Another book blames men for the lack of marriage

Short article so I quoted the whole thing.

The share of Americans ages 25-34 who are married dropped 13 percentage points from 2000 to 2014. A new book by sociologist Mark Regnerus blames this declining rate on how easy it is for men to get off.

Regnerus calls it “cheap sex,” an economic term meant to describe sex that has very little cost in terms of time or emotional investment, giving it little value.

Regnerus bases his ideas, in part, on the work of British social theorist Anthony Giddens, who argued that the pill isolated sex from marriage and children. Add online pornography and dating sites to the mix and you don’t even need relationships.

The result is “two overlapping (but distinctive) markets, one for sex and one for marriage, with a rather large territory in between comprised of significant relationships of varying commitment and duration,” Regnerus writes in “Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy” (Oxford University Press).

In generations past, women generally made men wait until marriage to have sex. To get a wife (and, therefore, sex), men had to be clean and presentable and have a good job. This, Regnerus reasons, gave men all the motivation they needed to become respectable members of society.

Now with porn on demand and greater reproductive freedom, sex is a commodity available at any time. This has left men with little motivation for marriage, writes Regnerus, who cites demographer Steven Ruggles’ prediction that one of every three people in their 20s will never marry.

‘Sex has become free and easy. This is today’s version of the opiate of the (male) masses.’
– psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs
Regnerus blames cheap sex for the decreasing education and employment rates among men as greater numbers of women get college degrees and enter the labor force. Six percent more women than men in the 25-34 age group have a bachelor’s degree.

Regnerus backs this theory up with a quote from social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs, who study this phenomenon. “Nowadays young men can skip the wearying detour of getting education and career prospects to qualify for sex,” they write. “Sex has become free and easy. This is today’s version of the opiate of the (male) masses.”

Regnerus argues that while women have maintained their role as sexual gatekeepers, men control the marriage market. And given the ease with which sex can be accessed, Regnerus believes that men’s motivations for marriage have all but disappeared. He surveyed 15,000 people and found that among unmarried respondents under 40, “for every 82 men who wished to be married, 100 women said the same.”

This ratio, he says, keeps ultimate relationship power in the hands of men. “To plenty of women, it appears that men have a fear of commitment. But men, on average, are not afraid of commitment,” Regnerus writes.

“The story is that men are in the driver’s seat in the marriage market and are optimally positioned to navigate it in a way that privileges their (sexual) interests and preferences. It need not even be conscious behavior on their part.”

In turn, he writes, this leads women to settle, entering into doomed or otherwise unsatisfying marriages.

Regnerus even points to “Fifty Shades of Grey” to prove his point. In the book, Christian Grey gets Anastasia Steele to agree to a series of submissive conditions, including “any sexual activity deemed fit and pleasurable” by him, with no such power returned on her end. “I recognize that ‘Fifty Shades’ is fiction,” Regnerus writes. “It’s made up. But when you sell 100 million copies in two years, your narrative is resonating. There’s something to it.”

Meanwhile, many will go it alone. Self-love for men and women is at an all-time high. A 1992 study found that 29 percent of men (and 9 percent of women) masturbated at least once a week. In 2014, 49 percent of men (and 32 percent of women) confessed to doing it at least once in the previous six days. Unsurprisingly, “as frequency of [watching] porn increased, so did masturbation.”

All of this, Regnerus concludes, means that as long as sex is so low-cost for men, heterosexual women will have increasing difficulties finding a partner worth committing to.

“In the domain of sex and relationships, men will act as nobly as women collectively demand,” he writes. “This is an aggravating statement for women to read, no doubt. They do not want to be responsible for ‘raising’ men. But it is realistic.”

It’s easy to make money by selling books by blaming all problems on men. I’m surprised that more churchian pastors aren’t doing this.

I also suppose it’s easy to ignore the fact that:

  1. The vast majority of men don’t get ‘cheap sex’ as exemplified by the Tinder statistics yesterday.
  2. What man would actually choose pornography if he was being satisfied by lots of sex a real woman?
  3. Women generally delay marriage for education and life experiences
  4. Abortion and contraception were promoted so that women could have free sex via the feminist/sexual revolution is being blamed on men. The irony is enormous.
  5. Divorce courts give wives cash and prizes for leaving if they feel like it.
  6. Family courts gives wives cash and prizes for taking the kids and running.
  7. Men see the disrespect that their old family members, wives, and popular culture continues to throw on husbands and fathers and don’t want any part of it.
  8. Using 50 shades to prove the point that all men have the power to make women do their bidding in bed. That’s hilarious.

