home
RSS
Sexonomics: Putting your 'erotic capital' to work
Madonna performs during a concert as part of her MDNA world tour on July 4, 2012.
July 12th, 2012
07:30 AM ET

Sexonomics: Putting your 'erotic capital' to work

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

Madonna’s got it. So do George Clooney, Tina Turner and Robert Redford.

These celebrities are certainly good-looking, but they also possess what sociologist Catherine Hakim has dubbed “erotic capital” - a term that describes a certain je ne sais quoi that includes, but isn’t limited to, sexual attractiveness.

Harness your erotic capital, Hakim boldly suggests in her recent book by the same name and you’ve got the potential to not only land a mate, but to get ahead at work and in society as a whole.

Sociologists and economists have long recognized three main types of capital: social, economic and cultural. Your capital depends on the assets and resources you can potentially use for gain, whether that means making more money or making more friends. But we’re neglecting a fourth important kind of capital, Hakim argues.

By her definition, erotic capital is more than just good looks and has six main facets:

1. Beauty

2. Sexual attractiveness

3. Social skills/likeability

4. Liveliness

5. Style

6. Sexual competence

While one of these characteristics might make you gorgeous or funny or fun, you need the whole group to maximize erotic capital. And you don’t have to be born with it - erotic capital is cultivated and learned and has a lot to do with your self-esteem.

Even if you’ve got “it” you might not be capitalizing on it. Hakim says women have more erotic capital than men do — and that they should be exploiting it more as a result.

She bases this idea partly on studies that suggest that men tend to have stronger libidos than women.

“Men’s demand for sexual activity and erotic entertainment of all kinds greatly exceeds women’s interest in sex,” Hakim writes. In this line of thinking, sex has a market value, and women have the potential to leverage their ability to supply men’s demand for it.

I find this theory interesting, although I certainly don’t agree with it fully. As I’ve discussed in an earlier column on low male libido, there are plenty of couples in which the woman wants more sex and is coping with a male partner who has a low sex drive. And as the recent frenzy for the erotic trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey” makes clear, women have a voracious appetite for sexual entertainment.

At the same time, we live in a culture that has become increasingly centered around sex. Many women already feel as if they need to compete with porn stars, strippers and celebrity sex tapes for male attention. Are we really suggesting that society needs more of this, not less?

Just as sexism still exists, so too does “looksism.” People considered attractive, regardless of their gender, tend to be treated more favorably than their less-attractive counterparts.

In his book “Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful” economist Daniel Hamermesh contends that good-looking men earn approximately 17% more money than not so good-looking men, while attractive women earn 12% more; as a whole attractive people earn a total of $230,000 more than those considered unattractive (based on average wage of $20 per hour), according to Hamermesh.

While most would respond that “appearance-discrimination” is an unsavory aspect of our society that we should be seeking to transcend, Hakim maintains that erotic capital has been largely ignored because “it is held mostly by women, and the social sciences have generally overlooked or disregarded women in their focus on male activities, values, and interests.”

Yet she also blames feminists for neglecting an opportunity to exploit female erotic capital; feminist theory, she says, encourages women to choose between using their looks and using their intelligence to succeed.

As you might imagine, critics bridle at many of her claims. As Anna North writes on the post-feminist blog Jezebel, “The bottom line is that ‘erotic capital’ is all about others’ perceptions of women, rather than about things women themselves can do or acquire. That’s the main reason ‘soft power’ isn’t real power — because when your influence is based on someone else’s desire, he’s the one who’s really in control.”

I do think Hakim makes some compelling points. Sure, strippers, porn stars, cocktail waitresses and even geishas are financially dependent on their ability to take advantage of their erotic power by making themselves appealing to men. But erotic capital may have subtler effects, too.

Who among us — male or female — hasn’t found that a smile, laugh, and a little harmless flirting can have the potential to open doors, whether that means getting a better table at a restaurant, a raise at work or securing a second date?

And erotic capital isn’t solely the domain of women. “Men now find it necessary to develop their erotic capital as well,” admits Hakim. “They are devoting more time and money to their appearance, work out in gyms to maintain an attractive body, spend more on fashionable clothes and toiletries, and display more varied hairstyles.”

Perhaps they’ve realized that a little erotic capital never hurt anyone. And if the success of the hit male stripper film "Magic Mike" is any indication, women are happy to share the power.

Post by:
Filed under: Living Well • Sex

soundoff (1,865 Responses)
  1. 우리 카지노

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you need to write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people do not speak about these topics. To the next! All the best!!

    https://weblib.lib.umt.edu/redirect/proxyselect.php?url=https://casino-heaven.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. licensed general contractors

    https://edwinv75r4.blogdomago.com/4686458/indicators-on-generator-repair-you-should-know

    June 18, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 우리 카지노

    Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

    http://xn--101-8cd4f0b.xn--p1ai/user/bedorder0/

    June 18, 2021 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 우리카지노

    There's definately a great deal to find out about this subject. I really like all of the points you have made.

    https://blogfreely.net/playskin3/monte-carlo-las-vegas-hotel-guide-part-1

    June 18, 2021 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. appomannoni

    erectile vacuum systems kayamy how erectile dysfunction drugs work
    erectile suppliers slilicy erectile hypertension
    erectile disorder icd 10 sicAdofs is erectile dysfunction common

    June 18, 2021 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. uhaul near me

    You have made some really good points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

    http://sc.hkexnews.hk/TuniS/reviewnearme.com/h

    June 18, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair Nearby

    bookmarked!!, I love your web site!

