The History of Sexuality from the Perspective of Economics
THIS CHAPTFR elaborates the positive economic theory of sexuality with the aid of case studies that bring to the fore the role of companionate marriage and women's occupational profile as causes of change in sexual behavior and attitudes. The last section treats the causal relationship between the two highlighted factors themselves.
Among the citizen population in the Athens of Plato and Aristotle boys and girls were reared separately, and the boys attended school but the girls did not. Polygamy was forbidden but flourished informally as concubinage practiced by married men. For this and other reasons, including a shortage of women because of female infanticide, girls married young and the husband usually was considerably older than the wife. As a result of this age difference, the low average age of marriage for girls (about 16), the prevalence of arranged marriage, the practice of sequestering women, and the difference in educational attainments between the spouses, marriage was not companionate. Spouses were not good friends, united by bonds of love and trust and by shared interests, values, and experiences. They did not socialize together, did not even take meals together. And there was no expectation that the husband would be faithful to his wife--just that he would not bring his concubines into the marital home. Remember that one function of sex is to cement relationships. The thinner the relationship between husband and wife, the less demand there is for the cement of sex.
There is some exaggeration in this picture of sexual segregation, as we know from Chapter 2; in particular, "sequestration" should not be taken literally. But the picture is broadly accurate, and economics can explain four charac
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Publication information: Book title: Sex and Reason. Contributors: Richard A. Posner - Author. Publisher: Harvard University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 146.
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