Dalrock, who has always been very good about using charts and data sources to support some of his arguments, has a couple of new posts that track marriage data. Both are worth reading. You can find them here:
The charts that Dalrock uses in those posts point out a couple of things. The one that I’m going to talk about with this post is that women are delaying marriage, even if men aren’t (and I don’t think that they really are). Cail Corishev talks about that subject in his post Who’s Dragging Those Heels? I largely agree with his reasoning, and encourage everyone to read the whole post. But a key part is this:
The truth is, men have always delayed marriage. In other words, men have never particularly wanted to marry; they’ve been willing to marry when that was the way to get what men really want: exclusive sex and procreation with a woman of their choice. That’s why the trope is of a woman dragging her man to the altar, and not the other way around. So while men may be delaying (“avoiding” would be a better word) marriage, men have always avoided marriage, so that doesn’t account for the changes we’re seeing.
The change is in women, in two closely related areas: how long women delay marriage, and how women have detached sex from marriage.
This brings me to how women are delaying marriage. There are a couple of important graphs that I’m going to steal from Dalrock, as well as commenter davidvs, who has been pondering similar paths as I. The first graph is the median age of marriage in the US over time:
Note the separation between male and female ages of first marriage and how relatively even they are. Now observe two charts which detail preferred ages for a partner in men and women:
These graphs point out a couple of things.
The first is that men are relatively fixed about their preferences in terms of age and attractiveness- it is about 21 or so. Women, however, are not so fixed. They prefer older at first and then eventually younger men.
This moves to the second point, namely that Rollo’s SMV chart really is pretty darn accurate. If anything he might have female peak SMV be a little too older, but it is still very close. Men prefer early 20s women, and women prefer men around 38-39 or so.
The third thing that this graph points out is that women are driving the delay in marriage. Or at the very least, for themselves. We know from the charts above what men want- young women. That doesn’t change no matter how old a man gets. Yet we can see that the median age of marriage for both men and women has increased over the last 50 years or so. Now, we might surmise from the data that men are delaying marriage- they are having fun in their 20’s and only later decide to settle down. But that doesn’t affect women. They can still choose to marry young. Its not like men will turn them down when they are younger.
Even if men want to marry when they are older, they will still want younger wives. So if women don’t want to delay marriage, they don’t have to. Men will be there to marry them. But that isn’t what is happening. Instead both men and women are marrying later. And the spread between them has remained fairly constant. And fascinatingly enough, that spread is awfully similar to the preferred age spread for women in their twenties. What is going on here is that women are delaying marriage. And they are delaying it deliberately. I see a few possible reasons for this.
The first, what the manosphere generally talks about, is that women are delaying marriage for as long as possible so they can do everything else in the interim. Whether that is travel the world, acquire degrees, work on a career, or rack up a frightening N-count, women are giving marriage a very low priority in their lives. And keep in mind that men, even if they want to marry, are trapped by this. Marrying older women who want to marry is not a wise or a realistic option for them. No, men are forced to go along with women, no matter what they wish.
Another possibility relies on men delaying marriage. The idea is that women want to marry when they are young, but the men their age don’t want to. If they want to find a large enough pool of men who will marry, they need to look to older men. However, those older men are outside their preferred age ranges in men. So rather than marry them, and despite that being an option, women wait. And they wait. And they wait. Until eventually, women are now old enough that their age filters have changed, and the men who want to marry are now in that preferred age range. And boom, they start marrying.
My readers are of course free to offer their own thoughts on the subject. But I think that at this point that there can be no doubt that women clearly have a hand on the wheel when it comes to delaying marriage.
Update: Another possibility is tied to the second scenario I raised. This one relies on women delaying marriage because the men their age aren’t seen, in their eyes, as worthy mates. Since women have fairly set age preferences, they will not “date up” to the men who are more likely to be attractive. It is only when the men become more attractive as a whole that women start getting serious about marriage.