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Premarital Sex in AmericaHow Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying$
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Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199743285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199743285.001.0001

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No Strings Attached?

No Strings Attached?

Sex and Emotional Health

(p.135) Five No Strings Attached?
Premarital Sex in America

Mark Regnerus (Contributor Webpage)

Jeremy Uecker

Oxford University Press

This chapter delves into how young Americans emotionally experience their sexual relationships and activity patterns. Men and women report very different levels of emotional connectivity over sex, both on surveys and in person. We explore here the emotions to sex, and note how different sexual traits — like the frequency of intercourse and partner cycling — differentially affect young women’s emotional health. Women and men often want different things from their relationships, and often get different things. Some types of sexual relationship tend to make people more contented and secure, and some do not. It is sexual security that the data point to as most valuable and valued by women. Toward that end, many young women spend considerable time “managing their hearts,” making effort to like the sorts of relationships they’re in, even when what they describe is destructive, one-sided, or clearly unfulfilling. Among women, virgins and those in stable relationships fare best emotionally.

Keywords:   emotional struggle, guilt, sexual decisions, sex differences, emotional connectivity

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