Nah, it can’t be that many men just see marriage as a bad deal nowadays. Helen Smith has already responded but doesn’t really drive the point home enough.

Sadly, the Church has been impacted by culture enough that it’s very similar in terms most of the things above.

  • 90%+ of Christian have pre-marital sex
  • Pornography is a problem for many Christian men as they continually flounder with Christian women in dating and marriage.
  • Many Christian women delay marriage for education and life experiences.
  • Abortion is uncommon but contraception is common in the Church
  • Divorce rape destroying Christian men happens all the time.
  • Christian men are disrespected by their families, churches, and wives all the time.

It’s sad.

I do my part to help in change in real life, and I know some men who do too. But it’s an uphill battle.

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24 Responses to Another book blames men for the lack of marriage

  1. Robyn says:

    It IS an uphill battle and your reward in heaven will be worth it! Keep on keeping on brother.

    (i know you weren’t looking for or needing encouragement … still, I like reading your blog, so I’m saying so)

  2. Neguy says:

    Regnerus caught some serious flak for publishing research finding that children raised in gay married homes do worse than those in normal marriages ones. So he’s willing to write things that violate the narrative. Apparently not in this case, however.

  3. @ Neguy

    Ah, I remember that.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23017845

    I’m surprised that he would publish that study and then not have researched the incentives for why men avoid marriage more.

  4. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    You would think that, by now, we would all be immune to these man bashing studies. The only ones who will buy into this are the ones that want to believe it. It has gone beyond absurd that female driven social change, when it has negative results, is deflected onto men.

  5. Novaseeker says:

    I saw this over the weekend.

    It strikes me as a case where there is a little truth thrown in, which makes it “truthy”, but misleading overall.

    I mean it’s not untrue that fewer men are presenting for marriage, but the reason for this is not that most of these guys have access to cheap sex (and, no, porn is not sex), it’s that they have opted out of the system because the free sex system (e.g. Tinder, bars/clubs, college) shuts them out — if not entirely 100%, then substantially in terms of any woman they might be attracted to. As we see in the Tinder effect, when it does come to “free sex” women are extremely picky and only want the hottest men — this has the effect of drenching these men with constant female attention in the free sex market, that’s true, but this is a very small portion of men overall — no more than 20% at the most, and likely less in many settings. So while what he is talking about is true, it’s true only for the most attractive men that are swimming in free sex offered by women who are in that market — it isn’t true for the vast majority of men, and therefore it isn’t the main driver of the declining marriage statistics.

    It’s not really clear that marriage overall is in a steep decline, in any case, or whether the decline we see merely reflects more adults being unmarried due to later marriage trends. To the extent that there *is* a decline in marriage rates beyond the impact on the stats caused by delayed marriage, the reasons are complex, ranging from the impact of widespread single fatherhood on young men and women who raised largely without fathers (creates lots of issues, including attachment issues to beat the band), to the trend for people to see marriage as the capstone to a successfully built life rather than as the cornerstone to one (meaning the spouse has to be perfect to be suitable), to the trend towards viewing marriage as hedonic/companionate/soul-mate marriage (again, meaning the spouse has to be perfection incarnate to be suitable), to decreased economic opportunities for men who are not highly educated, to lower collegiate matriculation rates for young men (lots of reasons for this, including fatherlessness, but also education policy in grades pre-k-12), to the overall social trend (which vastly transcends marriage) in favor of extreme individualism, autonomy, and personal freedom of action (works against wanting to be married, at least on the margins), to the increased acceptability of being adult and single long term (seen as odd in some circles, but it’s generally accepted in a way that it certainly was not 60 years ago) which, again, will marginally reduce marriage rates … and many others I am sure I am not thinking of now.

