23 December 2012

Concerning the Sexual and Marriage Markets -- Part VI

[We now return you to the regularly-scheduled series. Part VI is here:]

VI. Sexual Issues Bubble to the Top

Most people regard sex as an integral part of most any romantically-linked relationship. Yet, it’s also seemingly one of the major founts of discord and ill will. Complicating this view is the fact that in this “romantic bazaar” there is also a sexual market represented by its own SMV.

Few doubt that sexual compatibility is a highly important plank, and rightfully so. After all, it is but the one marker that effectively differentiates the romantic relationships from those of mere friends and acquaintances. The SMV attempts to measure this value, but it is only useful in shorter-term initial decisions as well as those that are purely sexual in nature. At some point, the MMV becomes a better yardstick by which to measure the potential for a stable romantic relationship. This isn’t to say that sex does not factor in—quite the contrary it does. But its emphasis is not as emphasised in the MMV as it is in the SMV.

So, let’s start with SMV. For men and women alike, the SMV can be thought of as the relative sexual appeal one has (and thus, the relative place in the proverbial “pecking order”). By and large, it’s determined by several factors, such as physical attractiveness, real and perceived desirability, and real and perceived sexual behaviours.

Thus a person of either gender who ranks high on these measures can be said to possess a high SMV, whereas someone who is utterly lacking has little or no SMV. Most people tend to fall into some varying middle ground and can be thought of as “Average.”

In particular, men tend to use SMV as a determining factor when looking for a partner, particularly if the intent is either for a short-term “casual fling” or for some sort of express sexual relationship (e.g. “friends with benefits”).  As has been mentioned in the part on glamour modelling, boosted SMV is usually enough to “get one’s foot in the door.” It may even keep the spark burning for a bit.

Usually though, it’s not enough, and this is where the longer-term MMV comes in. MMV by contrast merely uses sex as one factor, and in doing so importantly covers other aspects that SMV often overlooks, and in different ways. Some of these are things that, as this part’s title suggests, turn into issues bubbling up to the top. Others are considerations that may or may not put a damper on a guy’s drive.

So, what are some these things that MMV tends to look at? Let’s look at four:

  • The number of sexual partners one has had, sometimes referred to as an “N-count” 
  • Promiscuity
  • Sexual history 
  • Sexual responsibility

This first one tends to have far more of an impact, and thus far more weight in subcultures that are influenced by more traditional Western norms, as well as by Western religious thought (most notably the more conservative strains of Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). In these sub-societies, there still exist various social mechanisms for shame and guilt to enforce social mores. Among these social mores is the idea that females having high numbers of sexual partners is shameful, and that enforced monogamy is seen as the way by which a given man can be assured of having biological heirs.  Those who violate it by “sleeping around” are thus stigmatised and in many cases shunned by the community while women who maintain their total virginity until after matrimony are seen as virtuous.

Why does the total number of sexual partners matter? Simply put, there still is a perception that the lower number of sexual partners a woman has, the more likely she can develop a stronger and more intimate bond with her spouse. This in turn comes from the oft-made observation that women with fewer sexual partners often tend to be more responsible and mature; therefore (and as a result of a smaller sexual history) they are less likely to be carrying emotional and sexual baggage from previous failed sexual relationships, STDs, scares of pregnancy, a tendency to compare her spouse to previous partners, and tendencies for jealousy and sexual infidelity.

Of course, it would help to define what a “sex partner” is. While it varies from man to man (and some men are more liberal or “laid back” than others), this is what I find to be reasonable as a yardstick:

Generally speaking, a woman’s sexual partner count (denoted by the variable N) is increased by one for each sexually mature penis she touches consensually (and outside of work, if she works in the medical field). In addition, one is added to N for each person that also consensually penetrates her with any object or toy.  Thus, this reflects more on the “true” number of people she has had consensual (or presumably-consensual) sexual experiences with instead of the number of men she has actually had vaginal intercourse with, which may be far less.

Directly related to the N value are promiscuity, sexual history, and sexual responsibility. While the definition of what makes a woman promiscuous (or, in vernacular, a “slut”) often varies between men to the point where the only consensus is “I know it when I see and hear about it.” Promiscuity then is the reflection of a high N value coupled with a larger sexual history that often demonstrates sexual recklessness.

Sexual responsibility then can be defined as a sort of opposite: a sexual history showing prudent sexual decisions that aren’t as likely to harm themselves or other people in the process. It is indeed the taking of personal responsibility over one’s sexual health and life, instead of letting one’s genitals make the decisions.

So how does this factor in to MMV?

The answer is surprisingly simple: women with a higher N count, and those who’ve contracted STDs are seen as having a far lower MMV precisely because of the risks and perceptions that often tend to carry on with that count. Because of these perceptions, women who have these tend to be viewed adversely when it comes time to evaluate them prospectively for a LTR such as marriage.

Go back to Part V (Final Piece)

Go to Part VII

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