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The History of Sex: The 20th Century

Let’s Talk!

The 20th century was a period during which the perception of sex and sexual practices of Americans significantly changed. In 2014, the History Channel aired a documentary titled The History of Sex: The 20th Century, which explores the various factors that contributed to this transformation. The following are highlights from this documentary up to the 1950s.

At the end of the Victorian era, the industrial age draws women from their homes and into the workforce where they are employed in various jobs such as factory workers, clerks and secretaries. Women gain some financial independence that allows them to be mobile, shop and participate in many social activities.

20th Century Sex Pict 1Women’s dress hemlines become shorter, however the bicycle is perceived as an even more serious threat to women’s virtue. Morality watchdogs believe that women who ride on bicycles could get sexuality aroused through the friction with the seat. Also, they are concerned that these women could sustain internal organ damage by riding bicycles.

The first movies are made, capturing sex and romance on film. One of these movies is The Kiss (1901) by Thomas Edison Films in which a man and a woman exchange a kiss. Since public affection is frowned upon, these movies create controversy.

The motion picture serves as a sex education tool for the audience because none is available. Indeed, any doctor’s manuals, pamphlets or any kind of information deemed obscene is censored by Anthony Comstock of The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

Comstock even persuades Congress to pass the Comstock Act that outlaws the sending and receiving of obscene material through the US mail. By the early 1900s, Comstock and his supporters arrested 3,600 people and destroyed more than 800, 000 indecent pictures.

However, these strict measures have little impact on prostitution. As big cities attract young men in search of jobs and career advancement, the demand for sex also increases. Marriageable women are sexually unavailable, therefore men turn to destitute prostitutes.

Masturbation is another serious concern because it is perceived as immoral and unhealthy. Sex manuals encourage young men to suppress their desire for self-gratification by reading the Bible’s Sermon on the Mount; think of their mother’s pure love; or sit with their testicles immerse in a bowl of ice water.

20th Century Sex Pict 2Interestingly, some individuals like Margaret Sanger (see picture at the right) have a very different view of sexuality. Sanger is a nurse who is a birth control pioneer for women. She is very concerned by the negative effects of multiple pregnancies on women’s health, and their inability to reach their full potential.

In 1914, Sanger is arrested by Comstock for violation of the Comstock Law. She manages to flee to England only to return two years later to the United States and open the first birth control clinic.

In 1917, the United States enters World War I. The US War Department orders the closure of every brothel within five miles of a navel base. The government is very concerned that soldiers may contract venereal diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis.

The US government relies on young men’s willpower to control their sexual urges. As a result, 7 million “men days” are lost during the war due to venereal diseases. Although negatively impacted by these infections, many of these American soldiers learn about sex from European women and prostitutes.

The soldiers return home to the roaring 20s. Women have now the right to vote, but alcohol is outlawed by social reformers. Prohibition tries to prevent the negative effects of alcohol abuse however, people continue to consume it at house parties, clubs and speakeasies.

The Flapper becomes the ideal American woman. She is independent, strong, adventurous, sexual, and wants the same rights and leisure activities as their male counterparts.

Gays and lesbians are also able to explore their sexuality in speakeasies and underground clubs. Balls are held with thousands of participants dressed in drag. Homosexual men and women connect to a community of individuals who share the same identity.

The backlash against Victorian morality is fueled by more effective contraception. The diaphragm, the spermicide and the Trojan latex condom are now available. Although doctors are not allowed by law to dispense contraceptives, Margaret Sanger is determined to give them by all legal and illegal means.

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On October 24, 1929, the stock market crashes. The Great Depression succeeds where social reformers and Comstock failed. High unemployment rates and the lack of money force Americans to take a conservative approach to sex. The number of births and marriages drop dramatically during the 1930s.

The limited number of job opportunities results in teenagers staying in school and with their families for a longer period of time. Although censorship increases during the 1930s, it is unable to control adolescent libidos.

