Home Community Insights Commoditization of Sex and the Dearth of Affection in Romance and Social relations

Commoditization of Sex and the Dearth of Affection in Romance and Social relations

Commoditization of Sex and the Dearth of Affection in Romance and Social relations

Commoditization simply means the reduction of a thing to a mere commodity. A commodity is anything that has economic value and can be exchanged for money or any other acceptable means of exchange. Commoditization was used by Marxist theorists to explain the process by which capitalism changes something not regarded as an economic good into something with price, and consequently part of the economy.

In his Capital, Karl Marx identified the two types of values, namely real value and economic or monetary value. The real value of a thing is its inherent unique value which cannot be compared to something else. Monetary value on the other hand entails the worth of something based on its economic cost of production. In other words, the real value of a thing is largely determined by nature while the monetary value of a thing is determined by the economic forces of demand and supply.

For instance, it is not out of place to think one would naturally prefer to be gifted a brand new Toyota Corolla as against being gifted a bottle of cold beverage for one’s twenty-first birthday. However, when you reconsider the same option for someone who is extremely exhausted and dehydrated in the middle of a journey, the outcome of the choice is likely to be different.

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It is in the light of the foregoing hypothetical scenario that some scholars in the field of psychology came up with the idea of subjective wellbeing as a parameter for understanding people’s intrinsically driven choices or decisions. Subjective wellbeing is the collective thought and feelings of people that support their choice of a particular thing or action among alternatives. Essentially, while the satisfaction that comes with our having a thing is extrinsically impacted by our knowledge of the market value of things, it will be recalled that in some special situations, some things appear to be extremely valuable to us regardless of their market value.

However, in line with Marx’s proposition that social relations rest on the economy, the impact of commoditizing things is felt in almost every aspect of our social life including interpersonal relationships and romantic affairs and how love is generally conceived and practiced in society. Consequently, sex and sexual activities have been highly motivated by economic survival rather than their traditional roles of procreation and increasing emotional bond and compassion among lovers.

I recall, on a social media platform I belong to, a young man lamented how most young women these days think less of their other functional roles in a relationship than their ability to gratify men’s sexual desires. This fixated mindset, he claimed, spurs the excessive demands and compulsive show of entitlement by women in most romantic relationships. The sentiment shared by the young lad seemed quite popular and genuine considering the lots of supportive reactions and responses it got from largely the male folks and a few women on the platform.

But my position was quite the opposite. I argued that the situation is not a sex or gender-specific problem; rather, it is a social problem affecting both the male and the female individuals in diverse ways. Consider if sex is not highly priced by men, perhaps most women would not have placed premium on their sex organs.

The prevalence of dysfunctional relationships and increasing role conflicts in most romantic affairs today has been largely due to the unintended consequences of the increasing commoditization of sex. The meaning and relevance of sex have vastly changed over the course of the last centuries. Sex has transcended from a sacred affair confined to marriage institution to a commodity accessible in some business centres such as brothels, clubs or pubs.

The commoditization of sex has also been impacted by technological advancement and proliferation of dating apps, making the practice of sex as an economic exchange seamless for the participants. Generally, the practice of casual sex which has been highly driven by cultural globalization has continued to shatter the idea of attaching sex to serious affection or to an institution.

Also, the thought of sex expanding into a sport or sporting activity has been recently ignited by a viral report that Sweden was planning to host the inaugural global sex tournament in June 2023. However, according to Complete Sport, the Swedish Government has denied this information, claiming the misinformation by some international media was with the intent of smearing the Government.

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