked me home in the early morning light. We kissed in front of my apartment building for the first time, and kept on kissing each other for a long time. I considered asking him to come up with me, but I knew perfectly well that I was way too tipsy to have sex. So we said good night and he went home.

    Then, on Sunday, he invited me over for a cup of coffee. It didn't take long before we were making out on the couch. I was unbelievably excited and giddy to see his naked body, and I had a hard time expressing or even figuring out what my boundaries would be. Finally I was so turned on that I asked him if he had a condom there, because I desperately wanted to have his gorgeous cock inside me.

    He said sure, but he wasn't sure if he would be able to keep it up with a condom on, so I told him no pressure. It didn't end up working out so well so he concentrated on making me come with his hands. I'm the hair trigger orgasm type so once he had it figured out, he had me squirming and going wild with pleasure. After a while we decided to move from the couch to his bed, and cuddled while I recovered from so many orgasms.

    I decided that it was his turn, and both of us were up to date on our STD tests, so I asked him if I could suck him off. I have to say, it was one of the hottest blowjobs I've experienced to date. He came really, really hard and seemed surprised and pleased that I swallowed, then pulled me up to him and gave me a sloppy kiss. We cuddled for a while, and then he went to get a bottle of water from the kitchen. He returned with a grapefruit and started feeding me bites from it while I sleepily lay on my back. We kissed a little more and then drifted off to sleep. When I woke up, I told him I wanted to go shower at home and sleep in my own bed, and I'd call him in the morning. So he brought me to the door and kissed me goodbye.

    Clearly, what this story proves is that the cost of sex has fallen to the price of half a grapefruit.

  18. Oh my god. On whose behalf is this writer speaking? They don't speak for me. Or anyone I know, as far as I can see. What a twisted and tragic vision.

  19. Shorter article: lesbians don't exist.

  20. Lesbians can exist! They just can't have sex.

    Just like gay men can exist, but science has absolutely no explanation for why they would want to get married.

  21. Galatea - That's the funny thing, isn't it? Not only is it bad sex, it's bad economics. Ignoring the human factor doesn't just leave you misunderstanding sex and romance, it also does a similar number on your ability to predict things like when someone will buy a house and why they might default on a loan.

    You don't even have to go that far. Even accepting for the sake of argument that every fact in the article is 100% correct, it still leads to an awesome conclusion.

    Accepting the economic theory of sex, sex is a commodity and is reasonably interchangeable from one person to the next. Therefore, short of legal restrictions, it is impossible to monopolize the supply of sex, for either partner. In addition, urban life means that any individual is exposed to a great number of people-of-the-appropriate-gender-and-orientation. Finally, the patriarchy has retreated to the point where there isn't a -huge- gap in power between genders. (This argument will fall apart in societies where, for example, woman are still men's effective property.)

    Therefore, the conditions for a free-market economy exist (and indeed are better than that in your supermarket), so the price of sex falls to the marginal cost of production. Sex is "cheap" because it is not costly. Pregnancy risks are entirely controllable, social stigma for being a "slut" is fading, and disease is also largely controllable. When these risks are very real, that's when women "need to insist on security" before having sex -- they're covering their costs, in a weird, blood-chilling way.

    From an economic standpoint, this is the point of Holly's story. "It doesn't cost me anything but my time to have a sexual relationship, so why the hell shouldn't I?"

    So for myself, I can look at this "economics of sex" stories, see past the ass-backwards patriarchal point of view, and be overjoyed at how progress is tickling at the attention of even economists.

  22. Nom de Plumage - Unfortunately, that's not using the article's economic theory of sex. The article's theory is really a theory of pussy--it is impossible for a (heterosexual, but they sorta assume everyone is) woman to receive sex. Even if sex costs almost nothing for me to "produce," in this article's worldview I still shouldn't give it away because I'll be wasting my time and effort.

    I like your theory better, but any economic theory is going to trip up big time on trying to analyze a "good" that actually gives the "seller" as much benefit as the "buyer."

  23. @Holly:
    Lesbians can exist! They just can't have sex.

    Sure, lesbians can exist and have sex in the economic model. The trick is, the "costs" of lesbian sex beyond the basics of time are paid for in social stigma, so according to patri-nomics marriage isn't necessarily the right answer.

    In Ye Olden Horrible Days, heterosexual sex produced two things: a slut (at risk of ostracization) and a baby, both of which are borne by the woman. Therefore, she needs a means of support to mitigate both those risks; the patriarchal standby is marriage to a suitable man.

    In contrast, modern-day lesbians face social stigma, but that's from the fact of their relationship being out in the open moreso than the actual sex. Therefore, neither marriage nor any of the "traditional" things-exchanged-for-sex mitigate any of the costs. That's why homosexuality is conveniently ignored by pretty much any article of this ilk.

  24. Perversecowgirl: I think the reason you're having such difficulty with this particular bullshit--english translation is because (shockingly enough) the person who wrote the article doesn't even have her facts right.