Despite warnings that syphilis can be transmitted through kissing, pre-marital sex is on the rise. Unable to have sex at home, teenagers use the family car for their sexual escapades. Cars give them mobility and autonomy from parental control.

In 1942, American troops are sent to Europe to fight in World War II. This time, the US government gives soldiers eight condoms per month instead of relying on abstinence. The women left behind are encouraged to participate in the war effort by taking on non-traditional roles. Many women become the breadwinner and work in artillery factories. Some of these women even engage in extra-marital affairs and become pregnant.

During World War II, a new kind of woman is idealized: the Victory Girl. The Victory Girl is an attractive, seductive young woman who strives to lift the spirits of soldiers through sex. However, she is perceived negatively by most people because she could infect troops with venereal diseases.

20th Century Sex Pict 5The male counterpart of the Victory Girl is the Wolf. The Wolf is an opportunist soldier who takes advantage of naïve young women. He is able to get sexual favours under the guise of a brave soldier fighting for his country. Contrary to the Victory Girl, most approve of him.

Penicillin is introduced in 1943, which changes how venereal diseases are treated and perceived. These diseases are less feared because there is an effective cure for them. 80% of American soldiers who are stationed in Europe for at least 2 years become sexually involved with European women and father children.

After the Second World War, there is a baby boom in America. The Cold War starts between the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), therefore the US government is hyper-vigilant about the threat of communism on its soil.

In 1947, the FBI starts to keep records on thousands of government workers, especially homosexuals. Homosexuality is linked to communism and is perceived as a security threat. More people lose their jobs for being a homosexual than for being a communist.

The 1950s is an era of conformity. People get married, move to the suburbs, buy a house and have an average of 2 children. The nuclear family is viewed as an ideal, and most women become housewives.

20th Century Sex Pict 6However in 1948, American biologist Alfred Kinsey (see picture at the right) publishes the bestseller Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male. This book reveals American men’s true sexual behaviour, which is very different from the conservative views of the time. For example, Kinsey reports that men masturbate, have pre-marital sex and see prostitutes.

The religious leaders and politicians heavily criticize Kinsey’s book but in 1953, Kinsey still publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. This second book reveals for instance, that a third of women had pre-marital sex and 13% had 6 or more sexual partners. Therefore, American women are not as concerned about their reputation, pregnancy and diseases as previously believed.

The 20th century has been a sexually tumultuous period for Americans. History Channel’s The History of Sex: The 20th Century gives up a fascinating overview of this era. During this period, Americans witnessed the first sex scenes on film; the opening of the birth control clinic; and the availability of Trojan latex condoms.

International events such as the two World Wars have also greatly contributed in changing Americans’ perception of sex. For example, troops sent to Europe gained new knowledge of sexuality through European women, and some American women left behind engage in extra-marital affairs.

Based on the unprecedented discoveries and events that occurred during the 20th century, one can only imagine what the 21st century holds in store for Americans’ sexual practices.

Literary Truths

Here are other interesting facts about sex in the 20th century in America:

  • Hugh Hefner was inspired by the Kinsey reports to create the Playboy magazine in 1953.
  • In 1960, Margaret Sanger collaborated with Gregory Pincus, a medical expert in human reproduction, to create the pill. The name of the first FDA approved oral contraceptive is Enovid.
  • The controversial report Human Sexual Response (1966) by Masters & Johnson acknowledged that the clitoris is the primary source of female orgasm.
  • President Ronald Reagan declared war on HIV/AIDS only after Rock Hudson, a well-known American actor, dies of AIDS in 1985.
  • In 1998, presidential candidate Bob Dole was a spokesperson for Viagra.

Truth in Motion


The History of Sex: The 20th Century (2014)

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Let’s Talk!

We live in an age when there are countless ways to stay connected with others. Modern technology like cell phones, laptops and iPads give us 24-hour access to applications such as e-mail, instant messaging, Facebook and Skype.

