An Example of the Commodity Model of Sex

by damnedhippie

This was a comment on a blog post on the best way to deal with pan-handlers:

I don’t blame the few people that yelled at me. I looked like a nice dude that was ready to dish out some coin and when I said no, it was probably something akin to encountering that girl at a bar who chats you up, makes all the moves and then says “no” and walks off. For someone that is homeless and wants money and survives by getting it from well-meaning passersby, meaningful eye contact is the equivalent of grabbing their ass and saying, “Hey, honey. Wanna dance?”

So I won’t do it anymore. I won’t strike up a conversation with them unless I have the intention of giving something more than words.

The analogy is striking. I haven’t had men yell at me or threaten me physically when I’ve rejected their sexual advances, but I have experienced what looked like retribution for a rebuff. I’ve also figured out that most men don’t strike up conversations with me because they find me to be a compelling person to talk to (the exceptions to this are always a pleasant surprise).

Like the guy who won’t converse with panhandlers, I’ve learned to not entertain those conversations with anything more than one-word acknowledgements. I’d add the parallel caveat, “unless I have the intention of giving something more than words,” but, well, see, this is the point of the post. This analogy of comparing chatting up panhandlers without intending to give them money with flirting or conversing with guys without intending to “give” them sex is an example of the commodity model of sex:

We live in a culture where sex is not so much an act as a thing: a substance that can be given, bought, sold, or stolen, that has a value and a supply-and-demand curve. In this “commodity model,” sex is like a ticket; women have it and men try to get it … This model pervades casual conversation about sex: Women “give it up,” men “get some.

Yes Means Yes! page 30, quoted here.

This commenter is actually comparing sex to money. The example couldn’t get any better.

Or could it?

After being yelled at and threatened several times for refusing to give money, I’ve realized that not everyone deserves eye contact and acknowledgment.

Replace “money” with “sex”, and you have your answer as to why many attractive women ignore men who try to strike up conversations with them, or even scare them away with dirty looks. I imagine very few people enjoy being a “snobby bitch”, but it less of a waste of time and often much safer than being a “cock tease”.

Of course, there is (usually) nothing wrong with talking to someone because you are interested in having sex with that person. There is something very wrong with treating sex as a commodity that someone is obligated to give for interacting with you, no matter how sexually charged the interaction.