Dalrock has another post up which touches on the issue of delaying marriage. Now, whenever this topic comes up, someone claims that it’s really men who are delaying marriage. This is both true and completely irrelevant and misleading.
The truth is, men have always delayed marriage. In other words, men have never particularly wanted to marry; they’ve been willing to marry when that was the way to get what men really want: exclusive sex and procreation with a woman of their choice. That’s why the trope is of a woman dragging her man to the altar, and not the other way around. So while men may be delaying (“avoiding” would be a better word) marriage, men have always avoided marriage, so that doesn’t account for the changes we’re seeing.
The change is in women, in two closely related areas: how long women delay marriage, and how women have detached sex from marriage.
Since most girls now think the ideal age for marriage is about 28, and they’re consciously avoiding it until then, that means that most of them are sexually active for a solid decade or more before they start seeking a husband. By that time she’s gotten used to the idea that relationships start with sex; marriage is something optional that might come along later if you let it. When she hits 30 and starts to scramble for a husband, it’s not going to come natural to her to start being chaste and holding out for a ring. Sex is how she gets to know guys; it’s how she knows how she feels about them. Some women do try the “born-again virgin” thing, and I think we all know how well that works — it falls apart as soon as they get the tingles, or they go so far the other direction with frigidity to keep their pants on that no guy can get close to them.
A couple generations ago, guys knew that you had to marry to get sex. Even if your girlfriend caved in and let you get past third base once or twice, it wasn’t going to be a regular thing — if nothing else, you’d end up with a quickie marriage and a kid six months later. In the 80s and 90s when I was starting to date, girls would have sex if you were “going steady,” but if you were having regular sex, you knew the marriage clock was ticking. At some point — usually within months, not years — she’d start talking about marriage, and if you didn’t go along, she’d cut off the sex and eventually move on. The window of opportunity for getting the milk for free was limited.
Now it’s not limited at all. If you’re having sex with a 22-year-old girl, you need not fear that she’ll ever bring up marriage. In fact, if you bring it up, there’s a good chance you’ll scare her away. If you just stay away from the topic — as your male ancestors tried to do — odds are marriage will never even come up unless you’re together until she hits 28 or so.
If you’re having sex with a 35-year-old girl, she’ll probably press for marriage before too long, but not in the 1950s sense of punishing you with blue-balls until you marry her. More likely the sex will be plentiful from day one as she tries to entice you into marriage with the only skill she’s learned in that area. Even then, there won’t be a direct connection between sex and marriage; the sex will be to try to get you to stay around, so that over time she can nag you into marriage. There’s no direct quid pro quo anymore.
So, how does this relate to the numbers Dalrock is seeing, where men aren’t remarrying as quickly as they used to? Well, why would they, when it no longer increases their chance of having sex? That’s the real crux here: being willing to marry no longer noticeably increases a man’s chance of having sex, even regular exclusive sex with the same woman. A man can be on a date with a woman and tell her he has no intention of ever marrying, and it probably won’t reduce his chance of getting laid that night. It might with some women, but it’ll increase his odds with others. (The ones who tingle will ignore him and assume they’ll change his mind later anyway.)
Since we’re talking about remarriage, we’re mostly talking about older people, say 30+. If a man that age can’t get a date, this question is moot. But if he can get dates, most of them will have sex on the first or second date. If a woman likes him, she’ll keep coming back for more, and pretty soon she’ll manuever things toward living together. He can simply go along with this program, never refusing to marry but never bringing it up, and get regular sex and companionship for a few years at least. If she eventually gives him an ultimatum of marriage-or-out, well, he can deal with that when the time comes. Maybe she won’t ever push it that hard, if she’s afraid to lose him.
So what we’re seeing is simply men reacting to their environment. When the requirement for regular sex was getting married, men got married. When the requirement changed to “be willing to get married pretty soon,” men went along with that, though some bailed out when the pressure got heavy. But now that there’s no marriage requirement at all, men are fine with that too.
There are other aspects of this, especially the financial ones. Thanks to punitive divorce laws and affirmative action, a lot of men don’t feel they can afford to remarry. But I think that’s secondary to the issue above, because the desire for sex is very strong. If so many women weren’t giving away the milk for free, more men would find a way to buy the cow — or fight against the legal and political changes that have made the cow so expensive.