People tend to spend more time communicating online than engaging in face-to-face conversations and having physical contact. However according to some researchers, touch may have a profound impact on our health and personal relationships.

Let’s explore this idea…

According to Wikipedia, the Latin word cutis means “skin”. Therefore, the literal translation of cutaneous is “of the skin”. The skin is only 2-3 mm thick and composed of three layers of cells, yet it is the largest organ in the human body.

Touch Pict 1The skin has many functions: insulation, body temperature regulation, infectious disease protection, evaporation control, absorption, waste excretion, vitamin D production, touch perception, communication and aesthetics.

Anthropologist Nina Jablonski Ph.D. points out that compared to other primates, human skin is naked, extremely sensitive, contains sweat glands, comes in wide range of colours due to melanin, and used for artistic expression (i.e., tattoos).

Jablonski explains that the sense of touch is the second most important sense for our information gathering after vision. Humans are equipped with very dexterous hands, and our skin contains various nerve cells that process information about the environment.

A large portion of the brain’s parietal lobe is devoted to processing physical sensations; more specifically the hands, tongue and lips. This information is sent to our brain, which in turn gives meaning to the sensation.

Touch is the first language of love that we learn as infants. Our mother’s skin and warmth as she held us close to her chest was very reassuring and nurturing. In fact, babies that are touch deprived often fail to thrive and some may even die.

Touch Pict 2The memory of love and security linked to touch as infants may prompt us as adults to want touch from our intimates when we experience strong negative emotions.

Social psychologist Dr. Dacher Ketlner Ph.D. noted that touch communicates human emotions and produces trusting behaviours in people. For example, individuals who are touched on the shoulder before being asked to do a task are more likely to complete the task.

In the animal kingdom, primates often groom each other to reinforce social bonds, promote peace after an argument, or reassure their young. Ironically, adult humans may instead pay for grooming in the form of massages and facials.

According to Dr. Lance Luria MD, skin-on-skin contact (i.e., holding a person’s hand) increases the level of the bonding hormone oxytocin and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Hand holding lowers activity in certain brain areas such as the amygdala and locus coerulus associated with pain and anxiety.  Touch also reduces blood pressure, increases pain threshold, strengthens the immune system, and shifts the metabolism to a restorative mode of growth, healing and nutrient storage.

People vary in their preferred frequency of touch based on a number of factors such as age, sex, gender, culture and religion. For instance in Argentina, even when meeting for the first time, both men and women greet each other by kissing on both cheeks. By contrast, Muslim women are not allowed to shake hands with men who are strangers. Moreover, people enjoy being touch in different areas of their bodies by certain individuals.

However, researcher Dr. Helena Backlund Wasling Ph.D. reported that humans usually respond positively to light, warm touch (30 degrees Celsius) applied at an average speed. Interestingly, 30 degrees Celsius is the temperature of human skin.

In the context of romantic relationships, touch has added significance. When we are attracted to a person, we are often compelled to touch them and be touched by them. The closer the emotional bond, the greater the frequency, duration, and familiarity with that particular touch. In fact, Ketlner observed that blindfolded women can easily identify their husbands’ hand touch when touched by various men.

Touch Pict 3-002

In North America, it is more socially acceptable for two adult heterosexual women to be physically affectionate with one another than their male counterparts. Therefore, many men turn to their romantic partners to satisfy their need for touch.

Unfortunately, there is an assumption that touch by our mate has to lead to sexual intercourse. Some women may become resentful that their partners only touch them when they want sex. Consequently, non-sexual touch within romantic relationships may play an important role in building intimacy and trust as well as enhancing sexual fulfillment.

Some health care professionals recognize the importance of touch in speeding up recovery from various illnesses. For example, author and Certified Oncology Massage Therapist Julie Mills-Watson recommends touch for post-surgery and cancer patients as well as the elderly.

According to Mills-Watson, touch increases appetite and sleep quality while reducing disease relapse, stress and anxiety. Patients can be safely touched on the head, hands and feet, and should be lightly touched for 10-20 minutes.

