Friday, April 09, 2010

Premarital Sex is the Norm - on the Way to Marital Sex

Here is an interesting statistic:

  • 94: Percentage of women who have premarital sex today
  • 93: Percentage who did the deed without wedding bands 30 years ago
In fact, the vast majority of women and men have had sex before marriage for much longer than that. The difference is that when women had premarital sex in the past it was normally with her soon-to-be husband. Today there is a less certain connection between sex and marriage.

A wise teacher of mine, E. Digby Baltzell, said that he thought premarital sex was OK with the person you were going to marry. Of course, there is a risk that you could be wrong about the future, a risk that is greater for women. I think that immediately premarital sex is a different category, morally and practically, from not-even-thinking-about-marital sex. To see the trends in those two kinds of nonmarital sex we need to ask different questions.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Marriage is an Achievement of Civilization, not Nature

Robert Wright, in a blog on why it is worth talking about Tiger Woods' marriage that I otherwise agree with, makes this puzzling point.

So we’re stuck with this unfortunate irony: the institution that seems to be, on average, the least bad means of rearing children is an institution that doesn’t naturally sustain itself in the absence of moral sanction — positive sanction for fidelity, negative sanction for infidelity.

I don't think this is ironic, because I don't think marriage is a bond made primarily by our biological nature. Instead, I think the mother-child bond is natural. The mother-father bond, and therefore the father-child bond, is a great achievement of culture. Indeed, I think marriage and fatherhood are the fundamental civilizational institutions.

And civilizational achievements, like marriage, are made of moral sanctions.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Class Gap in Breastfeeding

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a new study on who breastfeeds.

Mom has high school diploma or GED:
starts breastfeeding 65.2%;
still at it at 1 year 19.9%

Mom has college degree:
starts breastfeeding 85.4%;
still at it at 1 year 28.6%

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

South Korean Sex Ratio Straightening Out

One of the world's great tragedies is the massive rate of aborting girls in Asia. Since it became easy to tell the sex of an embryo most Asian countries have seen a huge rise in sex-selection abortions aimed at killing girls and producing only boys. In some provinces in China the normal male/female ratio at birth of 103/100 has been pushed up to 120/100.

The good news is that in South Korea, after a binge of girl abortion in the 1990s, the boy/girl birth ratio is trending back to normal. Laws against sex-selection abortions are better enforced there than before, and better than they are elsewhere in Asia. More importantly, there seems to be a change in culture that values girls and boys more equally. There also appears to be less acceptance of abortion in general.

[This table is from an analysis by Christophe Guilmoto]

South Korea is the most Christian country in Asia, after the Philippines, and is the most Protestant country in Asia by a good way. I believe the Christianization of South Korea has contributed to its standout movement away from "gendercide," just as Christianization contributed to that nation's notable transition to democracy.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Traditional By Choice

I have often thought that would make a great bumper-sticker. In fact, if I ever launch my long-imagined aphorism business, that is what I would call it.

I am the product of the free-est to choose nation, generation, class, race, and sex that has ever existed. What I choose is mostly traditional, because I have come to see the wisdom of the traditions and the communities that live them.

Too much choice can be debilitating. If you try to live by keeping all your choices open, you can never actually live. And people who choose to live according to structured traditions in mutually accountable communities are the happiest.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

(that is all)

(that is enough)