A new portrait of single Americans, drawn from a major new survey, suggests the attitudes and behaviors of today’s singles are quite unlike their counterparts just a few decades ago.
Findings show men are more interested in love, marriage and children than their peers in earlier times; women want more independence in their relationships than their mothers did; and hooking up and one-night stands aren’t necessarily meaningless sexual encounters.
The researchers say the nationally representative survey of more than 5,000 men and women is the largest and most comprehensive study of single adults to date. And it reveals a sea change in gender expectations.
“Men are now expressing some traditionally female attitudes, while women are adopting some of those long attributed to men,” says biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who helped develop the survey with social historian Stephanie Coontz and Justin Garcia, a doctoral fellow with the Institute for Evolutionary Studies at Binghamton (N.Y.) University.