The Arizona Desert Lamp

Sex-change rates

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 27 August 2008

As the dollar continues to wallow somewhere between the Canadian loonie and the Swiss franc, many have been forced to cut back on dinners out, carpool with coworkers, and generally cut out unnecessary expenditures. Of course, college students have their own way of surviving during times of economic woe:

A recent study of 475 University of Michigan undergraduates ages 17 to 26 found that 27 percent of the men and 14 percent of the women who weren’t in a committed relationship had offered someone favors or gifts — help prepping for a test, laundry washing, tickets to a college football game — in exchange for sex. On the flip side, 5 percent of the men surveyed and 9 percent of the women said they’d attempted to trade sex for such freebies.

As a native of Ann Arbor, I can completely understand such a barter for football tickets; those things cost a lot more than an arm and a leg. Yet the funniest part about this study is the wide disparity between the higher number of people giving gifts for sex, and the people giving sex for gifts. Either there’s some serious misunderstanding going on in these transactions (“You mean, our love was only for the washer/dryer unit?”), or a cadre of professionals are making bank on their. . . unique skill-set.

Predictions for the future: some economics professor will try to demonstrate this principle in an in-class experiment, and will be sued for sexual harassment. Popular demand will put an end to glass-walled study rooms. An aspiring politician will fall from favor after jokingly proposing sex-onomics as way to improve the well-being of the middle class.

The CNN story also contains a bizarre section entitled, “The handyman hookup,” describing America’s modern-day Lothario, Ben Corbett, age 39:

Ben Corbett, a 39-year-old contractor from Boulder, Colorado, credits his tool belt with prompting the barrage of come-ons he fields from female clients — most of them married — on a regular basis.

“It starts with the flirting, and it just progresses,” says Corbett, who has run a construction and remodeling business for 20 years. “They’ll touch my hand, and there’s all this physical contact. Or they’ll run around in their pajamas.”

“Once,” he says, “I was painting the hallway right outside a client’s bedroom, and she was lying on her bed like a girl at a slumber party with her legs up and her arms crossed and her head resting on them, asking me if I had a girlfriend.

“It’s all about the fantasy of being taken by the rough-hewn construction guy,” muses Corbett, who, despite the temptation, has avoided getting sexually involved with his clientele for fear of jeopardizing his business.

Of course, everybody knows that “Ben Corbett” is a pseudonym for this guy.

Image courtesy of flickr user Del Far.

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One Response

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  1. […] Next thing you know, those damn kids’ll be publishing feature stories on strange sexual fetishes, or even using sex as a medium of exchange! […]


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