Sexual conflict is a fundamentally important aspect of male–female interactions. In this opinion piece, we emphasize two approaches that warrant significantly greater attention. First, we review the importance of understanding the ‘economics’ (costs and benefits) of sexual interactions and note surprisingly large, unrecognized gaps in our knowledge. Second, we highlight the novel obstacles and opportunities afforded by the dependence of sexually antagonistic (SA) selection on both the local environment and condition of the interacting individuals. We conclude that more research in these two areas is essential to fully understand the evolution of SA interactions and will provide significant new insights into the extent to which coevolution of the sexes is shaped by conflict. We argue that these approaches, although not new to the field, are undervalued and under-represented.