Friday, March 23, 2012

Sexual History Divorce Risk II: Addendum

I just wanted to put up some more data from the previously mentioned Scientific paper in response to a comment by TDOM.
There may be other factors than attractiveness involved in why older women have fewer partners. They may be busy putting working in order to put children through college, or just taking care of children may scare the men away, they may find men their age less attractive, or perhaps their sex drive declines, menopause, or their marriage may have put them off men. But being less attractive does sound good as an explanation.



The first thing that we notice from the data is that having children at home seems to only marginally decrease the odds of having two or more partners in the last twelve months. Secondly, compared to the never married, we notice that divorcee's are over twice as likely to be riding the carousel, and more than five times more likely than the cohabiting; divorcee's seem sexually willing.

What we also see is a drop off in the partner count as women get older.  Now, it's true that this may be due to female factors independent of attractiveness, and I imagine dating burnout is a factor, but menopause is not an issue, since most women enter menopause in their late 40's and the data suggests that child caring is only a small component of this decline.

But the common lament amongst the femmentariat is that men don't want to commit, or in other words, there are suitable males who want women for sex but not marriage. This implies that women are pursuing men with the "if I give him sex he will marry me" strategy. Therefore, it is not female choosiness that is limiting sexual activity but male choice.

I imagine that there are two factors at play. Firstly, amongst the pool of men that are unmarried, they can be divided into the sexually attractive and unattractive. Secondly, as the sexually unattractive males are "invisible" to women seeking a mate, this means that divorcee's must compete with remaining pool of attractive males. The relative scarcity of attractive men and the surfeit of divorced women mean that it is men who exercise mating choice. The older women are getting less hit upon.

What I find most interesting however is the data listing the odds of having five or more partners by age group. Most of the women who've clocked up five or more notches have done it by their late 20's. Does having so many when they are young destroy some ability to bond. We all know that the children from divorcees have a higher divorce rate, but perhaps promiscuity, too, somehow destroys the commitment capability.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Promiscuity and commitment:

Isn't this very connection one of the most common practical (rather than "god said so") reasons that traditionalists give to people when they tell them not to be promiscuous?

It's very easy to see how this would work. Once someone has bonded with another through sex and then broken that bond, it gets easier and easier to break the future bonds. Just like it gets easier and easier to cross any other moral/behavioral prohibition with continual transgressions.

There's probably something to the idea that two become one flesh and cannot be broken asunder.

TDOM said...

Good to see that you addressed the issue. I have no doubt that attractiveness is a factor and while you may rule out some of the factors I mentioned, there really isn't anything in the study that supports it. It would be a great suggestion for further research.

For instance, you rule out children as a factor and the stats suggest there is no significant correlation (p = .1481 > .05). However, there is no breakdown as to age of the children. You mention elsewhere that the probability of a divorced woman remarrying is 54%. It may be that younger women with children are using sex to lure men into marriage while older women are not and as a result have fewer partners.

Younger women may have younger children and feel a greater need for a man to help support them while older women having older children and who are further advanced in their careers may feel less of a need.

I do like your idea of male choice playing a part. Males certainly do have choice in who they pursue as sexual partners, even though females are the gatekeepers (for the most part, there are exceptions). Certainly, men aren't going to pursue women they do not find attractive. However, despite your position, most women will find potential partners making themselves available for sex. It's there if they want it. In other words they are still exercising female choice, even if it is from a more limited pool of males.

It's hard to say from this particular study. I'd love to see one that addressed these issues.

TDOM

Sandor said...

Not sure where you stand on human evolution, but John Phillipe Rushton's little green book gives a plausible reason why men/women who evolved in colder climates formed bonds (for survival reasons), as opposed to those in tropical climates, where men were not required to provide sustenance. The desire for a chaste woman in a European-derived man may be genetic at this point. I recall a presentation showing that the number of heritable characteristics of humans has increased at an exponential rate in the last 20K years.

Why does every orthodox religion, and records of early euro tribal behavior, such as early German tribes (Tacitus' Germania), all promote / enforce chastity? Too bad we have to relearn it all via the scientific method. Let's see what Mr. Spengler has to say:
"Modern man rejects everything he does not understand, and destroys with an epigram institutions reared by the inarticulate wisdom of the centuries."

samseau said...

"I have no doubt that attractiveness is a factor and while you may rule out some of the factors I mentioned, there really isn't anything in the study that supports it."

What are you talking about? There's a direct correlation between age and partner count.

"Certainly, men aren't going to pursue women they do not find attractive. However, despite your position, most women will find potential partners making themselves available for sex. It's there if they want it. In other words they are still exercising female choice, even if it is from a more limited pool of males."

And that limited pool of males is so pathetic most old women choose not to have sex.

Ariel Eckblad said...

Well, I have got the best information from here the site is fully stuffed with the knowledgeable information. Wampler & Souder LLC