Sex on Campus (and Everywhere)

by Robert VerBruggen

A new Slate article has some insightful things to say about how gender ratios affect romantic markets — for example, on college campuses, women outnumber men about 60–40, and so women have to compete for men. They often do so by making themselves more sexually available.

And it’s not just physical ratios, but the ratio of acceptable partnerships. To see what I mean by this, imagine a place where there are 60 men and 60 women — but where all the women deem 20 of the men to be unacceptable as partners. This would create the same 60–40 split that we see on campus, and would have the same effect on the dating market. We might be seeing something like this happen throughout society — which may be why, as the article notes, it’s not just on campus that the dating market seems to be skewed in favor of men.

As just about everyone (from Dennis Prager to pickup artists) has figured out by now, women tend to want men of high status, men they look up to — literally, in terms of height, and figuratively, in terms of social standing, income, and education. If women systematically outpace men on these status markers — as they are beginning to — they will have to compete for men they deem suitable at a less-than-even ratio. There’s nothing we can do about this that I can think of, but it will not be good for marriage.