“He’s not going to buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.”
Have you heard this before? Maybe not in those exact words, but the concept… That ‘he’ (read: the man) isn’t going to buy the cow (read: the woman) if he can get the milk (read: sex) for free? You may have heard it from a concerned parent who wants their daughter to be ‘treated right’, from a friend explaining their actions, or from (one of many) movies. Regardless, this concept seems ubiquitous to millennials. But it’s wrong in so many ways…
• It commodifies sex. This concept turns sex into something that must be worked for, or given away. Instead of something that two people choose to do together, it turns it into a bartering chip. And yes, that is the case sometimes – like in the sex industry. But in regular relationships, sex shouldn’t be doled out by one person and ‘gotten’ by the other. It’s a game for two!
• It tells women that sex is something they should hold on to until some kind of arbitrary ‘price’ has been met. That it’s somehow inherently wrong to ‘give it away for free’. That they should be expecting something in return, and that it’s not at their discretion to ‘give it away’ – or not – however they see fit. Sure, there are plenty are reasons to not have sex – but the man not paying for dinner, or, say, refusing to carry an elephant up Mt Everest, sure don’t seem like good ones to me.
• It turns sex into something that is devalued by having a lot of it. That if it can be ‘gotten’ for free, it will no longer be wanted. It turns ‘giving’ it away for free into giving away something that you normally wouldn’t, or shouldn’t give away – like your car. It probably wouldn’t make a lot of sense to give your car away for nothing in return (unless you are donating it in some capacity), because then you will be left with no car and no money to buy a new one. But (obviously) sex is not like this at all. If you ‘give it away’, guess what? It’s still there! You can ‘give it away’ again. And the fact that you have ‘given it away’ before doesn’t make it worth any less the next time.
• It tells men that sex is something they should be after, like a dog with a bone. That if it’s offered ‘for free’ they should jump on it; that being a man is synonymous with always wanting sex. Each man’s choice is taken out of the equation entirely; it’s just assumed that, like a free car, sex without a price tag is what every man wants. And if there isn’t any around ‘for free’, they should still want it, and pursue it, by taking a lady out and paying for things / carry an elephant up Mt Everest.
So, in conclusion, I think it’s only fair to rephrase this silly concept (using the original metaphors of course):
He wants the cow, despite having already consumed plenty of its milk. He doesn’t have to buy the cow, because the cow wants to be with him too (and it doesn’t want to be bought anyway). The end.