Sex, Love and Marriage in America The American Paradox: Freedom and Independence vs. Restrictions and Togetherness
Individualism and collectivism are psychological traits, socially informed. Individualism : “Personal privacy, individual rights, and personal freedoms are extolled; personal pleasure and autonomy are valued; and every American is exhorted to create a personal, private, and unique self” (4). All definitions “conceptualize individualism as a worldview that centralizes the personal—personal goals, personal uniqueness, and personal control—and peripheralizes the social” (5). Collectivism : “The core element of collectivism is the assumption that groups bind and mutually obligate individuals” (5). In collectivism, “social units with common fate, common goals, and common values are centralized; the personal is simply a component of the social, making the in-group the key unit of analysis” (5). Americans are simultaneously collectivistic and individualistic. Oyserman, D; Coon, H; Kemmelmeier, M. 2002. “Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses.” PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN, 128(1): 3-72.
Americans are simultaneously collectivistic and individualistic. Americans simultaneously value freedom and independence while desiring stable, monogamous marriages that put restrictions on whom they can be intimate with. The Call for Freedom vs. ‘Til Death Do Us Part Oyserman, D; Coon, H; Kemmelmeier, M. 2002. “Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses.” PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN, 128(1): 3-72.
Source: Pew Research http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1 /
http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/tabMS-2.pdf Age at first marriage Men Women Average 1950 22.8 20.3 21.55 1960 22.8 20.3 21.55 1970 23.2 20.8 22 1980 24.7 22 23.35 1990 26.1 23.9 25 2000 26.8 25.1 25.95
Remarriage According to 1995 CDC data, 75 percent of divorced women remarry within 10 years . After 10 years of remarriage, 47 percent of remarriages of women under age 25 years at remarriage have dissolved, compared with only 34 percent of remarriages to women at least age 25 years at remarriage. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad323.pdf
Percent of Americans Who Experience Marriage and Divorce by Age http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-97.pdf Marital Status 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+ Never married 99.1 83.9 50.8 29.5 21.5 14.2 6.3 4.3 3.3 Ever divorced 0.1 1 7.5 15.4 22.9 29.5 40.8 30.9 18.6
Probability of first marriage disruption by duration of marriage and wife’s age at marriage: United States, 1995 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad323.pdf
Source: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s1337.pdf Marriage Rates over Time in USA, Japan and UK Year USA Japan UK 1980 60.8 68.4 65.0 1990 56.0 65.2 61.0 1995 54.4 62.8 58.0 2000 52.8 60.3 58.0 2001 52.3 58.0 2002 51.9 58.0 2003 51.5 56.0 2004 51.5 57.0 2005 51.2 57.6 57.0 2006 50.9 57.0 2007 50.8 56.0 2008 50.0 56.0
Homosexuality in America How prevalent is homosexuality? Homosexuality is rare: As of 2006-2008, of those aged 25-44, only 6 percent of men and 12 percent of women report having sex with a same sex partner. Of women 18-44, 0.8 percent say they are attracted only to the same sex, a similar percentage to men (1.2 percent). A very small 1.1 percent of women report being homosexual, gay or lesbian, and 3.5 percent claim to be bisexual. For men, the analogous percentages are 1.7 and 1.1. A more flexible measure would be “mostly attracted to opposite sex.” Here, 11.9 percent of women and 3.7 percent of men claim this. The percentages do not vary much by survey (see Table 16 in CDC report). http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr036.pdf
Homosexuality in America: A Moral issue? Nearly half of the public (49%) says homosexual behavior is morally wrong, while 9% say it is morally acceptable and 35% say it is not a moral issue. This varies by age, where only 38 percent of 18-29 year-olds feel it is morally wrong, and 46 percent say it is not a moral issue. 75 percent of self-identified conservative Republicans think homosexuality is morally wrong, as opposed to 26 percent liberal democrats. Attitudes toward “morality” are important, because it influences support for “gay marriage.” For example, 84 percent of those who oppose same-sex marriage feel homosexuality is morally wrong, while only 11 percent of those who favor same-sex marriage feel this way. http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Majority-Continues-To-Support-Civil-Unions.aspx
Majority of Americans are opposed to “gay marriage,” but there are differences according to demographics and political beliefs. http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Public-Opinion-on-Gay-Marriage-Opponents-Consistently-Outnumber-Supporters.aspx and http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Majority-Continues-To-Support-Civil-Unions.aspx Americans 18-29 support gays and lesbians right to marry at a higher than average (43 percent) than other age groups. Only 17 percent of Republicans support gay marriage, as opposed to 50 percent democrats. Civil unions are a different matter: Over half (53 percent) of Americans support civil unions, which grant all rights of marriage without calling it marriage.
This causes great bureaucratic problems: “When government forms inquire of her marital status, Isabelle Barker sometimes resorts to an asterisk and an explanatory note. She and her wife, Cara Palladino, got married five years ago in Massachusetts. Six months later, for job reasons, they moved to Pennsylvania - one of the majority of states that do not recognize same-sex marriages. Hence the asterisk. "I'm not single. I'm married in Massachusetts, but I'm not married in Pennsylvania, I'm not married in the eyes of the federal government," she said. "It's this weird limbo, this legal netherworld." Barker and Palladino, and their 15-month-old son, Will, have plenty of company across the United States as gay and lesbian couples confront an unprecedented and often confusing patchwork of marriage laws.” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/10/national/main6470514.shtml The status of same sex marriage in America is in great flux: laws vary by state, and most states ban same-sex marriage in a variety of legal ways (statutes and constitutional bans). Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa and the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage. New York and Maryland recognize same-sex marriages though same-sex couples cannot marry there. California legalized same-sex marriage in 2008, and five months later, a statewide ban made it illegal.
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