The marriage rate in America has been in decline for many years. Consider that in the year 2000, married 25-to-34-year-olds outnumbered their never married peers (55% to 34%). By 2015, however, those percentages were almost reversed (40% to 53%). Young people are not getting married for a variety of reasons.
Many economists argue that men are avoiding marriage because they have lower wages and want to increase their income before asking a woman to marry them. But the latest research shows that even where wages have increased dramatically, we see no appreciable change in marriage rates.
Another theory is that men are fearful of commitment. Obviously, there is some truth to that. But again, we can find surveys that show that men plan to get married but are content to postpone marriage. The median age of marriage for American men is now approaching 30.
Sociology professor Mark Regnerus (University of Texas) has published research that explains why men are postponing marriage. It can be summarized in two words: cheap sex. “As compared to the past, many women today expect little in return for sex, in terms of time, attention, commitment or fidelity. Men, in turn, do not feel compelled to supply these goods as they once did.
He also adds one other explanation: pornography. “Online porn has made sexual experience more widely and easily available too. A laptop never says no, and for many men, virtual women are now genuine competition for real partners.”
When many of us were growing up, we sometimes heard our mothers or grandmothers warn young girls about giving themselves away. They asked: “Why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?” This recent study confirms what they were telling their daughters years ago.