Relationship should be equitable, so should sex

We hate to admit it, but relationships are transactional.

They exist because contrary to our strong beliefs about the enduring power of love and the myth that relationships can only be pure if they are altruistic, we understand on a fundamental level that we are unable to complete ourselves and must look for a partner (or partners) with complementary attributes who also simultaneously need the skill, tools and temperament that we possess.

As humans, we are not very good at admitting to ourselves the things we desire in our partners, and even when we are crystal clear about them, we are not very good at detecting them in others. It is much simpler to focus on abstract terms like ‘love’ and ‘sacrifice’ and ‘compatibility’.

Not everyone lives like this though. Some people are quite clear about what they desire or need from their relationships and are shrewd about extracting that value. These people are also shrewd about developing the skills that based on experience will match the needs of the partners with the value that they desire.

We’ve been indoctrinated to believe that by withholding access to the things our partners desire in us, we somehow create artificial scarcity and increase its value. There is nothing we do this more than with sex. We withhold sex, we ration it,  we deny ourselves access to it as a way to signal virtue, we convince ourselves the only metric of value for sex is sex with the right person.

But the transactional nature of relationships proves that even this is a myth, a bad one.

People sleep with other people for money. Perhaps, the way this is phrased still offers some ambiguity, so let me clarify. Some people perform sex acts with other people in exchange for money or experiences with equivalent monetary value. Some people perform sex acts in exchange for a trip to Dubai, some people perform sex acts in exchange for their house rent and some pocket money. We have been indoctrinated to believe that people like this, people who are micro-focused about what they want to get out of their relationships and unashamed to demand it, are somewhat defective or worse, evil.

We try to shame them, try to elevate sexual intercourse as something sacred, something that can be cheapened if value is ascribed to it. But we fail to see that if sex is valueless, then it is worthless. Some people barter sex for money because they enjoy it, others do it to survive. Whatever their reasons, the fact remains, it is up to each individual person to determine what sex is worth to them, and their right to demand that value of people who consider it a worthy bargain.

We must stop shaming others for taking as much as they want of sex, for bartering it for things we don’t consider valuable. We must embrace relationships as a bargain, and focus on equitable relationships rather than starving ourselves to what we desire as a way to signal that we are better than others.


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