Monogamy On The Rise

The chat above between Dan and Ross is really priceless. The body language alone is revealing. Again, it occurs to me that Dan is actually dealing with the real world where Ross is grappling with an ideal world. To my mind, conservatism deals with reality, not abstractions or doctrines. Speaking of which, despite our best efforts, gays still haven't ruined marriage. Au contraire:

Twenty-eight percent of straight men in 1975 had sex with a woman outside of their marriage, but in 2000, it was only 10 percent. For straight, married women, the rate dropped from 23 percent to 14 percent. For gay men, 83 percent to 59 percent, and for lesbians, 28 percent to 8 percent.

It's important to note that the latest survey only contained 782 respondents, while the original contained 6,082. When you only have 700 in the study, the number of gays is going to be very small. But the pattern rings true to me. Straight men lie – do we really believe their fidelity is greater than their wives'? Lesbians exert exactly the same influence as straight women in marriage – the monogamy rates are very similar, even though lesbians get a technical first place in the monogamy department. Gay men, being men, are the most likely to "cheat" but, being men, cheating is not always understood as a deal-breaker for a committed relationship.

But what's more interesting is the trend through time. Even with the caution over the stats, how do you explain such steep drops in non-monogamy among gay couples without noting the impact of marriage, which has uniquely driven gay culture these past two decades? None of the couples involved is in a civil marriage, but even among those just cohabiting or in civil unions, the cultural shift has had an impact. So why shouldn't "social conservatives" not support this reform, rather than treating it as a litmus test for Satanism? If we saw infidelity drops like these among, say, African-Americans, would not conservatives cheer? Amanda Marcotte has another theory:

Monogamy rates are probably rising, hard as it may seem to believe, because of sexual liberation. People are cheating less because people are less desperate and unsatisfied. Nowadays you're expected and even encouraged to delay marriage and childbirth and spend your youth experimenting both sexually and in relationships, and so now people who make commitments have both gotten some of the curiosity out of their systems, and they have a better idea of what will make them happy when they do settle down.

That gets it about right. Then this:

Roisman says his research about relationship satisfaction, relationship quality and commitment among same-sex and opposite-sex couples published in 2008 and 2009 found that past perceptions about same-sex couples are "not always aligned with the reality." "What we found surprised some — that they had relationships of about the same quality" as heterosexual couples, he says.

Imagine that. Gays are human beings, who need to love and be loved. What a concept.