American Sociological Association

Sexual Abstinence in the United States: Cohort Trends in Abstaining from Sex While Never Married for U.S. Women Born 1938 to 1983

In this data visualization, the authors document trends in abstaining from sex while never married for U.S. women born 1938–1939 to 1982–1983. Using data from the six most recent National Surveys of Family Growth, the authors’ estimates suggest that for women born in the late 1930s and early 1940s, 48 percent to 58 percent reported abstaining from sex while never married. Abstinence then declined rapidly among women born in the late 1940s through the early 1960s, leveling off at between 9 percent and 12 percent for more recent birth cohorts. Thus, for U.S. women born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s, roughly one in nine abstained from sex while never married.

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Authors

Lawrence L. Wu, Steven P. Martin, Paula England, and Nicholas D. E. Mark

Volume

6