CEVI-WP 05-01

Georg Simmel on Sex, Money and Personal Worth
Tom Claes


In this paper I will reconstruct and reflect on Simmel’s basic insights concerning money, personal worth and sex. He denounces prostitution, sex for money, for it leads to a degradation of the personal value of both participants. He also notices an ominous analogy between prostitution and money: objectification, indifference, lack of attachment. Simmel had a deeply ambiguous attitude towards the new positive sexual possibilities city-life offered to its citizens. So, although Simmel is definitely one of the most stimulating analysts of modernity and is even hailed by some as one of the first postmoderns he himself, however, might never even have been ‘modern’—as concerns sex.

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