With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I couldn't help but think about my mom's words to me relative to love and marriage, and researching the particular phrase she used, 'why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?', discovered this wonderful article by
The Ethical Werewolf.
Via Matt Yglesias, I see that
Phoebe Maltz and
Amy Lamboley have done their part in attacking an old conservative line about how women shouldn't have premarital sex with men if they want to get married -- "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?" It seems to me, though, that the obvious answer has not yet come up. Why would a single man marry a woman who's already having sex with him? Obviously, because he loves her, and wants her to be with him for the rest of his life. Maybe he also wants to be the father of her children. Being in love inspires men to do big things like marrying a woman and raising a family with her. Women have many wonderful attributes beyond being people whom one can have sex with. Some of these attributes might cause one to wish to be in a particular woman's company for the rest of one's life. (I feel like I'm stating excessively obvious things here, but the conservative view seems to depend on denying them. So I state the obvious things.)
If a man is getting married just so he can have lots of sex with a woman who wouldn't have him otherwise, he's making a mockery of marriage and an awful decision. Do the old sexists who say these things see their marriages as long-term prostitution contracts? Is the emotion of love entirely foreign to them?