Men, Premarital Sex, and Divorce

National Survey of Family Growth

The researchers released information about the effect of having sex before marriage increasing a woman’s divorce rate. Clearly this study doesn’t show causation, but simply correlation.

However, the researchers didn’t say anything about men and their relationship to premarital sex.

This survey (2006-2010) did not ask men and women the same questions. That seems to me to be a significant problem with their data.

My son went through the raw data trying to determine the correlation between men, premarital sex, and divorce.

In the study, there were a total of 10,403 male respondents. 1,773 were virgins at the time of the study. That means 8,630 were not virgins. (About 17% were virgins.)

Age distribution of this sample:
average age is 28 (That is a very young population.)
I am surprised it is that young. If you are making correlations about divorce rate, I would want to have a little bit older group.
The 10,403 men ranged in ages from 15 to 44. There is no clumping of age, but the average for the study was 28. (Twenty-nine years span, for equal distribution, average age should be 29-31.)

Also, I went to find out what the average age of marriage is.
For men for 2006-2010 in the US, the average age 27.5 (2006) to 28.2 (2010). For women the average marital age is 26 for the same time period (25.9-26.1). So that married men were included in this study at all is actually surprising, because men’s average marital age at the time is 28.

That gives 8,630 who were not virgins. When did they first have sex?
320 married
63 engaged/living together
106 engaged not living together
76 living together in asexual relationship, but not engaged
3858 going steady or going out with her
967 going out with her once in a while
2248 just friends
694 just met her
298 some other relationship
Total of 8,630

How many are married at the time of the study?
2824 were currently married
207 were separated
499 were divorced
15 were widowed
188 have been married and are currently living with someone, but not married to them (Does not say if these are divorced persons or widows or whatever)
For a total of 3,733 men in this sample who have ever been married. (This includes folks who have been married more than one time.)

3,733 men have ever married
434 have been married 2x (This could include the 15 who were widowed.)
55 3x
6 married 4 or more times

So the set for those who had no sex before they were married was very small; 3% of the 10,000 guys waited till marriage.

My son wanted to see what the implications for men having sex before marriage had on their divorce rate.

No sex before marriage:
divorce rate for men = 4%
So, if a guy is a virgin, it is a super good signal for a durable marriage.

Sex with their engaged partner:
divorce rate for men = 16%

For engaged versus married (men), p = .00193, that’s the largest p value. For men going steady versus men engaged, p = .000392. P value is the significance. Statistical significance is usually about .05.

Using the pi squared set (two data sets compared): If there were no actual relationship, you would get a .05 (2%) chance of getting a false positive. That is not the same as the odds of it being correct or incorrect.

The chance of getting the difference between the two sets of engaged v. married is .2% (10x less likely than the p value for a false positive). This indicates the results are VERY significant (one in 500 times would happen randomly).

In fact, there is a correlation between having sex before marriage and a reduction in the success of marriage for men.

Istock photo elderly couple holding hands

Based on the numbers, women’s premarital sex has less impact on their divorce rate.

For women:
The study included 12,279 women. 1,674 of the women were virgins at the time of the study. That means that 10,605 women were not virgins at the time of the study. The average age for women in the study was 29.

Seven women said they have never been married (as current status) and said they had been married once in answer to a different question. Obviously these 7 will skew the numbers. Which answer was incorrect? Probably the one of current status. (I would think that people would easily say how many times they have been married and not necessarily notice that a negative is permanent, not immediate.)

Even if the 7 skew the numbers, however, they don’t do much skewing for a study of 12,279 women.

The original study looked at women having sex with their first sexual partner and asking what their relationship was at the time (asked of men) and asking what the relationship was now (not asked of men–so you can’t look at that number for men).

When did women first have sex?
760 married (110 divorced) which is 14.6% failure rate
328 engaged (90 divorced)
3198 going steady or going out (981 divorced)

divorce rate for women = 14.9% based on the study parameters, 15% reported
Using the same data and same tests my son used, the divorce rate for women who had no sex before marriage was 14.56%, which would still be 15%. The difference may be because my son did not include the separations as failed marriages (since not everyone who separates gets divorced), but the study did.

Looks like the difference between having sex with a guy you are going out with versus engaged to is not statistically distinguishable. Since this sample is so large, that is very significant.

Comparing men and women:
About half as many men who had ever had sex waited for marriage, compared to how many women had ever had sex waited for marriage. (3.7 v 7.2%).

