Everyday Sexism Does Science: Men Can Shag Around Before Marriage; Women Shouldn’t
WELL, nice to see one of the old patriarchal tropes has some empirical evidence behind it. Women who shag around before marriage seems to be less happy inside marriage than those who don’t. But for men sowing those wild oats seems to make no difference. Thus, sadly, our grandparents were right, women shouldn’t shag around while men may:
Women who have several sexual partners before getting married have less happy marriages – but men do no harm by playing the field,a study has found.
According to new research by the National Marriage Project, more than half of married women who had only ever slept with their future husband felt highly satisfied in their marriage.
But that percentage dropped to 42 per cent once the woman had had pre-marital sex with at least two partners. It dropped to 22 per cent for those with ten or more partners.
But, for men, the number of partners a man they appeared to have no bearing on how satisfied they felt within a marriage.
Researchers said the study showed that sex with many different partners ‘may be risky’ if the woman is in search of a high-quality marriage.
It concluded: ‘Remember that what you do before you say ‘I do’ seems to have a notable impact on your marital future. So decide wisely
Clearly, given the source, this “research” is highly biased.
That old patriarchy thing wasn’t actually really about control over women: it was about whose bloody children was a bloke paying to raise? In those days before contraception, abortion and DNA tests the only reliable guide to a bloke knowing that his wife’s children were his own was that she hadn’t been doing the jiggy jiggy with anyone else. Thus that very boring insistence upon virginity before marriage and chastity in it.
That doesn’t hold now of course although it does take some time for human behaviour to change in response to a change in technology. We’ve even got Karl Marx on that, the state of technology determines social relations. And given the wrenching changes in reproductive technology over the last couple of generations I’d say we’re doing pretty well with it all actually.
Which leads us to two possibilities about why those women who don’t shag around get those more satisfying marriages. One is simply that the society as a whole still values that virginity at marriage (or at least, the one relationship leading to marriage). Thus those who are chaste while deciding who to court properly get access to “better” men and thus have happier marriages.
That’s probably a useful economic explanation of it all.
Or we can look at an entirely different set of motivations. As most women will let on if pressed, most men really aren’t very good at that sex stuff. But even bad sex is highly enjoyable. Thus those women who have had a number of partners know the difference between good and bad sex and while they might marry the most delightful man that doesn’t necessarily accord with their being good in the sack. Whereas those who marry their first have no reference base to compare performance to and thus are happy enough with the bad sex they’re getting.
Which explanation you prefer probably depends upon how patriarchal you think our society currently is….or perhaps how bad you think the average man is at sex.