How Many (White) Men are Getting Married?

Recently, several bloggers have challenged my assertions that fewer and fewer (White) men are getting married. They cited the GSS Data, available here as evidence that I was wrong, that White Men are getting married at the same rates now as before. The Inductivist and also Audacious Epigone have used the Web Tools available at the Berkeley site to conclude that there is no evidence to support that Men are not getting married, or delaying marriage, over time.

Having downloaded the data myself, I can only conclude that so far … they’re wrong.

[For those interested in replicating my results, the following is how I did it. Those uninterested may skip this section.]

Downloading the data, (I used the 1972-2006 data set), with the variable AGE (age of respondent), YEAR (year of survey), MARITAL (marital status, 1=Married, 5=Never Married, etc), Sex (1=Male, 2=Female), RACE (1=White), plus of course the always present CASEID, you get a nice text file you can load into MySQL. To make things simpler, I added a constraint in the file created and downloaded, and specified only White Men (SEX=1, RACE=1). Loading this into MySQL gives you interesting results. [I wanted to look at White Men only, avoiding race and class, and looking at what most observers believe the most stable and unchanging group of men in the US.]

One of the things that struck me (and this is why you CANNOT avoid looking at the data in raw form) is how small sample sizes are for White Men in the Age Ranges. For example, the SQL Query

select year, age, count(*) as Num_Age from gss_marital where year = '1975' group by age with rollup;

gives you this output:

.nobrtable br { display: none }

YearAge# of Respondents
1975 724

The last row is of course the rollup row, showing there were indeed 598 White Men interviewed in 1975. That might seem like a lot, but look at the data at a more atomic level. Only 7 53-year olds, and only 10 54-year olds, in 1975 were interviewed. Your data is only as good as your sample size, and for each age, the samples can be appallingly small. The problem of course is randomness. Can we be sure that for the very small sample sizes for each age, survey takers got a truly random sample of White Men? Much less repeating it for every year? Given that the survey ran from 1972-2006 (I did not use the file with incomplete 2007-2008 data).

select year, count(*) as Num_Men from gss_marital group by year;
select year, count(*) as Never_Married from gss_marital where marital = '5' group by year;

Will each get you the total for each year of all men (all ages), by year, and then the total for all men, all ages, who were never married (MARITAL=5). I’ve dumped that into an Open Office Spreadsheet to get the following:

[click Image to Enlarge]

Wow. Just for laughs I tried the following:

select year, count(*) as Num_Men from gss_marital where age > '34' and age < '41' group by year;

select year, count(*) as Never_Married from gss_marital where marital = '5' and age > '34' and age < '41' group by year;

And got the following graph (once I loaded it into OpenOffice)

Therefore, it certainly looks as if the data suggests that AT LEAST White Men are getting married later, which would certainly make the “Never Married” status stronger in surveys. The data is not inconsistent with that hypothesis, at any rate. How good is the GSS Data? Not particularly good, given questions about small sample sizes for White Men, at each age, and just how random the selection of the survey takers was, but it is one of the few social surveys we do have covering considerable time periods. We certainly see a fairly consistent rise in “Never Married” over the years, which matches the increased cost for a family, given rising housing prices, and the decline of real wages, in terms of house-buying at least, since the 1970’s.

Just as important however, may be the changing expectations of women with respect to marriage. Sandra Tsing Loh, the NPR commentator, writer, and performance artist, has a revealing column in the upcoming Atlantic Montly, which I will be posting on later. It certainly seems among professional urban women, marriage has undergone redefinition. Akin to more of a short-term contract offered to NFL free agents, than anything else.

About whiskeysplace

Conservative blogger focusing on culture, business, technology, and how they intersect.
This entry was posted in demographics, family, gss, marriage, men, more, women. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to How Many (White) Men are Getting Married?

