Is It Icky for Men to Pay Women For Their Company (and Sex?)

men pays women for their company and sex


Rich older men, beautiful younger women.

It’s a business model as old as time.

He gets what he wants – youth, validation, and sex with someone largely unattainable.

She gets what she wants – money, security, and access to a world that is largely unattainable.

Whether this tradeoff makes for healthy long-term relationships is another story, but it’s safe to say that, as far as short-term exchanges go, men turning money into sex is big business. It’s not quite prostitution, but it’s not quite NOT prostitution.

Enter “Sugar Daddies” – men who essentially put younger women on their payroll and lavish them with material goods in exchange for company (and, most often, sex.)

The New York Times wrote up this story a few months back and I found it sordidly compelling enough to share with you.

The moment you give sex, you have lost all your power

In an interview with The Times, Brandon Wade, the founder of SeekingArrangement, said his dating platform, which he has rebranded as Seeking, is not a vehicle for prostitution. The terms of service, he said, prohibit transactions for sex; the site simply seeks to bring the role that money plays in mating out in the open. “We want to drive people to talk honestly on the first date about who they are and what they expect to gain from a relationship, just like you discuss in any business relationship and any business arrangement,” he said.

If anything, a “sugar baby” hoping to find a lasting arrangement with “a good provider” should withhold sex for as long as possible, said the thrice-divorced Mr. Wade, who also runs other dating sites including, which promotes so-called “ethical cheating.” “The moment you give sex, you have lost all your power,” he said.

And if that quote doesn’t get you ready to comment below, here’s how the article ends:

“Women are stigmatized and seen as repulsive and worthless when using their bodies to support themselves,” Ms. Fowles said. “I was in a tough place financially, and I am O.K. with my decisions. Women have sex with vile men all the time so why shouldn’t we be paid for it if we choose? I don’t deserve to be shamed for it, or scammed because of  it.”

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

Join our conversation (71 Comments).
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  1. 1
    No Name To Give

    Ain’t nothin’ new under the sun.

  2. 2
    Yet Another Guy

    How is this arrangement any different than a struggling younger man hooking up with a well-heeled much older woman? Do you believe that older women are that much more altruistic in May-December pairings? I see more younger men with much older women than vice versa where I live.    Is the younger man/much older woman arrangement any different?   Why would a younger man want anything to do with much a older woman if not for access to her resources and contacts? Sure, there is sex, but I know that I would not have preferred an age 50+ women to woman closer to my age when I was in my twenties.   The reality is that a lot of people look for shortcuts to success when they are younger.   Hooking up with a much older person who is established and connected can propel a person.   Nothing beats access to capital and influence when one is looking to get ahead.

  3. 3

    Given the fact that there are such things as “stud services” that do not go under the microscope or are shammed nearly as much as the female counterparts,   I feel like women should do what ever they wish provided they are prepared to take the good with the bad. I agree   with the fact that a lot of us have had sex with horrible men so if someone chooses to make a business deal out of it I say why not ?

    lets stay out of each others business, and most definitely stop shaming women for doing the same things as men … who, btw, are patted on the back for it!

    1. 3.1

      Male prostitutes are hardly “patted on the back”, they are usually overlooked but that doesn’t mean it’s celebrated. As for business deal, if one is horrible the business deal with them is likely to be horrible as well. Badmouthing your clients is counterproductive to business.

      1. 3.1.1


        I was just about to point that out. People forget that men serve men as well.

  4. 4

    “Women are stigmatized and seen as repulsive and worthless when using their bodies to support themselves,” Ms. Fowles said. “I was in a tough place financially, and I am O.K. with my decisions. Women have sex with vile men all the time so why shouldn’t we be paid for it if we choose?

    And they choose to sleep with vile men. Or when said men don’t marry them later they become vile. Not to mention that you see these men as repulsive too, so it’s not even a deal. You can get paid if you find someone willing to do so, but why play the victim when you choose whom you sleep with?

  5. 5
    Tron Swanson

    “The moment you give sex, you have lost all your power.”

    That’s true to an extent…but, thanks to the threatpoint of divorce, women have a good deal of legal and financial power, as well.

    A similar dynamic applies to men: “The moment you give commitment, you have lost all your power.”

    1. 5.1

      Untrue. As you’ve never dated I’m assuming you’ve never married or divorced. Divorce settlements vary greatly depending on where you get divorced, how long the marriage was, what lawyer you can afford/have access to and whether you have kids. Without going into long & boring detail, after my divorce I had to find a new place to live and get a car. It affected me a lot more financially and practically than him. And without kids together, our legal power was exactly the same. This is not something you understand.

      1. 5.1.1
        Tron Swanson


        I’m sure there are cases where women don’t come out on top in a divorce…but, in the vast majority of cases I’m personally aware of, in multiple areas and classes, the woman benefits greatly from it. And 99% of all men and women that I know have seen the same. Also, if women were hurt by divorce as much as men, you’d think that they’d be just as anti-marriage as many men, but that’s rarely the case.


        Sex is indeed power, but I think there’s a difference between sex in the context of an already-agreed-upon relationship, and a man breaking through the “sex threshold” with a woman he hasn’t yet slept with. The former is a negotiating tactic, the latter is the woman letting the man take things to the next level. “I’m finally letting you have sex with me” is a powerful card to play. By her actions, the woman has shown the man what she requires to give sex, so the man now has a standard to work off of. If the woman retroactively changes her mind in terms of later adding more requirements, she’ll be viewed as playing games or “breaking the rules.” So, in that sense, she’s locked herself in and lost power.

