Given that young men and women are expected to delay marriage until their mid- to late-20s in lieu of college and career, it shouldn’t be surprising that more of them seek meaningless short-term sexual relationships with partners known colloquially as “fuck-buddies,” as explained in this story by Laura Sessions Stepp.
But the Bowling Green State research study the story takes as its launching point tells us good news about girls:
The Bowling Green researchers were surprised by how secure girls were about their relationships. Girls expressed significantly more confidence than guys that they could refuse a date, for example, or break up with someone they no longer wanted to go out with, or control what a couple did together.
Girls’ sexual confidence shows up in surveys. In the Toledo research, girls were more likely than guys to say they decided how far a couple would go. In a nationwide study soon to be released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, young women ages 15 to 24 were less likely than young men to report feeling pressured to engage in intercourse.
The average age girls go all the way the first time? It’s the same as it is for boys, 16 1/2, according to a separate release from Kaiser. In addition, more young people are turning to oral sex as an alternative to intercourse because it’s safer and carries less risk of pregnancy. While oral sex isn’t fool-proof, that young people are finding ways to have fun sexually in a relatively smart way should be reassuring, not a harbinger of the decline of civilization.
Teen-age pregnancies and abortions are at 10-year lows and HIV has not struck American youth in the catastrophic way it’s torn apart sub-Saharan Africa. The only sad thing is that so many young men and women have decided that careers take precedence over romance. They know that any romantic attachment is bound to be broken once they graduate and move on with their careers.
It shows maturity in the sense that they’re not foolishly jumping into marriages that won’t last. But those years of loneliness must be tough. Even the sex must reinforce that emptiness after a time.