Americans have never been good at saving. Especially, “saving themselves for marriage.”
Almost all Americans have sex before marrying, according to premarital sex research that shows such behavior is the norm in the U.S. and has been for the past 50 years.
The new study shows that by age 20, 75% of Americans have had premarital sex. That number rises to 95% by age 44.
Even among those who abstained from sex until 20 or beyond, 81% have had premarital sex by 44, the survey shows. (WebMD Medical News)
The data come from four cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth, done between 1982 and 2002. It has just been published in Public Health Reports (.pdf) and is authored by Lawrence Finer and his colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute. But this isn’t a recent phenomenon, nor is a product of the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s. What it reflects is normal human behavior.
Among women who turned 15 between 1964 and 1993, 91% had had premarital sex before age 30, compared with 82% of women who turned 15 between 1954 and 1963.
In addition, nearly nine out of 10 women who turned 15 between 1954 and 1963 had had unmarried sex by age 44.
When we say that premarital sex is and has been the norm, we don’t mean the majority behavior. We mean almost everyone. Look at those numbers again. By age 20, three out of four Americans have had sex before marriage. By age 44, the number is 95%. 95%. And it has hardly changed in 50 years.
The right wing abstinence campaign is even stupider than most of us thought. We already know it doesn’t work and now we know why it can’t work. We aren’t talking about discouraging immoral behavior or anti-social behavior. We’re talking about discouraging normal behavior.