    It really has nothing much at all to do with the small percentage of men who are drowning in the rivers of free sex flowing on Tinder, in bars and on campus — yes, those guys aren’t marrying, but there aren’t enough of them to have a significant impact on the stats in terms of the behavior of men. Of course, it *does* have a wider marginal impact on the behavior of *women* — this is due to the “alpha widow” factor, whereby one of these sexual maestros beds dozens of women and makes them think that they will be able to marry someone who is as charming, sexy and hot as the maestro, and therefore is uninterested in men who are actually her marital peers. THAT is an impact, for certain, but it’s not as a result of the behavior of most men, but as a result of the impact of this behavior by a small number of men on a large number of women due to their perspective and expectations being skewed by confusing their sexual market value with their marital market value. That’s true, but Regnerus isn’t talking about that, now, is he? Of course not.

  6. 50 shades is a really bad example. christian grey is abusive like the joker is to harley quinn. bad example but from my experience if men can easily get sex there is no need for putting a ring on a womens finger. many guys that asked me out decided to just not even give me a chance once that found out that im waiting for marriage. Its one way to rid yourself of bad apples but also its kinda of sad since premarital sex is expected and everyone male and female look at you like your crazy.

  7. Lost Patrol says:

    I tried to find some background on Mark Regnerus, since I did not know anything about him.

    1. He appears to be a lifelong academic, and to have spent most of his adult life in and around universities, which are of course among other things motherships of advanced feminist indoctrination.

    2. He is married and has three children.

    https://www.markregnerus.com/

    3. He was widely pilloried for the research Neguy refers to. I mean basically stalked and dehumanized by all the usual suspects that would be outraged by any suggestion that there could be any negative effect on children raised in homosexual surroundings. This included a formal inquiry by the University of Texas as to whether he should be investigated for scientific misconduct.

    https://news.utexas.edu/2012/08/29/regnerus_scientific_misconduct_inquiry_completed

    Somewhere in that mix is why he is white knighting for women in the face of points 1 -8 of the OP. There is no way he is unaware of the things DS and Nova have pointed out, if he is any kind of researcher.

    From his official UT bio.

    “His research is in the areas of sexual behavior, family, marriage, and religion.”

    http://liberalarts.utexas.edu/sociology/faculty/profile.php?id=mdr93

  8. Pointing out Gays are an issue is one thing; pointing out Women are an issue will end his career.

  9. Novaseeker says:

    Somewhere in that mix is why he is white knighting for women in the face of points 1 -8 of the OP. There is no way he is unaware of the things DS and Nova have pointed out, if he is any kind of researcher.

    Yeah. I mean I guess he could be making the more generic point of “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” — in other words, why would men bother marrying if they can have sex in non-marital relationships. But if that’s what he’s talking about, and not the Tinder/PoF/college/bars thing, it can’t really be explanatory as to any recent dropoff in marriage rates, because widespread sex in non-marital relationships has been a broad social trend since at least the 1970s. In other words, it isn’t new, and therefore can’t be the reason behind any recent dropoff in marriage rates. Tinder is new, but if he’s talking about Tinder culture then, as I explain, he has it precisely backwards.

    I suspect that you and Looking Glass are correct in that it’s likely he knows at least somewhat better than what he is writing but can’t write the truth, because it won’t be published (well at least certainly not by the likes of Oxford).

  10. Elspeth says:

    many guys that asked me out decided to just not even give me a chance once they found out that im waiting for marriage. It’s one way to rid yourself of bad apples but also its kinda of sad since premarital sex is expected and everyone male and female look at you like your crazy.

    You are crazy. That never happens!! You’re an outlier (or maybe just not hot enough). True Christian men don’t act like this. Only men can believe their lying eyes or lived experiences!! You’re a troll.

    LOL…

    I know, I know DS. I couldn’t resist. Won’t happen again, but I couldn’t resist.

  11. thedeti says:

    Regnerus’ article points up yet again that most media (and most women) have a need to blame men for the current state of affairs. If women aren’t getting what they (claim to) want, it’s all men’s fault. Marriage rates are declining because men can (allegedly) get “cheap sex”, ergo, it’s all men’s fault.

    No.

    SOME men, A FEW men, can get cheap sex. MOST men can’t.

    The reasons for marriage rates declining are complex, and men having premarital sex is only a small part of that. Most of it is women’s conduct.

