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January 19, 2011

“Your daily ‘single women die alone’ alert”

Filed under: issues,Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:55 am

With a side of “men=pigs” (sic). From Samhita at Feministing:

The endless obsession with how women are going to die alone because they have brains and casual sex [and “post-feminist” “freedom” –BG] has truly become the gift that keeps on giving. Mix one part college student sample, a few scattered inconsistent findings based on loosely correlated “evidence,” sweeping generalizations reinforcing female anxiety around mating and some slut-shaming for good measure and voila, you have yourself “relationship advice” from a “doctor.” The CNN health blog writes about a new book, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying, by none other than “get married early” Mark Regenerus and sociologist Jeremy Ueker.

CNN concludes from a precursory look at the book men have the upper hand in the sexual economy. This is not  because women are judged based on their promiscuity or lack thereof in a way that men rarely are or because men face pressure to have casual sex like a stud and deny their romantic feelings for relationships. Or because when you are a woman between 18-23 male attention and the desire to “be in a relaysh” has more impact on your self esteem then say when you are a 30-somethinger like me. Or maybe because by 23, you still don’t know what you want out of a relationship. No, no, men have the upper hand in sex and dating because women have too much freedom, sex and education. [See CNN file photo w/article, left, of young woman relishing her freedom.]

[CNN:] 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. [Go steady? – BG]

“Women have plenty of freedom, but freedom does not translate easily into getting what you want,” Regnerus said. [“So maybe you don’t need it so much. At least not if you want a man.” — BG]

Though it’s not based entirely on fiction, it’s rife with unexamined assumptions. Bottom line, if women no longer need men then why would they be competing for men? Feh.

Bonus: Good stuff on men being humans! With feelings! here.


  1. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: women in the US are conditioned to believe that being safely coupled up is The Way Things Are Supposed To Be. The only thing that has changed is the expected age of being safely coupled up. The conflict (as I see it) with the above CNN report comes in when women decide they DON’T want marriage and family. The CNN report seems to be operating under the assumption that this early 20’s play time is simply adult-olescence at its worst, and that women will “snap out of it” and realize they need and want a man by their 30s, but that men know by then that the younger women are less inhibited and will still “play ball.” I have friends who are women in their 30s, who are footloose and fancy free and love it, and would never trade their independence and self-reliance for anything, let alone a man who does not understand her fundamental character.

    Comment by Q Turner — January 20, 2011 @ 10:04 am

  2. hi Q! i agree with your analysis of the CNN analysis (“analysis”). I’d add, for the sake of conversation, that what also rankles is when feminism/”women’s freedom” is blamed (as opposed to CHEERED) for women’s ability to explore and have a life during that “20s play time” in the first place. Then it’s like, “if you weren’t so FREE, ladies, you might be more MARRIED.” SIGH. Anyway, love your comment. Please keep visiting!

    Comment by BG — January 20, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  3. Note: Echidne, as usual, is great on this: http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/2011_01_16_archive.html#6150447613757521078

    Comment by BG — January 20, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  4. I browsed six pages of this book (courtesy of the Amazon website) and found two facts which contradict the underlying assumptions:
    1. 93% to 96% of young women *and* men want to get married … they just want to wait until they’re older.
    2. Young women and men *don’t* associate having sex with getting married. The associate it with having a family and/or having a relationship.

    Therefore, the entire assumption that men get married in order to have sex is completely without merit. (And it really makes me wonder what kind of marriages the authors have.)

    Despite Samhita’s snarky comments, I would say porn/masturbation are a viable alternative to casual sex. Porn/masturbation is not as fun, but look at it from a cost/risk/benefit perspective. I expend a certain amount of time and effort in order to have a chance for a hook-up (a chance which might not ultimately succeed). If I succeed, I have the risk of unwanted pregnancy, STIs and emotional entanglements.

    If I rely on porn/masturbation, I can have orgasms as frequently as I want, at my convenience, and minimal investment. (If you are getting porn off the internet, I recommend investing in good anti-virus/anti-malware software.)

    Porn/masturbation is a reasonable alternative to hook-ups. For the exact *same* reasons, it is completely inadaquite substitute for a marriage (no family, no relationship). The young men who choose porm/masturbation over sex aren’t depleting the pool of potential husbands. They’re depleting the pool of potential hook-up partners.

    The authors are correct in one sense: I can get (and have gotten) sex without commitment, romance, stability or status. Despite this, my girlfriend and I are browsing engagement rings this weekend. (Even though my girlfriend has put *no* pressure on me to do this.) Why? Because I *want* the stability and commitment of a marriage. As do most other men.

    How did Mark Regenerus and sociologist Jeremy Ueker completely overlook this?

    Comment by Karl R — January 20, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  5. Let me clarify one of my statements:
    Young men and women associate getting married with having a family and/or having a relationship.

    Comment by Karl R — January 20, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  6. Karl: You rock. That is all.
    No wait! It’s not! MAZAL TOV on your engagement! :)

    Comment by BG — January 20, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  7. Not engaged *yet*. Just heading that direction.

    But thanks for thought. I’ll accept it in advance.

    Comment by Karl R — January 20, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  8. You ask, “Bottom line, if women no longer need men then why would they be competing for men?” But that supposes that women or men know what they need and that their behavior is rational. In reality people have genetic and epigenetic programming that strongly influences their motivation. It’s clear that women have more power in society than they used to. So why do they still compete for men? At a genetic level women have quite a bit of power over what type of men they conceive. Men and women keep making more men and women who are programmed to need each other and make more little people. The real reasons why men and women need each other probably have little to do with money or power. The social context is a very limiting view. I think that Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene (30th anniversary edition)” and Matt Ridley’s “The Red Queen” have some very interesting ideas about that.

    Comment by Joshua — January 25, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  9. Fair enough, Joshua — thanks for your comment (and please keep visiting!). Though I have to say I also like this rather spirited take: http://thehairpin.com/2011/01/the-sexual-cost-of-female-success/

    Comment by Breakup Girl — January 26, 2011 @ 11:01 am

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