        1. Marika


          You have no personal experience with divorce and from what I understand, never will. You’ve also said you have one friend who you rarely see. So you’re learning this information from angry disgruntled people on websites or overhearing things at work.

          It’s one thing to endlessly talk about your casual sex on a relationship blog. At least you’re talking about stuff you know. But now you’re spreading misinformation gathered second or third hand about something you know NOTHING about. Sorry, but no.

        2. Marika

          Also, Tron if you think one motivating factor for most or the average woman to marry is not getting hurt (or even benefitting from) a divorce – for her or any children, you really, really don’t understand women, marital love, parental love, or child development.

          Don’t believe all the hype and propaganda on mgtow sites or everything you overhear second hand and one sided.

        3. Tron Swanson


          Thank you for reading my mind and telling me how I know what I know. While I only have one close friend, I have many acquaintances, work contacts, distant relations, etc., and I get information from them directly, not from overhearing things. I can’t tell you how many casual guy friends have suddenly needed to crash on my couch when the wife kicked them out, or contractors I know who are working like crazy to pay alimony and child support. And these many of these people know each other, so I get confirmation from others who heard about the same thing, and have no reason to lie or take sides. But, please, keep making insinuations about me.

        4. Christina M.

          Oh look, we found a MGTOWer.

      2. 5.1.2
        Yet Another Guy


        While Tron is being a little over the top, divorce and family courts in the United States tend to be biased to horribly-biased against men.   True equitable distribution of the assets and shared custody usually only occurs when the divorcing wife agrees to the terms in most U.S. jurisdictions.   Things are changing slowly to reflect the reality that most families are two-income households, but court bias against men in the United States is well-documented.     A lot publications try to sugarcoat the problem by stating that men do not fight for custody,   but that is often due to seeing what a male friend had to endure while fighting for custody.     My former neighbor was a much better father than his philandering ex-wife was a mother.   The difference in parenting was stark.   However, he had to put up the fight of a lifetime to gain custody of his son.   It was a sustained legal battle where his ex-wife was demonstrated to be unfit.   She was a piece of work.

        1. Marika

          Hi YAG

          No doubt that’s all true. But blanket statements about women and commitment are being made here, which are simply untrue.

          The US isn’t the whole world. If they don’t like the laws, maybe they should fight them.

    2. 5.2

      I don’t think it’s true at all. Sex IS power. I’d say its second only to money when it comes to getting you whatever you want – as long as you know how to use it.

  6. 6

    great subject. sadly a very short story. would have loved more… and more of your input

  7. 7

    Sure this isn’t nothing new as far as the occupation goes, but what about the fact that these girls are becoming escorts to pay off student debt? That’s certainly unprecedented.

    As someone in my early 20’s, this makes me livid!

    This article says more about the cost of living vs current wages rather than the novelty of escorting and online escorting services.

  8. 8
    Suzanne L Hendricks-Poole

    Let’s get real…trading your body for money is vile.   We’re not talking about subsistence or survival.   We’re talking stuff. Short term rewards…nicer digs, clothes,   restaurants.

    It may be as old as time.   But,   generally,   we live in a society where a woman can get a job and support herself and children.   Not easy,   but that comes with a sense of dignity and self worth.

    I am nauseous over self justification women make with this compromise.   Wasting your youth and sacrificing your future.   Or equally young men, but the numbers/ratio is not that significant in comparison.

    We are a sum total of our decisions…so if you spend your   20s and into 30s along this vein, you are not going to wake up in your 40s with a happy base of success.

    It’s a deal made of self abuse with narcissists.   Dead end…especially,   if you want love and joy and to truly experience a successful life.

    1. 8.1

      So athletes and physical laborers are vile? Because that’s exactly what they’re doing: Trading their bodies for money.

      And no. We’re not just talking stuff and short-term rewards. Oftentimes, money is involved. Which, by the way, makes for a nice and cushy future.

      And why do you think they are “wasting” their youth? If they find a good arrangement, they actually get to live life exactly the way they want to while they’re still young enough to truly enjoy it.

      I’ve known quite a few of these kind of women in my life. Most of them retired around the age of thirty with plenty of money and never having had to “work” a day in their life.

      I hear statements like yours a lot. And to me, they always come across as jealous rather than anything else.

  9. 9

    I see nothing wrong with it at all. It’s a job, like every other job. Only it pays extremely well. Physical laborers, athletes, and countless others use their bodies to make money. Why does the way we use it matter as long as the person is all right with it? And way more women (or men in those situations) would be all right with it if it wasn’t for the stigma attached to it.

    Both parties know what they’re getting out of it. As long as both consent, who cares? Even outside of the professional, the exchange is done all the time anyway – often via marriage.

    1. 9.1

      My concern with anyone who uses their body for income — whether a laborer or model or athlete or sex worker or whatever — has a limit on how long it’s an option. So, they either need to invest their money well to afford early retirement, or shift to a Plan B career.

      My 40-something hair stylist has been at it for 20 years and knows her body won’t hold out for another 20, so she’s completing a college degree to make a career change.

