Money up, sex down; money down, sex up
The Dow slipped below 6,500. Unemployment hasn’t been this bad since 1983.
And it’s probably worse. If you measure employment in terms of being able to get by — that is, not a part-time job — then that 9 percent figure is surely optimistic.
What’s the upside? If you ask journalist Kat Long, the upside is sex.
Her new book, The Foribben Apple: A Century of Sex & Sin in New York City, is a history of public sexual expression in New York City from the Guilded Age through the end of the Giuliani Era.
During her research, she found a surprising pattern — when the economy is good, people tend to get uptight about forms of sexual expression. When the economy is bad, however, public expressions of sexuality are met with more tolerance, even encouragement.
Here’s a snip of my talk with her in the New York Press:
An economy spiraling downward might be a good thing. For sex, anyway. Historically, these two forces have been at odds.When the economy goes down, public expressions of sexuality go up. When stock portfolios are making bank, people tend to get prissy.
This dialectic between sex and money was a surprise discovery for Kat Long, author of the forthcoming history of sex called The Forbidden Apple. She couldn’t believe few had written about it. There are niche books aplenty about gay men in 1970s New York, but little about the competing forces of “good and evil,” as she calls it, a pendulum that has swung faithfully since New York’s Gilded Age, where Long begins her sordid tale.
“When the economy is bleak, sex culture becomes more visible on a street level,” says Long, a former editor at GO magazine and contributor to BUST and the late Playgirl. “I think people need escape. Simple needs still need fulfilling. And these don’t change. It’s human nature. The question is how the sex industry adapts to these times.”
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