  1. Novaseeker says:

    Interesting analysis, Whiskey.It still is not that many (75% have been married in the 35 to 40 range), but it's quite a dramatic trend nonetheless.I think your last paragraph is where the action is, in terms of the explanation. Women are increasingly redefining marriage as a kind of "certified" serial monogamy. When that happens, we drift into de facto polygamy, as Robert Wright terms it, and in such a scenario we would expect that the number of men who do not find mates would rise, as it does in any polygamous system due to female hypergamy.

  2. Puma says:

    According to national U.S. Census data anaylzed by the Rutgers University Marriage Project, marriage-rates are down across the board (see page 4): the UK, things are much more dire: a broad decrease can only be possible if the still majority-white portion of the population also participates. There is no way around it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Whiskey, I read the Sandra Tsing Loh article with great interest and while I have always enjoyed her writing, that article left me with the question: why would a good man _want_ to have a child in the situation she outlines.

  4. randian says:

    Women are only redefining their part of the marriage. They have no marital duties towards their husbands, while their husbands retain all of their traditional duties towards their wives. It's all about the cash, baby, and women marry up to make sure they're going to profit down the road. The law is on their side, too, since prenups are getting more worthless as time goes on and the reasons for giving her a huge chunk of her husband's assets are becoming less and less substantive. I've seen plenty of cases where "hosted a few dinner parties" was considered the equal of "worked 50 hours a week for a decade" when it comes to splitting marital assets, sufficient to net the wife a 50/50 split of the family business.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If you were a woman Whiskey that spiffy presentation would earn you a grant and a foundation at the UN…..

  6. Novaseeker says:

    "Yes, Whiskey, I read the Sandra Tsing Loh article with great interest and while I have always enjoyed her writing, that article left me with the question: why would a good man _want_ to have a child in the situation she outlines."Well there's the rub.You see what she describes there towards the end as one of her alternatives (open marriage with women having the benefit of good provider/husband/father, while also having the sexually and emotionally exciting boyfriend) is the fantasy of polyandry.It's notable that, according to anthropologists, no known society has practiced polyandry to any meaningful degree. And the reason why should be obvious: women generally bond to *one* man in terms of sex/romance at a time, and no man wants to be the guy cooking dinner and building the shelves while his wife is off banging her love-interest-du-jour. And if such recreational sex should prove fecund, what then? We all know that most men are generally uninterested in expending efforts to raise the children of other men, at least not children sired while they are married to the woman! Unlike polygamy — which offered something for women at the time (sexual access to desirable high status men, access to their resources and parenting, albeit all watered down compared to having 100% of one man) — polyandry offers nothing of interest to men. The main underlying reason for that is that, if completely unrestrained, men tend towards polygamy, while women tend towards serial monogamy. So in a polygamous system, each wife gets a certain % of her husband sexually and provisionally and so on — in most cases it was a "rotation" system. In serial monogamy, though, women bond to *one* man at a time sexually, romantically and emotionally — meaning that if she is currently romantically engaged with exciting boyfriend, you, the husband, are getting your hand as a lover — because she can't imagine being sexual with you (it feels like a violation to her) since she is now sexually/emotionally/romantically bonded with another man. So polyandry, while an understandable female fantasy (because it lets them get the dad and the cad at the same time and sidestep the central trade-off women need to make in their relationship lives) is something that doesn't really happen because almost no men will tolerate holding down the home front while their wives are romantically, emotionally, and sexually bonded with another man.The same reason underlies while female adultery is much harder to get past in a marriage than male adultery. Both are equivalent betrayals morally, of course. But in practical terms, generally when a man cheats he is not seeking a substitute for his wife, but rather a supplement — the essence of polygamy. When a woman cheats, by contrast, she typically "leaves" her husband sexually/emotionally/romantically as a part of the cheating –> the husband is removed from the "romance space" inside her and replaced by the lover. As as Loh herself points out, putting the husband back in the "romance space" is generally something adulterous women are not interested in doing, because they have moved on from the husband already in everything but name.

