With more women than men living in the UK, our approach to sex is changing...
At last count (which was in 2011, FYI) the UK had a population of 31 million men – and 32.2 million women. And while there are tonnes of factors behind this (women have a longer life expectancy than men, for one thing), the bigger the gap in gender ratio, the bigger its effect is on our sex lives.
Unfortunately, as it stands, an investigation into exactly how the current UK population affects our bedroom activities has yet to be carried out. But a new book has just been released detailing exactly what it means in America (where there are approximately 158 million women, and 151 million men).
Yep, according to Jon Birger in his new book, Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game, when there are more women in society, we have more sex. But when there are more men out there, we’re more likely to settle down.
‘The dating pool for straight, millennial, college graduates has four women for every three men,’ Birger wrote in a recent article for the Washington Post. ‘No wonder some men are in no rush to settle down and more women are giving up on what used to be called “playing hard to get”.
‘When there are plenty of marriageable men, dating culture emphasises courtship and romance, and men generally must earn more to attract a wife. But when gender ratios skew toward women, as they do today among college grads, the dating culture becomes more sexualised.
‘The good news, at least according to the work of psychologists and sex-ratio pioneers Marcia Guttentag and Paul Secord, is that people tend to have better sex when ratios skew female. The downside? Women frequently wind up being treated as sex objects, and men are more inclined to exercise the option to delay marriage and play the field.’
It’s an interesting theory – but Birger’s philosophy is unsettling. He believes that when there are more men than women, the power is in our hands to choose who we want to end up with and, as a result, marriage rates will rise. But when there are more women than men, he reckons women become ‘sex objects’, and that’s why we’re all staying single for longer.
And that’s when we start hitting our heads on the desk. Because even when Birger is placing the power in women’s hands, he’s assuming that the majority of women want to settle down more than men. And while some of us do, a lot of us really, really don’t.