Handbook on the Economics of Leisure
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Handbook on the Economics of Leisure

Edited by Samuel Cameron

Surprisingly, the field of leisure economics is not, thus far, a particularly integrated or coherent one. In this Handbook a wide ranging body of international scholars get to grips with the core issues, taking in the traditional income/leisure choice model of textbook microeconomics and Becker’s allocation of time model along the way. They expertly apply economics to some usually neglected topics, such as boredom and sleeping, work–life balance, dating, tourism, health and fitness, sport, video games, social networking, music festivals and sex. Contributions from further afield by Veblen, Sctivosky and Bourdieu also feature prominently.
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Chapter 24: Sexual Leisure Markets

Alan Collins


Alan Collins INTRODUCTION Over the entire course of civilized humanity, arguably the single most important leisure pursuit in terms of (i) time and money resources deployed and (ii) a crucial additional role in the continuation of human society, is participation in sexual activity. By this is meant activities that are intended to induce sexual excitement and gratification. This may or may not result in orgasm. For some brands of fundamentalist religious observers, participation in such activities should not or cannot be primarily recreational or a matter of leisure but rather, strictly procreational. The threads of argument set out in this chapter implicitly dismiss such a viewpoint as antiquated and irrelevant in modern society. The ‘traditional’ view of sexual activity typically seems to cast it as one of the integral binding or reinforcing elements of a relationship, potentially helping afford emotional support, deeper levels of companionship and children. Any departure from this view has been variously deemed as sinful, biologically injurious and degenerative. It is argued in this chapter that such a traditional view has never really captured the intrinsic psychological and physiological significance of meeting sexual needs. Further, alongside other commentators it is contended that social and technological change now means that companionship, child production and sexual needs can increasingly be met separately or in various combinations. In essence, the notion that people can participate in sexual activity alone, or with one or more other people, just for fun, is generally deemed acceptable if it involves no physical harm and...

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