  7. Whiskey,I never disputed any claim that men are getting married later or less frequently today than in the past, as the GSS lends credence to it. I am not sure where that charge is coming from.What I did take issue with is your assertion that it is not unusual for urban white women to have 50 sexual parnters or more.

  8. FB says:

    "Unlike polygamy … — polyandry offers nothing of interest to men."I don't know. If the men in question were gold-digging, lazy slobs who wanted to spend their time lifting weights and looking good for their "sugar mommy," I'm sure a lot of young men would be willing to part of a rich woman's harem for a while.I'm also pretty sure those men would split as soon as they had skimmed off as much money as they could get, regardless of whether or not they had produced any children.Men can be gigolos. In the nineteenth century there was a whole class of men who tried to marry ugly old women with money…

  9. I don't know. If the men in question were gold-digging, lazy slobs who wanted to spend their time lifting weights and looking good for their "sugar mommy," I'm sure a lot of young men would be willing to part of a rich woman's harem for a while.This is not the point. Of course there would be a surfeit of men clamoring for the "alpha" role(s).Whiskey's point, which you seem to have missed entirely, is that you aren't going to get a lot of men auditioning for the "beta"/"cuckold" role, fixing household items and cooking dinner while wifey is out catting with her "harem".Speaking of, there seem to be an awful lot of "cuckold porn" sites these days. A reflection, or a conspiracy?

  10. Novaseeker says:

    "I'm sure a lot of young men would be willing to part of a rich woman's harem for a while."The point is that, unlike men, women are generally serial monogamists, not polygamists. Sure, there are some women who are complete sluts, but mostly women, if left to go feral, are serial monogamists rather than outright sluts. Michelle Langley's book confirms that, as does Fisher's stuff, and even Loh's article does, too. So women generally bond sexually/emotionally/romantically with one man at a time (hence why Loh couldn't "go back" to her husband .. she had already broken her bond with him when she cheated .. that's how female sexuality works). You, the beta herb building the shelves and doing the cooking, will be getting zero sex, because women are generally (exceptions aside) one at a time types. So there is generally no "harem", at least not like polygamy was, with the various wives on a sexual rotation scheme and so on. There is simply the man she is sexing, and that's that. Now some men would sign up be basically live-in housekeepers for rich women — but this would not be a lifestyle choice for many men, and certainly is no basis for civilization."Speaking of, there seem to be an awful lot of "cuckold porn" sites these days. A reflection, or a conspiracy?"I don't think it's a conspiracy. I think the cuckold fantasy is just an extreme form of femdom fantasy. And the femdom fantasy has grown not because of a consipiracy, I think, but because of the male tendency to sexualize whatever situation they find themselves in, so men have sexualized the presence of strong women which they see around them in the form of femdom. Plus femdom is the ultimate "beta" fantasy — again sexualizing his own perceived lack of power vis-a-vis women and turning it around to the fantasy that women actually find disempowered men attractive and sexually exciting — which, as we know, is 100% beta male fantasy, and not what 95% of women find interesting. So it' very much a beta male projection, sexualizing his own sense of inferior sexual power vis-a-vis women in today's world. The cuckolding thing is just an extreme version of that: the femdom in question is the cheating wife, there is a huge element of humiliation fantasy involved due to the supposed intimacy between husband and wife, and the open-ness of the betrayal. Notably, most cuckolding fantasies involve a heavy dose of pure femdom as a part of them, which again fits the general pattern of men sexualizing their own feelings of inadequacy vis-a-vis modern women.So I think it's less of a conspiracy than it is a reflection of the tendency men have to sexualize their own situation — in this case the situation of legions of sexually disempowered beta males in the face of women who have perceived higher sexual power. It's a projection. Almost all women are disinterested in femdom, in practice, aside from a small number of outliers. But the male-driven fantasy has become more common as men sexualize their own sense of disempowerment.

