Thursday, February 10, 2011

Premarital Sex 4: Drinking

Regnerus and Uecker found a pretty straightforward connection between drinking and casual sex:

“One in three women who drink almost every day reports having had sex with someone the first time they met, a number even higher than their male counterparts (at 29 percent).” (91)

“drinking does have a strong, linear, and enduring connection to the formation of casual sexual relationships: the more alcohol, the greater the likelihood of sex.” (280, n. 11)

Their research shows that young women who were sexually abused or strongly pressured into sex in high school or younger are more prone to casual sex or to sex at the beginning of what they hope will be a relationship. We know from other research that fatherless girls are more likely to turn to sex earlier and with older men.

A running theme of Premarital Sex in America is that emerging adults follow a small number of standard "scripts" about sex that shape what they think is normal. I think that some young women follow a script that says that casual sex is a quick way to get men to pay attention to them (which is true). But they also experience that casual sex and broken relationships hurt them, even if they try to tell themselves that it shouldn't.

Putting these facts together, I think young women who follow the casual sex script, even though it hurts them, use alcohol to self-medicate against the pain that their script - their lives - are causing them. Drunkenness provides a socially understandable excuse and fuzzes their memory of what happened.

1 comment:

Lekhak ( said...

One thing rests on the other and makes the tower of our civilization. Good stable adults have to have a good stable childhood. A good stable childhood does not come about in a broken family. A broken family often results from infidelity or selfishness (my bank account - your bank account). Separate finances result from the constant threat of 'split'. Pre-marital sex often predisposes people to have affairs even after getting married. And then the whole cycle repeats - broken family, rebellious and unhappy children who have pre-marital sex themselves and have a lousy family life of their own... And then it becomes a culture when all such individuals live in a society.

It takes a village to make it go the other way. It takes a village full of people who themselves aren't in this rut. And it takes help from Society - that does not free up parents from the treadmill of work (as they were before WWII) to do parenting. Women's lib was good - only if industry did not jack up prices and make the income of two the norm of a median income family.