If you are wondering this week what, exactly, is the purpose of Valentine’s Day then I have the answer for you. The purpose of Valentine’s Day is to assure your romantic partner that all the time and energy that he or she is investing into your relationship is not being wasted, and to give them enough confidence to continue investing in your relationship into the future.
The Bachelor Canada is holding a casting call in my hometown this week, inviting singles to take one “Last chance for romance!” Men who are not tapped to be the next bachelor, or women who are not one of the 25 lucky ladies, need not despair; the format of the show creates an environment in which finding lasting love is extremely unlikely.
A former colleague once quipped about the guilt he experienced as we approached the end of the term; many grandparents, he feared, were about to have their lives shortened by grandchildren not yet prepared to write their final exams. Academics are naturally skeptical, perhaps a bit unfairly when it comes to what is known as “dead grandmother syndrome” – the observation that there is a spike in the death of grandmothers the week before final exams.
I will be the first to admit that “Why do mothers care more about their children than fathers?” is not a very pretty question. But, before you answer with an angry “They don’t!”, note that it has been consistently shown that money given to mothers is far more likely to be spent in a way that benefits their children than is money given to fathers.
When we choose to become parents we know that we will have to sacrifice sleep, that we will have to give up our independence, and that we will have to put the needs of others before our own; we know that there are some costs to having children that cannot be measured in dollars. But, when the calculating costs of having children should we also include the cost of losing the love of our spouse?
I’m single…and totally bored with articles complaining about the questions singles are asked by concerned friends and family (see for example, “I’m Single… and Totally Bored With These 5 Questions”). For several decades, the supposedly offending questions have not changed: Why aren’t you married? Are you being too picky? Are you gay? How will you take care of yourself when you are old and grey?
In a piece published at Salon this morning, Anna March argues giving men the option to deny child support will improve the economic conditions under which women are raising children. That claim might seem counter-intuitive, but the argument is entirely consistent with economic theory. The problem is, the way that people behave “in theory” is often quite different from the way they behave when faced with real life choices.
Would you be happy to have an openly lesbian, gay, or bisexual manager at work? Do you think someone who is homosexual can change their sexual orientation if they choose to do so? Do you believe it should be illegal to discriminate in hiring based on someone’s sexual orientation?
You know that moment in a relationship when you realize that it probably isn’t going to last? I had such a moment many years ago when the man I was dating revealed something about his personal situation that I knew would eventually be the death of us. He told me that despite having owned his own home for fourteen years he had opted to never pay down a single cent of his mortgage.
This has been a week of questions about rape. Dr. Phil started it all off by asking his followers their opinion on having sex with drunk girls. This encouraged many to question what (or, if) he could have possibly been thinking when he insinuated that the acceptability of having sex with drunk teenaged women was subject to debate. That response led Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon to ask a whole series of questions; important questions about how we think about rape, many of which have no clear answers.
“If basic needs are not satisfied, human beings cannot function”, according to economist Nick Drydakis in a working paper that tests his hypothesis that workers who have sex more frequently are better workers and, as a result, are rewarded with higher wages.
Are you a woman who is looking to increase your personal happiness? Here is a daily schedule that new research claims will increase your life satisfaction!
Last June, I had the huge privilege to speak at ideacity in Toronto. You can see that talk, along with dozens of other wonder speakers, on the ideacity website here.
Photo Credit: Gene Driskell
When you start a new relationship, do you care if your new love has slept with 1, 10, 100 people in the past? If the answer to that question is “yes”, then how about this: When deciding today whether or not to have a casual sexual relationship, do you weigh the benefits of that relationship against the costs in terms how it might affect any future, committed, relationships?
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting at the ideacity conference on my favorite topic – the economic markets for sex and love (that talk can be found here, if you are interested in hearing the whole spiel). During that presentation I shared my belief that access to the internet is, perhaps counter-intuitively, good for marriage; the benefits of being able to search for love on a significantly larger market outweighs the costs in terms of martial infidelity.
Can slut shaming be explained in an economic model? A recent article by Andrea Cassillo in The Ümlaut argues that it can; and I agree. The article raises many good points. But it seems to me that an economic explanation for slut-shaming that is entirely dependent on the assumption that women are, by nature, less sexual than men is (with all due respect) entirely the wrong way to approach the economic story.
Recently, it has become popular to apply basic understanding of supply and demand to the markets for sex and love but much of that analysis is just plain wrong. If you are interested in reading why, you should check out my latest article at Buzzfeed.
Right behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day is one of the biggest spending holidays in North America – a trend that is increasing over time. According surveys conducted by National Retail Federation (NRF), the amount consumers expect to spend on their mothers on the second weekend in May has increased from an average of $97.37 in 2003 to $152.52 in 2013; even after controlling for inflation, that is a 20% spending increase in just ten years.
No one was more surprised than I when my German publisher announced that the title of that version of my book would be Warum man weniger lernen sollte, um mehr Sex zu haben, which, translated into English, is the title of this post. Apparently, if you are German this title is amusing – as evidenced by the two little books doing it “doggy style” on the cover – but I have to admit that it is not a topic that I have ever explored, until today.
The Sunday Times asked me how the new markets for sex and love were affecting marriage and divorce. Here are my thoughts in a column in this Sunday’s paper,