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“If I had to be married to have sex, I would probably be married, as would every guy I know.”

So, one of the many cool things I saw/read via twitter yesterday was this article in , 5 Reasons We’re Marrying After 30.  30, I guess, is considered “old” by lots of people and  the current average age of people getting married is 27.1 for men and 25.3.

I gotta be honest, those numbers seem low to me. But I know that I have a skewed sense of reality.

My parents got married in their late twenties and most of my got married in their late 20s or 30s.  Most.  I do know a few people who married young.  I have some old college who married at 22 and they have a kid about to go off to college – scary.

But 30 is “old” by American standards.  When I see posts like this they intrigue me.  Both for what they say and for what they don’t say.

This post is actually a review of a book that came out recently, A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door. Amongst the other questions posed in the post is “Why is it taking us so long to settle down and get married?”

So there is a presumption, going into this, that a) Americans marry late. And b) we should be settling down and getting married. What’s taking us so long?

So now I’m going to do something I almost never do and use some real statistics.  A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. In Denmark, in 2008, the average age of males at first marriage was 34.8.  For women it was 32.4.  The numbers go up to 38.3 for men and 35.7 for women when you look at all marriages.

Clearly we have a long way to go before our society looks anything like Denmark.  It may never.  For lots of reasons. For starters, I have a hard time believing that our society will ever be that egalitarian. What I do believe is that we are trending in a similar direction, in terms of demographics.

And why?  Well, the answers given in the YourTango article certainly touch on it.  But those are mostly answers to why people are marrying later.  Whereas there is a very real trend, worldwide, of people not marrying.  At all.  Of people living their lives, having careers, having relationships, having kids, being fully functional adults and just never marrying.

My favorite line of the piece is at the end.  I made it my title;  As a male 28-year-old in A Little Bit Married said: “If I had to be married to have , I would probably be married, as would every guy I know.”

If I had to be married to have sex, I would be.

If I had to be married to move out of my parent’s house (which was absolutely the case for many women of my mom’s generation), I would be.

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking.  We don’t have to get married anymore.  Many of us (well, YOU) want to.  And there are many good things about the institution, I’m sure.  But it’s no longer a necessity.  For anything or anyone.


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16 to ““If I had to be married to have sex, I would probably be married, as would every guy I know.””


  1. Terry says:

    Ah Simone you hit on the issue yet again!

    Too many people I know got married because they had some religious issue with sex. Thinking that sex was love – and they had to be married to have sex– and don’t tell anyone they had sex before they were married– and off they go down the aisle. Some of them stay married and are happy – some of them stay married and are ok (93% happy) – and some of them split.

    Now society has changed since I was a kid. When I was a kid and two people co-habitated they were “shaking up.” If a person had sex before they were married it was discovered (usually by pregnancy) — it was hushed, but everyone talked about it.

    Liberation happened with two things: women didn’t need to worry about having a child if they didn’t want to – -be it the pill, abortion, or other measures– a woman could have sex and not be pregnant (or if she became pregnant could become unpregnant).

    There is still a large group of people who think that you should only have sex when married — and for those– well, we will differ.

    So where does that leave marriage?

    I love that in Europe many women have children, and it is not an economic issue – it is taken care of (sorry- I am rather liberal).

    So again– where does that leave marriage?

    Is it some old fashioned institution that was built around a nest and kids (and sex )?

    Is it bad to be married- divorced– married– divorced?

    This I know (and I don’t know much in this area at all, so everything I say is suspect, and no doubt completely wrong) -

    I like having someone in my life. I like having someone I can talk to, sleep with, wake up to. I like having a “partner” — someone whose view I respect and appreciate enough that they could change my view (and that is difficult for me- because I’m an arrogant SOB who thinks he knows or can figure out everything). Kids– yea– bring em on – because if I have someone in my life who I respect, who I like (and love) – and who puts up with me (and occasionally laughs at my jokes – even though they might not be that funny) — then yea, lets share the joy and procreate. It is a biologic imperative.

    But here’s the liberating thing– I don’t have to settle. I can find that person. Someone who I like, respect, love, and enjoy being around (most of the time – cause sometimes any of us can be down right irritating).

