Previously, I've looked at the relationship between the number of sexual partners a man accumulates over time and the number of children he has. It's clear that men with fewer partners (but at least one, obviously) are the most procreatively successful. I'm not a big fan of the conceptualized alpha-beta dichotomy, but when it comes to reproduction, the betas are coming out on top. I've also attempted to measure alpha traits by race, finding a far higher percentage of alpha traits among black men than among white or Hispanic men, and have shown that men who say they would suffer in the place of their lovers (surely a beta move) have more children than men who say they would not (why suffer for a girl when I can just as easily find another one?)
It is in that spirit that I wondered what could be gleaned from the data regarding male sexual activity over time in the US. Unfortunately, the relevant GSS items only extend back to 1989, so the timeline here just covers the last couple of decades. Still, if the social narrative insinuated by Roissy and other PUAs--that the sexual coliseum is increasingly becoming a winner-take-all arena where the guys at the top continue to get more and more while those at the bottom are deprived of the little they used to have--is proceeding apace, it would presumably be quantitatively detectable. Seems to me that is evolutionary history, something that humanity is leaving behind alongside our hunter and gatherer past.
The following graph shows the percentage of all men aged 21-45 by the number of different partners they've had through the course of their adult lives. It's a bit difficult to decipher at first blush, but the ranges are mutually exclusive so that in each year the total percentage of all men falling into one of the six categories based on number of partners comes to 100:
What stands out is how, excepting the expected random bouncing around from year to year, the percentages have been quite stable over the last two decades. A plurality of men fall in the 2-5 partner range, safely assumed to be beta territory. The 20+ category did hop up quite a bit in 2008 from 2006, which could conceivably be the first signs of a trend that is currently spreading across the country, but everything else presented in the graph is steady state. The virgin portion of the population is not growing.
The next graph shows the frequency with which men aged 21-45 have had sex over time.
Again, steady as she goes is the story here. Men report having virtually the same amount of sex at virtually the same frequencies today as the men who preceded them did two decades ago.
To the anticipated objection that the graphical measures include married men, it seems to me that they necessarily should. If changes in sexual activity are detectably changing in the US, that said changes are confined only to the quarter of the population that hasn't yet (or ever will become) married, and those shifts are offset entirely by married men moving in the other direction, no real change is occuring. Tracking only unmarried men presents another problem as well--men in long-term relationships are presumably closer to married men in their sexual behavior than they are to single men.
GSS variables used: SEXFREQ(1)(2)(3-4)(5)(6-7), NUMWOMEN(0)(1)(2-5)(6-10)(11-19)(20-250), AGE(21-45), SEX(1)