Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

  • Have been married by age 49
  • Want to get married if they have not been
  • Morally approve of interracial marriage
  • Probably will have an extramarital affair in their lifetime

The first of the Ten Commandments I am going to examine is the prohibition against adultery.  While sociologist Andrew Cherlin projects that 85-90% of Americans will marry by the time they turn 49, marital infidelity is common.  The prevalence of infidelity among married heterosexuals covers quite a range in scientific studies.  Early sexologist Alfred Kinsey found that a third of men and a quarter of women reported having an affair on their spouse.  A meta-analysis of infidelity studies also finds a wide range of estimates, but these studies show 40-70% of married heterosexuals have an extramarital affair at some point in their lives.

In other words, adultery is common and possibly a behavior practiced at least once by the majority of married Americans.  Holy Moses indeed!

Gallup polling finds the majority -72%- of Americans polled in 2013 have been married.  Among those who have never married, 78% would like to marry someday.  One in four Americans, however, report to Gallup they have been divorced.

American attitudes towards sex in general and marriage continue to change.  From Gallup's polling on marriage, one can see big sea changes in Americans' attitudes:

Perhaps the biggest change -and longest tracked by Gallup- involves interracial marriage.  In 55 years the percentage of Americans approving of marriage between blacks and whites has jumped 83%.

Tune in tomorrow for more polling data!

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