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It’s the survey Twenge used for her sex-partners analysis, and for nearly three decades it has repeatedly asked Americans how many partners they’ve had since age 18. six once again in the four most recent surveys, conducted between 2010 and last year.
Looking at the data myself, I couldn’t find any trend for men in their thirties: Their median number of sex partners was six in the 1989–98 surveys (which I combined to boost the sample size a bit), six in the 2000–08 period, and . Women’s median has climbed from three to four over the same period, though it’s hard to tell if they’re actually having more sex or if they’re just more willing to admit it these days.
That is the theme of Mark Regnerus’s , and he stresses that low prices are not always good.
Women have traditionally benefited from being the gatekeepers of sexual access — but now that men don’t have to work very hard to access women’s bodies, well, they don’t.
(What got nuked, of course, was a mixture of good and bad.) But more recent changes seem to be having far smaller and more nuanced effects, with some trends even running the notion of progressively “cheaper” sex.And this is one topic where Regnerus does have a plausible longitudinal comparison.A 1992 survey suggested that 29 percent of men age 18–24 masturbated at least weekly, while the (roughly) comparable number from Regnerus’s survey is 49 percent.(The GSS is a large, nationally representative survey done mostly through in-person interviews.My results are broadly consistent with CDC data since 2002 covering a wider age range.) Basically, sex might be easier to get than it ever has been, and the modern mating market may be dysfunctional in any number of ways — but it’s not clear that the typical person has become more promiscuous, notwithstanding the best efforts of Tinder and Ashley Madison (former slogan: “Life is short. It’s especially surprising not to see more movement in reported sex-partner counts given that Americans are spending a lot less of their young adulthood married than they once did are more socially accepting of promiscuity than they used to be.
More broadly, when sifting through Regnerus’s modern stories and data, readers should be careful not to assume that things were all that different a generation ago.