Shifts in Supply and Demand: Feminism, the condom, and WWII

Shifts can occur in supply or demand curves at any time. First we'll consider a man and a woman in the individual sense, then we'll consider overall market supply and demand using several examples.

A man may often experience changes in his demand for sex.

When a man gets desperate, for instance, his demand for sex naturally increases. This causes a movement upwards in his demand curve. For any given quantity of sex, he is now willing to pay a bit more. When a man is stressed out or loses his drive his demand for sex may decrease. This causes a downward shift in his demand curve. For any given quantity of sex, he is less willing to pay more, so price declines. In men, the demand curve is usually stable, with a tendency for shifts outward to outweigh shifts downward.

Shifts in supply curves occur according to the mood of the woman. The supply curve, therefore, is much more fickle than the demand curve.

When a woman is horny her supply cuve shifts downward. She is now willing to supply more sex at a cheaper price. This also happens when she is needy or lacks a good self-image - when this is the case she will ask very little in the way of price to have sex, ie she'll take whatever she can get. When a woman isn't in the mood to have sex or is just plain bored she removes supply from the market and her supply curve shifts upward. The price a man must pay to get her to bed is now much higher.

As discussed in the Sexonomy page, market supply and demand curves amalgamate all male demand and all female supply into aggregated curves. When the total demand for sex increases the general equilibrium price for sex also increases, i.e. the demand curve shifts to the right. In the past the generally accepted cost for getting sex may have only been three dates, it now requires four or five.

Market demand may also decline, i.e. the demand curve may shift inwards. This typically happens during wars, when the male population is decimated. As World War II progressed, for instance, the male population in North America shrunk relative to the female population. Lower male demand for sex meant a shift downwards in the demand curve and a decline in price. This is illustrated in the chart below.

Males now paid less than before to get laid, and women accepted a lower price. Of course the quantity of sex was much less than pre-war times.

In 1945 the men came back to a depressed sexonomy with low prices. This is illustrated in the next chart.

With so many recently arrived soldiers, demand suddenly balooned (note the shift in the demand curve), but the price of sex remained low as women were slow to adjust their supply and price to the change. For a while, men had it lucky. Faced with lower prices than before, a massive rise in sex occurred. The result was the baby boom. Eventually women realized they were providing sex too cheap, and adjusted the price upwards. That is how the boom came to an end.

Market supply shifts occur as well. These are often known as supply shocks, akin to the effect in mainstream economics when OPEC reduces or raises oil supply. Such changes may occur when the morals governing women's conduct loosen or are strengthened. Under liberal moral systems, women are no longer regarded as sluts if they choose to supply more sex, and supply will expand. As supply increases the market price for sex declines, and men are required to pay less than they normally would. The amount of sex increases and the average age for a first sexual encounter plummets. Under conservative moral systems, female chastity becomes a virtue and supply decreases.

The Sexual Revolution and the rise of feminism is the best example of a change in the supply curve.

Wide spread use of condoms in the last century meant women didn't need to worry about the costs of pregnancy - therefore they no longer needed to demand a high price of sex from men. Morals were loosened as sex was brought into the open - Hippie 60's culture, for instance, espoused free sex. At the same time, feminism allowed women to compete in the job marketplace. With this broad societal change a woman's sexuality was no longer her main asset, and she could afford to be more free in her choice to supply sex. All these changes shifted the supply curve to the right, making sex cheaper for men and easier for women to supply as they wished.

Time to bring sexonomics into the real world with a few case studies.