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 (2,220 Responses)
  1. RV Repairs Near Me

    https://connect.sciflow.net/session/go?to=http://www.ocrvmotorcoachsales.com

    June 29, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. appomannoni

    is erectile dysfunction life threatening http://tadalafilwbtc.com#

    June 29, 2021 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ku casino

    Trực Tiếp Soccer Hôm Nay, Liên Kết Xem đá Bóng Trực Tuyến 24h ty le bong daĐội tuyển chọn futsal Việt Nam đã được một trận đấu đồng ý được trước phe đối lập đầy sức mạnh Lebanon. Kết quả Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước ngày hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất nước ta.

    https://sshuebner.org/

    June 29, 2021 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repairs Near Me

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to publish more about this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but generally folks don't speak about such topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

    https://gvoconference.com/redir.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com

    June 29, 2021 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair Near My Location

    http://www0.powerware.com/pp/_cc/chk_new.asp?T=1&url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 포항출장마사지

    I blog quite often and I really thank you for your content. This great article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your Feed too.

    https://bibliocrunch.com/profile/casino8c6gugla402/

    June 29, 2021 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 먹튀검증업체

    Howdy, I think your website could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic site!

    https://list.ly/thiesenkjer675

    June 29, 2021 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    After looking over a handful of the articles on your web site, I really like your technique of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website as well and let me know what you think.

    http://ipcdaknong.com.vn/perclick.php?idbn=5266&pos=right1&referby=https://www.ocrvmotorsports.info/&url=

    June 29, 2021 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair

    https://www.aarss.com/redir.php?siteref=&aarsslink=http://www.ocrvcenter.info/

    June 29, 2021 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 먹튀검증

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?

    https://firsturl.de/SCS1gY3

    June 29, 2021 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 먹튀검증

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you should publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people don't talk about such topics. To the next! Cheers!!

    https://ilearn.tek.zone/members/baccarat6gradecactus4/activity/344340/

    June 29, 2021 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 먹튀

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read through articles from other writers and use something from other websites.

    https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/u/bankquince0

    June 29, 2021 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Ram High Top Van Repair Shop

    http://www.ravnsborg.org/gbook143/go.php?url=https://fleettruckrepairshop.com

    June 29, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. appomannoni

    erectile disorder causes http://tadalistatadalafil.com#

    June 29, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    I really like it whenever people get together and share views. Great website, continue the good work!

    https://www.worldoflearning.com/views/external_redirect.html?uri=http://ocrv.info/

    June 30, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair Seal Beach

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this site needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!

    http://www.aozhuanyun.com/index.php/goods/Index/golink?url=http://ocrvcenter.info

    June 30, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Handicap Van Repair Near Me

    Good blog post. I absolutely love this website. Keep writing!

    http://sokol-saratov.ru/redirect.php?url=fleetservicerepairshop.com

    June 30, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 먹튀검증

    I love it when individuals come together and share thoughts. Great blog, stick with it!

    https://splice.com/novelllama6

    June 30, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Places Near Me

    http://yellowpages.staradvertiser.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.life/

    June 30, 2021 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Municipal Vehicle Repair

    http://www.paulbrannigan.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicesocrv.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. appomannoni

    erectile help massage http://tadalafiletc.com#

    June 30, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 포항출장

    Great post. I am experiencing some of these issues as well..

    https://stockmanacademy.com.ng/member.php?action=profile&uid=19599

    June 30, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Gary

    As a Newbie, I am constantly searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

    https://spamdb.science/wiki/Ideal_Means_to_Get_Walt_Disney_Land_Tickets

    June 30, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Wheelchair Van Repair

    https://www.joblinkapply.com/Joblink/5972/Account/ChangeLanguage?lang=es-MX&returnUrl=https://sprintervanrepair.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Commercial Van Repair Shop Near Me

    https://secure.saga.fi/TD_redirect_LK_NLI.aspx?url=http://commercialvanrepairshop.com

    June 30, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mercedes Sprinter Van Repair Motorhome