      Objectively, a sex worker is no different and shouldn’t be stigmatized. That said, I confess I wouldn’t want either my son or daughter to do it. And, I doubt they would; a 20-year old friend of theirs dropped out of college and has a sugar daddy, they’re disappointed in her choice.

      It’s odd, because I feel accepting about (safe) one-off prostitution, because it’s straightforward sex. But the faux relationship aspect of a sugar daddy situation seems a little sad. The old person (male or female) is pretending to be desirable and the young person is pretending to be successful. Again, just seems sad.

  10. 10
    Emily, to

    Unless you are independently wealthy, someone has you by the short hairs. If you have a job, it’s the corporation, which can fire you at will. If someone pays for you, he/she has control. If you own your own business, you have to serve the customer. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t have to answer to someone.

    1. 10.1
      No Name To Give

      As the Bob Dylan song goes, “You gotta serve sombody”.

  11. 11

    @Tron . “Also, if women were hurt by divorce as much as men, you’d think that they’d be just as anti-marriage as many men, but that’s rarely the case.”

    I don’t know about this.   In my social circle (large coastal cities, fairly educated folks), many women get divorced and lose a lot of $ b/c of a lower earning spouse.   I can think of 4 off the top of my head in the last few years.   They weren’t happy about it of course, but 2 are in new relationships and 2 remarried despite that loss.   I think a big difference still is that there aren’t a lot of higher earning women who use their status to gain access to hotter, younger, less successful men.   Most of these women married peers are the time when neither had much wealth and both were educated and had earning potential.   One partner just hustled more and got into a higher earning area over the years.   The men I know who lost a lot in a divorce used their earning power to get a hotter, younger, seemingly more admiring wife.   Partly I think that is where the resentment comes from in many cases.

    1. 11.1

      Spot on, K.

      The people who lose out most financially in a divorce married someone way below their earning potential (likely because they are younger and hotter as you say), and/or had a lot of kids with someone and don’t have full custody, and/or cheated or were abusive and live in a place with at-fault divorce.

      An outside  observer hearing one side of the story has no clue.

      If you marry someone similar in age and earning potential, share custody of any kids, are reasonable and treat your partner and kids well, divorce doesn’t have to be a complete nightmare. It’s always going to be hard, but it can be as legally fair as possible if you’re reasonable and marry in good faith.

      1. 11.1.1

        It tricky when kids are involved. It’s pretty challenging, perhaps impossible, to evenly divide childcare and career between two people. In most couples, one party (let’s call them Partner A) will have higher income potential and decisions will be made to support that person’s career. They move to a new city for Partner A’s job, which may be less than ideal for Partner B’s career.  Then, it becomes a chicken-and-egg situation.  Since Partner B’s job contributes less, then it might seem easiest for them to be the one to take child-caused career “hits”: they’re the one who leaves work early to pick up a sick child from school, they’re the one who stays home on the many in-service days or during the summer, etc. etc. Thus, the income gap widens, the years pass, and Partner B eventually becomes the “slacker” who didn’t push as hard in their career.

        1. Marika

          Yes, that’s understandable  Lynx. And legal divorce decisions take into account those types of things. To protect minor children, and take into account money loss & career impact on one partner while raising kids. Not to randomly and unfairly benefit women for no reason.

          It may feel unfair to (certain) people, but what feels fair at the time, and what is generally fair to a family unit fron a legal standpoint can be two different things.

    2. 11.2

      There are exceptions of course but Tron is correct. I’m in a network of divorcees on the west coast who have children and overall men are penalized financially far more than woman. Legally the expectation is that a woman shall maintain her standard of living after a divorce but this often comes at the price of the man barely able to scrape by.   In my case I lost almost everything, close to a million dollars for a marriage that didn’t even last 15 years. She even was even entitled to my property that I earned and kept her name off of before we were married.

      I don’t think a lot of woman realize how bad it is for men because we are taught by society to not complain because complaining is a sign of weakness.

      As for woman using status to gain access to hotter younger men. That is because typically men are not attracted to status or career success. But there are plenty of divorced woman sleeping with younger men.

      1. 11.2.1

        We all have our anecdotes. For those women, like me, who are not getting a divorce windfall, it gets tiring to read how divorce is so great for women. For over four years, I’ve been trying to get my husband to accept a settlement where he gets 69% of the assets (23-year marriage, 2 kids, both worked, started with nothing) and he still wants more concessions, using bullying tactics of threats and insults.

        I don’t think a lot of men realize how difficult divorce is for women who are married to domestic abusers.

        1. ezamuzed


          It must be difficult in all aspects in life to be involved with a domestic abuser.

          I don’t think anyone believes it is great for anyone. But it most cases it is financially far worse for men than woman. I bet if you went to court instead of settling with him you would have a much better outcome.


        2. Lynx

          I honestly would fear for my safety if it went to court and it was a 50/50 split. What is an extra X thousand worth if I’m dead? Dramatic, I know, but that’s the way you think after decades of bullying.

          But, to be honest, I also don’t need extra. I have a supportive family, in-demand job skills, and not especially materialistic. I feel for the many women who suffer domestic abuse but don’t have resources — they’re the ones who get royally screwed.

          Hey, I understand that some women are jerks in a divorce. I just wanted you know that some of us really are reasonable.

