The Left

Sex As Shopping

Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis McAlpin Stewart Scholarly, August 15, 1924, is a semi-retired American constitutional lawyer, conservative activist, author, and speaker and founder of the Eagle Forum. Organizations founded: Eagle Forum, Republican National Coalition for Life. | Phyllis Schlafly, Lawyer, Activist, Author, Republican, Rights, Graduate, College, Ceremony, Elderly,

Why giving it away freaks people out.

It's not exactly news that a lot of Americans frown on women having premarital sex. One of the reasons, I believe, is that a lot of Americans think of sex as a form of retail shopping.

In this vision of relationships, women control the store and maintain a monopoly on the sex supply (at least where straight men are concerned). They have it, men want it, and the only way men can obtain it is by paying the store's price. This can be actual cash (for prostitutes), expensive gifts, love, or the ultimate purchase price — marriage. Less scrupulous men use lies ("You know I love you, right?"), manipulation or coercion to get sex from the store without paying.

In the real world, consensual sex is a two-way street: women who give sex get sex in return. In the sex-as-retail interpretation, this isn't an acceptable transaction: the woman is "giving it away", a tragic mistake that devalues her sex supply and makes her "cheap," so no man will ever pay full price again. The guy, on the other hand, gets cool points because he obtained bargain sex, like hooking up HBO without paying the cable company.

By this logic (I use the term loosely) it's always a mistake for a woman to put out before she has a ring on their finger. If she gives away the milk, the guy will never need to offer marriage and she'll end up alone; if she keeps her knees pressed together and her chastity belt on, the man will have to pay any price she asks up to and including marriage. Implicit in this argument is that no woman can be happy if she's not married, and that men are heartless jerks incapable of marrying for love).

Not only should the woman stay chaste, she should slut-shame other women to keep the price of sex high. If Women A and B set marriage as the price but Women C and D put out, that undercuts the market as the guys will all start shopping at C and D's store. Slut-shaming is sound business practice.

The retail sex model also implies that if a man does pay a fair price, the woman has an obligation to put out. Say a guy puts down a C-note for her dinner, isn't he entitled to something more than a peck on the cheek? And if a woman offers sex — went up to his hotel room, went to second base, wore clothes that tell him she's asking for it — she can't then turn around and say no (even if she didn't think she was making an offer). That's unfair business practices, like a restaurant bringing out a gorgeous dessert tray, then refusing to let you buy any. As marriage is the ultimate payment price, it entitles the husband to get anything he wants from his wife's store, at any time ("By getting married, the woman has consented to sex. That's what marriage is"—Phyllis Schafly).

Taylor Hill
Taylor Hill

Taylor Marie Hill, born March 5, 1996 in Palatine, Illinois, United States, is an American model and current Victoria's Secret Angel since 2015. | Taylor Hill, Model, Victoria's Secret, Sexy, Lawn, Grass,

This perception of sex doesn't sit in our minds by itself, it's one strand woven into a whole web of sex assumptions. That women shouldn't have sex without consequences. That women don't really enjoy sex ("The sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts."—Christian conservative Douglas Wilson). And like the other strands in the web, it leaves everyone who believes in it tied up in knots.

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 12:01 PM EDT | More details

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