Some organizations offer touch in the form of free hugs to strangers. Some people take this concept to another level, and are professional cuddlers who charge about $80/hour to cuddle with their clients. Although there is skin-to-skin contact, kissing on the mouth and sexual touch is strictly prohibited.

Touch Pict 4One such organization is London-based Guerrilla Hugs founded in 2010 by social worker Majella Greene M.Sc. It is a small group of people who stay for about 1 hour at various locations within London and give free hugs to passersby. Greene’s goal is to increase platonic touch, wellness and happiness in people in the hope that it has a ripple effect on others.

Skin gives us the sense of touch. It is one of the main senses that informs us about our environment, but also has many positive effects. Touch enhances love and cooperation between individuals as well as improving overall health.

There are cultural, gender, religious and age differences as to who, when, where and how touch is appropriate. In the context of romantic relationships, non-sexual touch plays a central role in nourishing the bond between lovers.

Furthermore, health care professionals and some grass-root organizations such as Guerrilla Hugs now offer platonic touch to their clients. As the health benefits of touch become more commonplace, perhaps people will incorporate regular touch in their lives.

Literary Truths

Here are other interesting facts about the skin and the sense of touch:

  • Touching people on the forearm activates the reward system in their brain, and it is as pleasurable as eating chocolate.
  • Based on the research by Dr. Dacher Ketlner Ph.D. at University of California, blindfolded people are able to recognize emotions such as compassion, love and gratitude through light touch of their forearm. However, blindfolded men were unable recognized their wives’ hand touch when touched by a series of women.
  • Ketlner observed in his research that when women tried to communicate anger by touching men on their forearm, men were unable to discern this emotion. Conversely, when men tried to communicate compassion by touching women on their forearm, women were unable to discern this emotion.
  • In Hindu and Islamic cultures, touching a person with the left hand is usually perceived as an insult.
  • Within the same population, women tend to have lighter skin colour than men because of their greater need for calcium during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Their lighter complexion allows for more efficient production of vitamin D through sunlight.

Truth in Motion


Cultural Etiquette and Touch

Fight off Loneliness with touch – Helena Backlund Wasling – TEDxGöteborg

Human Skin

Importance Of Touch

The Importance Of Touch

Nina Jablonski: Power of Touch

On the Trail of the Free Hugs Founder

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The Power of Touch

Relationships and Physical Touch

TEDxBerkeley – Dacher Keltner – 04/03/10

Radical Honesty

Let’s Talk!

How honest are you? According to American psychotherapist Brad Blanton Ph.D., the controversial author of Radical Honesty (1996), most people lie daily about themselves and others. In the late 1990’s Audrey Hope, the host of the program Reel Women, interviewed Dr. Blanton. The following is a summary of that interview.

Radical Honesty Pict 1Most people live in their minds, which is the major cause of depression, anxiety and stress. The mind entertains unrealistic expectations of ourselves, others and life which often leads to suffering. Most of us are brought up expecting life to unfold according to a socially acceptable script that rarely lives up to reality.

We suffer from the cultural disease of moralism, which states that it’s more important to be right than to be alive. However, it’s wiser to uphold the opposite view: being alive is more important than having the appropriate beliefs. The fear of not measuring up leads many to spend their lives proving to others and themselves that they are intelligent, talented and right.

Most parents and teachers believe that their role is to inculcate more values into children. But the real job of parents and teachers is to create an environment in which children’s spirits can flourish and allow them to learn according to their own interests.

Because of how we are raised, most people don’t grow emotionally and spiritually beyond adolescence. A teen is primarily concerned about how they are perceived by others. The question of self-identity raised by this phase of development is usually left unanswered. The more industrialized a culture, the longer the adolescence, which can last up to the age of 40.

