When asked about their most recent sexual partner, few (about 5 percent) say sex began “the day we met.” But about a fifth to a quarter say it began “after we met, but before [we were] in a relationship.” On the other end of the spectrum, about 5 percent say it took “more than a year,” and about 10 percent say it wasn’t until “after we got married.” A common theory about casual sex is that it happens only for the “alpha males,” who “monopolize” the few women willing to engage in it while the “beta males” are left out.
But this suggests a gender imbalance that doesn’t exist: The 10 percent of men with the most partners in Regnerus’s survey reported 52 percent of the (opposite-sex) sexual partners, compared with 48 percent for the top tenth of women.
And to paint his picture of the modern mating market, Regnerus draws extensively from the 2014 Relationships in America survey, which he helped to create, as well as from detailed interviews that he and his team conducted with young adults from around the country.
Troublingly, it may reduce men’s incentive or ability to find real, live romantic partners (which could help explain why sex-partner counts are more stable than you might expect).
More than 40 percent of adult men but fewer than 10 percent of women say they watched porn in the past week.
More than half of men 24–35 report masturbating in the past four days, meanwhile: That’s twice the proportion of women who did so.
n 1960 came the Pill, which disconnected sex from childbearing.
In the 1990s and 2000s came widespread Internet connections, which facilitated easy access to both pornography and dating sites.