Birth control lowered price and risk of sex

Birth+control+lowered+price+and+risk++of+sex

Kierstin Mayor

It’s a common phrase we hear floating around campus all the time: “the walk of shame.”

Four simple words manage to sum up all the feelings of regret, embarrassment and self-loathing a girl feels as she slumps her way back to the shelter of her dorm the morning after a night out.

“The walk of shame” embodies the hook-up culture ingrained not only here at Wake Forest, but on college campuses everywhere.

So why do girls continue to make this “walk” often enough that they have come to think of it as a social norm for college life?

The cause of this hook-up culture, prevalent on college campuses today, can be explained through the Economics of Sex.

The Economics of Sex is a social phenomenon proposed by psychologists at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

To understand how this relates to college culture, first we must understand the Institute’s rationale behind their theory.

First, sex must be thought of as an exchange between two people.

Although of course there are exceptions to every rule, the institute finds that average men “tend to initiate the exchange more often, have a higher sex drive and associate the exchange with romance less often than women.”

Additionally, they found that the average woman’s reasons for the exchange tend to include “strengthening commitment, affirming desirability and expressing love.” So in reality, the theory is saying men have a greater demand for sex and are willing to pay any “price” set by women.

Some men may only pay the price of a few compliments and dances, while others pay the price of a long-term relationship or marriage.

However, other factors are at play in setting this price.

Think for a moment about clothing production before textile machines, publishing books before the printing press, or even communication before the internet.

All these advances in technology drastically lowered the price of previously expensive goods and changed our whole outlook on the subjects.

In this same way, the invention of birth control dramatically lowered the price of sex and shifted the entire sex market.

As the Institute suggests, before birth control, the exchange’s price was set at a minimum of a serious relationship because of the high risk of possible pregnancy.

Today, fifty years after the beginning of birth control, commitment and sex are no longer inherently associated, changing the rules of the game.

This “new game” is more prevalent in colleges than any other environment. Practically every lobby of universities’ student health centers now contains the same giant overflowing bowl of condoms readily available to grab like mints at a hostess’ table.

From the very first day of orientation, universities drill into students’ minds that birth control is easily accessible at no cost to them. This creates even more pressure on not only girls, but on all college students to have sex, because why not?

The theory goes even further in depth to explain this hook-up culture. Now more than ever, more men are looking for just sex, while more women are looking for committed relationships. So we have a discrepancy.

Girls who are looking for a relationship outnumber guys looking to do the same. This means guys are allowed to be more selective in choosing who they want to be in a relationship with.

Nowadays, college-age couples who have hooked up already spend weeks in the “talking stage,” or rather liking each other’s social media posts, Snapchatting and tirelessly exchanging text messages, all before the guy decides whether or not he really wants to be “exclusive” with a girl, because she has already given him her only bargaining chip.

Ultimately, this creates huge competition between women.

Girls feel the need to appeal to what a guy wants in order to win over his affection, and in their mind, what could be more appealing to him than sex?

So, as we notice girls cutting through quads across the nation wearing Saturday night’s outfit on Sunday mornings, what we really are witnessing, in my opinion, is the direct result of a market that was once defined by serious commitment, now evolved into a cut-throat competition.