I came across this thread on Reddit a few days ago, and felt that it warranted further comment from a Gendernomics perspective. To give the short version, the wife was a major Hillary Clinton supporter, and her husband voted Trump, as a result she decided to deny him sex for 30 days. The responses in the thread vary, from those who advocate that the husband should communicate how it feels to his wife, to those who think it is perfectly warranted considering the false media narrative surrounding Trump’s treatment of women.
The first piece of advice that stood out as an illustration of the feminine primary perspective is this :
Generally speaking, sex as a weapon is not cool. And it only works because of the false pretense that it’s purely a service for the guy and that women don’t like sex just as much if not more then men.
But on a side note, voting for Trump but then not understanding why a woman is withholding access to her body to express disapproval? The irony is palpable.
This is an amazing example of female logic, in that sentence one outlines that it is not OK to use sex as a weapon, but the last sentence expresses complete understanding for why this was done. It is either OK to withhold sex, or it is not. The next comment gives some context to the manner, outlining how to more effectively utilize sex as a weapon to promote compliance:
This is actually a pretty common tactic that’s been used before, known as a sex strike, though if your wife wanted it to be effective, she should’ve denied the sex before the election to prompt you to not vote Trump. In countries where it’s used it’s done as a form of nonviolent protest to prompt some action from the husband. In this situation though, she’s using it as a punishment since there’s not much else that can be done at this point.
Regardless of if it is used as a weapon, the reasoning behind it is manipulation. In the case of a sex strike, it is used to force behavioral change through operant conditioning. In the case of a “sex strike“, the reasoning is “If you do X, you get punished with Y” or “If you do not do X, you get rewarded with Y“. In the latter case, it is a case of positive reinforcement, where the husband is punished after he voted. The former is in some ways less malicious than the latter, as the former presents an explicit demand, the latter creates an intermittent reinforcement situation, wherein the husband may frame all his actions going forward based on “if I do this, will she deny me sex?“.
In both cases, its a manipulative tactic engaged in to force behavioral change in the other party. By presenting either a punishment or a threat, the party is seeking to establish dominance on some level over the other party in the relationship. Another commenter states:
I think you should wait until well after the 30 day period before you think about bringing up sex again. She doesn’t owe you sex, you know. In fact, don’t bring it up at all. Instead, spend the time honestly trying to understand her point of view. Give her an opportunity to speak about why she felt so strongly about the election that she would even joke about a sex embargo, and show her respect by listening, thinking, and putting yourself in her shoes. You may not see where she’s coming from immediately, and that’s fine. Relationships are never easy.
This is a very clear example of the feminine imperative in the form of solipsism, it is fine for him to be denied sex as a punishment, and furthermore, he should spend that time without sex in a time-out thinking about the horrible thing he did. Rather than framing this as a case of the wife punishing the husband, it is being framed as the man not communicating with his wife and putting himself in her position. Rather than thinking about himself, he needs to focus on her, because it is all about her. Perhaps a point to bring up is that if one party can suspend part of the agreement made when entering into the relationship, so can the other.
Another poster in the thread continues:
Maybe you don’t want to hear this, but she might feel cheated. Maybe you shouldn’t call her out on reddit for using sex as a weapon or controlling you before you understand why she did it. I’d like to believe your wife isn’t some evil psychopath, but is very very upset with you and she might just not want to have sex with you. She probably feels betrayed. So she came up with a deadline so she wouldn’t have to deny it every time you ask. You might not agree and I don’t know the exact relationship you guys have, but I’d also like to believe she is not that upset that Hillary lost or that Trump won, but that you of all people took the side of a person she really really didn’t like or agree with.
You can see how this presents a problem for married couples as they need to able to trust and depend on each other. So I’d suggest you confirm or refute my hypothesis by talking with your wife and then if proven true try to win her trust back.
From a philosophical perspective, this would be an argument rooted in deontological ethics, meaning that the intent behind the action determines the morality, not the consequences of said action. This type of reasoning is a major reason why male victims of domestic violence do not speak up, namely the fact that every issue is cast as the male being the perpetrator. “She hit you with a frying pan?, What did you do?” The reasoning goes that the why of her denying sex is more important than the consequence of her doing so on their relationship. This is very typical of blame shifting, and this highlights gas lighting in a more common light. If you observe the reasoning in this post:
- Deny that the wife attacked him (Deny)
- Suggest that his actions were wicked (Attack)
- Cast the wife in the light of having a perfectly valid reason to deny him sex. (Reverse)
- Cast the wife as the victim (Victim)
- Cast the husband as the offender. (Offender)
Also known by the mnemonic “DARVO“, which is well documented in abusive relationships, as the manner in which a person over time is trained into behaving in a certain manner. This is a form of gas lightning where over time, the victim’s perception of reality is twisted into a perspective where they consider the other person’s reaction and perception before their own.