        3. Yet Another Guy


          What is an extra X thousand worth if I’m dead? Dramatic, I know, but that’s the way you think after decades of bullying.

          Have you filed for a protective order?

      2. 11.2.2

        I’m sorry that you had to pay out for your divorce, ezamuzed, but that doesn’t mean women everywhere are benefitting from divorce in all situations. That’s just anger or ignorance talking. When you get married, it’s not all about you anymore. That’s the thing that seems to get lost. People get divorced and are surprised they have to give money to support dependants. Really? Yes, it shouldn’t completely kill you financially and some people (not just women) take advantage (where legally that is possible), but obviously once you have children and if one partner is reliant on the other financially during a marriage, a payout is the predictable outcome. It’s not like that’s a secret.

        1. ezamuzed


          You seem to have a terrible way of projecting your thoughts and feelings onto other people. It seems like you didn’t even read what I said. I did not say or suggested that any man was surprised that there was going to be money given for support or dependents. That is very reasonable. To leave him nearly destitute so that she can maintain her lifestyle is very surprising.

  12. 12

    Sorry Tron but you’re way out of your depth.

    The fact you use the word ‘benefit’ shows you have a very, very superficial understanding of divorce. In a divorce everyone loses something. Most people lose a lot (men, women and children), emotionally, logistically, socially, personally, financially, all of the above…

    You’ve also repeatedly gone to great lengths to explain how little contact, especially personal contact (other than sex) you have with other people, and you haven’t been through a divorce. So you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    1. 12.1
      Tron Swanson

      I try to avoid people, but I’m stuck listening to them, quite a bit.

      I don’t usually come across people who randomly pronounce that I don’t know what I’m talking about, though. They must not have your unique telepathic powers.

      1. 12.1.1

        I do have telepathic powers! For instance, I know all about London. I’ve never been…I never will, in fact I write on the TravelUk website continuously  about not wanting to go…

        But I know acquaintances who’ve been. They told me all about it. Some were pretty upset, some are suing the airline and fighting with their travel agents. Some chose bad airlines and regret it. But still, I know all about it. I’ve even read about it online!

        So no one should challenge me on my broad, unbiased knowledge of London. Including British people.

        1. Tron Swanson

          That’s very interesting! In my own case, I’ve never run through a minefield…but I’ve seen what’s happened to people who have. As much as I value personal experience, I think I’m going to skip that, because the odds would seem to be against me.

  13. 13

    I totally fail to grasp why subjects like these still merit any discussion at all. What two consenting adults are doing is no one’s business but theirs.

    1. 13.1
      No Name To Give

      What’s wrong with people discussing it? It not like we’re contacting them personally demanding they stop.

  14. 14


    You said: “There are exceptions of course but Tron is correct. I’m in a network of divorcees on the west coast who have children and overall men are penalized financially far more than woman”

    I’m not challenging your specific circumstance, nor denying that it sounds very difficult.

    It’s funny you talk about projection though…I do strongly challenge the idea that the experience of a group of West Coast men is somehow the rule and anything different would be an ‘exception’. The world is a big place.

    1. 14.1


      You are projecting by saying I’m speaking from anger and ignorance and that I’m surprised I have to pay anything at all. Stop projecting.

      1. 14.1.1
        Marika I wasn’t actually  saying that. I am saying though that you’re projecting your specific set of circumstances very broadly. You weighed discussion. My main point is that what happened to you and Tron’s acquaintances isn’t representative of everyone’s experience everywhere.

        1. ezamuzed

          You could have fooled me. And no doubt that there are many different experiences. And the vast majority of people all across the US feel they got a bad deal in their divorce. Except the lawyers.

        2. Yet Another Guy


          You need to realize that divorce court is heavily baised against men in the United States.   Things are starting to change, but change is slow in coming.   Women are automatically granted sole custody because they are assumed to be the primary caregivers.   Unless his soon-to-be ex-wife agrees to it, a man has to go to trial and fight for 50/50 custody, and God help him if he wants primary custody.   Yet, the court automatically grants the soon-to-be ex-wife 50% of the assets even though the man is usually the primary provider, often by a sizeable margin.   Women are reluctant to give their soon to be ex-husbands 50/50 custody because it affects the amount of child support they receive.   More often than not, it is about money more than the welfare of the children.   A woman does not want to give up her standard of living, so the man takes it in the shorts.   The large check that he is writing every month ensures that he will not be able to afford a place fit for his children to stay during weekend visitation unless he takes on roommates or remarries and gains access to a second income.   This scenario is the reason why men in the United States are so bitter about divorce.

        3. sylvana


          so, with other words, women need to stop having children. That way they can focus on their careers, and avoid all the pitfalls and hits their careers take due to bearing, birthing, and raising children.

          That way, men can keep their precious money.

          If children are absolutely desired, hire and pay a surrogate to carry and birth them, then hire and pay people to care for them as needed, that way both partners will continue to have the same, exact chances of furthering their own careers. And a woman will never have to worry about having strong disadvantages for her independent financial security.

