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65 of 75 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 23, 2011
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.

Study after study has shown that women with higher numbers of sexual partners, or those who began having sex at an earlier age, frequently suffer from depression or other emotional problems. In fact, after the sexual revolution and the feminist tidal wave of the seventies, increasing numbers of women are looking back on what's happened with regret, not happiness.

One very interesting fact: one of the most influential statistics about marriage in the US, the one mentioned many times by young adults, is wrong--or at least misunderstood. That would be the old chestnut that 50% of all marriages here end in divorce.

In truth, some people marry and divorce again and again. But those who marry for the first time have a much, much greater chance of remaining married.

Some other good books on the subject include "The State of Our Unions 2010" which presents statistics showing marriage is disappearing among the poor in America, "Marriage and Cast in America" which also presents evidence on the subject, "Fatherless America", which talks about the research proving children raised in single parents households are harmed, and "The Abolition of Marriage", which has the best in-depth research on marriage, divorce, children, and single parenting.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2013
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. Public opinion is widely negative toward consenting 16 year-olds having sex, but widely positive toward consenting 18 year-olds having sex. And while women express openness to dating younger men, only 4% of them said they were in a relationship with a man younger by two years or more.

Readers looking for broad conclusions or broad solutions will find themselves disappointed. Regnerus and Uecker avoid grand claims in order to tell a believable story about American mores and the persons behind them. Interviews provide up-close pictures to fill in the demographic panorama. The result? Premarital Sex in America will change your mind about something, if only because you won't be able to stop thinking about the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2014
Sometimes it helps to leave nothing to the imagination. This book certainly doesn't do that, but in the case of this type of research, truth and clarity is helpful for those of us superficially connected with emerging adults. This book fills in the gap that other books (i.e. "Souls in Transition," Smith) skim over when reporting research on this age group. Hopefully, a longitudinal study will be done showing the impact of the lifestyle choices of emerging adults in their adulthood.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
This is a copy/paste from my 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
on March 31, 2014
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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on June 9, 2015
I only wish I read this book sooner! I picked it up because it was cited frequently in Wendy Walsh's 30-Day Love Detox, and although many may criticize the book for its conservative tone, it's a soothing tonic to the sex-obsessed media that infiltrates our mind. From personal experience, I agree wholeheartedly that the hookup culture is hurting both women and men severely, but possibly women more. This book takes the emotions out of sex, puts it in plain terms like the "sexual economy", and gives it to you straight. Ironically, I think these are things I always knew intuitively but consistently second-guessed due to media and peers. Thanks for the education!
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on August 2, 2015
If you're listening to your history professors and you read your history books, you should've the idea that the primitive society has no ritual or norms when it comes to sexual engagements. Moreover, this book is a perfect representation of the contradictions present in a democratic society. the clashing ideas of freedom and rights. not a good read though.
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on June 9, 2015
In a sexually confused and chaotic cultural climate such as ours, this book provides some desperately needed clarity...both about what our current situation is and why it isn't working. This ought to be mandatory reading for emerging adults, and highly recommended for everyone else.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2011
This is a must-read book for anyone interested in the topic. Regnerus and Uecker have mastered their material, draw upon a number of reliable data sources, and present their findings and interpretations interestingly. The book is an important milestone marking developments in American culture on sexual relations, understanding of marriage, and more.
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on November 7, 2014
Good gift for the therapist friend or relative
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