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November 23, 2017

Rewriting the Rules of Marriage — The Millennial Script

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Every week I receive inquiries from reporters asking if monogamy and marriage are relics of the past. My answer? Of course not. Compared to most of human history, we’re likely more monogamous now than we’ve ever been. But for the first time in modern history, we’re talking about what monogamy means and redefining marriage with the understanding that one-size does not fit all. Today I joined Jeff McArthur to discuss the ways in which millennials are rewriting the rules of marriage.

1. How has our approach to sex changed over time?

  • Our support for premarital sex has increased. In the 70s only 29% of American adults classified premarital sex as “not wrong at all”. In the 80s, it increased to 42% and between 2010 and 2012, the number reached 58%.
  • The age of first intercourse has remained relatively stable, but more Millenials seem to be waiting.

2. What about technology?

  • More couples are meeting online — some data suggests it’s as high as 1/3 of relationships.
  • Research suggests that meeting online may be positively correlated with lower separating rates and higher satisfaction rates. One 2012 study looked at 19,000 people who married between 2005 and 2012 came to the same conclusion. It was, however, conducted by eHarmony, but overseen by independent researchers.

3. What about marriage?

  • They’re more likely to cohabitant before or in lieu of marriage.
  • They’re waiting longer to get married.
  • They’re more open to interfaith and interracial marriage. 85% of millennials say they’re open to marrying someone of any race versus 73% of 30-49 years olds and 55% of 50-64 year olds who say the same thing.

4. Are they as monogamous?

  • According to infidelity data, older Americans over the of 55 are more likely to have extramarital sex than those in their 20s and 30s; the highest rate of reported infidelity is reported by those born between 1940 and 1959.

5. And what about gender roles?

  • Millenials are more open to egalitarian relationships, but they still have trouble putting them in to practice once they start families.