[Originally published on AOL Personals in July 2009]
How much should money factor into your dating decisions?
When it comes to deciding who to spend your life with, how much should money factor into your decision? How important is it that the person you date or marry be wealthy? Would you stay with someone you aren’t attracted to, just because he or she has a lot of money? And wouldn’t that be the same as prostitution?
I recently asked these questions to sex advice expert, journalist, and author Anna David – whose new book, Bought, touches on the topic of high-class prostitution and the ethics behind relationships based on money and gift-giving.
Though the women described in Anna’s book are “high-class” prostitutes (e.g., playmates, models, and actresses), the same issues are applicable to any relationship.
“I don’t think, as women, we know how much men should be providing for us,” Anna admits, “[Growing up], every family I knew…the dad made all the money. So, I grew up being told, ‘you have to pave your own way… But, hey, you should also try to get with a doctor or a lawyer.'”
Even from our youth, the idea of a poor girl finding and marrying a Prince Charming has been romanticized to the point where some women aren’t satisfied with men they perceive as peers, but rather look to ascend to a more prestigious lifestyle by “marrying up.”
It’s not just women who perpetuate this stereotype, however. Many men have an aversion to being in a relationship with a woman who makes more money than them – for the obvious reason that it would make them each feel like “less of a man.” And if most men have this hang up, then women have no choice but to marry up.
In the quest for a man, some women have made money their number one and only goal. An extreme example of this is prostitution. Clearly, the point of this type of “relationship” is to exchange sexual services for money. No confusion here.
Things get a bit hazy when we talk about why a woman is attracted to, dates, marries, and stays with a man. If the top reason for doing so is the man’s wealth and the luxurious gifts and lifestyle he can provide, then there is very little difference between that and prostitution.
If, on the other hand, money is simply a “nice to have” in the relationship – or a trait in the man that forecasts a stable financial future, then money simply acts as evidence of the man’s ability to support her and their potential family.
At our basic cores, we’re all looking for someone who will help us survive and replicate.
When it comes to gift-giving in a relationship, Anna suggests, “It’s wonderful to receive gifts from a guy you’re involved with and you like.” But for those of you men, who use gifts and money to attract women… “That’s only going to work with a certain type of woman, who really wants that. These women will make it clear up-front that that’s what they’re interested in.” But Anna is not one of them. “Somebody like me – like most of my friends – we’re probably not going to be swayed by that. It’s going to look like a bribe.”
Anna did admit, however, that if a guy were to buy a thousand copies of her new book, Bought, she would for sure go on a date with him.
Are You a Prostitute?
So, what are some of the things you do to get what you want? Some women flirt with cops to get out of a traffic ticket. Maybe you’ve come on to guys at a bar just to get them to buy you a drink. Where do you draw the line between casual manipulation and prostitution? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.