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    http://admin.ifp3.com/ver_2/home/index.cfm?expired=yes&domain=boxtruckrepairshop.com

    June 30, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Camper Repairs Near Me

    http://find.cambridgesoft.com/help/cs.html?url=https://www.ocrv.tv/

    June 30, 2021 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 먹튀검증

    After looking into a number of the blog posts on your web page, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site as well and let me know how you feel.

    https://coub.com/dropcrocus43

    June 30, 2021 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair Shop

    http://www.cssdrive.com/?URL=https://www.ocrvempire.com

    June 30, 2021 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. appomannoni

    youtube erectile dysfunction http://viiagrapill.com#

    June 30, 2021 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 먹튀검증업체

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your content. Your article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

    https://stackoverflow.com/users/story/16275163

    June 30, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Lavern Derion

    What i do not realize is actually how you're not actually much more well-liked than you might be now. You're very intelligent. You realize thus significantly relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like women and men aren't fascinated unless it’s one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

    https://home-care4c5g.bladejournal.com/post/2021/06/25/Provide-Elderly-Adult-Care-For-Seniors,-Relatives,-Or-Companion-in-Boston

    July 1, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Haywood Levario

    Thanks for another informative website. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I've been on the look out for such information.

    https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Odonnell20Pihl

    July 1, 2021 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Prudence Bull

    Hello there, You've performed an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends. I am sure they'll be benefited from this website.

    https://paste2.org/4V602cKE

    July 1, 2021 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Andy Feild

    I enjoy you because of your entire efforts on this web page. My mother delights in carrying out research and it's really simple to grasp why. Many of us hear all about the compelling way you present informative information through your blog and as well as foster participation from people on that theme while our daughter is certainly becoming educated a whole lot. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You are always conducting a fantastic job.

    https://www.cloudflare.com/5xx-error-landing/

    July 2, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Barrett Castillon

    I wanted to put you a very little note to be able to give thanks over again regarding the superb knowledge you have shown in this article. It was surprisingly open-handed with people like you to grant unhampered all that many people would've offered for an e book to get some money for their own end, principally considering that you might well have tried it if you decided. These good ideas additionally served to be the fantastic way to recognize that the rest have the same zeal really like my very own to know the truth significantly more when it comes to this matter. I believe there are millions of more enjoyable periods ahead for many who read carefully your blog post.

    https://paste2.org/3c8hyGnL

    July 7, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Muoi Manson

    Almost all of whatever you claim is astonishingly accurate and it makes me ponder why I had not looked at this in this light before. Your article truly did switch the light on for me as far as this particular subject goes. But there is 1 factor I am not necessarily too comfy with and while I make an effort to reconcile that with the actual core idea of your position, let me see what the rest of the subscribers have to say.Well done.

    https://harboe-riggs.blogbright.net/benefits-associated-with-boston-senior-home-care-what-your-relatives-need-to-learn

    July 8, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Nakesha Lousteau

    My brother recommended I may like this website. He was totally right. This submit actually made my day. You can not believe simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

    https://pbase.com/topics/zipmovesblogh2f0h1/home_furniture_movers_in_bos

    July 9, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Talia Kellen

    I discovered your blog website on google and test a few of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the excellent operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Looking for forward to reading extra from you afterward!…

    https://bestquincysuv-vlog520a.werite.net/post/2021/07/08/Obtaining-Auto-Repair-in-the-Classroom-City-of-Quincy-Mass-Restore-your-Automobile-to-its-Glory!

    July 12, 2021 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Demetrius Lentz

    Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    https://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/bye?https://klein-bekker.technetbloggers.de/oil-change-for-auto-in-quincy/

    July 14, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Samella Teters

    certainly like your web site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll definitely come back again.

    http://103.48.191.49/video/mLTr1pCo6E4/the-swedish-language-alphabet-counting

    July 20, 2021 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Shannon Boccio

    Hello there, You've done an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

    https://invidious.fdn.fr/watch?v=mLTr1pCo6E4

    July 21, 2021 at 01:26 | 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 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Leave a Reply to dennys near me


 

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.