An interesting article over at Slate by Mark Regnerus.
Sex Is Cheap
Why young men have the upper hand in bed, even when they’re failing in life.
We keep hearing that young men are failing to adapt to contemporary life. Their financial prospects are impaired—earnings for 25- to 34-year-old men have fallen by 20 percent since 1971. Their college enrollment numbers trail women’s: Only 43 percent of American undergraduates today are men. Last year, women made up the majority of the work force for the first time. And yet there is one area in which men are very much in charge: premarital heterosexual relationships.
When attractive women will still bed you, life for young men, even those who are floundering, just isn’t so bad. This isn’t to say that all men direct the course of their relationships. Plenty don’t. But what many young men wish for—access to sex without too many complications or commitments—carries the day. If women were more fully in charge of how their relationships transpired, we’d be seeing, on average, more impressive wooing efforts, longer relationships, fewer premarital sexual partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marrying going on. Instead, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (which collects data well into adulthood), none of these things is occurring. Not one. The terms of contemporary sexual relationships favor men and what they want in relationships, not just despite the fact that what they have to offer has diminished, but in part because of it. And it’s all thanks to supply and demand.
These sorts of articles never fail to bring in quite a lot of heated comments. Everyone has an opinion of course, and this article is no exception. The comments I find especially strange, however, are the ones from men deriding this article as feminist or leftist. That seems a shallow interpretation, especially seeing that this article begins by answering the complaint that “young men are failing to adapt to contemporary life.” Mr. Regnerus is saying that young men have adapted to the contemporary sexual market—a market that we can thank, at least in part, to feminist ideology put into practice—and this is what it looks like. I know, there’s plenty of blame to go around, but we can at least attempt to read these things a little more carefully.
The book by Mark Regnerus, Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers, is referred to in the feature of the sex section in the new issue of Salvo.
On a related note, I ran across this piece posted on the New York Times website. They had an essay contest asking college students to tell the plain truth about what love is like for them. Here is one of the winners: Want to Be My Boyfriend? Please Define.