Opportunity costs

Adults are having sex less often than they were 20 years ago, according to a scientific study in America of almost 27,000 people.

Researchers found that adults had sex about nine fewer times per year than they did back in the late 1990s.

The more things there are to do the more it costs to do any single one of them. Because the price of something is what you give up to have that thing. If there are more things to give up then each and any one choice costs more, people do less of things that cost more.

This has long been tracked more generally. I think we’ll all agree that women’s choices have significantly increased over recent generations. Women are, self-reportedly, less happy than they were. Sure, we can make jokes about feminism and unrealistic goals but the fact of the matter is that female happiness has been moving down much closer to male self-reported happiness.

Closer to that of those who always did have the wider range of choices.

Opportunity costs, it’s the second important thing you’ve got to know about economics.

20 comments on “Opportunity costs

  1. “Adults are having sex less often than they were 20 years ago”

    That’s certainly true in my case.

  2. ““It is very possible that for young people this is a conscious life choice,” said Ryne Sherman”.

    I’m celibate by choice.

    Although it wasn’t my first choice.

  3. I remember years ago being in this hotel where there were two Filipino singers who were boyfriend and girlfriend. This hotel was out in the sticks in a shitty Chinese town with nothing going on. The girl complained that “All there is to do here is have sex”.

    I think that annecdote supports your point. Sex was cheap for them because they weren’t giving up anything to do it.

  4. Simply looking at the difference in size of women now compared to 20 years ago would explain it. I wouldn’t have sex with a fat tub of lard either, even if I was married to her.

  5. I remember years ago being in this hotel where there were two Filipino singers who were boyfriend and girlfriend. This hotel was out in the sticks in a shitty Chinese town with nothing going on.

    This supports my theory about Asia. Western women can happily wander through a crowd of Filipino or Thai men wearing a skimpy bikini and not get so much as a crude remark. If she tried it in Turkey, Egypt, or most other places she’d be groped, grabbed, assaulted, or worse. My theory is that sex in Asia is readily available: if you’re not having sex in Asia, something has gone badly wrong somewhere. Hence the men are satisfied in that regard and relaxed. Whereas in other places they are sex-starved and frustrated.

  6. The girl complained that “All there is to do here is have sex”.

    Also…I don’t know if this has been made into a proper study, but a casual observation of soldiers and, ahem, oilfield workers suggests masturbation for men is as much about relieving boredom as anything else.

  7. There was a spike in berths 9 months after the 3-day week and rolling blackouts.

  8. 50 years ago, my physics teacher explained the concept of opportunity cost to his class in an idle moment. He maintained it was the most important lesson for life.

  9. “I think the spike in berths was during, the spike in births 9 months later?” 🙂
    My excuse is the sailing season is just about to start and I’m busy getting the boat ready.

  10. Sure, we can make jokes about feminism and unrealistic goals but the fact of the matter is that female happiness has been moving down much closer to male self-reported happiness.

    Joke? Who is joking? Feminism is making women miserable. The sensible solution is a firm no and a gentle hand in the direction of the kitchen.

  11. Timmy,

    Do you rank “incentives matter” at #1, and “check what’s happening at the margins” and “comparative advantage” a bit further back?

  12. This probably explains prostitution and why it can never be stamped out. It is efficient to been able to call a hooker and book an appointment for a specified date and time.

    Frees you up to do other things. Yes you have to pay money to the hooker but I think that is the point. How many things do you have to do and what is your time worth?

  13. We know that there must be opportunity “costs” to doing things, yes, but how do we know what the eff they are in any way that is useful for economic calculation?

  14. 9 times a year doesn’t sound a big difference in % terms – how do we know this a real finding and not within the margins of error.

  15. Mr Black,

    “Simply looking at the difference in size of women now compared to 20 years ago would explain it.”

    The state of a lot of women today is just awful. The problem is that they’ve gone from housework to office work, can now drive everywhere, afford lots of wine and lattes and don’t do much exercise.

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