  11. Whiskey says:

    Epigone — I stand corrected. As for partners, I don't think it's unusual in the extreme for a woman to rack up that many partners in urban coastal areas in professional circles.I'll address that in a later post, with some more cites. It's a nebulous areas, one not well documented, but I do think that with few social limits on sex and sex partners, it would be unusual not to have a significant number of women on the right hand part of the curve with partners around 50. Though I would agree that the majority of women would have significantly less, in urban coastal areas, it would still be larger than the norm of 4-5 I have seen cited in surveys. It's useful to note that the Durex Survey had 9 for women in NYC; other cites have British women have signficantly more partners than men.Loh (and Ehrenreich before her, who had almost the exact same words) have this fantasy of the beta male just doing stuff without any reward. Women do take the beta male for granted.You'll see this in fiction as well, from the Gay Male Pal who has nothing better to do than to help his gal-pal look "fabulous" to the beta males anxiously scurrying around helping the female protagonist land her Alpha Man. Men in fiction are beta herbs the subject of contempt, or Alpha studs, at least in the female oriented stuff which is most of it.

  12. Jay Fink says:

    Novaseeker, you had some interesting comments about femdom. In my case, I had submissive feelings and attraction towards dominant women from a very young age, long before I knew I was a beta male. I have had some very close LJBF relationships. They had cuckold elements to them. I can understand the appeal. Let's face it many betas settle when it comes to women. They choose women they are not really into but take what they can get. A cuckold on the other hand settles for not having exclusive sexual access (if any sex at all) in return for being with the woman of his dreams.

  13. demosophist says:

    From the female perspective serial monogamy might be the result of being rejected, after being used, by males. That would certainly be the fear, which they could turn into reality fairly easily. Robby George felt that the entire reason for the "sexual revolution" was the seduction of women into an ideological cause so that they'd gratify a number of men sexually without demanding monogamy. It suggests that the ideological movement is driven by exploitative men, and women without much self control or sense of self worth. They acquire an alternate sense of "self worth" through the "movement." This "movement bond" then has to find an object of derision, and it settles on men, in general. Of course, they can't really reject wealth and power because they want it themselves, so they reject the "convenient oppressors" who are the provider males who are most numerous.It's a typical self-destructive addictive cycle. They can't create satisfying relationships because they've been seduced into rejecting the values that would enable and build such relationships. Moreover, they've been led to believe that what is essentially a male impulse, is their best shot at happiness. The next logical step is to grow penises, and wake up to find themselves in bed with themselves. And I don't think medical science is quite there yet.

  14. demosophist says:

    It also occurred to me that it might be interesting to look at the same percentages, grouped by church attendance. One would certainly expect the trend to be shallower for regular church attendees, but it would be genuinely profound to find the slope flat or reversed.I'd do it, but won't have time for a few days.

  15. As for the whole cuckold websites, I'm not sure there's a conspiracy there. You can find a lot of anything on the internet. Also, I agree with Novaseeker that I don't women for the most part wasting their time doing such things.I have worked in several places where everyone working there except for support staff had either a Masters or Doctorate degree. As they were tech businesses, this meant these workplaces (again except for support staff) were pretty much mostly male. The degrees these men had were all in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields. Wherever I have been at least 50% of these men have never been married (and that's including the non-white immigrants). If we took out the non-white immigrants, then at least 70% of these men (from North America and Europe) have never been married. I would bet that most of them like me will never get married.White men not getting married anymore certainly jives with my experience.

  16. "What I did take issue with is your assertion that it is not unusual for urban white women to have 50 sexual parnters or more."I vaguely recall one urban survey where the average number of female sex partners was 16. This seems like a reasonable but slightly conservative figure, compared to the typical figures I've heard of for straight & gay men (several dozen & many hundreds, respectively). When you take into account a variety of factors, 50 doesn't sound that far off the mark:-Even on an anonymous survey, women will feel pressure to underreport the total number of partners.-Women are likely to decide that experiences not involving intromission (oral sex, etc) do not count. Recall Dante's exchange with his girlfriend in "Clerks" for a humorous (if telling) depiction of this theme.-Surveys will likely overrepresent white women, educated/professional women, & other demographic groups somewhat less inclined to promiscuity.-I'm well aware of the dangers of personal anecdotes but my time in high school & college (late 90's – early 2000's) would definitely seem to support the 16-50 figure. There were very few "traditional" romances to be seen, and even my "progressive" college's administration was forced to warn girls about how their current habits might impact their future fertility. Again, this was in an environment where less promiscuous demographic groups (wealthy white/asian educated professionals) were massively overrepresented.

