January 18th, 2011
04:54 PM ET
Men have upper hand in sexual economy
It's not a new theory: As women progress in educational and professional opportunities, their odds of finding a committed man appear to go down. Women in their 40s and 50s have long heard this, but new research finds it's true for women just entering adulthood as well.
That's one of the findings in the new book "Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think About Marrying," by researchers Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker at the University of Texas at Austin.
They looked at the results from a number of national studies including the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the National Study of Youth and Religion, in addition to interviews with young people ages 18 to 23.
Researchers found that since women in the 18- to 23-year-old group feel they don't need men for financial dependence, many of them feel they can play around with multiple partners without consequence, and that the early 20s isn't the time to have a serious relationship. But eventually, they do come to want a real, lasting relationship. The problem is that there will still be women who will have sex readily without commitment, and since men know this, fewer of them are willing to go steady.
"Women have plenty of freedom, but freedom does not translate easily into getting what you want," Regnerus said.
The wide availability of pornography has also influenced the dynamics of relations between men and women, Regnerus said. A segment of 20-something men are content to have their sexual experiences by themselves, removing them from the pool of available partners. That means high-quality men - likely those who want monogamous, committed relationships - are still eligible for dating, but the overall dating pool has shrunk, meaning some women will be left unsatisfactorily single.
Researchers also found that marrying at or before age 20 constitutes the greatest risk for subsequent divorce, the data show. Early marriage doesn’t cause the divorce, but the partners are likely to be unprepared for the kinds of adjustments required, Regnerus said.
And here's perhaps some good news: Sexual behavior among this age group is less salacious than you might think. The "hookup culture" is most prominent when there is a Greek system present; otherwise, college students seem more inclined toward stable relations and have fewer sexual partners.
In case you were wondering, 16% of 18- to 23-year-olds are virgins, according to the surveys used in the book. In that age group there are more men than women who have never had sex. By age 27, the portion of virgins goes down to 8%.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
This is a topic that is close to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?
I used to be able to find good advice from your content.
I like looking through an article that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!
It’s hard to find educated people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.
There's definately a great deal to know about this issue. I really like all the points you have made.
Hi there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues.
I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
Besides that, wonderful website!
I really like it when people come together and share views. Great blog, keep it up!
Howdy! This article couldn’t be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this article to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Thank you for sharing!
Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful. Thank you for sharing!
This excellent website definitely has all of the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.
This is the right website for anyone who really wants to understand this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that's been written about for years. Wonderful stuff, just great!
You have made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.
This is the right website for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!
I love it when folks get together and share opinions. Great blog, stick with it!
Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!