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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

UNITED STATES: Singles America


USA Today (02.12.12) - Friday, February 10, 2012

Two-thirds of US singles age 21 and older responding to a recent national survey expressed doubts about marrying. Almost 40 percent said they were uncertain about wanting to marry; 27 percent said they want to remain single; and 34.5 percent said they do want to marry.

Most of the 5,541 singles surveyed are heterosexual (90.5 percent); 56.5 percent have never married; 30.9 percent are divorced; 2.4 percent are separated; and 10.2 percent are widowed.

The "Singles in America" survey was conducted online in December by MarketTools for the Internet dating service It was developed by the Institute for Evolutionary Studies at Binghamton University, with input from biological anthropologist Helen Fisher and Chicago sex therapist Laura Berman.

"It's true that researchers used to find that people who hadn't gotten married still had aspirations to get married, but I think that may be eroding now," said sociologist Michael Rosenfeld of California's Stanford University. "If they're 20 years into adult relationships and haven't found somebody they want to marry, maybe they've changed their minds about how necessary marriage is." The survey found that 55 percent of singles (men: 66 percent; women: 44 percent) reporting having sex on the first date. Online socializing may be facilitating this, said Berman: "It's almost as if by the time they've had the first physical date, it might have been the equivalent of three dates. I think this online sharing has definitely escalated some of this familiarity and quickness in which people get into sexual scenarios." Almost one-quarter said they generally have sex after one, two or three dates; 25 percent said they do so "when the other person is ready"; 19 percent said "when we agree to an exclusive relationship"; and 13 percent said "when we are married." Having had a one-night stand was reported by 58 percent of singles (men: 65 percent; women: 51 percent).

Forty-four percent said they had not experienced infidelity. Among those who had, 36 percent said their partner had been unfaithful; 8 percent said they themselves had been unfaithful; 13 percent said both parties had been unfaithful.


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