In his practice, Blanton observed that the majority of people had a difficult childhood and a life story in which they portrayed themselves as the heroes. This life story can be summed up in about 27 seconds:

“I was born an exceptionally talented individual to obtuse and ignorant parents iiiiiiiiiiiii who oppressed me and did damage as much as they could. But due to the sterlingiiiiii character that I am, I turned out into the great person that you see right now.”

Radical Honesty Pict 2Another major source of human stress are lies. By distorting the truth and hiding unflattering information about ourselves, we have an illusion of control over what others know about us. However, lying leads to an endless series of lies to cover the initial one, and this requires time, energy and focus.

Blanton is a firm believer in the healing effect of radical honesty. Honesty does not always equal truth since it is the truth of a person’s experience. He recommends that people tell the whole truth about their actions as well as how they feel and think; even if this hurts the feelings of others. Therefore in the process of radical truth telling, one has to give up politeness.

An accumulation of bottled up negative feelings creates inner tension and disease in people. Society teaches us to suppress these emotions in order to prevent offending others, and we are usually praised for our restraint.

However, these unexpressed emotions are often redirected in other areas of life and create more problems. Blanton suggests that if a person did something that triggered a negative emotion in another, the offended party needs to tell them face-to-face. One should call them up and make an appointment. If they are unavailable (i.e., deceased), one should express these feelings to a therapist.

After expressing negative emotions to the person, we should stay with them until they recover from their hurt feelings. Most issues only require a short period of time to process. Blanton recommends that people use this therapeutic method even with former romantic partners.

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For many years, Blanton has been facilitating a very controversial 8-day Course in Honesty workshop. The goal of this workshop is to help people free themselves from the mind’s hold, and be fully present in the now.

The participants learn to see others beyond the societal roles and titles that are bestowed upon them. Natural compassion emerges from taking the time to look into each other’s eyes and hearing our life struggles. The group members realize that although they cannot change their history, they can use it to grow emotionally and spiritually.

Blanton has also created the Radical Honesty Corporation, which centers around the idea of global interconnectiveness. It is based on the concept of radical honesty and could help revolutionize our consciousness. Blanton wants to bring together small groups of people from various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds and allow them to interact in order for natural compassion to emerge by acknowledging each other’s humanity.

We live in a world that has an ambivalent relationship with honesty and truth. Most of us are taught to carefully filter what we say in order to protect our public image and not offend others.

American psychotherapist Dr. Brad Blanton was interviewed in the late 1990’s and brought forth the very controversial concept of radical honesty.

Blanton proposed the idea that honesty is very healing and essential to create genuine intimacy between people. He also created a workshop and a corporation based on this idea. As the world gradually becomes more integrous, perhaps we will embrace the concept of radical honest.

Literary Truths

The controversial 8-day Course in Honesty workshop by Dr. Brad Blanton includes the following activities:

  • 16 people get together on a Saturday morning and agree that for 8 days (until the following Sunday), they will tell the complete truth.
  • The participants do yoga for 1 hour each day, and meditate twice a day to help them relax and focus.
  • For 1 hour, each group member is videotaped while they recount their whole life story. Every 15 minutes, the other participants have an opportunity to ask questions and the person has to fully answer the questions.
  • The next morning, the videotaped life stories are discussed as a group.
  • Around day 5 of the workshop, every person is videotaped in the nude while they talk about their bodies and recount their entire sexual history.
  • The next day, the videos are reviewed as a group.
  • Over the course of these 8 days, the participants genuinely communicate and grow very close.

Truth in Motion


Audrey Hope Interviews Brad Blanton Part 1

Audrey Hope Interviews Brad Blanton Part 2

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Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

Let’s Talk!

Last year, I read an intriguing book by American psychiatrist Dr. Daniel G. Amen titled Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. This bestseller offers a breakthrough program to improve brain function and conquer mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and obsessiveness. In 2011, Amen gave a TED talk by the same title. The following is a summary of his presentation.