    Or, at the very least, has drawn an incorrect conclusion from her observations. The main reason that women placed such a "high price" (marriage) on sex up until about 1960, is because up until the advent of the Pill, the cost to women was so much higher than the cost to men for having sex, in terms of potential consequences.

    (Yes, I'm sure I'm not saying anything you don't already know, but I wanted to make this point about how the author was wrong anyway, and you provided a convenient lede.)

  25. @Holly:
    Unfortunately, that's not using the article's economic theory of sex. The article's theory is really a theory of pussy--it is impossible for a (heterosexual, but they sorta assume everyone is) woman to receive sex. Even if sex costs almost nothing for me to "produce," in this article's worldview I still shouldn't give it away because I'll be wasting my time and effort.
    If we view sex as strictly a pussy market, then the marginal cost of production idea works even better. "Supplying pussy" has less cost than ever before, so obviously the "price" should also go down.

    What once resulted in (white, upper-class natch) pussy existing only on a "rent-to-own" arrangement has given way to a more libertine society.

    Your point -- fundamentally that sex is fun -- can still be included in the argument. Since "supplying pussy" is inherently rewarding, that acts a lot like a subsidy on the final price. In some cases, that can reduce the price to less-than-free.

    In practice, you still have a price for sex and that's written over pretty much every post on your blog: you demand respect, consideration, and negotiation. Those aren't tangibles in the way that shiny-bling is, but given that there are a great many people not willing to supply those, I'd definitely call it a price.

    Mommy, does this mean I'm a prostitute now? -facepalm-
    srsly. doin it wrong.

    But the date night sounds awesomely lovely!

  27. Nom de Plumage - In practice, you still have a price for sex and that's written over pretty much every post on your blog: you demand respect, consideration, and negotiation.
    True, but the people I have sex with also expect me to "pay" these things. I'm not just a seller of pussy, I'm also a buyer of cock. But then again, I wouldn't have sex with someone who didn't want me to respect him--so is his demand for respect a cost or a benefit for me? And vice versa.

    And it's even weirder when you get to love. I have love, but I'd rather have Rowdy's love, so I give him my love to get his love, but at the end we always still have the ability to give more love.

    I don't think that means "so it's not economics, it's magic" necessarily, but it's sure as hell not the same economics as pricing out pork bellies.

  28. Nom de Plumage: Those aren't tangibles in the way that shiny-bling is, but given that there are a great many people not willing to supply those, I'd definitely call it a price.

    Hey, it's a literal virgin/whore dichotomy! If there are any conditions under which you'd choose to have sex, then you have a price and are screening potential partners for their ability to pay.

    In general, your whole argument reeks of Thomas Friedman-style economist bullshit. There's no protection against overfitting. You can keep conjuring intangible factors that nudge the price back and forth until you've fully described the situation that really exists, or, just as easily, the situation as you'd like us to imagine it.

  29. perlhaqr: yeah, the author is totally mixing up hir conclusions. If the availability of birth control caused a spike in chicks putting out, that would indicate that chicks want to have sex and the main thing stopping them is fear of getting pregnant.

    But the article explicitly states that women want sex less than men do; it also implicitly states that women in fact don't give a shit about sex at all - otherwise how could we coldly hold out for dinner or a commitment or whateverthefuck? If women are thought to enjoy sex, the whole economic model falls apart because sex becomes the end in and of itself, not a bargaining chip.

    So, if women don't have sex (at least until certain conditions are met) because they don't want sex, "gender equality" and The Pill have nothing to fucking do with anything. This is what's tripping me up.

    Maybe the author is trying to say that women have been using pregnancy fear as an excuse not to have sex, and now that we have The Pill we can't use that excuse anymore? And we're too stupid to come up with another excuse? I don't know.

  30. Even if this bloodless, transactional model made sense in the real world, it still doesn't explain WHY women should hold out for marriage. Marriage benefits men more than it benefits women. Sex benefits both parties equally.

  31. Anon - Marriage benefits women more if they're mothers.

    I'm not sure how "women do better with a second source of income and support while raising small children" became "women just have a natural inexplicable urge to entrap men in marriage," but it did.

  32. Is it just me or is worst part of this not the complete separation from reality but that they SUCK AT ECONOMICS? *reads comments* Oh no, it's already been said and said better than I could. I'm a happy camper.

    It peeves me off that they're comparing men's het sex with women and women's sex with men like they're apples and oranges when they're not only both apples, they're either side of the same apple, damn it!

    No, what really -- really -- peeves me off is how long I bought into this. And how flexible this crap is to accommodate refutations. Holly has a rocking relationship? Well, that's great and all except there are a lot fewer decent men out there than there are women. I'm a woman who wants sex? Well. With my childhood, who's surprised if I'm a little messed up? Besides, women with all their complicated wiring and blah blah special flower bullshit blah, one of 'em's bound to come out a little funny.