  17. Jay Fink says:

    From my experience, I easily believe Whiskey and Nine-Of-Diamonds that is not uncommon for urban white (and English speaking Hispanic) women to have 50+ sex partners. Many beta males, especially if they are mostly celibate themselves, are naive to just how much sex young single women typically have.I earlier mentioned about my LJBF relationships. They ranged from cute girl next door types to very attractive "hot girls". As I got to know them I was surprised at just how sexually active they were. After a couple of drinks one girl in her early 20s confessed to me she had 74 sex partners (at what point do you stop counting?). Another young woman would have me pick her up from some random guys house she met at a club and had a one night stand with. One time I remember her getting in my car and saying "he was so good". One woman even wanted me to drive to take her for an abortion. These women made me feel I was the only guy they weren't having sex with (and I probably was). One thing that I found is that it was the young hot girls in their early 20s having the most random sex. Many of them ended up becoming single mothers. One did get married but started cheating weeks after the wedding. Her husband divorced her (and then sadly went on to die in Iraq). She is now back at the clubs finding casual sex partners, all Alpha males I'm sure. The point of all these stories is I am convinced women are having plenty of sex and sex partners, more than most guys would imagine.

  18. I'm not sure that 50 is the average number of sex partners for a woman, but I don't think the exact number matters. Would it really make a difference if the average was 30, 20, or even 10? No.There's a huge horde of adult men who have never had any sex whatsoever even by their 30s and beyond. I have talked with quite a few. The fact that there is no equivalent group of women means that the average for women is high (whether its 20 or 50 I have no idea) and that there is a few men who are at least in the hundreds because of the huge horde of men that are at zero.

  19. Ron Guhname says:

    Whiskey,Great analysis. Your approach produced roughly the same story mine did. I concluded that as many as 30% of white men currently in their 20s will never get married. It's hard to know since, while it is clear that men are delaying marriage (as you say), we can't know that they never got married until their dead. Your results also document a steady change since the early 70s. I thought I remembered you claiming that this was a recent phenomenon; that people who grew up in the 70s or 80s could rationally act in a traditional way, but that has all changed dramatically now. I'll admit I can't remember who argued what, and if the point is that things have steadily gotten worse, I agree. As for GSS problems, I never analyze single-year cohorts or single ages because N is not sufficient. Does anyone? I always do decades and age ranges to reduce the problem.

  20. Whiskey says:

    Thanks Ron for the eyes on the analysis. You're right we might be arguing about different things.I do think that while 50 sex partners is on the outlying tail, it's probably more common than people think in professional urban environments simply because anonymity allows it, for those women who would seek to indulge in it. I do think the mean is significantly higher than past periods, I'll have a post up soon summarizing the various surveys I've seen on the subject.My problem with GSS is that the single year observations are so thin, that at the most atomic level they are not random, and the non-random-ness tends to IMHO introduce sampling errors into the data. It might take a three or four year summation of White Men, for example, to produce a more random sample, and then over that three-four year spread, conditions, attitudes, and so on could change considerably. For example, most people surveyed in 1976-77 might express strongly that not lying to the American people was the most important trait in a President, while three years later it might be competence. While reading through the Univ. of Chicago site where the research was conducted originally, I have yet to see any methodology, i.e. how many teams of surveyers, who was approached, how was the sample size selected, were there any payments for participating in the survey, etc. What shocked me upon looking at the Data itself was how thin it was, wrt White Males of each age range. Very, very thin.