        4. Yet Another Man


          No, that is not what I meant.     What I meant is that the default when it comes to custody should be 50/50 just as the default when it comes to assets is 50/50.   Making a man fight for shared custody of his children is just as much of an injustice as not awarding a wife 50% of the assets.   People would shake their heads if a judge did not award the soon-to-be ex-wife 50% of the assets, but no one bats an eyelid when a soon-to-be ex-husband is relegated to the status of financial support-providing outsider.   Having visitation rights is not the same thing as having parenting rights.   The person with primary custody retains his/her family.   The person who does not have primary custody gets the privilege of paying to have absolutely no say in the day-to-day lives of his/her children.     I lived through that experience.   I thank God that it was short because I probably would have put a gun to my head if I had to endure it for a decade or more.   I can only imagine what it is like for men who have to watch as other men have more say in the day-to-day lives of their children while they are stuck paying the freight.   It does not surprise me at all that some men stop paying child support or worse, go postal.   Divorce court in the United States is unjust.

        5. Marika


          I’m a curious person. So I’m asking these questions out of genuine interest, not to challenge you.

          Don’t different US states have different divorce laws? You talk about the US as a whole, and obviously you know far better than me, but doesn’t it differ state by state?

          Also, in a democratic country aren’t there things you can do to try to change and reform laws, or at least voice your dissent? I was very (still am) against my country’s, as I see them, harsh asylum seeker policies. I wrote to Members of Parliament, joined Amnesty letter writing campaigns, helped out at charities designed to help them, protested etc. I’m not sure my individual contribution made much difference, but it was a step in the right direction. And it was an outlet so I wasn’t complaining to people who weren’t that interested or invested in the topic. Or who could do nothing about it. Or arguing over it with people who disagreed.

          I’m kinda wondering what the vocal minority of men, who come here just to complain about women/American women/American divorce laws (I know that’s not you, but you can probably at least relate) think they are achieving by doing so. Why here? Aren’t there many, many places men can gather or gather online for that? Places where they can actually potentially make a difference, find common ground or ways to improve things? Or at least get things off their chest in a forum designed for that. Yes, the laws do appear unfair (although I would love to hear the other side of this), but lots of things in life are unfair and we don’t talk about them every chance we get.

          I know it’s a free Internet and all. I also know some women only come here to complain about men. But then at least Evan can say, well get my products, my help, my coaching to better understand men & why you are having these experiences, & how to make relationships better. If they don’t (and probably many times they don’t), it’s on them. So as annoying as that can be, and no doubt is for the millions of wonderful men, it at least makes some sense, and can potentially have a good outcome. Obviously not all behaviour is goal directed, but it would be good to try to understand something that seems pretty fruitless to me. It’s like this show we have Q&A – it’s meant to be to ‘flesh out issues’ or something (it’s on a free network, so it’s not about ratings), but actually the same topics get hashed out time after time and nothing ever really changes. No doubt people get to have their say, but the moderator cuts them off if they just keep droning on…haha, which I’m doing now. So I’ll stop. Maybe you have an insight to share – and as I said I am genuinely curious. (Sorry Nissa 🙂 )

        6. sylvana


          I’m fully behind you on the 50/50 custody thing. It makes the most sense to me, since it also gives both parents a chance to have a “break”, since parenting alone can be horribly overwhelming.

          Now, if we could only come up for a fair arrangement for a 50/50 pregnancy and childbirth burden . . .

        7. Yet Another Guy


          While divorce law differs slightly in every state, all states have one thing in common; namely, bias against men.   I do not know how this bias came about, but there was a time in the United States where children were the property of their father; therefore, I assume that the current state of divorce law is backlash from that period.   The bias in the courts has created an entirely new market for legal counsel; namely, father’s rights law.   Things will eventually change, but change is very slow in coming.

          We know that 70% of divorces in the United States are initiated by the wife.   However, what most people do not know is that a large percentage of these divorces are contested by non-abusive, faithful husbands.   With the introduction of no-fault divorce, contesting a divorce merely delays the outcome.   It does not prevent it.   How would you feel if you were a non-abusive, faithful man who did not want a divorce and whose request for 50/50 physical custody was denied by a judge? To add insult to injury, the judge grants the state the power to garnish 50% or more of your income for years to come.   Believe it or not, that scenario plays out every day.

          There was a time when couples did not divorce because a woman would end up in abject poverty.   However, those days have come and gone, and it is the man,   more often than not, who ends up in abject poverty, depending on family for assistance, and having little to no say in how his children are raised.   Most of the people who post to this blog are successful enough that they could live on a fraction of their income if forced to do so.   That is not true for most divorced American men because most American men are not college graduates.   I believe that MGTOW is wacky, but they are not wrong about the destruction that divorce does to a man’s life.

        8. Marika


          Hopefully this will come out under your last comment. Appreciate your detailed explanation, thank you. It does sound hard and like something America needs to sort out.

          With respect, and as a switched on guy no doubt it’s not necessary to point out, that in all likelihood complaining on a pro-marriage world wide web-based relationship coaching site isn’t likely to result in divorce law reform in America. A lot of what gets written about ‘women’ on here by guys I guess who got burned by their ex doesn’t apply to all of us. We aren’t all responsible for what their ex/their legal system did to them. And it doesn’t move us forward in discussion, get them the changes they want, help the sexes understand each other or create better relationships, IMO.

          Anyway. The show must go on! I do hope things are going really well with your lady. It’s been quite a few months  now?

