Marriage and the Church

Mark Regnerus has a new article in The Washington Post that is well worth your time: Christians are part of the same dating pool as everyone else. That’s bad for the church.

Salvo readers may remember reading an interview with Mr. Regnerus a few issues back where he was discussing a different article of his that got quite a lot of buzz. Here’s an excerpt below:

You wrote an article for Slate titled “Sex Is Cheap: Why Young Men Have the Upper Hand in Bed, Even When They’re Failing in Life.” It was one of Slate’s most downloaded articles ever. Why do you think it was so widely read? And, as a sociologist, why do you think women are so willing to have sex without asking for what they really want, which—speaking generally—is commitment?

It doesn’t feel like an individual decision to them anymore. And in some ways it’s not. Because when everybody else is doing the same thing, or they perceive that everyone else is doing the same thing, they think their options are really limited. And in many real senses they are. Once upon a time, women used to ostracize other women who would be quicker to sleep with a man than they were. But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. It signals that any idea of a cartel among women—a monopoly on sexual access—has eroded and all but disappeared. So you ask why women don’t navigate the mating market in a way that is more consonant with their own interests, but it’s easier said than done. They recognize that they have less power than they would like.

Why was the piece popular? Not because everybody agreed with it, but because everybody has an experience of the mating market. It tapped into something real. More men than women, I think, agreed with it. But I think they have less at stake. It’s harder for women to come to terms with it because it’s depicting their situation as more dire than they wish it to be. We have twice as many women who have not had children by age 40 today as we did as little as thirty years ago, and that’s not because twice as many women didn’t want to have them.

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