  21. Anonymous says:

    "Robby George felt that the entire reason for the "sexual revolution" was the seduction of women into an ideological cause so that they'd gratify a number of men sexually without demanding monogamy. It suggests that the ideological movement is driven by exploitative men, and women without much self control or sense of self worth. They acquire an alternate sense of "self worth" through the "movement.""Did anyone else, upon reading this, think of the Manson family?

  22. Novaseeker says:

    "One thing that I found is that it was the young hot girls in their early 20s having the most random sex. "This I think is true. The young hot women in coastal MSAs are having a great deal of sex. More than most people know because women are pretty good (very good, in fact) at keeping this information hidden, with a few exceptional cases."The fact that there is no equivalent group of women "There is an equivalent — it's the women who are not desirable. The bottom 30% or so of the female tree is not getting much sex, either. But that's a smaller number than the number of men who are for all intents and purposes celibate.

  23. Jack says:

    "This I think is true. The young hot women in coastal MSAs are having a great deal of sex. More than most people know because women are pretty good (very good, in fact) at keeping this information hidden, with a few exceptional cases."What should be, and what was, the most desirable group for relationships are now just disgusting cocksluts. Is anything more depressing?

  24. "There is an equivalent — it's the women who are not desirable. The bottom 30% or so of the female tree is not getting much sex, either. But that's a smaller number than the number of men who are for all intents and purposes celibate."Novaseeker, even if that was accurate there's a difference between not getting much sex (which you claim these women are getting) and what a large group of men are getting, absolutely nothing. The women in the bottom 30% could get sex if they wanted it. It won't be with Brad Pitt, but so what. This is nothing compared to what a huge horde of men are going through.

  25. Anonymous says:

    @pro-male Even Omegas could be having sex if they were willing to date fat, ugly, green-teethed, 1s and 2s.Most people at the bottom just aren't willing to date what they can get.

  26. Stan says:

    Following up on Nine-of-Diamonds. I don't know where this came from; somebody emailed it.But If We Started Dating It Would Ruin Our Friendship Where I Ask You To Do Things And You Do Them By Kimberly Pruitt I really like you. I do. You're so nice, and sweet, and you listen to all my problems and respond with the appropriate compliments. But, well, I don't really see a relationship in our future. It would be terrible if we let sex destroy this great friendship we have where I get everything I want and you get nothing you want. Don't you think?I knew you would understand. You always do.We're so perfect as friends, you know? I can tell you anything, and you know you can always come to me anytime you need to hear me bitch about work or how ugly I feel. You wouldn't want to ruin a friendship like that just so you could be my boyfriend, and have me look at you with desire and longing in my eyes, if only once—would you? Of course not. Well, if we started dating, it would only complicate this wonderful setup I've got going here.It's just…you're like my best friend, and I would hate for something you desperately want to change that. I mean, sure, we could go on some dates, maybe mess around a little and finally validate the six years you've spent languishing in this platonic nightmare, but then what? How could we ever go back to the way we were, where I take advantage of your clear attraction to me so I can have someone at my beck and call? That part of our friendship means so much to me.No. We are just destined to be really, really good friends who only hang out when I don't have a boyfriend, but still need male attention to boost my fragile and all-consuming ego.Anything can happen once you bring romance in. Think about how awful my last relationship was at the end, remember? The guy I'd call you crying about at 3 a.m. because he wouldn't answer my texts? The guy I met at the birthday party you threw me? I had insanely passionate sex with him for four months and now we don't even talk anymore. God, I would die if something like that happened to us.Plus, ick, can you even imagine getting naked in front of each other? I've known you so long, you're more like a brother that I've drunkenly made out with twice and never mentioned again. It'd be way too weird. And if we did, then whenever you'd come shopping with me, or go to one of my performances or charity events, or take me for ice cream when I've had a bad day at work, you'd be looking at me like, "I've seen her breasts." God, I can't think of anything more awkward that that.Oh, before I forget, my mom says hi.Anyway, you would totally hate me as your girlfriend. I'd be all needy and dramatic and slowly growing to love you. If I was your girlfriend, I would never be able to tell you all about the other asshole guys I date and pretend I don't see how much it crushes you. Let's never lose that. That's what makes us us.Don't worry. You're so funny and smart and amazing, any girl but me would be lucky to date you. You'll find someone, I know it. And when you do, I'll be right by your side to suddenly become all flirty and affectionate with you in front of her, until she grows jealous and won't believe it when you say we're just friends. But when she dumps you, that's just what we'll be.Best friends. Friends forever.