  15. 15

    The thing is, ezamuzed, is you weighed in on a thread between me and Tron to share your own personal anecdote. Everything I wrote wasn’t necessarily directed specifically at you (note my use of the word people). Some people are just selfish or naive to the realities of marriage and don’t want to part with any money, or didn’t treat their partner or children well. Which is why hearing one point of view second hand (again, this is not directed specifically at you) doesn’t really tell the full story. Alternatively, some people can see their settlement was as fair as possible under the circumstances, and other just people got a bad wrap. Like you and Lynx.

    I’ll have to take your word for what the vast majority of the US divorced population feels. If that is the case it seems that the legal system is the issue, not women. And perhaps a lot of women (not your ex) also feel that they didn’t benefit.

    1. 15.1

      @marika, Yes I weighed in because you said Tron doesn’t have any personal experience or knows enough people. Well I do.   Why do you get to write the rules on who can weigh in and when?

      Yes the legal system is broken (See the documentary divorce Inc) But one of the ways it is broken is that it favors women.

      1. 15.1.1

        Weigh in however and whenever you want, ezamuzed. But if you want to make blanket statements about women benefiting from divorce, I’m within my rights to disagree. For millions of women around the world, that is completely untrue (not to mention unfair).


        1. ezamuzed


          There you go projecting again or at least putting words into my mouth. I never made blanket statements about the world. I very specific, the west coast (Although I didn’t specify the west coast of the US) and within my network. This was in a direct response to you telling Tron that he was wrong because he is not divorced and only knows one divorcee. And any stories he has heard are just from angry people.


  16. 16

    Boy, did this thread get off track! Getting back to the main idea, is it icky to pay women (or men) for company or sex? I really don’t know.

    On one hand, the idea of someone who is pretending to like you or enjoy your company in return for something they need for survival is abhorrent. To see one person demeaned to meet the desires of another does feel icky.

    On the other, I think of what was in Regency England called “a paid companion”. This was usually a woman, who might be a distant, poor relative who was barely scraping by financially. She would be brought into one’s home, housed, clothed, fed, and treated fairly well by the family, including a small wage in return for providing companionship and assistance to an elderly member of the family. She would be included in all family events, yet be considered slightly less than family. For most of these paid companions, the alternative was far worse – working in a factory under squalid or horrific conditions, prostitution or merely being a mistress to a parade of men. And most of them, I’m guessing, got on reasonably well with the person for whom she was caretaking. Some of them probably formed wonderful bonds of love and friendship.

    This does not seem terribly far from nepotism in my book. It’s providing for someone for whom we have decided falls within our “inner circle” in some fashion. It’s “preferential treatment” for someone based on getting something intangible in return. Of course, sex or money is more tangible, but beauty or companionship is less so.

    This seems not so black and white to me. After all, I’d guess many hiring decisions are made based on someone’s “pleasant demeanor”, “engaging smile” or willingness to conform to company clothing guidelines of “professional attire”.

    I think the crux of it is, is the other person’s spirit honored to the degree they honor themselves? If yes, then I don’t think it’s icky. If no, then it’s icky.

    And situations where people choose to debase themselves are a whole other subject in themselves.

    1. 16.1

      Nissa: this reply is a little off track, but you ought to see the movie, Roma, if you have not yet seen it. Without any spoilers, it explores the concept of paid relationships.

  17. 17

    I have no moral judgment for the situation if it involves mutually consenting adults.   I do have some thoughts as to how this type of arrangement will ultimately affect the long-term happiness of both individuals, how it might affect their views of the opposite sex, their views of their own personal value, what they have to offer in a relationship and what others should offer them.   Ultimately IMHO the person for whom this type of relationship should be “icky” is the man who eventually marries this woman (if she ultimately chooses to settle down), and the woman who ultimately chooses to marry this man.   How will a wife compete with her husband’s memory of a woman who has been paid to be bidable?   What will a wife expect from her husband when in past relationships she has been spoiled rotten with the option to walk at any time?

  18. 18


    Tell you what, I’ll give consideration to that, and you guys can give consideration to America not being the whole world.

    Nissa is right, this has gotten way off track. I just honestly didn’t expect that pointing out a person’s experience or second-hanc experience (no matter how difficult) is not representative of everyone’s experience, would end up in so much back & forth.

  19. 19

    Hi Jeremy

    The reply button directly under your comment isn’t working. I respect your opinions greatly, and read them with interest, but to pick your brain/play devil’s advocate here.. you say similar things about marriage and previous experiences a lot and how they could harm a marriage. And I always think about the people I know who got other less committed type experiences out of their system, and then happily settled down. I also know people who only knew commitment, were good at it and did it from a young age, who later snapped or silently felt they missed out.

    I think whether or not you can be happy with what you currently have if your past has been more racy depends on a few things, personality etc. Personally, I learned a long time ago that I can experience something and it’s the best way for me to learn that it’s not for me. For instance, working for a big flashy corporation. I was jealous of my brother with his business meetings and suits when younger – dreamed of working in an office like his. Then I did.

    Now, in allied health, I rarely get my computer upgraded, never travel and earn less, but it’s much better for me. I don’t miss the good stuff as I tried it and know how it feels and have moved on. Maybe that’s how some of us are.

    This post is extreme – personally for me a less than balanced power dynamic or trading x for y like humans are commodities is a bit icky (for me), but in general I wonder why you’re so convinced of the damaging effect of past experience on a current marriage.