    Yea– 30 isn’t old today. It was old ten years ago. 40 isn’t old today. It happens, when it happens, if it happens.

    Ok- my two cents- not worth much, built on my experience- all of which is rotten.

  2. Terry says:

    Oh I hate when I write a masterpiece and then it is gone in cyberspace.

    Great question – and guess what– it is a brave new world out there.

    You don’t have to get married to (a) have sex (b) have kids (c) live with someone.

    Hence- there is no “old” age for marriage– not 20, 30, 40, or 50 or longer.

    You can stay single.

    Here is where I am:

    I like having someone in my life whose opinion I respect. Who can change my stubborn mind. Someone who is smart, who is funny, who is interesting. I like sleeping with someone and waking up with them. And if all that works out– then yea – bring on the kids – cause if I find someone who can change my mind (and I theirs) – and there is mutual respect- I’m all in.

    Nope, Simone- you can have a series of lovers – you can have a series of live-ins — you can even have a series of marriages. It doesn’t matter.

    If someone thinks being married is everything- well, they are holding an institution higher than a human being.

    But yea – I want all that stuff– the wife, the kids, and yet at 52 there is no way I would settle (and someone might say that is why I am single)

  3. Christan says:

    But it’s no longer a necessity. For anything or anyone.
    That’s a sweeping generalization. It’s a necessity to a lot of people, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Personally, I’m all for non-traditional relationships. But I also see the value of marriage – personally, financially and legally. It marriage was so undervalued these days to so many, then why are gays and lesbians fighting so hard for the right to marry?

    Yep, people are marrying after 30. That’s not news. But the reason they cite, like they don’t need sex for marriage and their careers, etc…they only carry weight for so long, and I think that’s what the author is saying. That we allow ourselves to use excuses to justify our fear of commitment or lack of emotional maturity. That then leads to many people fearful of settling down or getting married.

    Your message is understood. Marriage is not your be all, end all. Nor is finding a partner. You’re OK with being alone. Heard loud and clear. The question is: Do you really believe that?

    • Terry says:

      Christan,

      I follow her blogs from time to time- and even checked yours – I am curious about your response. Just curious.

      Her response was that marriage isn’t needed – and it isn’t. We don’t need it for anything unless we want it.

      So, when you ask SG if she is really ok with that– I think, at least as I read her blogs– she would not be adverse to finding someone – but isn’t about to settle.

      When you say “That we allow ourselves to use excuses to justify our fear of commitment or lack of emotional maturity. That then leads to many people fearful of settling down or getting married.”

      People who fear commitment don’t date. SG dates – sometimes a lot. One does not need “emotional maturity” to marry- although it is needed to stay in a long-term relationship. I think many people are “fearful of settling down or getting married” and yet — still many of them do.

      So, I was curious as to your skin in this game. Are you projecting?

      • Christan says:

        I’m not sure why you’re so invested in my motivation, Terry. If Simone would like to ask me a question, she can, since it’s her blog. I didn’t write an attack. I posed a question and raised a couple of valid points. If you disagree, that’s fine. But I;m not going to deconstruct my opinions, which I think I made more than clear, because you think I owe you an explanation.

        People who fear commitment don’t date.
        People who fear commitment date a lot. Frequently. Constantly. How many stories are out there from people who date someone for a couple months only to get the boot because the person they’re dating says they aren’t ready to settle down or have a relationship?

        • Terry says:

          My motivation – curiosity- as I said – simply curious. You put it out there and I am curious.

          But allow me to answer – from this gender perspective – one of your comments: a person can date, break up – and it is not a fear of commitment in general – it is a fear of commitment for that specific person. One can extend that anecdote– and how many of them get married shortly after that break up?

          Anecdotes do not make a clinical diagnosis. Just stories, and isn’t this blog just that– stories. But– fear of commitment – true fear, real psychological fear (as diagnosed) is specific, and not ambiguous — they don’t date.

          No, you have no obligation to answer anything, of course.