    Grrr. This shit needs to die.

  33. One of your most beautiful posts yet, Holly.

  34. I was going to get really economical with this post, but Nom de Plumage did that and in a way said everything I was going to say with that. That said, unless everyone in the world is providing sex under some sort of sexual communism, applying economic thought to who people decide to have sex with makes sense because people are making decisions as to who to provide services to. However, I will point out that the linked article's economic model if they're actually using one is far too simplistic.

    "I do understand the point re: widely available porn, although it's laughable that the author believes masturbating to a picture is a fulfilling substitute for an actual partner."

    That's like saying that streak dish made by Gordon Ramsey is better than a microwavable dinner. Yes, that's a true statement, but that statement neglects to take into account that the microwavable is a hell of a lot cheaper, easier to acquire, and still fulfills the need.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  35. Well, the first thing coming to my mind about that article: i will kindly ask those "economists" what's the last time they've seen a salesman/woman have a screaming orgasm simply from selling a pound of his/her merchandise (and i'm not talking about excitement due to the received payment, but to the sale itself). That should help clear things up :). Also, I think the number one mistake they're making (though it's hard to determine, because there are so many...) is assuming sex is the ultimate product here, while obviously, following their line of thought, pleasure is (otherwise, they couldn't equate watching porn to a sex act). And pleasure, even sexual, can derive from many things other than joylessly bumping uglies. That is why they should consider that an unwanted sex act "sold" by a woman simply in order to receive a cup of coffee (or a diamond, for that matter) will be much lower in pleasure for the "buyer" than an enthusiastically consented sexual act, hence the "price" of sex might not be very high by their calculations, but it will be low satisfaction sex, lacking in pleasure, hence, a poor quality "product" for a small investment.

  36. Holy shit, this article reads like shit I thought would only be acceptible on fucking 4chan.

  37. I'm not entirely sure it's 100% applicable to the topic of the 'price of sex' but I found an article by a sociologist on hook-up culture that seems to be not full of derp:

    Things I found interesting: only slightly more women than men hook up as a way to find a partner for a dating relationship, women feel empowered to say 'yes' to a sexual encounter but have difficulty shaping the trajectory of this encounter once it's begun, the gap between what hook-up partners want and what they get is a significant driver of emotional distress (especially given the disparity in orgasms between male and female partners in a heterosexual hook up), emotional distress after a hookup for women is often tied to the socialization that sex without a relationship is 'morally wrong for women', the virgin/whore dichotomy is alive and well, and a lot of the problems with hook up culture are "exacerbated by the persistent social taboo against open and direct communication about sexuality."

    More interestingness: the narrative about 'well, the sexual revolution, and well, you know, the pill, and then there's all that women's rights stuff' is basically just glossed over by a lot of researchers as a foregone conclusion. This has not actually been proven by any of the research and has become sort of a trope in the sex-and-relationships writing industry. Not that you needed to be told that, just interesting to see even sociologists know it's bullshit.

  38. Great juxtaposition, I really needed to read that. Haven't read the other comments yet, I just want to point out that that "Whoopie cartel" would be a great name for a band (or a drag queen) and the big debut album could do a lot worse than the title "Masturbation and apples."

    That's all I wanted to say. Carry on.

  39. @Grapefruit!Anonymous

    ... this was an adorable, well-built story.

    That's pretty much all I wanted to say.

  40. applying economic thought to who people decide to have sex with makes sense because people are making decisions as to who to provide services to.

    But that's how people handle every aspect of their lives, not just sex.

    If I decided to move to a new apartment and asked everyone I knew to help me, chances are only my closest friends would actually help; I've done so many nice things for them over the years that they want (or just feel obligated) to help me in return. So...I essentially "paid" for their moving services upfront when I provided them with all that companionship, advice, etc.

    When a person goes to the pet store to purchase a cat or dog, chances are they'll pick the one who seems affectionate and attentive rather than the one who doesn't acknowledge their presence; who wants to put time, energy, and money into caring for a pet if they're not going to get anything in return? The pet/owner relationship is usually an exchange of food and shelter in return for affection and/or protection.

    People, in general, don't go around giving their time and energy to others indescriminately. We'll pretty much always debate "what's in this for me?" first. The question now becomes: why are there craploads of articles spotlighting sexual negotiations as though sex is the only time anyone ever looked out for their own self-interest?

  41. @Holly

    I was the numbering anon (6:07). I left that one out because it was so very obvious and thus didn't occur to me.

    It does make me wonder whether the writers have seen a couple with at least one male partner; in my experience men can get seriously mushy and loving. (Women too, but the writers seem to have considered the possibility that women are capable of love.)

  42. "It’s a fact that sounds sexist and outdated. But it is a fact all the same." That evidence is intriguing, but I'm not sure I'm quite convinced... maybe you could assert that "it's a fact" a few more times?