    I’m also interested to see how this squares, if it can be squared, with increasing amounts of survey research showing that among the under 30 crowd, both men and women are surveying out as much more conservative and traditional than their parents. The claim is that millenials and the iGeneration are having less premarital sex – a lot less. This may be true, because where I am, there is a huge number of divorced/widowed men and women finding themselves back in the mix, and, I presume, many of them are having extramarital sex.

  12. Chris says:

    “The story is that men are in the driver’s seat in the marriage market and are optimally positioned to navigate it in a way that privileges their (sexual) interests and preferences. It need not even be conscious behavior on their part.”

    And we can’t rightfully have THAT now, can we?

    It seems strange for a no-good, evil cis White Christian male like myself to be understanding why so many guys seek out the “alternatives,” but that’s what it’s come to.

  13. Novaseeker says:

    Regnerus has an op-ed today in the Washington Post entitled “Christians are part of the same dating pool as everyone else. That’s bad for the church.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/09/05/christians-are-part-of-the-same-dating-pool-as-everyone-else-thats-bad-for-the-church/?utm_term=.9bdff05f2921

    Basically his point is that Christians follow the same approach to dating and mating, for the most part, as everyone else does, so marriage is declining among Christians as it is among others, even if they remain Christian. It’s an interesting article. It is somewhat related to the book that is coming out but focuses on slightly different issues.

    In addition, from reading that op-ed, it appears that when he is talking about “cheap sex”, he’s talking both about Tinder and dating sites *and* the “why would you buy the cow … ” problem, which kind of muddies things considerably and explains some of his confusion I think. The former is new, the latter isn’t really, and so it isn’t responsible for recent trends.

  14. Keep right on. I’m pretty sure we’ve all built up enough trust that you don’t need to pull any punches.

  15. @ Elspeth

    Not surprised about the response to be honest. If I remember correctly, Sapphire/ChildofRa is not a Christian.

    If you’re a Christian you’re at least crazy following the Bible about no pre-marital sex. If you’re not a Christian and you’re staying chaste til marriage you’re just mega crazy since there’s no reason to do for non-Christians.

  16. earlthomas786 says:

    “In the domain of sex and relationships, men will act as nobly as women collectively demand,” he writes. “This is an aggravating statement for women to read, no doubt. They do not want to be responsible for ‘raising’ men. But it is realistic.”

    Probably the take away from the article. However these women get the wrong idea…by improving themselves and being more feminine, the men who are interested will have to step up their masculinity themselves. They aren’t raising men, they need to be better women.

  17. so having respect for myself and not wanting to have babies outsides of marriage is crazy but i do not identify as a christian? are you serious?

  18. so telling you about my personal experience makes me a troll?

  19. @ SapphireYagami

    Read my post again.

    I was explaining why people probably find it more crazy that you’re waiting because you’re not a Christian.

  20. well it shouldn’t be, i read the bible but dont call myself a christian. Besides premartial sex has way to many risk involved like pregnancy and stds and not to mention all the emotional baggage

  21. earlthomas786 says:

    The emotional toll premarital sex takes especially on women could be seen as another reason why marriage is put off and it certainly does increase the risk of divorce.

    But your ‘sex ed’ classes don’t ever teach that.

  22. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    SF,
    I believe that you are be teased. From what I have heard of the Japanese, it is normal to avoid premarital sex. American culture is on the opposite end of the Earth from yours.

  23. Elspeth says:

    @Sapphire:

    No. I was not calling you a troll. Not really. I was agreeing with you.

    My sarcasm leaves a lot to be desired.

  24. earlthomas786 says:

    In turn, he writes, this leads women to settle, entering into doomed or otherwise unsatisfying marriages.

    Thus we go back to the unhaaaaaaaaaapy narrative. All men’s fault of course…it can’t possibly be anything the woman is doing. She just couldn’t possibly submit to her husband unless he checks every mark the secular world tells her he should check.

    “I recognize that ‘Fifty Shades’ is fiction,” Regnerus writes. “It’s made up. But when you sell 100 million copies in two years, your narrative is resonating. There’s something to it.”

    This is also men’s fault too obviously. Remember all those photos of men reading that book with huge smiles on their face…oh wait.

    I don’t know if the tide is going to change in the long term…but at least in the short term almost everything is still going to be blamed on men even when they point out the woman’s flaw in plain sight.

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