The best response to the thread was the following post (political comments omitted) because it demonstrates not only how to render a sex-embargo ineffective, but
- For letting your wife treat your like a john and herself as a prostitute. Sex is not a commodity. It cannot, should not, be used to reward or punish. Humans have sex because they are horny. (And to have babies.) And as the cement in a relationship. If you love your SO then sex is even more important and enjoyable.
You might think like I used to. Sex is dirty, women are clean and men are not, therefore only men like sex. Get out of that mode of thinking (I’m still a little stuck there).
Tell your Mrs (look her in the eye, and smile broadly as you say this) that you punish her for voting for the losing Democrat. After her 30 days are up, you will refuse sex for a further 45 days. During the whole 75 days period you will have an open relationship.
This is an example of dread game , from a gambling perspective, this is the equivalent of saying “I call your bluff, and I’m going all in“, provided that the man has options, meaning that he cannot have let himself and thus his SMV decline massively. If he has options, he will communicate this to her clearly, along with the clear statement that if she denies him sex, he can deny her monogamy.
The Concept of Denying a Service Under Monopoly Conditions
When discussing monopolies and their merit, the major concerns in economics is the efficient allocation of resources. Generally, monopolies can be beneficial if large economies of scale can be realized by a single huge provider rather than many small providers, an often cited example are utilities. On the other hand, having one large provider of a service required by the population, means that they are able to charge a price well above their marginal cost, leading to inefficient use of resources.
Within a monogamous relationship, sex is a monopoly where one party has a monopoly of supply for the other person’s sexual market. The characteristics lead to an ability to maximize profits, for instance a wife can maximize her take from the relationship through control of sex. In the case from Reddit, a wife is using her control to punish her husband for voting in a manner that she does not condone. The partner will also be the price maker of sex within the relationship, in effect what does the other party have to do in order to get sex. In the example, the case would be “not vote for Trump“. If the husband elects to go outside the relationship for sex, the barriers exist in the cost of divorce, that manifests as high switching costs.
The source of the wife’s monopoly power in this case, is in the form of a legal barrier that will punish the husband economically if he elects to go outside the marriage for sex. Thus, the cost of going without sex for the husband, must therefore be weighed against the cost of divorce. Alternatively, if he is certain that she will not divorce him, alternate punishments that she may seek to inflict on him.
Thus, as the wife is free to set the price for sex within a monopoly condition, this price must been seen in comparison with other providers, from the perspective of both partners. This is why I found the last post quoted to be such a brilliant response, because it highlights that the monopoly on sex by one party in a relationship, is conditional on various other agreements in the relationship. Treating sex isolated as one variable is in such a case a mistake. Normally, if two parties come to an agreement that an exchange of goods and services will take place, then both parties have to uphold their side of the agreement. One would not agree to trade a car for a motorcycle, but be OK that the other party broke their agreement.
Summary and Conclusions
To some extent this is a very typical situation, men who enter long-term monogamous relationships where the women constantly engage in a cycle of renegotiation, using any means necessary to improve their deal at a cost to their partner. The only way a man can stand strong in such negotiations is to ensure that he is always negotiating from a position of power. The separation of sex from other services rendered in a relationship, is quite interesting. I wonder how the reaction would be if the man, as a response to his wife voting for Hillary had refused to pay his part of the mortgage, otherwise participate in the relationship.
Within a true monopoly, no substitute products exist, however in the case of a monogamous relationship, plenty of substitute products exist it is just a matter of enforcing the deal “If I am to be monogamous to you, then you have to fulfill my sexual urges” the irony being that the sexual nature of a relationship is usually the strongest when a woman is luring a man in, and rapidly falls off as soon as she has secured some legal obligation, unless she is held constantly aware of him having other options.
The procurement of a monogamous relationship for a woman, takes the form that she is no longer perceiving herself to be in competition with other women for his affections, thus she can put out less, stop taking care of herself, and generally “just be herself“. She has secured a monopoly on his resources, through either pregnancy or marriage she has also increased his switching costs massively, thus ensuring that leaving her would have massive consequences to his lifestyle. Through these mechanisms she can use sex and affection as behavioral modification to ensure that her husband is under her control.
By denying her this control, but making it very clear that his monogamy is also conditional on her behavior, in the same way that sex with her is conditional on his behavior, he presents her with a clear cut choice, either she performs or he will find someone who will. Some are likely to cast this as holding the relationship hostage to get sex, however the argument is that if one party can withhold part of the agreed services, then the other party is free to do so as well.