    This tactic of baldly stating "it may not be PC, but it's true!!" strikes me as a particularly glaring example of (offensive, harmful) ideology in action. The author knows a lot of people already doubt the stereotype he's peddling, so he resorts to implying they're sheeple who can't bear to face the ~politically incorrect~ truth.

    In fact, even if it's true that women don't like sex "as much" as men, that's got nothing to do with what this article claims. Amanda Marcotte pointed this out in a recent post ( Suppose I'm a person who likes lattes (or apples, or gin & tonics or whatever) less than average. If I still like them some amount greater than zero, I'm going to be willing to pay the normal rate for them when the rare craving hits. No economist would need to argue that the barista is actually paying *me* to drink that weekly latte.

  43. I have this sudden craving for apples.
    Come to think of it, a date would be good, too.

    Economics is wrong on so many levels. It doesn't even deal with money properly, let alone goods or abstract concepts like love, lust, desire or sex.

    I look forward to the day when we can all read articles by Holly in The Economist explaining how all the hedge funds would get on better if they respected each other and how the markets are flirting and negotiating all day long.

    Economics is really just thinly-disguised sex, is the concept I'm going for here.

  44. Oh my goodness, there are so many things wrong with that article it makes me squirm. I thought in college you had to back your opinion up with facts? "Back in the day" we were still having sex without being married, whether before or during. And women didn't keep their virginity to keep their price high. Women kept their virginity because your husband might do terrible things to you if you did not.

    That last part really killed me. Wait and keep your legs closed until he buys you a big enough diamond ring. So, essentially, we're STILL bought and paid for prostitutes who are nothing more than property. (Not that being a prostitute is a bad thing...lets just not sugar coat it.)

    Honestly, I think games and manipulation is bad in any and all relationships and it looks like that is exactly what they are advocating. Maybe they should write for Cosmo?

  45. "women coldly trade sex to men for commitment and compete joylessly to see who can get the biggest diamond for the fewest fucks"

    Haven't been reading this blog for very long, but this is one of the best lines by far.

    Thank you.

  46. I do not and may never understand the people who maintain that men don't fall in love.

    Do they not know any men?

    Or am I the anomaly? Are all the men I know truly that strange?

  47. So back in the day, women needed to withhold sex until men offered enough security to outweigh the risks the women faced if they had sex (children, death in childbirth, disease, social stigma).

    But now that these risks are much smaller, women are choosing to have sex without holding out for relationships.

    And some 'researcher' is upset that women aren't being pushed into committed relationships they obviously didn't all want for the relationships' sake alone.

    I'm not quite getting it, somehow. It sounds like 'the sexual playing field has been levelled, and everyone's getting to play more than they used to; only people who want commitment are having to seek it', which seems like thoroughly good news to me.

  48. I'm not really sure what the point is of someone spending time writing this article is. It does service to no one, and makes every person on the planet seem like a soulless asshole just out for some kind of profit.

    Your post, on the other hand, and the dialogue spurred by it, is fabulous.

    Aha. That's why someone wasted time writing the article!

    A girl can hope, right?

  49. perversecowgirl: If I had to guess, I'd guess the author doesn't enjoy sex very much, and is extrapolating from a single point of data.

    It occurs to me that even in this post-Pill world, there are other factors that can give rise to a thesis that women don't enjoy sex as much as men, though there are alternate hypotheses for each factor as well.

    1.) Men are far more often the initiators of sexual interaction.

    Well, ok, so this is me extrapolating from a single point of data... but at least when I was younger, I certainly made it known to far more women that I wanted to have sex with them, than women who made it known that they wanted to have sex with me. Alternate hypothesis: society punishes women who act like they want sex outside of a relationship. Not quite as large of a cost to sex as pregnancy, but not insignificant. Reputation is worth something, even if it's a reputation based on something orthogonal to anything important, and if having sex costs you that, then, well, one might choose to not have sex.

    2.) Transmission rates for STDs are non-bidirectional. This might lead to women being less inclined to have sex on short acquaintance than men, but again, it's a transaction cost. It might, in fact, be an even higher one than pregnancy.

    3.) Men are (on average) more dangerous than women. A random man probably has less to worry about from your random woman than a random woman has to fear from a random man.

    Dear lord I do go on early in the morning, don't I?

  50. The article's theory is really a theory of pussy--it is impossible for a (heterosexual, but they sorta assume everyone is) woman to receive sex.

    As I read it the author is actually talking about a market in both pussy and cock. Pussy and cock are complementary goods, in that you always need one of each to make sex (of course). But there is more cock available at any given moment. So if you were the manager of a sex factory, the amount of pussy would be limiting factor on production and it's price would drive how much sex you could make. Cock, apparently, isn't good for anything else, so they have big ol' price-insensitive stockpiles of it at the sex warehouse.

    So women are whores, and men couldn't even whore themselves out if they tried?