    1. 19.1

      Hi Marika, I always read your posts and respect your opinions too.   You handled the above discussion masterfully.


      Does one need to stick one’s hand into the fire to learn that flame is hot?   Of course, in some respects that’s not a great metaphor for this discussion, but in other ways it it.   You mentioned that by working for a large corporation you learned that corporations are not for you.   But had you understood your personality to be highly Idealistic, understood that to mean that of all the elements of PERMA (that we discussed on that other post) you’d need to prioritize Meaning more highly than the others, and so would need an occupation where your primary satisfaction would be Meaning (though, of course, you’d need the other elements too), would you have needed to actually work at a corporation to know that such was not your ideal?   Would your reactions to having worked at a corporation come as a surprise to you?


      Sometimes experiences do surprise us – something we thought we wouldn’t like turns out to be fun or vice versa.   Some people who lead dopaminergic lives in their youth can become stable partners and some who valued stability can snap.   And sometimes you can get hints from their personality and sometimes you can’t.   But marriage is such a gamble, we stand to win so much when it is good and lose so much when it is bad…..why would one want to begin with a sour Base Rate?   A person who has been a cheater in all his past relationships may well reform….but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.   A woman who has been a prostitute in the past may well decide to lead an idealistic, altruistic life…..but I wouldn’t bet half my income in perpetuity on it.   A man who purchased companionship, docility, and sex as a surrogate for a relationship might reform and value a wife with real needs and wants of her own….but were I a woman I’d not bet my childbearing years and my security on it.   The base rates are just too low.   And while I might see myself as ideally being the type of person who’d give anyone a fair chance (because that’s the type of authentic person I’d like to be), there’s just too much riding on it when it comes to marriage.

      1. 19.1.1

        Hi Jeremy, you asked:

        ‘But had you understood your personality to be highly Idealistic, understood that to mean that of all the elements of PERMA’d need to prioritize Meaning more highly than the others, and so would need an occupation where your primary satisfaction would be Meaning..would you have needed to actually work at a corporation to know that such was not your ideal? “

        The thing is, and maybe this will be difficult for you to understand, but I no way regret anything I’ve done before, career or relationship-wise, or for the most part anything-wise really. Yes, working in corporate (actually, consulting) didn’t directly help with my current career, and I could have gone straight into this and probably would be more advanced than I am by now – but I would also have missed out on so many things I value, friends, real world experience out there in the ‘rat race’, travel, personal and professional growth…etc…not to mention meeting my ex-husband, who I never would have otherwise met. Yes, things didn’t go well in the end but we had some great times and experiences together.

        In short, my answer is that I would have preferred to have that experience rather than not. I strongly believe you can’t beat experience – for instance, pretty much every parent I’ve ever spoken to has said that you can’t understand what it’s like to have a child until you have one. I think that is true of many things.

        The escort thing is extreme, and I don’t think I’d personally feel comfortable marrying a prior escort. Just a feeling though, I could see it differently on a case by case basis (if I for instance met & fell in love with one). I was more asking in general as you’ve mentioned this quite a few times. I recall vividly you saying you felt that the previous sexual history of a woman you were dating is your business so you could make decisions about her suitability as a partner. Now, I don’t like to think of people as statistics, but I have to say, getting into your mindset, my guess is the base rate for people who played the field for a time in their 20s/possibly 30s, then settled down happily after that would be quite high. I was sexually conservative in my 20s and it certainly didn’t help me choose a good partner. It probably hindered it if anything. My friends who played the field a bit learned a lot about themselves and men and most of them made much better choices than me. Those things could be random correlations, I suppose, but it has face validity that more experience with men(/dating) can help with better decision making when partnering up for life.

        Look at me with all my statistical terms ;)..hehe

        You are far more risk averse than me  (I feel like there are a few risk matrices in your den drawers!), definitely richer & more successful, so maybe you have the right idea. But I’m not convinced of the strong correlation between being conservative and doing all the right things and a good marriage. Sometimes it works out like that, sometimes not. I was watching Mr Robot the other night and the guy who had lost his wife & was on dialysis (have you seen it?) talked about how his wife was a great driver, followed all the road rules and was still killed at the wheel. He said that control was an illusion. I think he has a point. I feel like people would be less angry about situations not turning out as they hoped (not you) if they didn’t have this idea that life is all: if x then y. I think it’s more like if x then possibly y, z, or a. You can plan for y, but it doesn’t mean it will happen.

        1. Jeremy

          Hi Marika.   When we had that conversation about a person’s sexual history, what I was trying to get across was that the “why” of it was more important than the “what.”   Did she have a very promiscuous past because she has a dopaminergic personality (which is not likely to change) or because it simply took her longer to find the one right person (for whom she was searching)?   Did he cheat on his spouse because she was frigid and controlling and he felt he couldn’t escape, or did he cheat because he is a philandering validation-junkie?   It’s not that I think having a conservative history necessarily reduces the chances of marital meltdown, it’s that I think understanding the personality of the individual is key to making that prediction, and history is the key to understanding the personality.


