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 (2,224 Responses)
  1. Superheater tubing Distributors

    Mangalloy, also called manganese steel or Hadfield steel, is an alloy steel containing approximately around 13 manganese.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/2113042195/about

    June 2, 2021 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. EncoxGtv

    is canadian pharmacy viagra safe [url=https://pharmacyhrn.com/ ]Zestril[/url] online no prescription pharmacy

    June 2, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ZisseVed

    why does cialis cause headaches [url=https://krocialis.com/ ]trial pack cialis viagra levitro[/url] price of cialis at costco

    June 2, 2021 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Suzanna Kosakowski

    http://dol.deliver.ifeng.com/c?z=ifeng&la=0&si=2&cg=1&c=1&ci=2&or=7549&l=28704&bg=28703&b=37275&u=https://rafaelt04x2.verybigblog.com/4073030/the-2-minute-rule-for-repair-shop

    June 2, 2021 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. w88vn.biz

    These are genuinely impressive ideas in on the topic of blogging.
    You have touched some good factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

    June 2, 2021 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. rv orange county ca

    http://park3.wakwak.com/~yadoryuo/cgi-bin/click3/click3.cgi?cnt=chalet-main&url=http://ingenieurleistungenreiter.com/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=760&limitstart=66540

    June 2, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. appomannoni

    can erectile dysfunction be cured kayamy when does erectile dysfunction start
    erectile 20170 elderly slilicy cheapest erectile disfunction drug
    erectile vacuum device sicAdofs erectile coffee

    June 2, 2021 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. CrulkAsd

    viagra cialis sample pack [url=https://cialisjla.com/ ]cialis drug plan[/url] cialis kaufen mit paypal zahlen

    June 2, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. semi truck ac repair near me

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

    http://www.dmca.com/Protection/Status.aspx?ID=edc817fd-d796-4c84-abb8-d1cb5b2e3719&refurl=http://ingenieurleistungenreiter.com/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=140?&limitstart=44240

    June 2, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. MileSwa

    low cost cialis [url=https://ckacialis.com/ ]where to find cheap cialis[/url] cheap cialis prices

    June 2, 2021 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. rv repair shops

    http://affiliate.joomla-monster.com/idevaffiliate.php?id=789&url=http://afrogirlfitness.com/to-achieve-my-results-i-stopped-making-excuses-as-to-why-i-couldnt-do-it/

    June 2, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Laraine Krebs

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you need to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but typically folks don't speak about these topics. To the next! All the best!!

    http://dol.deliver.ifeng.com/c?z=ifeng&la=0&si=2&cg=1&c=1&ci=2&or=7549&l=28704&bg=28703&b=37275&u=https://finnz72z5.shotblogs.com/getting-my-digital-marketing-company-near-me-to-work-14546141

    June 2, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. EncoxHtf

    cialis c5 [url=https://cialishav.com/ ]cialis info[/url] buy liquid cialis online

    June 2, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Donetta Currier

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2017/04/spanish-language-edition-of-of-new.html?showComment=1509614837979&m=0

    June 2, 2021 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Travel Van Repair

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

    /

    June 2, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. appomannoni

    erectile pump youtube kayamy discount erectile dysfunction medications
    erectile pills in canada slilicy erectile organs pha
    discount erectile dysfunction pills sicAdofs erectile injections

    June 3, 2021 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Alejandro Scharmann

    https://go.onelink.me/v1xd?pid=Patch&c=Mobile20Footer&af_web_dp=http://edwiny50v3.therainblog.com/4024922/signage-company-near-me-no-further-a-mystery

    June 3, 2021 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. painting a horse trailer

    http://oldtmt.vedomosti.ru/rss/toolbars/closeAd.php?backUrl=http://handtucher.net/recreation_and_sports/travel/society/science_and_technology/health/alternative_medicine/recreation_and_sports/aviation/?s=H

    June 3, 2021 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. truck repair service near me

    I used to be able to find good info from your content.

    http://www.koromo.co.jp/files/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1260&url=https://ocrv.pro

    June 3, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Content Marketing Firms

    Hello there, I think your blog could be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, great website!

    https://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=hdorrh+HcDlQ+zUEnZU5qlfKZ1Cl53X6&url=https://bestshopnearme.com

    June 3, 2021 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 출장마사지

    I love reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

    http://forum.welznet.de/member.php?action=profile&uid=125271

    June 3, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. EncoxAni

    legitimate online pharmacy [url=https://pharmacyken.com/ ]cvs pharmacy store ads[/url] westview pharmacy canada

    June 3, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 양산출장안마

    Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

    http://massage4carpcattle8.jigsy.com/entries/general/How-Deep-Tissue-Therapeutic-Massage-Therapy-Benefits-Your-Health

    June 3, 2021 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://maps.google.co.bw/url?q=https://thuocladientu123.com