    Also, there really weren't any Ye Olden days in which you actually had to put a ring on it, unless she got pregnant. And even then, she might have an abortion - women have been taking abortifacient drugs as far back as Ye Anciente Greece, and was legal in Anglo-American law until the 19th Century.

  51. At least in the milieu I run in, which is infested with this sort of thing, it's not coldly transactional so much as a sense of "I Deserve the Best" and "Our Kind of People/Not Our Kind of People." I think you can be clear-eyed about that without necessarily hating everyone who does it, although preventing it from impacting your behavior is hard.

  52. Eurosabra - I'm not sure I follow. Could you elaborate on that please?

  53. @samuel2112: "Yes men need sex more than women or shall I say men have a stronger sex drive than women."

    Uhhh.... no. No no, and no. NO.

    And that's not even just me. I have heard it from so many of my girlfriends, it's like a conspiracy.

  54. Hey- I've been reading your blog for a long time now (I love it) and just wanted to say that your relationship with Rowdy has given me hope and a framework for what my own future (healthy) relationships could look like. Thank you.

  55. One thing that really annoys me about this article is that it states, very upfront, that long-term commitment is dead or dying, but is that really the case?

    I mean, yes, from what I see, a lot less people are getting married nowadays, but marriage is not the only form of commitment. I see many couples in long-term relationships that don't bother getting married, precisely BECAUSE they're so commited to one another that they don't need a piece of paper to tell them that.

    If you only view marriage as commitment, then of course you're going to end up with ass-backwards theories like this one.

  56. It just occured to me that my previous post might be seen as anti-marriage, but I can assure you that is not the case. I was only trying to point out that there are other forms of commitment other than marriage.

  57. Nom de Plumage is my new hero.

    Whenever I hear people blather on about the 'price of sex' as a social force, I feel sad for them. It's like listening to one of those awkward conversations where the speaker believes *everybody* has [embarrassing problem] and all they're really telling you is that *they* have the problem and don't know it. "Blah blah pussy market" is like hanging a sign over your head that says (if male) "I can't get anyone to have sex with me unless I bribe them" or (if female) "I don't enjoy sex." Awkward.

    I mean, granted, New York Post, like Salon on a tequila binge.

  58. "The question now becomes: why are there craploads of articles spotlighting *SEXUAL* negotiations as though *SEX* is the only time anyone ever looked out for their own self-interest?"

    Same anon you responded to: I think you may have answered your own question.

  59. Anon:

    By quoting that bit and then saying that I answered my own question, you imply that the answer to "why do people act like sex is the only time people look out for their own seslf-interest" is because sex is in fact the only time people look out for their own self-interest.

    If that is in fact what you're getting at, I then have to assume that you didn't read my whole post. And also that you've never actually witnessed two people interacting.

  60. PCG: What the anon is getting at is, people like to write about sex. Because it's SEX!!!!11!!OMG! It's edgy and everybody likes to talk about it, but it's not generally considered socially acceptable to talk about one's own sex life unless one couches it in terms of sociology.

  61. You *say* you don't want to brag......

    You might consider that you are lucky enough to live in an area where the supply of available partners(of the kind you prefer) is great enough that you could find one fairly easily, or that you had the presence of mind to latch onto one while there were any available at all.

    If you had to live in a situation where suitable partners were not so available, you might not be so contemptuous of applying "economic principles" to sexual relations.

  62. AnonymousDog - First of all, unless you live in a geographically isolated area or you're a member of a very small minority in your area and will only date other members of your minority, that's probably not true. If you're in a city but you just don't get out much, the "supply" is just fine.

    But secondly, if sexual partners are less available, then it's even more important to treat them like individuals. If there are only five women on your Antarctic base or whatever, then you really ought to find out what those five specific women are into, because if you treat them as generic interchangeable women you're even less likely to be correct.

  63. AnonymousDog - I am honestly baffled at comments like this. I always feel like it's some sort of joke.

  64. There's a lot of bragging about jobs, cars, condominium and apartment purchases,exotic vacations in my circles, which as most of this blog knows are a certain Hollywood club scene. Most of the women are unabashedly looking to "trade up" over what their jobs alone can bring them, and it isn't meant as spite or haggling, just as "this is what someone as beautiful as I am deserves." It's not an explicit exchange, it just works out as an implicit exchange, since some other man will always pay if one can't, the way some other man will always take the initiative if one can't. Unfortunately, I don't have anything to plug the gap with except Game, which is pretty disapproved of on this blog. But I think one can look at the harshness of the present system without necessarily hating on the opposite sex whom one is pursuing.

  65. Eurosabra,

    Yeah, that's because of classicism, not sexual market. Rich spoiled people are spoiled. And Game? Dude, just try somewhere else if everyone else there is an asshole.

  66. If you had to live in a situation where suitable partners were not so available, you might not be so contemptuous of applying "economic principles" to sexual relations.

    Treating sex as a trade good that men want and women don't is supposed to improve that situation? I'm thinking scarcity may not actually be your problem.

