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Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying Hardcover – January 10, 2011


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Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying + The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially + Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood before Marriage, with a New Preface
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199743282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199743285
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marriage provides a fascinating and highly readable glimpse into the complicated sex lives of heterosexual young adults in the contemporary United States... Sociologists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker provide one of the most detailed and thought-provoking analyses to date of the ways that single men and women ages 18-23 pursue and negotiate sexual relationships..." --American Journal of Sociology


"A fascinating book." --Austin American Statesman


"Regnerus and Uecker have not set out to construct a new sexual ethics, and anyone who does so in public tends to take a beating. But this book, which offers a wide-ranging guide to where we are now, could occasion some thinking about where we want to be." --The New Republic


"Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker's Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About Marrying draws from statistical analysis of several surveys and qualitative interviews." --Contemporary Sociology


"The book... studies a fairly narrow age range (18-23 years)... however, this age group has fascinated scholars and the public due to their ever-changing mindset and behaviors regarding sex. Thus, the book is geared toward those interested in understanding the complex topic of sexuality among those at the beginning of young adulthood. While many Mormon youth often abstain from premarital sexual activity, Premarital Sex in America offers an inside look into the large culture that LDS youth will encounter. With this scope and complex topic in mind, the authors have certainly succeeded in providing a well-documented look at the sexual lives of young adults." --BYU Studies Quarterly


About the Author


Mark Regnerus is Associate Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies and Research Associate, Population Research Center, at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers (OUP, 2009).

Jeremy Uecker is a postdoctoral fellow with the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Customer Reviews

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Read this book and pass it on to everyone you know.
Michelle Llewellyn
The book is an important milestone marking developments in American culture on sexual relations, understanding of marriage, and more.
Christian Smith
Clearly written and well-evidenced with representational graphs.
Annie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book suggests our current culture is not supportive of lasting relationships. We have an illegitimacy rate of over 40%. Our universities are full of binge drinking and casual hookups and many young men and women complain they are "having a difficult time discerning exactly how to generate a secure relationship" (p 151) in all the chaos.

Many of the research findings are going to surprise you.

Rather surprisingly, research shows those marrying between "ages 20-27 report higher levels of marital success" (p 181) than those who marry later. And "those who marry between 22 and 25" (p 181) have an even higher rate of marital happiness.

This certainly goes against much of the current advice, which is to wait until you are 30, finish your graduate degree, achieve some success in your job, and then start looking around.

Certain trends appear, in studies, to be downright harmful to achieving later marital happiness. For example, those who cohabit before marriage are more likely to end up divorced, or never married. Or with one of those 40% of our babies whose parents never married.

Perhaps the most interesting section of the book deals with "Blue Sex" versus "Red Sex". The liberal blues believe "What matters most is you. A relationship can only augment the self.... (and) Youth shouldn't be wasted" (p 211).

On the other hand, among those who tend to fall into the "Red Sex" category, "it's quite clear that faith plays a role in shaping their sexual decision -making" (p 226) resulting in far fewer partners, and greater chances for marital happiness.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Hitchcock on June 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Sex sells. Books on sex sell. And occasionally, there can be found substance behind the skin.

In this case, Regnerus and Uecker tap into the Add Health longitudinal studies, the National Survey of Family Growth, the College Women's Survey, and the College Social Life Survey to provide current statistics on the attitudes of modern Americans, especially heterosexual young adults. The outcome is a demographic study sure to fascinate. Consider, for example:
- Among unmarried 18 to 23 year-olds, 84% have already had sex.
- Unattractive women are having about the same amount of sex as attractive women.
- High religious commitment is the best indicator for chastity until marriage, especially among men. Yet evangelical women report a greater number of sexual partners than mainline Christian women.
- For Asian men, who tend to be risk-averse and have high expectations, there is an even higher likelihood of commitment to virginity.
- Virgins report being less self-confident than non-virgins - but also happier.
- Blue-state and red-state young adults announce different mentalities about sex, but their sexual practices (such as frequency of coitus and orgasms) are functionally the same.
- Young adults have very ambivalent attitudes toward hooking up. Men, who averaged four alcoholic drinks before having anonymous sex, were likely (70%) to admit they regretted at least one hook-up.
- 18.1% of women aged 18-23 reported some same-sex attraction, while only 1% identified as lesbian.
- Young men report that 36% of their relationships become sexual within two weeks. Young women report 22%.
- Age matters.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Llewellyn on October 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a copy/paste from my Goodreads.com review. Please see some of my other reviews too!
Five stars. That's rare for me. Nevertheless, I simply could not put this book down. It's a heavy read. It's full of hard, undeniable facts we've all known about but no one wants to admit. It leaves nothing out. It introduces lots of new vocabulary about sex in America such as sexual economics theory, sexual scripts, and the changing attitudes of oral vs. vaginal. The statistic tables are hard to read but easy to skip over and the authors are kind enough to include the same demographical findings of the sexual behavior and history of young American adults in the text.

Everyone can find themselves somewhere in this book. I did, on p.65, in the section about double standards (Utah has a Mormon "double standard" too when it comes so sex) and the losers like me who set such a high price for sex that I miss out on all the fun of cohabitation while watching as the pool of available men shrinks before my eyes. Indeed, I've been observing that shrinking pool since high school where the imbalanced sex ratio between males and females condemned me from the very start and my dreams of a temple marriage never came to fruition. The authors conclude that pornography is entirely to blame and I'm in 100% agreement.

This book gave me some validation as to why, until Sheri Dew dies, I'm destined to be the oldest living virgin in Utah! Read this book and pass it on to everyone you know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Annie on March 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book detailing today's sex and relationship landscape. Clearly written and well-evidenced with representational graphs. Good conclusion debunking myths and reinforcing truths.
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