Not only is game theory one of the more pivotal and interesting topics we have discussed relating to networks, but it is also extremely unique in that it can be applied to a variety of situations. There is perhaps no better example of this than in an article posted today by psychologist Diana Kirschner entitled, “Sex, Game Theory & More (To Wait or Not to Wait- That is the Question).” In her article, Kirschner takes the game theory and applies it, interestingly enough, to the “dating game” that men and women play on a daily basis. Ultimately, Kirschner explores the available options and determines what the likely results of each of these options would be, and finally makes an educated remark regarding the best option to achieve what she considers happiness.
The first situation Kirschner discusses is having sex too soon. In her opinion, it is clear that Kirschner does not believe this would be the most ideal move according to game theory, and she lists several reasons for this. She explains that sex increases the hormone oxytocin, and this could lead to an increased attachment to your sexual partner, even if you have no desire for this attachment. This hormone level remains high after the fact, so even if you’re no longer with your sexual partner physically, this attachment still exists.
Kirschner further explains that people become addicted to the feeling of romance or love, which in turn releases a slew of other hormones, and she even compares this addiction to that of serious drugs. She states, “as a clinical psychologist and trainer of singles and couples therapists for over 25 years I can tell you that for women, in particular, once this process takes over, they can become like craving coke addicts.”
Kirschner then goes on to examine the other situations that exist within this game theory. For instance, she talks about the (in her opinion) less serious costs of waiting for sex while dating, explaining that the worst case scenario is that you’re giving up great, no-strings-attached sex, or you may become sexually frustrated, which she argues has been remedied with the pairing of masturbation and the internet.
Ultimately, Kirschner’s conclusion is not surprising based on her article, as she argues that the best way to establish a meaningful, lasting relationship is by dating multiple people without having sex with any of them. Kirschner recommends at least a two month dating period before sex, to avoid what she refers to as “addictive moth-to-a-flame over-involvement with some dating newbie who is supposedly the “One.”
Ultimately, it was both interesting and surprising to see how game theory can be applied to topics such as dating and sex. While Kirschner was able to clearly put in her own opinions on dating and relationships, it was interesting to see how she was able to utilize game theory to further her argument.
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