  67. Holly@
    "...unless you live in a geographically isolated area......that's probably not true."
    Are you conceding that it is true in those isolated geographic areas?

    Leah and mythago,

    My point is that availability or lack thereof does affect men's and women's expectations about their own individual likelihood of finding someone. I've lived in areas where the gender ratio(between unattached men and women) were skewed one way, and other areas where it skewed the other, and there is a night-and-day difference in social life and gender relations(broadly defined). Maybe my experiences are atypical, but you won't convince me that the problem of supply and demand does not effect affect how men and women meet and relate early in a relationship. Recognizing that I have a better chance of finding a woman who is interested in me in an area where there are more women does not mean that I view sex as a 'trade good'. And Leah, what exactly do you find so baffling about it?

  68. AnonymousDog:

    I'm still not sure how treating sex as a commodity is supposed to help you get laid. If you are, for example, a straight man living in an area where there are (for whatever reason) very few women, then you are less likely to find a date/girlfriend/casual sex partner. Them's the breaks.

    I'm not sure how treating women like pussy vendors is supposed to help, though. Trust me, I've been in situations where I'm the only woman in a group of men; I never decided who out of that group I was going to sleep with based on how much money they made or how much crap they bought me or even whether or not they wanted to commit to a relationship. I decided it based on who I was attracted to.

    If you want to get laid, try to be more attractive to prospective partners. If you don't want to bother making the effort, then by all means pay somebody, but it's pretty fucking offensive to conflate every sexual relationship involving a woman with prostitution.

  69. AnonymousDog: If I were living in a place with very few dateable men, I'd hit on whichever one(s) I liked and see what happened. If I were living in a place where eligible men substantially outnumbered women, I'd...hit on the one(s) I liked and see what happened.

    Whereas articles like the above would assert that in the former situation, I'd have to beg and grovel to "find a man" and in the latter I'd be sitting back on my solid gold throne, laughing haughtily at the pathetic menfolk and their insufficient offerings, because the "market" is such that I can hold out for a good "price". All of which ignores the fact of female desire. I have certain traits I like in a guy, and a dude who doesn't have these won't have a shot with me no matter how much money or commitment he offers (OR if he were the only man on earth); also I like fucking, so I'm not holding out for expensive dinners or a diamond ring anyway - what I get in return for sex is...SEX.

    So, yes, these theories do treat all humans as interchangeable and sex as a "trade good." In sexual economics, a woman wants A Man - any man - but she does not want sex, so she forces these generic men to "pay" her for sex with goods or services.

    For vast swathes of the human population, THAT IS NOT HOW LIFE WORKS.

    I really hope you only bring up these theories in internet discussions 'cause if you're walking around in meatspace talking about women dispensing sex if you "pay" them enough, and whining that the "price" fluctuates depending on supply and demand, you're gonna skeeve out the few chicks you have access to.

  70. So recognizing supply and demand necessarily requires 'treating sex as a commodity'?

    Yeah, aebhel, them's the breaks. You choose who you are attracted to out of the supply available. That was my point. If there weren't any men available, YOU would have just been outta luck. But I'm guessing you've never been in that situation.

  71. AnonymousDog - If there are more women around, then you're more likely to find one that you're compatible with. But if there are no compatible women around, it doesn't matter how many of them there are. You might be able to get a relationship, but a happy relationship is impossible. No matter how much "competition" there is.

    That's why sex isn't a commodity: because commodities are interchangeable. People are not.

  72. perversecowgirl, you want to make this about 'price', whereas I see it as about choice. You have less choice out of a smaller supply, a larger supply is more likely to contain those individuals you find desirable.

    And I think you are essentially sitting on a golden throne laughing, because you've never really had to choose out of a meager supply.

  73. You have less choice out of a smaller supply, a larger supply is more likely to contain those individuals you find desirable.
    Yes. But them's the breaks. For everyone.

    And I think you are essentially sitting on a golden throne laughing, because you've never really had to choose out of a meager supply.
    You don't know that about her. Being in a relationship is not "a golden throne." (And if you think that, you're likely to do a crapass job of actually maintaining that relationship.) You don't know--I don't, certainly--how long she was single before and what circumstances brought her and her partner together.

    Unless you're just saying that a woman can always get laid because she's a woman, which I am so damn sick of I'm not even going to play that game again.

  74. Holly,

    If there are NO women around, there wont be any compatible ones. So people aren't interchangeable, how does that eliminate the need for a supply to choose from? Would it make it more palatable for me to use the term population rather than supply?

    My experiences lead me to believe that the gender ratio in a given community does affect how men and women interact with each other. And I guess if you and other posters insist on characterizing it as 'commoditization' I will just leave it at that. I guess I can only hope you all get a chance to experience the same things I did.

  75. AnonymousDog:

    And I think you are essentially sitting on a golden throne laughing, because you've never really had to choose out of a meager supply.

