Can fear of AIDS change sexual preference?

Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt in their Freakanomics column in the New York Times Magazine:

11freakThe most fundamental rule of economics is that a rise in price leads to less quantity demanded. This holds true for a restaurant meal, a real-estate deal, a college education or just about anything else you can think of. When the price of an item rises, you buy less of it (which is not to say, of course, that you want less of it).

But what about sex? Sex, that most irrational of human pursuits, couldn’t possibly respond to rational price theory, could it?

Outside of a few obvious situations, we generally don’t think about sex in terms of prices. Prostitution is one such situation; courtship is another: certain men seem to consider an expensive dinner a prudent investment in pursuit of a sexual dividend.

But how might price changes affect sexual behavior? And might those changes have something to tell us about the nature of sex itself?

More here.