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Geek Love

Nerds have seldom been held up as paragons of romantic prowess, and that’s generally gone double for those of the female persuasion.

But an essay in the Boston Globe by historian of the family Stephanie Coontz uses demographic evidence to punch a few holes into the popular idea that over-educated women have a hard time finding mates.

Entitled “The Romantic Life of Brainiacs,” the essay argues that, contra to stereotype, highly-educated women are more likely to be married, to enjoy lasting marriages, and to be sexually satisfied than their less-educated counterparts.

“The myth of the bitter, sexually unsatisfied female college graduate has never been true,” writes Coontz, and it’s less true now than ever before. In fact, she writes,

in a historic reversal of past trends…college graduates and high-earning women are now more likely to marry than women with less education and lower earnings, although they are older when they do so. Even women with PhDs no longer face a “success penalty” in their nuptial prospects. It might feel that way in their 20s, when women with advanced degrees marry at a lower rate than other women the same age. But by their 30s, women with advanced degrees catch up, marrying at a higher rate than their same-aged counterparts with less education.

Not only are highly-educated women more likely to marry, but they’re more likely to stay married. College-educated couples have the lowest divorce rates of any educational demographic. And another thing: Brains are sexy. In the 1990s, men in an ongoing University of Texas survey ranked “intelligence and education” as the fifth most desirable quality in a prospective mate, up six notches on an 18-point scale over male responses taken in 1956.

All of which makes a fine lead-in to Inkling Magazine’s She’s Such A Geek Photo Contest, a fun and admiring tribute to “geeky” women everywhere.

Inkling editor Anne Casselman will accept entries by email until midnight on February 28th. Enter a photo for your chance to win a kickin’ poster of Lady Lovelace Ada Byron, Romantic-age girl geek extraordinaire, and a crack at existing side-by-side, photographically, with brainiacs like Christy Reed, below (photo from Inkling).

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Hat Tips: Enrique and Dave