The subtitle says it all: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both.
My reading of such books follows a formula. Pick up said charge that voluntary individual behavior is leading to a crisis. Sort author’s mush into a rational choice model with either social externalities or imperfections within the self. Evaluate said model using evidence, in particular whether the other implied predictions are plausible.
So why might young women choose too much casual sex?
1. Their discount rates are too high.
2. There is an "arms race": the looseness of one woman makes the "putting out" requirements more extreme for other women, but no single woman takes this effect into account.
3. Obsession with school work is the real problem. Casual sex takes less time than a boyfriend, but girls overvalue how much good grades matter and underinvest in serious relationships.
4. Women are bad at estimating what will make them happy, a’la Daniel Gilbert.
5. Women underestimate the strength of their own addiction to causal sex.
6. Matters are efficient, but men are earning all the surplus. Easy birth control allows men to use "loose women" as a threat point in the bargaining game. (But hey, these *are* the loose women!)
7. We pursue the feeling of "being in control," even when it does not benefit us. Women want to feel they are in control of their sex lives, and to feel they are not bound by social convention, although this is an illusory gain.
#1 and #4 are true but not essential to the question at hand. #2 and #5 seem inconsistent with the evidence — found in this book — of women pushing for a loosening of general standards. The women are not supporting a local cartel of tighter sexual standards, quite the contrary. #3 seems efficient to me, not a mistake. I can see truth in #7, a quintessentially Cowenian theme.
Overall on this matter I am a Coasian who sees a Nash bargaining solution at work. In other words, don’t worry.
Which doesn’t mean I am going to show this book to Yana.
Which is perhaps more evidence for #7.
Here is one insightful look at the book. Note also that the author never adds up the welfare gains of the young men involved…