    June 3, 2021 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Fiberglass California

    https://www.urlshare.cn/umirror_url_check?srctype=touch&apptype=&loginuin=&plateform=mobileqq&url=https://ocrvparts.com

    June 3, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. appomannoni

    does erectile dysfunction come on suddenly kayamy top male erectile pill
    top erectile dysfunction pills slilicy erectile injury
    erectile treatment sicAdofs erectile bleeding

    June 3, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://maps.google.com/url?q=https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    June 3, 2021 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 출장 안마

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be helpful to read articles from other authors and use a little something from their websites.

    https://www.treasury.gov/cgi-bin/redirect.cgi/?https://www.fitpa.co.za/forum-members/smellbass34/activity/164325/

    June 3, 2021 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. cialis online

    tadalafil tablets ip buy cialis tadalafil evolution peptides

    June 3, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 출장 안마

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you need to publish more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people don't speak about such subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

    https://www.hulkshare.com/willowplow2

    June 3, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 출장 안마

    Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    https://pattern-wiki.win/wiki/What_Is_Watsu_Massage

    June 3, 2021 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. 울산출장마사지

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    https://diigo.com/0kdwgu

    June 3, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Freightline Sprinter Repair

    https://www.gladbeck.de/ExternerLink.asp?ziel=sprintervanrepairnearme.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Internet Marketing Specialist

    http://rayhumancapital.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.spokanevalleywebdesign.com

    June 3, 2021 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. boiler grade steel pipe

    Manganese is similar to iron in its chemical and physical homes, but it is harder and also a lot more weak. Manganese is potentially the most adaptable aspect that can be included in copper alloys.

    https://zenwriting.net/z0iaikp671/aluminum-alloy-and-also-stainless-steel-could-look-comparable-but-they-are-in

    June 3, 2021 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Phoebe

    how come cbd seems to work with aches

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/monicamendal/2020/11/18/justcbd-launches-cbd-gummies-for-vegans/?sh=7547dafbebd0

    June 3, 2021 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. best rv upgrades

    https://www.irwebcast.com/cgi-local/report/redirect.cgi?url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=oUd0xckDGQM

    June 3, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. dugout for sale

    Bong Coasters & Bong Padsbest dugout one hitter45 Degree Joint Vs 90 Degree Joint Ash CatcherThe bag is held closed by strong velcro as well as a rubber lined zipper that keeps smells locked inside. The inside has two roomy mesh pockets with enough space for your stash as well as a lighter, a hand pipe, and even a snack. The inside of the pouch also has 100 carbon lining, making the smell-proof security even stronger.

    https://pilotdiarystore.com/products/silver-double-jet-flame-torch-lighter

    June 3, 2021 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. rv tire installation near me

    https://fcviktoria.cz/media_show.asp?id=2924&id_clanek=2467&media=0&type=1&url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvzHVHJ4ifg/

    June 3, 2021 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. appomannoni

    erectile photos kayamy does erectile dysfunction cause depression
    are erectile dysfunction pills covered by aca slilicy erectile help
    low cost erectile treatment sicAdofs review erectile dysfunction pump

    June 3, 2021 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. rv repair services near me

    https://maps.google.so/url?q=https://youtube.com/watch?v=ucdumhFqZQc/

    June 3, 2021 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. solar paint and body

    https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reauthorization/reauexit.cfm?link=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Hyl8G0Ukbbs/

    June 3, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. MileSwa

    buy cialis in las vegas [url=https://ckacialis.com/ ]buy cialis no prescription uk[/url] buy generic cialis in canada

    June 3, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. tire stores in orange county ca

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

    https://creativecommons.org/choose/results-one?field_attribute_to_url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=ADjDEjaDdZU

    June 3, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. 출장 안마

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for providing these details.

    https://forum.honorboundgame.com/user-81090.html

    June 3, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://maps.google.ae/url?q=https://thuocladientu123.com

    June 3, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Zisseloh

    vapefree or vape-free -viagra –cialis [url=https://rcialisgl.com/ ]free cialis sample[/url] cialis viagra levitra young yahoo

    June 3, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ZisseVed

    non prescription cialis alternative [url=https://krocialis.com/ ]cialis pastilla[/url] viagra vs cialis/strong>

    June 3, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Hiram Petross

    I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i'm glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

    http://quincymassachusetts-auto-vlog.xtgem.com/__xt_blog/__xtblog_entry/__xtblog_entry/21235538-obtain-your-auto-fixed-in-quincy-ma-and-still-have-some-money-left-over?__xtblog_block_id=1#xt_blog

    June 3, 2021 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Octavia Jungck

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my users would certainly benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Many thanks!

    https://quincyma-minivan-info.bloggersdelight.dk/2021/05/14/having-your-car-repaired-in-quincy-ma-look-at-this-now/

    June 3, 2021 at 23:04 | 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 먹튀사이트


 

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.