    I'm attracted almost exclusively to skinny twinky white submissive crossdressing boys ten to fifteen years my junior. And they have to be genderqueer-type crossdressers because the guys who crossdress just for sexual thrills usually fetishize femininity so much that they only want dainty girlie-girls - and I'm a 6' butch-girl with a mostly-shaved head who absolutely refuses to wear pantyhose, lingerie, or high heels.

    Oh, and of course that's just the physical aspect - I obviously need a guy to share my interests, general life goals, and sense of humour, too, if I'm going to date him.

    And did I mention that I lived in a small town for a long time?

    So I guess what I'm saying here is GO FUCK YOURSELF.

  76. If there weren't any men available, YOU would have just been outta luck. But I'm guessing you've never been in that situation.

    1. I'm bi. 2. You guess wrong.

    The fact that there are people around with compatible genitals doesn't mean that I'm going to be attracted to them, or they to me. I've been lonely, sexually frustrated, and unwillingly celibate; so have most of the women I know, actually.

    If your whole point is that the local ratio of one's preferred gender affects the likelihood of a sexual or romantic encounter, I don't think you're actually going to find many people here who disagree with you. The problem is that most 'sexual marketplace' paradigms break down to 'women control pussy supply, men have to earn it.' This presupposes (a) that all women can get laid any time they want, if not necessarily by their ideal man; (b) that women have no interest in sex outside of what it can induce men to give up either financially or romantically and (c) that men have no interest in relationships outside of the fact that it will get them sex. None of these suppositions is particularly accurate.

    If that's not what you're arguing, then you might want to clarify yourself a little better.

  77. aehbhel,

    "If your whole point is that the local ratio of one's preferred gender affects the likelihood of a sexual or romantic encounter, I don't think you're actually find many people here who disagree with you."

    That was my whole point. That is exactly what I was referring to by supply and demand, etc., but just that terminology got me a very snarky and kind of hostile response right out of the gate, reading things into my comments which I did not say, and did not intend to say.

    If I have offended anyone, well, I tend to respond to high-handed comments in kind.

  78. I'm not offended, just curious. I have never felt the need to consider finding a boyfriend any sort of hunt, or market, or supply-and-demand, etc. I live in Minnesota - what, our biggest city has less than 400,000 people? I have never sat there freaking out about the availability of people. There are many ways to meet people, and they don't have to be in bars. If I was dissatisfied about the lack of partners in my area, I could move, use an internet dating site, ask friends, whatever! I wouldn't sit in my house crying about the lack of partners.

    I guess I'm just confused about how some people break down falling in love, dating, and sex like we're penguins trading each other rocks, and you're the last guy with a rock but all the women are taken. Not EVERYONE is COMPETING, I guess. I didn't compete for my lovers. We found each other and discovered we have mutually agreeable interests. The fear of losing out never occurred to me.

  79. AnonymousDog:

    You got a snarky and hostile response because you decided to expound on your supply-and-demand theory by being snarky and kind of hostile.

    Holly's post was about how there's more to human relationships than women bloodlessly trading sex for jewelry or financial security. You essentially responded with 'well, yeah, BUT some people don't have relationships, therefore you're bragging and also wrong.'

    Also, sexual supply and demand as you're defining it here is a tautology. It's not an argument.

  80. And here I thought Anonymous Dog's initial statement, If you had to live in a situation where suitable partners were not so available, you might not be so contemptuous of applying "economic principles" to sexual relations, meant that he was agreeing with the article being quoted. You know, the one that talks about "sexual economics" and says that sex is something men buy from women.

    Turns out that the economic theory he was trying to enlighten us with is that if you don't have enough of something, you don't have enough of it.

    That's so brilliant! It never occurred to me before that not having something means not having it. I feel blessed to have received his wisdom.

  81. My friend referred me to your blog and this is the first entry I read.

    You do such a good job of summing up the problem with the sex-negative feminism that gets propagated.

    And I almost teared up reading this because it really feels so much like what I have with my girlfriend.

    Still madly in love and madly desirous of each other after 10 months.


  82. And I think you are essentially sitting on a golden throne laughing, because you've never really had to choose out of a meager supply.

    Women have half the money and all of the pussy, amiriteguys?

  83. All this question of the economics of sex assumes a free market, that is, a world in which everyone has the same degree of freedom as modern, white, Western, heterosexual, relatively rich people. It's ridiculous how it ignores that in so many societies, in time and in space, things are not like that. To start with, where have women had the degree of sexual freedom to be able to trade their sex for other stuff? Does this apply to child brides, for example?

  84. I clicked intro too early, sorry. And just another one: if this model is supposed to be natural, can anyone explain to me how can it be that in some countries, the bride's family has to pay the groom's family to take their daughter with them? Where's the economic model of men's desire there?

