Sunday, March 13, 2011

Girls more virginal than they've been in at least a generation

Randall Parker points to coverage in the Washington Post of the CDC's "gold standard" study of sexual behavior among young adults shows that promiscuity continued its decline through the 2000s. The trend has been one of consistent decline for more than two decades now. RP suggests some potential reasons for the steady descent:
  • Sucked into virtual worlds. Teens spend less time physically with others.
  • Pressure to study.
  • More structured time. Less time free.
  • Less physically attractive kids due to rising obesity.
  • Lower male sex drive due to rising obesity's effect of lowering testosterone.
The first three seem plausible enough, at least on the margins, though anyone who has spent anytime in the virtual world knows that the teenage guys there certainly talk the BAMF player talk. Claims of fellatio while gaming, ubiquitous use of the verbs "raping" and "raped" as synonyms for "winning" and "lost", etc dispel any notion that the contemporary generation of pubescent boys aren't constantly thinking about sex.

The latter two also seem true, but while that may be a limiting factor on the boys' side of the equation, even at a young age girls have primarily control access, and chubbier girls put out more easily and often (the GSS reveals the same). So I'd expect to controlling access to be moving a bit closer to parity (though with major dimorphic differences still remaining), but wouldn't assume the net effect is less overall sexual desire.

This strikes me as yet more empirical evidence refuting the Game narrative that in today's man-hating world, women are looser than they've ever been before. Time and time again, the data contradict that narrative. It's worth considering others that are more empirically grounded.

As someone who actually spends a significant amount of time with girls in their late teens and early twenties due to personal preference, this meshes with my own personal experiences. It always takes me several months of contact to really get intimate with a hot girl at that age. Part of it may be the inherent caution in getting involved with someone nearly ten years older than themselves, but even reflecting back on when I was a teenager, it feels like there is more resistance now than there was then (and my game has definitely improved since then!).


Shawn said...

Thought experiment: All women are fat. Under such a scenario, I would expect fat women would put out less than they do now.

Next scenario. All women are skinny. I would expect that women would put out more than they do now, and actually more than the above scenario (because healthy women have a higher libido).

Under a realistic scenario, with our current proportions of fat mud turtles to skinny girls, mud turtles simply put out sooner because guys won't put much investment in them in order to get sex, i.e. they won't spend a lot of time trying to get it, nor will they stick around for long, so they need to find new guys.

Shawn said...

Am I the only one that feels that all these costly social research efforts merely produce results that a somewhat intelligent person can figure out on his or her own with a blend of common sense and life experience?

Jokah Macpherson said...

I'm leaning towards explanations one and three, especially considering the fact that communication these days allows parents to track their teenage children everywhere, not to mention that their peers can be just as nosy. It's hard to imagine in 2011 a scene like in Adventureland where Ryan Reynolds' and Kristen Stewart's characters are doing it the whole summer and no one knows about it.

I'm glad your game approves of you, though.

Audacious Epigone said...


It is staggering to think about the amount of research and running around in circles that society engages in, collectively, because of the blank slatist assumption that a person is a person is a person, and that's that.


Hah, whenever I make a typo and someone points it out, they end up looking like the fool because I fix it and then no one has any idea what that someone was referring to (unless I point it out, as I'm doing now...)

Dahlia said...

Your first link is going to one of Randall's posts about savings.

Anyway, yours and Agnostic's thoughts on why their reality is so skewed would be interesting.

I'll put out there two causes (of many). First, within the "sexual marketplace" are two markets: the promiscuous/fornicating/unattached one and the marriage one.
The former has many more men than women while the latter has more women. Men and women in the first group want unattached sex with hotties and not wives or "providers".

Being at the bottom in this meat market, a place where no woman ends up, causes many men to see women as evil as in Jim Morrison's famous words, "Women seem wicked when you're unwanted."

It doesn't matter that the majority of women eschewed this market in the first place and that one quarter of American women will have only one sexual partner, her husband, in her life. They are in the marriage market and thus are invisible to the gamers.

Another thing. Show me a man who wants to sow his wild oats and then get a virgin/virginal wife, and I'll show you a man who will end up casting his eyes upon foreigners after attempting to settle down and find a wife all the while lamenting the awfulness of his own women.
Virgin women take themselves out of this kind of man's pool of prospects so that he's left with his female counterparts. Despising them, he goes browner.
This is a third world morality that eschews the Western, Romeo and Juliet, romantic ideal that prizes falling head over heals in love with a soul mate, a partner for life, best friend. In Western relationships, the man and woman resemble each other in looks, intelligence, etc. in the same way that our platonic best friends tend to resemble ourselves. Western husbands and wives even have similar sexual histories. In short, Western women, for better or worse, choose to marry men like themselves.

