The Economics of Speed Dating, High Risk Sex, and Lap Dancing

Today we introduce our newest blog, Dollars and Sex, written by Marina Adshade, an economics professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  There she teaches a popular undergraduate course called "The Economics of Sex and Love," in which her students apply the analytical and statistical tools available to economists to examine human sexuality. Topics in the course—which Adshade will also explore in Dollars and Sex—include online dating, speed dating, marriage, promiscuity, infidelity, high-risk sex, divorce, the relation between sex and happiness, and the business of sex (prostitution, pornography, and lap dancing). 

In her inaugural post for Big Think, she discusses new research that tries to quantify the value women place on different attributes in a mate.  How much do women really favor deep pockets over chiseled looks?  The answer is surprising.  Adshade also discusses how online dating sites like eHarmony and are convenient laboratories for studying dating and marriage preferences. 

Adshade's course on lust and lucre has attracted much media attention, from London to Taipei.  "Most people would agree sex involves some form of negotiation," she told UK's Daily Mail. "It involves investment and, particularly where marriage is concerned, a contract.  There are costs and benefits to all aspects of love and sex and these are covered by economic principles.  I could teach a course about industrial organizations and maybe only have five per cent of the students fully engaged after a while.  People don’t like the idea that marriage is a contract and there is bound to be a clash between romance and economics. It is a controversial area but I want to look at the facts and what we can learn from them. There is plenty of research out there that we should be examining and testing. Anything that gives us a greater understanding of how we and the world functions is worth pursuing."

Adshade will post to Dollars and Sex at least three times each week.  And when she needs a break from the physical beauty of Canada and ventures south to our New York City studio, we look forward to interviewing her on camera and presenting the video to you.