Disclaimer: When I make a post like this, a certain percentage of readers assume that I love the repressive, conservative 1950s where everyone voted Republican and women were held down by their male masters. No.
I believe the 40s and 50s would have been a horrible time to live, for men and women both, even without World War Two. I very much doubt I would be able to have the lifestyle I now enjoy, personally, financially and sexually, if I lived in the 1950s. Even with the severe problems of the modern era that I often complain about, I’d happily take 2011 over 1952 any day. Disclaimer over.
I’ve read these findings in other places before, but Ray Kurzweil in his book Transcend, which has nothing to do with marriage or relationships (it’s book on longevity), sums it up well:
…yet the frequency of sexual intercourse among married couples has fallen in recent years. When Alfred Kinsey preformed his studies on married couples in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the average frequency of intercourse was twice a week. Social scientist Morton Hunt found that it had increased to approximately 3.25 times weekly by the end of the mid-1970s, which he felt was due to societal changes related to the availability of the birth control pill and the sexual revolution. More recent studies, however, have found that the frequency has fallen and now averages less than twice weekly…
Like I’m at all surprised.
It’s worse than it sounds. “Less than twice weekly” is a very nicey-nice, politically correct and safe way of saying “around once or twice a month”. Even that does not take into account the huge but temporary spike of sexual activity in a newly married couple. (I love people who brag about how much sex they’re getting after they’ve only been married five months. Uh yeah, wait three more years then let me know how much you’re getting.) Remove that from the averages, and the stats get even worse.
I get why people were fucking more in the 1970s. Duh. Sexual freedom and a lack of ASD is one of the few things about the 70s I like. (The problem is just about everything else in the 70s sucked.)
Why then are married couples having less sex now than in the repressive, ultraconservative 40s and 50s? My theories:
1. Feminism had not yet happened. Back then, most women, not all, but most, actually liked being dominated by their Alpha husbands to some degree, keeping attraction strong and wildly improving the sexual experience, even in those married couples that had been together quite a while. Today in a post-feminist world the issue of women being dominated by men and liking it has become…muddled, to say the least.
2. Somewhat the reverse, men were more masculine back then. Beta males were few, Alphas were commonplace. Alpha behavior was not only celebrated, it was expected. Today? No. Also, sexual substitutes, like jerking off to porn (internet or otherwise) were far less prevalent back in those days. I strongly suspect men had higher testosterone levels back then. More testosterone and more Alpha behaviors means 1) higher male sex drives, 2) more men brave enough to confidently sexually escalate more often (instead of being scared of making the little wife mad), and 3) better sexual performance and thus enhanced enjoyment for men and the women they fucked.
3. Cheating was more stigmatized back then than now. Less cheating means more sex within a marriage, unless you’re talking about two low-sex-drive people. Also, though men have always cheated on wives throughout history, I have a strong feeling that women back then didn’t cheat nearly as much as today. I have read several studies that show cheating rates for married women working outside the home are much higher (as in double and triple) than those for stay-at-home married moms. Back in the 1940s-50s, almost all married women were stay-at-home wives. Now the opposite is true.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. TMM (traditional monogamous marriage) was fine many decades ago when the world was a very different place. Today it’s a ridiculous thing to do unless both man and woman are very boring, low-sex-drive people. A long term live-in OLTR or OLTR marriage is a far superior option.
Side Note: I just can’t resist. This is a quote from another book I just finished, one of R.A. Salvatore’s less juvenile fantasy novels, Road of the Patriarch. The scene is a king and queen arguing with each other.
It was such a coy little game, she thought, this relationship called marriage. They both knew the issue at hand, but they would dance around it for hours, even days, rather than face the volatility head on.
Even fucking fantasy authors know what traditional marriage is. Yeah, sounds GREAT. Sign me up for that!