Sunday, July 18, 2010

Do cohabitors have more fun?

I've heard people claim that cohabitation is superior to marriage because life with a girlfriend or boyfriend is more romantic and exciting than life with a spouse. If this is true, then I would expect cohabiting couples to have sex more frequently than married people. 

The MIDUS Study asked people about their relationship status--cohabiting, married, etc.--and also asked about frequency of sex. Answers ranged from "two or more times a week" (6) to never (1).  Age matters so I limited the sample to people in their 30s. The mean for 250 married people is 4.58; it's 4.30 for the 20 cohabitors. The difference is not statistically significant, but keep in mind that married people tend to have the disadvantage of more years together.

7 comments:

Jason Malloy said...

The National Health and Social Life Survey (the first and largest representative sexual survey in the United States) found that cohabitating couples had significantly more sex than married couples.

nazgulnarsil said...

more fun for the male. he gets the benefits of a wife with no long term commitment in a depreciating asset. women waste their best husband seeking years shacking up with a guy and wind up with nothing.

Black Sea said...

I'd better that married people are more likely to have kids, and that would have to be taken into consideration.

Black Sea said...

"I'd bet . . . "

Ron Guhname said...

Jason: Did they adjust for age and length of relationship?

Jason Malloy said...

They adjusted for age (The data was discussed in a book called the Social Organization of Sexuality). I don't think length of relationship affects sexual frequency outside of age.

Nevertheless, married people, IIRC, say they have much more satisfying sex.

Jason Malloy said...

There are a number of reasons to expect cohabiting couples to have more sex than married couples (Even aside from typical explanations like age and extra domestic distractions, like child care).

One is that people who choose less committed relationship types are inherently more invested in mating effort. That is less monogamous people have higher sex drives.