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The brain is the most complex organ in the universe. It is only 2% of the human body’s weight, yet consumes 20-30% of the calories we consume daily. The adult brain contains on average 100 billion nerve cells, and each nerve cell can be connected to 10,000 other nerve cells. The information travels at 268 miles/hour, and we lose an average of 85,000 nerve cells per day.

The brain is involved in all our activities; from the way we think, feel, act to how we interact with others. When the brain functions well, we thrive. Conversely, when the brain malfunctions, we usually struggle. We can accelerate brain aging with unhealthy behaviours or we can decelerate it by a healthier lifestyle.

Amen uses Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) to see how the brain works. SPECT is a very sophisticated imaging study that enables him to look at brain blood flow and activity patterns. These brain scans show areas of normal function, areas of low activity and areas of high activity. The goal is to have a balanced activity level throughout the brain.

A healthy brain has full symmetrical activity. The colour of the scan is irrelevant, it’s the shape that counts (see the picture below). By contrast, the scan on the right is that of an alcoholic individual.

A healthy brain enables a person to be happier, healthier, richer, wiser, more creative and innovative. An unhealthy brain usually leads to a sadder, sicker, poorer, less intelligent, rigid and inflexible person.

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Many diseases, poor lifestyle choices and environmental factors can damage the brain. For example, brain injuries, drugs, alcohol, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, the Standard American Diet (SAD), environmental toxins, lack of exercise and automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) can have a negative effect on the brain.

Let’s examine how some of these factors impact the brain.

The brain is a very soft organ protected by a thick, hard skull with many sharp bony ridges. Repetitive blows to the brain thrusts this delicate organ against these sharp ridges and may cause irreparable damage. Contact sports such as American football are very injurious to the brain and should be avoided.

Alcohol is toxic to the brain, even in small amounts. Contrary to popular belief, drinking as little as 2 glasses of wine per day has a negative effect on the brain.

North America is facing an obesity crisis. Excess weight often leads to diseases such as heart attacks and diabetes, but also negatively affects the brain. There are 10 published studies on obesity that suggest that as body weight increases, the physical size and function of the brain decreases.

It is a well-known fact that cigarette smoking may lead to lung cancer. But smoking also constricts blood flow to the brain and thereby the nourishment of neurons. The same can be said for high blood pressure as it also reduces blood supply to the brain.

The SAD consists of highly processed foods high in refined sugar and salt, but low in fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and healthful fats. This diet has been linked to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and poor brain health.

How can we improve the health of our brain?

Sleep is essential. We need 7 hours of sleep each night in order to have proper blood flow to the brain. As sleep decreases, weight usually increases because people tend to crave food.

Change Your Brain Pict 4

Meditation increases blood flow to the brain and activates the prefrontal lobes. The prefrontal lobes are the CEO of the brain and help us make wiser decisions.

Interestingly, being slightly anxious can be beneficial to health; it helps us make the positive changes to prevent many diseases.

Monitor your thoughts. Don’t believe every negative thought that you have because the vast majority of ANTS are false.

If a person is suffering from depression, one of the best anti-depressants is gratitude. Everyday, write 3 things that you are grateful for, and within 3 weeks you will view life in a more positive light.

Be a lifelong learner. Learning stimulates new neural connections and the brain becomes more efficient at accomplishing the same tasks.

It is also recommended to nourish positive social connections. Positive interactions increase longevity, and we tend to emulate the health enhancing habits of others.

The brain is the most complex organ in our body. It is involved in every activity that we perform on a daily basis. In order to be at our best, we need a well-functioning brain.

In the past 20 years, psychiatrist Dr. Daniel G. Amen has looked at thousands of SPECT brain scans, and has identified factors that are detrimental versus beneficial to the brain.

Amen recommends to avoid factors such as contact sports, alcohol, smoking and SAD. Conversely, he suggests to have a healthful diet, enough sleep, a positive outlook on life and supportive relationships.

As we start 2015, it is an auspicious time to set new goals and explore how changing our brain can change many areas of our life.