  85. Mythago: Yes. Only a very small minority of men can naturally attract attractive women. Unfortunately I was relatively spoiled in my youth with occasional interest from young, thin, conventionally-attractive women (as opposed to most Nice Guys, for whom it never happens at all) and I've had to learn Pick-Up to keep up with that, and exercise insanely sexist levels of initiative, regarding silence as consent and carefully checking body language and finally always asking for explicit consent because of the insanity of the heterosexual interaction script preferred by the women I dated. The usual problem is that I'm not tall enough, not rich enough, I'm marginalized in a few interesting ways and I tend to date women who have something equally "off", either also a bit disabled in the ways I am or intellectuals focused solely on the life of the mind.

    Not reality for everyone but descriptive enough of my milieu (young, urban, hipster-chic-impoverished, penny-wise, pound-foolish) that PUA works well enough as a predictor of behavior.

  86. Wow. If I show that article to my boyfriend, his head might explode. Either that or he'll just laugh, and laugh, and laugh. It's a little hard to predict whether evidence of the ridiculous horribleness of the world will make him rageful or really amused.

    Seriously, I have had a lot of sex with a lot of men, and several of them have seriously wanted to marry me. You know, after I failed to withhold the tantalization of my vagina. Shouldn't situations like that count for something in this estimation of How Sex Works In The Real World? Bah. Even Sex and the City was more evolved than this! :/

  87. Only a very small minority of men can naturally attract attractive women.

    Only 'attractive' women have genitals? Wow! That's almost as stupid as the idea that pussy is a trade good and women don't actually want sex for its own sake.

    Of course, by 'attractive' you admittedly mean young, thin women who your fellow PUA community would rate as highly attractive. By that standard - a narrow band of 'attractive' that fits mainstream cultural ideals and the approval of one's peer group - women do not have their pick, either.

    But you go on with your bad self. You get good results from PUA; I don't know why you feel the need, over and over again, to pretend that it's an unfortunate but understandable response to the Great Ass Famine of 2011.

    And we sure as fuck don't have half th

  88. There's a bit of a disconnect, but basically women tend to date up the social and attractiveness scale, because of the permanent oversupply of male sexuality which exists for basic biological reasons, "Sperm cheap, ova dear." So the genital-havingness of non-conventionally-attractive women doesn't benefit non-conventionally-attractive men, who still have to work like dogs (PUAs report 1 in 50 approaches as a good success rate for men who are *already* good with women) to get laid. Whereas women pretty much either have their pick, or can always find someone. This is why men complain of not finding anyone, while women complain of not finding men who meet their standards.

    And I'm not that bad, really. I'm terribly soft and fuzzy, and, well, I can't do anything about the Great Ass Famine built into the female ("The Cake Is A Lie") sex drive except preach the gospel of PUA.

  89. Whereas women pretty much either have their pick, or can always find someone. This is why men complain of not finding anyone, while women complain of not finding men who meet their standards.

    Um, no. Men complain about "not finding anyone" because women they find unattractive are INVISIBLE to them. Guys mentally edit unattractive women right out of their field of vision, and generally won't notice when an unattractive woman is interested in them.

    This "mental editing" is also why so many guys think women can "have their pick": you literally can't see any of the women around you who are plain or overweight or old or differently-abled. If the only women who exist for you are young, thin, conventionally attractive ones - the type who likely do get lots of male attention - of course you think women all have our pick.

  90. In fact, Eurosabra, this> is a woman, and so is this>, and so is this>. You may not want to fuck them, but I assure you that they somehow manage to be female anyway. And there are more women out there who look more-or-less like that than there are conventionally hot chicks (trust me, the average-looking womenz, they are everywhere! I'm a chick so I can actually see them).

    Do you still believe that all women have their pick of men? Is it even possible for a guy to get his head that far up his own ass?

  91. Actually I don't think that's it Perversecowgirl, both men and women seem think 'all the great ones are taken.''

  92. Excellent, touching, enviable. It reminds me why I was so irritated to find Catherine Hakim's "Honey Money: the Rise of Erotic Capital" in the local bookshop: it seems to be nothing but a long rant about how women's 'value' is sex that they 'pay' to men in return for lifelong upkeep, or something. Although I think evolutionary psychology can be fascinating,
    I think a sexist ev-psych just-so story with a side-order of economics is fairly toxic, especially when she seems to think that prostitution (of young, pretty, etc girls to dirty old men) is healthier than female desire, which she thinks is a myth.

    I also found your blog entry on 'slutty' vs 'horny' brilliant from the same angle -- the feeling I always got from (for example) _Cosmo_, was that female desire didn't involve Looking at Men but was about getting the right accessories/strip-tease/lingerie that men looked at women. Because it was just that way round. I always found that off-putting because it's all Do You Measure Up to his Visual Demands, and I'm wired to get more from sex on the audio or tactile channels anyway (to the extent that I've never sought out visual images for Teh Sexy).

    Sorry to raise this thread from the grave, but I'm doing that Read the Whole Thing Backwards thing one does when finding a good blog.

  93. Lol. Good to know I'm not the only one who does this.