Changes is sex, marriage and children

Essay by misshellkittyUniversity, Master'sA-, September 2004

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Forty years ago, marriage provided the sanctioning union necessary for sex, childbearing, and social status, and this "loving" union was for the most part an enduring commitment. As a result of such societal expectations, people married at an earlier age and divorce was strongly discouraged. However, over the past forty years, the social doctrine governing marriage has changed as certain societal standards have relaxed. For example, greater acceptance of premarital sex and cohabitation before marriage has caused the age of marriage to increase. (Statistics Canada, n.d). As these social barriers have dissolved over the years, the sustaining forces of marriage have also dissipated. This paper will discuss the various societal changes that have occurred within and amongst marriage, sex, children, and love.

Over the past four decades there has been substantial changes in the attitudes toward marriage among women in the United States. These attitudes relate to gender roles and social changes in today's society and have contributed to women marrying later than their

ancestors married.

Studies show Canadian women are waiting longer than ever to get married. Their median age at first marriage hit a record high of 27 years between 1991 to 1997, up from 23 years in the mid 1950's. Of course postponing marriage means an increase, at any given time, in the number of people who have never wed, and that is also reflected in the statistics. In the last decade of the twentieth century, the number of Canadian couples decreased by two percent (Statistics Canada, n.d.). Thus, not only were fewer couples were married but more were also living common law.

According to Allen & Kalish (1984), the timing of a first marriage is related to the attractiveness of the alternatives to marrying. When women value roles that provide viable...