          Base rates.   Kahneman and Tversky wrote a story to explain the use of base rates – you’ve likely heard it before:   “Steve is very shy and withdrawn, invariably helpful but with little interest in people or in the world of reality.   A meek and tidy soul, he has a need for order and structure, and a passion for detail.   Is Steve more likely to be a librarian or a farmer?”   Most people, when asked this question, would say that Steve is more likely to be a librarian – because the description of his personality triggers our imagination of the stereotype of a librarian.   But knowing that there are 20 male farmers for each male librarian in the United States, it makes sense that there are many more “meek and tidy souls” sitting on tractors than in libraries.   Steve is far more likely to be a farmer than a librarian.


          Making decisions in the face of uncertainty is best done by using our intuition to modify the base rate rather than using base rates to modify our intuition.   A person’s history is their base rate – not the “what”, but the “why”.   The “what” will change over time, the “why” will not.   This is obviously not infallible – life will still surprise you, bad things (and good) will still happen unexpectedly…..but less.


          I ask this with some trepidation, because I don’t mean to offend you at all, and please ignore this if it is too personal.   But given what happened with your ex-husband, knowing what you knew about his history and proceeding anyway……I understand that the experience built character and you’d not trade it away and all that…..but if you had it to do over again would you still think that his history was irrelevant in the face of your present intuition?

        2. Jeremy

          To add one other point, few of us regret our pasts – as you wrote, they shaped our present.   But had we chosen a different path, our present selves would be equally conservative about their pasts, equally convinced that their decisions worked out for the best in retrospect.   We don’t know what we don’t know about paths not taken.   We do, however, know the ways in which our past has harmed us – at least, we should know.   If a person is having difficulty forming healthy new relationships because past relationships have wired their brain to find unhealthy things attractive, those past experiences have been harmful (in spite of pleasant memories).   I think that a person should collect experiences as we go through life….just not ones that hobble us in the future.   Not if we can avoid it.


          I’m a little bit older than you, Marika, though not by all that much.   But by just enough that I’m seeing my friends go through life changes in their 40s that they didn’t predict in their 30s.   Divorces, marital angst, all that lovely stuff.   People who had lots of experiences and found out what they wanted and married it….and then discovered that “who they were” changed as their priorities and life circumstances changed.   And in almost all those cases, the changes were congruent with their personalities, should have been obvious, predictable, if looked at through the correct lens.   But no one looked at it that way.   Because they believed that the key to making good decisions was having experiences.

        3. Emily, to


          Did she have a very promiscuous past because she has a dopamine  personality (which is not likely to change)

          If that’s your basic personality, how do you change it? I’ve had periods of my life where I’ve been very productive — getting into graduate school, being in graduate school, the first 6 months or so of a new job, etc. I follow along with the program. But then I start to feel boxed in … and a little bored. And the people around me start to seem boring. If I have to hear one more conversation at work about good “mowing weather.” OMG      If giving in to the dopamine side of your personality makes you feel the most alive, how do you avoid it without feeling like you’re sacrificing a big part of who you are? And is there much difference in a validation junkie who is very needy within a marriage and/or has to be with someone and can’t be alone or a validation junkie who gets his validation with lots of partners, other than the moral implication? Isn’t it the same thing but with different means of getting the validation?

        4. Lynx

          “…but if you had it to do over again would you still think that his history was irrelevant in the face of your present intuition?”

          @Jeremy & @Marika: please excuse me for butting in, but I can share one reason for disregarding past history — you think you are different. That your relationship is different. That you understand him better than anyone else, that you see the pain behind the behavior, and that your kindness and understanding can heal him. Naive? Absolutely, and with a sugar-glazed hubris. But I suspect many people, especially women, fall into this trap.

        5. Jeremy

          Lynx, what you describe is so common and so toxic.   When I was training, I was taught that if a person comes to you and says, “doctor, I’ve been to tons of other practitioners but I know you’re the only one who can help me,” understand that this person is psychotic and you should avoid them like the plague.   The corollary is that if YOU believe that the person with the problem has been to tons of other people but you are the only one who can help them, you might be the psychotic one.


          Emily, I don’t know for sure how to answer your questions.   I don’t know that what worked for me would necessarily work for you.   I think, though, that the first question should not be how one can change one’s personality, but rather whether one wants to.   There’s a big difference between setting goals in light of who you are versus trying to change who you are in light of your goals.   Both are possible.   I’ve done both.   The second one is harder.

    2. 19.2

      This reminds me of the movie Chronic. It’s about a male home care nurse who tends terminally ill patients. He’s depressed, but he uses his “work” to fulfill his needs for intimacy and companionship…for which he is getting paid.

  20. 20

    Okay, ezamuzed, so that means that your situation is the exception.

    1. 20.1


      You said to Tron:

      You have no personal experience with divorce and from what I understand, never will. You’ve also said you have one friend who you rarely see. So you’re learning this information from angry disgruntled people on websites or overhearing things at work.
      It’s one thing to endlessly talk about your casual sex on a relationship blog. At least you’re talking about stuff you know. But now you’re spreading misinformation gathered second or third hand about something you know NOTHING about. Sorry, but no.
      I come in supporting Tron’s assertion with very real personal experience and experiences I’ve heard directly from many others.   You are just trying to change your argument to be right. Sorry, but no.

      Many countries in the western world have very broken divorce and child custody laws and biases. These laws are directly hurting everyone involved except lawyers.   They are also keeping people who otherwise would get married not married because of fear. We need more divorce reform. People like you who are in denial about the problems need to wake up to reality.

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