  27. Jay Fink says:

    Stan, I can't tell you how much I relate to that. I have heard those words many times before, that same exact reasoning. If every man who got the LJBFs lecture actually got married we would have a much better and more functional society.

  28. Stan, the source is a recent edition of "The Onion". Surprising, given their strident left wing politics.And I disagree with the anonymous commenter who said that betas can have sex so long as they lower their standards. Women with physical blemishes still have options – typically, online "dating services" for quick sex or males who are actually attracted to their conditions – think of the BBW/fat woman fetish, for example. As a general rule it seems to be easier for women of any appearance to get sex and/or mates than males. Countless times at work & in my neighborhood I see reasonably attractive & successful men whose wives are between maybe 3.5 to 4.5 on Roissy's scale – perhaps 5 at best. This tends to support the conclusion that because of alpha males on one hand and fetishists/one-night standers on the other, it is extremely difficult for most betas/omegas to find partners.

  29. Black Sea says:

    I'm not nearly as statistically inclined as many of the commenters here, so my observations will have to be more hypothetical or anecdotally driven, but this topic does interest me.From what I can gather, for middle class, suburban reared, university educated women with some career orientation and — more importantly — the income to support a single's lifestyle, "normal" expectations would involve becoming sexually active in high school, having an active sexual/romantic life through most of ones 20s, then getting serious about settling down around the age of 28. Bear in mind, that doesn't mean getting married at 28, but rather, making the psychological transition toward getting married, so that one might actual snag a suitable fiance before the dreaded three-oh. And this is for the more realistic ones, who realize that their market value will diminish rapidly in their 30s.Let's assume that such a woman first has sex at age 15, that she remains monogamous in every long-term relationship that she considers serious, and that in her own mind, she's leading the normal life of an educated young woman in your typical metropolitan area. Let's further imagine that she is not particularly promiscuous, and between the ages of 15 and 28 she has four "serious", long-term relationships, which average a duration of 1.5 years each. Thus, within those serious relationship phases, she has four sex partners, over a total of six years. The end of each of these relationships constitutes something of a psychological trauma for her, since she was seriously bonded to each of these boys or men, even if she is ultimately the one who initiated the break up.Let's then consider her seven "off-years" during which she may be dating guys for a couple of months here, a couple of weeks there, and a few one night stands in between. At other times, and for considerable periods, she is more or less celibate. Let's say that during the off years, she averages only three sex partners per year. Hardly "sluttish" by today's standards. Indeed, almost virginal as compared to "Sex and the City."Neverthless, such a woman will, by the age of 28, have accumulated a total of 25 sex partners, and will have undergone at least four difficult, emotionally traumatic break-ups (she may have become pretty attached to several of the two or three month boyfriends as well). Furthermore, there could well be a pregnancy (aborted) and an STD thrown into the mix.So now she's 28. After all of this, she's going to form a durable, powerful bond with a normal man, not an actor or professional athlete, or multi-millionaire, or whatever? And that bond is going to sustain her and her spouse through 40 to 50 years of marriage? Almost all of her experience, from childhood really, has taught her that relationships are fragile and temporary, that men, or at least exciting, attractive men, are not to be trusted, and that when lovers quarrel, or grow bored, or meet someone newer and more interesting, the relationship ends. This has been her life since she was a teenager.We rarely consider the extent to which the "rules of the game" are laid down for us between the ages of 12 and 25, when we really come into self-awareness, and ultimately, into adulthood. One of the first things I observed when I began dating in high school was that girls from divorced homes were somehow different, both quicker to go to bed and, ultimately, angrier toward men.Such a woman as I've imagined above (even if not a child of divorce) is going to have to overcome and awful lot of engrained expectations to make a durable marriage with anyone, and the resultant divorces and prolonged, or lifelong, unmarried status of many can hardly be surprising.Eventually, even romantics grow wary of hot stoves.