OneSTDV said...

Am I the only one that feels that all these costly social research efforts merely produce results that a somewhat intelligent person can figure out on his or her own with a blend of common sense and life experience?


Ron Guhname said...

They really shouldn't lump teens in with those in their early 20s. Many adolescents are virgins, but not many twenty-somethings.

Anonymous said...

Young people spend a lot more time on Facebook, playing video and computer games, instant messaging, talking on the cell phone, watching television (way more channels and movies now than before), and pursuing other venues of electronic entertainment.

That dissuades them from hanging out, going out to parties, and meeting new people - leading to less sex.

I have noticed that the number of kids, both young and teens/early 20s, that hang out downtown after school has plummeted in the last decade or so. When I drive through my residential area late at night, I hardly ever see house parties happening. Heck, even when I pass by the local U late at night on the weekends, I'm struck by just how few kids are hitting up the frat parties. Where are the kids these days? I think at home texting and Facebooking.

I agree with you that it takes a few months of getting to know a girl (ie hanging out, texting, building trust and friendship) before she'll get intimate with you. Contrary to stereotype, girls hardly ever give it up to random guys they don't know at the clubs or bars. More commonly, they hook up with close guy friends or former BFs. However, if a girl gives up dating and socializing so she can update her MySpace profile more often, it suddenly makes it that much harder for the average guy to score. So even if the typical guy wants it as much as ever, he's more limited in his options.

Syncretism said...

I wonder how much of an effect internet porn has had on the number of teens seeking real sex.

Shawn said...

"I wonder how much of an effect internet porn has had on the number of teens seeking real sex"

Excellent point. Personally I find pitiful masturbation to streaming porn far more fulfilling than banging mud turtles. Without access to porn though, the mud turtles might develop some sort of allure until release.

Audacious Epigone said...


Fixed it, thanks.

There is an inherent difficulty in grouping people with different desires together. There is even some percentage of women who are simply uninterested in sex, despite being other than repulsive. But the Game presumption is of conscious choice being overridden basically by instinct (instinct that is said to be easily triggered by faux stimuli), so it seems to disregard what you write.


Yes, many smoking hot high school girls are agreeable yet also physically guarded, mostly because of natural insecurities, which are beaten back by attrition, as the cumulative effect of being hit on and groveled to take their toll.


All very reasonable, though it's of course tough to quantify.

Syncretism and Shawn,

Good point. I've often wondered if at some point sexual access really will reach sex parity, or even shift to the point where men become the gatekeepers. What could conceivably cause this? Sex with robots. Freely accessibly porn is a small but significant step in this direction, it could be argued.

Stopped Clock said...

Online games are almost all-male, so theyre likely not really thinking about women. If a woman joins an Internet game many of the make players will tense up and hope she logs off so they can go back to making jokes about rape.

Also, why not list the increased prevlance of sex education as a factor? Even though AIDS was at its peak in the 90s, the sex education hadn't really gotten much different than it was in the 70s or 80s. Now abstinence is a big part of the advice you hear in most sex ed classes.

Stopped Clock said...

*male, sorry, not make. I dont log in most of the time nowadays.

IHTG said...

Online games are almost all-male, so theyre likely not really thinking about women.

Online games is not just WoW. Farmville. Bejeweled.

K(yle) said...

I'm not sure that the Game narrative is that women are looser per se. The environment for seduction is ripe, which isn't the same thing. It's easier to have casual sex. It would be hard to claim that the past couple of decades haven't produced a more relaxed and less puritanical view of sex across society.

I also am dubious of the claims of no, or low sexual activity among teenage girls, or even women in their early 20s. I've known plenty of women who have no icentive to lie do so about their sexual history. Lots of cases of 'doesn't count' sex. Where sex actually occurs but doesn't actually increase the notch count for some bizarre hampster mathematics I don't know.

I'd also like to know how demographics were controlled for.

David said...

Trusting women about their virginity = lol

Audacious Epigone said...


The survey methods have been repeated over time. Are girls more likely to lie about how sexually active they are today than they were ten or twenty years ago? Doubtful. If anything, we'd expect the opposite to be the case.