    http://www.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/no_outbounds.php?o=https://www.ocrvmotorcoaches.com/state-farm-rv-collision-repair-shop-near-me/

    June 18, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    http://innuityweb.myregisteredsite.com/admin/membership_agreement.php?partnerID=3185&domain=ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-laguna-woods-california

    June 18, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 포항출장

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and also the rest of the site is really good.

    http://italianculture.net/redir.php?url=https://k-anma.com/pohang/

    June 18, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 창원출장마사지

    Great info. Lucky me I discovered your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!

    https://hub.docker.com/r/casino2j1kmvzv948/website

    June 18, 2021 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nearby RV Repair

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this page.

    http://recklinghausen.de/inhalte/startseite/ruhrfestspiele_kultur/musik_und_theater/musik__choere_und_vereine/index.asp?db=17&form=RedirectAction&redirecturl=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-downey-california/

    June 18, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 카지노사이트

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own blog now 😉

    http://www.askpavel.co.il/qa/index.php?qa=user&qa_1=catsupkale13

    June 18, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Camper Repair Shop Near Me

    Excellent article. I definitely love this website. Keep writing!

    http://doterra.myvoffice.com/Application/index.cfm?&EnrollerID=604008&Theme=Default&ReturnUrl=https://www.ocrvshop.com/rv-repair-shop-north-hills-california

    June 18, 2021 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repair Near Me

    http://bizfinder.registerguard.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://www.stfly.me/KFD3u6J9Z/

    June 19, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. gun shops near me

    http://leadertoday.org/topframe2014.php?goto=http://bestshopnearme.com/

    June 19, 2021 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. appomannoni

    erectile dementia kayamy erectile function after prostate cancer
    erectile disorder mayo clinic slilicy does erectile dysfunction end
    erectile pills china sicAdofs erectile dysfunction when trying to conceive

    June 19, 2021 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. meat market near me

    http://ww17.intstagram.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=wholesalenearme.com

    June 19, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 카지노 사이트

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the greatest websites online. I am going to recommend this blog!

    http://nutshellurl.com/mangumrobb9191

    June 19, 2021 at 04:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. 카지노 사이트

    This site really has all of the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    http://twipo.com.tw/userinfo.php?uid=266783

    June 19, 2021 at 05:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Nearby

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

    https://brettterpstra.com/share/fymdproxy.php?url=http://ocrv.org/rv-cabinet-repair-near-me/

    June 19, 2021 at 05:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    https://sfwater.org/redirect.aspx?url=www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-la-canada-flintridge-california

    June 19, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Camper Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a lot and never seem to get anything done.

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reauthorization/reauexit.cfm?link=www.ocrvart.com/motorhome-ac-repair-near-me

    June 19, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. appomannoni

    erectile diffusion kayamy erectile vasoconstriction
    cheapest erectile dysfunction pill comparison slilicy erectile dysfunction drugs
    erectile function after prostate surgery sicAdofs erectile medication over counter

    June 19, 2021 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 카지노 사이트

    Itís nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people for this subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://www.topfrage.de/index.php?qa=user&qa_1=mimosagray47

    June 19, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Near My Location

    http://www.girisimhaber.com/redirect.aspx?url=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-valley-village-california/

    June 19, 2021 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I will take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

    https://www.slack-redir.net/link?url=https://ocrv.pro/rv-repair-shop-glendale-california

    June 19, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. 출장안마

    Excellent post! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    http://massage3godiedvogt.bearsfanteamshop.com/the-ultimate-glossary-of-terms-about-chuljangmasaji

    June 19, 2021 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 카지노 사이트

    You've made some good points there. I looked on the net to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.

    http://bookmarkextent.com/story9142003/the-way-to-play-slots-online

    June 19, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. self storage near me

    http://devinz59q0.blog-a-story.com/6290076/5-simple-techniques-for-business

    June 19, 2021 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. what is it worth

    Ahaa, its pleasant conversation regarding this paragraph at this place at this blog, I have read all that, so now me also commenting at this place.

    http://sc.sie.gov.hk/TuniS/www.homestuffreviews.com/

    June 19, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. appomannoni

    is erectile dysfunction treatable kayamy does erectile dysfunction ever reverse
    erectile enhancement pills slilicy erectile assistance
    when erectile dysfunction meds quite working sicAdofs order erectile dysfunction pills

    June 19, 2021 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair

    http://www.georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu/exit.aspx?url=http://ocrvandtrucks.com/motorhome-refrigerator-repair-near-me/

    June 19, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repairs Nearby

    https://devot-ee.com/?URL=ocrvcenter.com/rv-repair-shop-banning-california

    June 19, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repairs Near Me

    https://lipperhey.com/en/http://www.ocrvcenter.com/motorhome-headlight-repair-near-me

    June 19, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Near Me Now

    Itís hard to find experienced people in this particular subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://shop.hahanoshizuku.jp/shop/display_cart?return_url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/blue-sky-rv-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    June 19, 2021 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    http://www.historyhub.history.gov/external-link.jspa?url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/motorhome-bed-repair-near-me

    June 19, 2021 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Orange County

    Good post. I'm facing a few of these issues as well..

    https://openforbusinessmagazine01.businesscatalyst.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=ocrvandtrucks.com/rv-generator-repair-near-me

    June 19, 2021 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Leave a Reply to getting viagra from canada with no prescription


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.