  4. Simone Grant says:

    OK, first off, jeez is my comments section effed up. These are so not in chrono order. I have someone looking at them tonight, amongst other things. Sigh. So much to do, so little time.

    Let’s see if I can find the right place to dive in. It’s seems like Terry got where I was going with this – marriage is now a choice and the world we live in now is radically different (and constantly changing) that the world of 30 or 50 years ago where marriage was pretty much an expectation. And heck, choices are good.

    And Terry, as I’m sure I’ve said before, it’s sad that there’s so much country between us. We’d have a blast.

    Christan, you seem to be reading things that I didn’t write. Marriage is not a necessity. I didn’t say it was undesirable in any way. In fact, I said there were many good things about the institution. But it is not a necessity in the way it used to be. That’s not a sweeping generalization, that’s a fact. People who get married, or are fighting for the right to get married are (hopefully) doing so because they genuinely want to. Good for them!

    As to whether or not I BELIEVE what I write – Oh dear, why on earth would I write things I don’t believe? I don’t have the time nor the inclination to be provocative for the sake of being provocative nor to pick fights to get attention. That’s not my bag. LOL, it’s actually kinda hysterical to be asked that, now that I think of it.

    • Christan says:

      Oh dear, why on earth would I write things I don’t believe? I don’t have the time nor the inclination to be provocative for the sake of being provocative nor to pick fights to get attention. That’s not my bag. LOL, it’s actually kinda hysterical to be asked that, now that I think of it.

      I didn’t accuse you of picking a fight or trying to be provocative. What I asked was whether or not you believed all these things you so frequently say. As a reader, my opinion is that this and all the other posts like it come off as you trying to justify why you’re 40 and single.

      • Simone Grant says:

        OK – beyond messed up comments. Sorry again folks. Just met with someone about this and other issues.

        -Christan
        Again, I’m going to suggest that you’re reading things that aren’t there. I write what I think and feel. Some people can relate. Some can’t. There’s no attempt to justify anything. I have no need for that.

  5. Brittany says:

    I grew up in a small town and I would say that at least half of the people I went to high school with are married and/or have children. I’m 23 and kind of feel like an old maid. I have no desire to get married or have children any time in the near future. I hate feeling like I have to explain the fact that I’m not heading in that direction soon. I completely see where you’re coming from and I’m so glad that we (women) don’t live in an era where we have no other options.

    • Simone Grant says:

      -Brittany
      It sucks having to explain, or feeling like you have to explain, the choices you’re making. I felt that way often, when I was younger. It wasn’t until I hit my mid-30s that I really shrugged it off and realized that I liked my life and anyone who had issues with it was just going to have to deal.

  6. Ale says:

    Wow. I tell my friends and my parents this all the time. I don’t see the point in marriage anymore. Its such an archaic way of thinking and at one point served a purpose. Now it’s not the case anymore.
    Thanks for posting this.

  7. Peter says:

    It is that old story about why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free. Commitment in relationships is an idea that is slowly dying in a society of immediate gratification and I am alright screw you belief.

  8. Nikki says:

    Wow. Another great post.

    I’m 29 and I don’t see marriage, or children for that matter, anywhere in my future. Does this make me sad? Lonely? Does it hurt my self esteem?

    No. I don’t see it because I don’t THINK about it. At all. I absolutely love my life – why should what society tells me I SHOULD be doing right now ruin that? Please. I feel very very lucky that these aren’t things that bother me. I focus on what I have and what I want.

    Further – I see so many things happen in relationships, and so much divorce. In addition, I know many people who are in committed relationships and don’t know why. Or find other people attractive. Or suddenly don’t know if life-long monogamy is for them. Ugh. These labels and definitions just make things difficult sometimes. Be yourself, be honest, be kind, be loving – treat others as you would be treated. If you want to move on, do. If you don’t want to get married, don’t. Leading a life of dishonesty because you feel like you SHOULD do things… well, where’s the good in that?

  9. janice says:

    Sigh

  10. janice says:

    Why argue over being married or not. I am married i was happy ( i think ) maybe i just woke up going hmmmmm i am not here just for cooking, cleaning and the kids. I want something more like attention.