Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying

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Oxford University Press, Jan 10, 2011 - Social Science - 312 pages
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The period of young adulthood, from ages 18 to 23, is popularly considered the most sexualized in life. But is it true? What do we really know about the sexual lives of young people today? Premarital Sex in America combines illuminating personal stories and comprehensive research surveys to provide the fullest portrait of heterosexuality among young adults ever produced. Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker draw upon a wealth of survey data as well as scores of in-depth interviews with young adults from around the country, both in and out of college. Digging underneath stereotypes and unexamined assumptions, the authors offer compelling--and often surprising--answers to such questions as: How do the emotional aspects of sexual relations differ between young men and women? What role do political orientations play in their sexual relations? How have online dating and social networking sites affected the relationships of emerging adults? Why are young people today waiting so much longer to marry? How prevalent are nontraditional forms of sex, and what do people think of them? To better understand what drives the sexual behaviors of emerging adults, Regnerus and Uecker pay special attention to two important concepts: sexual scripts, the unwritten and often unconscious rules that guide sexual behavior and attitudes; and sexual economics, a theory which suggests that the relative scarcity of men on college campuses contributes to the "hookup" culture by allowing men to diminish their level of commitment and thereby lower the "price" they have to "pay" for sex. For anyone wishing to understand how sexual relations between young adults have changed and are changing, Premarital Sex in America will serve as a touchstone for years to come.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Partnerships and Practices of Emerging Adults
14
Inside Sexual Relationships
51
The College Campus Sex 101?
101
No Strings Attached? Sex and Emotional Health
135
Marriage in the Minds of Emerging Adults
169
Red Sex Blue Sex Relationship Norms in a Divided America
205
The Power of Stories and Ten Myths about Sex in Emerging Adulthood
236
Regression Models
251
Original Research Interview Methods
265
Notes
271
Index
291
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Mark Regnerus is Associate Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies and Research Associate, Population Research Center, at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers (OUP, 2009). Jeremy Uecker is a postdoctoral fellow with the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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