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The Sexual Activity and Sexual Satisfaction of Singles in the Second Demographic Transition

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Abstract

Introduction

Previous studies depicted a recent drastic reduction in sexual activity in tandem with the rise of the second demographic transition (SDT). However, very little attention has been paid to the questions of whether and how these processes are connected and how they play out in measuring sexual satisfaction among the diverse population of single people.

Method

Therefore, the current research focused on exploring this relation among the groups of never-married singles and divorced singles, further divided into men and women (N = 5944) and compared with married people (N = 18,733). Data were drawn from the Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (Pairfam) study.

Results

The results of this study indicated that voluntary singlehood positively correlates with sexual satisfaction among all four groups. Moreover, voluntary singlehood among women of both groups negatively correlates with sex frequency, desired sex frequency, and pornography usage, while among men voluntary singlehood negatively correlates with desired sex frequency.

Conclusions

These results indicate that within the second demographic transition, voluntary singles are generally more sexually satisfied, and this is not associated with having more casual sex, but rather with desiring less sex and, among women, with being less sexually active relatively to involuntary single women.

Policy Implications

Educational programs should be updated and equip children with a social and psychological “toolbox” of how to be satisfied singles, sexually and generally. Learning about sexuality of voluntary and involuntary singles in schools and supporting high-quality solo lifestyles through the health and welfare ministries, exactly as is done with family life, are essential to our society. Fianlly, social workers, psychologists, and sex advisors should be trained to serve the population of singles.

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Kislev, E. The Sexual Activity and Sexual Satisfaction of Singles in the Second Demographic Transition. Sex Res Soc Policy 18, 726–738 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00496-0

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