  30. Mad Fiddler says:

    Greetings Whiskey!Interesting as usual. Seems like another good demonstration of the principle that it takes an exceptional mind to undertake the examination of the obvious.You've touched on a subject that for some folks might elicit yawns and a page-turn reflex. Instead, it turns out to be profoundly connected to the chaotic disruption of our culture and the decline of the West.Those of us born after WWII but before Vietnam war have lived through the transition from an ancient way – woman stay home, man go forth to get food – to a modern one – both go forth, none stay home to change diapers.The problem is that nothing viable has arisen to replace the earlier system.

  31. Whiskey, just a short, off-topic comment because that thought kept popping up in my mind lately: An interesting topic for future essays would also be the feminization of politics that has happened during the past 45 years (feminization here not only with regards to political personnel, but also to attitudes stemming from a change in society). I'd postulate that developed societies with a more traditional gender role disposition tend to achieve dominant positions because of their ingrained and trained understanding of pure geopolitical power politics while feminized western societies – incl. the US – have more and more veered to a pseudo-consensus driven, speech-act dominated, short-termed, feel-good style of politics (which does not have to be intrinsic to democracies!)Just an idea, but I'd love to read your thoughts on that.

  32. Jesse says:

    Rock on Black Sea! That's one of the best assessments of the ability of young women to become and remain loyal that I've seen in quite a while. It's something I've thought about some myself.Women who bounce from relationship to relationship are basically training themselves to be unfaithful later on. It should surprise no one when such character doesn't miraculously change when a ring is placed on the woman's finger. Were she to actually remain faithful to one man, it would break her lifelong pattern that she has so diligently maintained. Not too likely, if you ask me. I can't think of anyone who has ever simply changed an engrained, lifelong trait overnight. This same line of reasoning applies to men as well.It seems to me that the "gold standard" of keeping oneself set apart for the real thing, a real marriage to a real man/woman, has been thrown aside and is no longer even relevant in today's dating world. What a shame.

  33. Whiskey says:

    Strato, working on that now. It's my major point of disagreement with those who posit a "Gramscian Long March" through institutions, vs. the obvious feminization. My latest post will touch on this, if you look at the transformations of professions and such the changes are really massive.Black Sea, great observations. You pretty much nailed it, and the Heritage Foundation Report on the Family backs that up.

  34. Micha Elyi says:

    Political economist and statistician John Lott, Jr. outlined some effects seen in American politics since women began to vote in this May 2008 Fox News column. Whiskey has made some of the same points elsewhere. People interested in some of the supporting details, data, and statistical analysis behind Lott's op-ed column can find them in his academic paper, How Dramatically Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government? (The abstract page has a link for downloading the entire paper as a PDF from one of several sites.)Lott mentions the well-established fact that on the whole women tend to vote differently than men while plugging his book Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't in a 2007 interview with columnist Bill Steigerwald.As it happens, the very first comment left by a reader is a by-the-book example of female indignant hyperbole. AudiR10 begins by attacking Lott for something he never said – her own dark imagination is sufficient to indict, try, and convict the man for thoughtcrime against all womanity. AudiR10 fits the profile of the woman who insists that her unique personal situation can be matched up against the general behavior of millions of other people in order to prove that reasonable conclusions drawn from observing those millions must be wrong. It's another example of the "It's all about me, Me, ME!" mindset typical of most modern American females.

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