Everyone knows that young men today don‘t have it so good. Mark Regnerus agrees. Link here.
Young women are racking up impressive achievements in school and on the job. By comparison, young men seem to be a slacker generation.
Regnerus describes the plight of young men: “Their financial prospects are impaired—earnings for 25- to 34-year-old men have fallen by 20 percent since 1971. Their college enrollment numbers trail women's: Only 43 percent of American undergraduates today are men. Last year, women made up the majority of the work force for the first time. And yet there is one area in which men are very much in charge: premarital heterosexual relationships.
"When attractive women will still bed you, life for young men, even those who are floundering, just isn't so bad.”
Let’s see if we understand this correctly. In most of the activities that denote manly success in the civilized world, men are losing out. Their manly pride, such as it is, cannot be in very good shape. God will punish me for saying it, but you don't feel like more of a man if you are getting beaten by a woman.
But, don’t feel so bad, Regnerus tells young men. They get to receive a consolation prize. They receive the booby prize or the booty prize, or both.
But, let’s try to be more serious . Let’s be historical. As I reflected on this dire reality, I had a vision. It came to me from 18th century France.
In my vision a courtier barges into Queen Marie Antoinette’s salon. He is at his wits end.
He exclaims to the Queen: “Angry young men are marching on the palace. They have no jobs; they have no career prospects; no woman would ever marry them; they might never have a family. These men are hungry. And we just ran out of cake.“
The Queen looks up from her needlepoint and declares: “Well then, let them eat p#$&%!”
Aside from the fact that this sounds like it would make a pretty good Super Bowl add, it has a more serious point. Most if not all men want more out of life than cheap sex.
To think that men can be bought off with cheap sex is grossly insulting.
Men might console themselves with cheap sex when it is offered. They are unlikely to reject a woman who offers it, but most of them, I hope, do not think that they a woman’s willingness to perform a sexual favor for them makes them alpha males.
All of this notwithstanding, Regnerus is right when he says that the terms of the transaction called hooking up are markedly friendly to men and unfriendly to women.
In his words: “But what many young men wish for—access to sex without too many complications or commitments—carries the day. If women were more fully in charge of how their relationships transpired, we'd be seeing, on average, more impressive wooing efforts, longer relationships, fewer premarital sexual partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marrying going on. Instead, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (which collects data well into adulthood), none of these things is occurring. Not one. The terms of contemporary sexual relationships favor men and what they want in relationships, not just despite the fact that what they have to offer has diminished, but in part because of it. And it's all thanks to supply and demand.”
I would only qualify the point by saying that these women are allowing men to believe that they are in charge. It’s a way of lulling them into complacency while women are eating their lunch.
There are many reasons why women might hookup. Most of them are bad for women. I have often outlined them, and I hope that my arguments have resonated for some women.
Now, we know that hooking up might also be a ploy to trick men into thinking that they are more manly than they are. While they are sitting back feeling like the ultimate dudes, they are losing their competitive spark. If they do not have to work to have sex, if they do not have to expend any energy to get laid, then they are going to be less capable competitors.
Of course, it may also be that meaningless impersonal sex is the best that this slacker generation has to offer.