Building the next generation of leaders for marriage, family, and sexual integrity

Sexual Decision Making and Emotional Health in Emerging Adulthood

Mark Regnerus, Ph.D., University of Texas — Austin 

In this lecture, Professor Regnerus delves into how young Americans emotionally experience their sexual relationships and activity patterns. Men and women report quite different levels of emotional connectivity over sex, both on surveys and in person. The session explores the emotions of sex, and notes how different sexual traits—like the frequency of intercourse and partner cycling—differentially affect young women’s emotional health. Women and men often want different things from their relationships, and often get different things. Some types of sexual relationships tend to make people more contended and secure, and some valued, despite what young adults may say. Toward that end, many young women spend considerable time “managing their hearts,” making effort to like the sorts of relationships they’re in, even when what they describe is destructive, one-sided, or clearly unfulfilling.

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