Literary Truths

Here are other interesting facts as per Dr. Daniel G. Amen’s talk:

  • From 1991 to 2011, Dr. Amen’s clinics have performed 63, 000 brain scans – the greatest total number scans ever performed.
  • By making positive lifestyle changes, it is possible to improve brain function within 2 months.
  • The brain stops developing between the ages of 25 to 28. Therefore, children, teenagers and young adults should avoid activities (i.e., tackle football) that might injure their developing brains.
  • The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease may triple in the next 25 years. The way to reduce the incidence of this disease is to decrease the diseases associated with it such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and high blood pressure.
  • There are 3 studies in the journal Lancet that have shown that if children have a healthier diet for only 3 months, 73% of them show a greater than 50% reduction in their attentional and behavioural problems.

Truth in Motion


Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

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The Economy of Sex

Let’s Talk!

In September 2013 in Los Angeles, Dr. Wendy Walsh gave a 1-hour lecture titled The Economy of Sex based on her book The 30-Day Love Detox.

Dr. Wendy Walsh PhD is a Canadian psychotherapist who is an expert on love, sex, parenting, gender roles and divorce matters. She makes appearances on well-known shows such The O’Reilly Factor, The View, Investigation Discovery and The Steve Harvey Show.

The following are some of the key points she presented during this lecture.

The Economy Of Sex Pict 1In America, there is an unprecedented increase in the number of educated women. Presently, women make up 60% of college graduates. The only school where there are an equal percentage of men and women is in Law school and Medical school. Furthermore, although women are lagging in Engineering and the pure sciences, they are quickly catching up.

Women aged 22 to 32 years old earn higher incomes than their male peers. The information technology age is advantageous to women because they are better communicators and typers than men. Also there are more women in the workforce in America, although fewer numbers occupy higher management positions.

Many women don’t need men to support them financially, and therefore engage in sex for their own pleasure. The rise of women has led to a high supply of cheap sex. Unfortunately, there are negative consequences for both men and women in this situation.

In a high supply sexual economy, some men lose their ambition while others lose their ability to commit or become players. By contrast, some women adopt a male model of sexual behaviour or hold out for very high status men. Sadly, about 20% of women lose their chance at motherhood because they have waited too long to start a family.

Ironically Walsh reports that many blue-collar men have voiced their desire for a stable, long-term relationship, but perceive some women as too sexually aggressive.

Men and women are biologically different. Some men can have sex on a regular basis with a woman for months and never fall in love with her. Men are better able to separate sex from love compared to women. However, men tend to have better sex if they love the woman.

There is a myth of sexual freedom in America. The message to men is to “take sex, any sex at any cost” whereas the message to women is to “have plenty of not-too-much sex”. Women are still held to a double standard when it comes to the number of sexual partners they should have. That standard is hardwired in men, whereas women are more flexible.

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We still have a hunter-gatherer biology. If a man partners with a promiscuous woman, he risks investing his time, resources and protection in another man’s child. This fear is not irrational. For example, an unobtrusive study in America revealed that the DNA of 10% of babies born in a hospital did not match the father’s at bedside.

Some anthropologists suggest that men are the ones who instituted monogamy to ensure that women stayed faithful. In fact, men have a testicle size to body weight ratio that suggests that they are serial monogamists compared to other animals such as orangutans or chimpanzees.

In modern society, many men and women engage in low criteria relationships that do not suit their needs. In these relationships, these men and women:

  • frequently text
  • occasionally meet for dinner and sex
  • have not been introduced to each other’s families
  • have not discussed sexual exclusivity or a future together

These kinds of casual relationships are very convenient for men because they do not have a fertility window.

Here are 5 myths that promote singlehood:

  • Most people have many casual sexual encounters
  • Women need to have sex on a regular basis
  • Sexual chemistry is essential for a happy romantic relationship
  • Men fall in love through sex
  • Promiscuity is only a temporary phase

Let’s explore each of these myths…

The Economy of Sex Pict 4

Only about 20% of men aged 18-25 years old are able to obtain sex on the first date with a woman. Also according to a Center for Disease Control (2009) survey of 6,000 men and women aged 18 to 44-years old, the average reported number of lifetime sexual partners is only 6 for men and 4 for women.

Women’s respond to sex is contextual – they usually become sexually aroused when they are interested in man. At other times, their interest in sex is usually dormant. By contrast, single men tend to fulfill their sexual needs with masturbation and/or pornography.

Walsh points out that many women have sex not because they have sexual “needs” but, because of what is associated with sex. These women may really want intimacy, companionship, or the excitement of being desired.

In terms of sexual chemistry, a study of more than 2,000 couples showed that the greater the sexual chemistry at the beginning of the relationship, the worst the outcome. Sexual attraction floods a person’s brain with neurotransmitters such as dopamine that make them less able to accurately assess a new mate.

Contrary to popular belief, genuine sexual chemistry grows from emotional intimacy. The ability to be open and honest about ourselves with our romantic partner is the basis for true love and attraction to grow.

Sex sometimes leads to love for women, but it is rarely the case for men. Men need to trust their mates in order to love them. If the woman is promiscuous, most men will mistrust her.

Every relationship is in essence a training ground for the next one. Therefore, if a person has never been trained in being sexually monogamous, they usually are unable to hold this standard of behaviour even after they marry.

The Economy of Sex Pict 4

According to Walsh, people should charge the highest price for sex, which is care and commitment. She recommends that people go through a 30-day detox period, which means to wait 30 days before having sex with a new partner. Walsh also suggests to purge low nutritional digital relationships such as the Facebook kind.

Studies have shown that if a couple has sex within less than a month of meeting, their relationship has about a 90% risk of failure within 1 year. This 30-day period allows couples time to build a friendship and a connection before they become sexually intimate.

Partners should demand sexual exclusivity and make a commitment to fully invest themselves in their new relationship. Human beings need high quality relationships to thrive physiologically, psychologically and ensure the well-being of their offspring. It is healthier to have few nourishing romantic relationships than many low quality ones.

The socio-economic status of women has significantly changed in America. Psychotherapist Dr. Wendy Walsh explores the impact of this change on romantic relationships in her lecture The Economy of Sex.

Walsh points out that women are now more educated and financially independent from men. Many women choose to have sex just for the pleasure of it, which promotes a high supply sexual economy and low criteria relationships. In this context, more men choose not to commit to a relationship and loose their ambition.

Unfortunately, human beings are designed to flourish in high quality relationships. Both men and women pay the price for engaging in low criteria relationships.

Walsh recommends that people wait at least 30 days before having sex with a new partner. She also suggests that people should pay the highest price for sex, which is care and commitment. On the long run, men, women and their offspring will benefit from intimate, long-term, loving romantic relationships.

Literary Truths

Here are other interesting statistics* as per Dr. Wendy Walsh’s talk:

  • The percentage of men aged 18 to 30 years old who are players (i.e., had 3 partners/year for 3 consecutive years) is 3%
  • The typical college student has 1 hookup/year. A hookup is defined as “a sexual encounter with no strings attached and no expectations of ever seen the person again.”
  • The percentage of college students who are virgins in 2013 is 25%. Most students become sexually active between the ages of 16 to 25 years old. The more a person delays sexual activity, the higher their academic attainment. Reasons given by these students for delaying sexual activity include fear of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy and derailing their career/education.

Here are reported results of a Center for Disease Control (2009) survey of more than 6, 000 men and women aged 18 to 44 years old:

  • The percentage of people who have had more than 15 sexual partners: men = 27% , women = 10%
  • The percentage of men who prefer a romantic encounter instead of a hookup: 75%

*Based on a study of American men aged 18-25 years old.

Truth in Motion


The Economy of Sex

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