Even if virginity is not a cause of divorce rate lowering for men, there is a high correlation. Because of that high correlation, it is still a good metric to determine whether the male partner will stay married.

So, basically, the divorce rate for men who wait until marriage to have sex is significantly lower, 10% less, than for women who wait to have sex before they get married.

Something to Watch

Jan. 4: Quadrantid meteor shower peaks

This meteor shower reaches its peak in the predawn hours of Jan. 4 for eastern North America. The Quadrantid meteor shower is a very short-lived meteor display, whose peak rates only last several hours. The phase of the moon is a bright waxing gibbous, normally prohibitive for viewing any meteor shower, but the moon will set by 3 a.m., leaving the sky dark for a few hours until the first light of dawn; that’s when you’ll have the best shot at seeing many of these bluish-hued meteors.

From the eastern half of North America, a single observer might count on seeing as many as 50-to-100 “Quads” in a single hour. From the western half of the continent the display will be on the wane by the time the moon sets, with hourly rates probably diminishing to around 25 to 50 meteors.

from Scientific American

Obstetrics and Teaching

While the post is actually about teaching, the information about the Apgar Scale, its creator and the impetus for its creation, was fascinating.

As the student of a pre-Apgar professor whose child was left to die, while the parents were dazed at the doctor’s words and emotionally unable to attempt to intervene, a professor who spoke of that as a defining moment still twenty years later with a student he was not particularly close to… This touched a chord in my heart that is still twanging.

Roman Aquarium

Ancient Roman Shipwreck May Have Held Giant Fish Tank | Archaeology & Shipwrecks | Ancient Trade of Live Fish | LiveScience

An ancient Roman shipwreck nearly 2,000 years old may once have held an aquarium onboard capable of carrying live fish, archaeologists suggest.

Curiously, its hull possessed a unique feature — near its keel was a lead pipe at least 2.7 inches (7 cm) wide and 51 inches (1.3 meters) long. Why pierce its bottom with a hole that seawater could rise up?

“Historians think that before the invention of the freezer, the only possibility to trade fish was to salt or dry it, but now we know that it was possible to move it alive also for quite a long distance,” researcher Carlo Beltrame, an archaeologist at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, told LiveScience.

A number of texts from antiquity have contentiously suggested the ancient Romans could transport live fish by sea. For instance, the scientist, Roman officer and historian Pliny the Elder spoke of transport of parrotfish from the Black Sea to the coast of Naples.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.


Chemistry Books to Read with M

Dr. Joe Schwarcz has written a number of books that are a lot of fun-
The Genie in the Bottle
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles
Science, Sense, and Nonsense,
and many others.

I’ve used all three in my classes with good success. I’ve also used Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks but some students don’t like the way the footnotes are done in the book and state that it makes it difficult to read (I love the book!).

from the Chronicle of Higher Ed forum

Plagues from China says “The first outbreak of plague occurred in China more than 2,600 years ago before reaching Europe via Central Asia’s “Silk Road” trade route, according to a study of the disease’s DNA signature.”


Eat Dark Chocolate. Save Your Brain.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that a compound in dark chocolate may protect the brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals already known to shield nerve cells from damage.

Ninety minutes after feeding mice a single modest dose of epicatechin, a compound found naturally in dark chocolate, the scientists induced an ischemic stroke by essentially cutting off blood supply to the animals’ brains. They found that the animals that had preventively ingested the epicatechin suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones that had not been given the compound.

While most treatments against stroke in humans have to be given within a two- to three-hour time window to be effective, epicatechin appeared to limit further neuronal damage when given to mice 3.5 hours after a stroke. Given six hours after a stroke, however, the compound offered no protection to brain cells.

from Science Daily

Medicines BC

In 130 BC, a ship fashioned from the wood of walnut trees and bulging with medicines and Syrian glassware sank off the coast of Tuscany, Italy. Archaeologists found its precious load 20 years ago and now, for the first time, archaeobotanists have been able to examine and analyse pills that were prepared by the physicians of ancient Greece.

DNA analyses show that each millennia-old tablet is a mixture of more than 10 different plant extracts, from hibiscus to celery.

“For the first time, we have physical evidence of what we have in writing from the ancient Greek physicians Dioscorides and Galen,” says Alain Touwaide of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.



Darwin and Ecology

Two hundred years ago, Ascension Island was a barren volcanic edifice.

Today, its peaks are covered by lush tropical “cloud forest”.

What happened in the interim is the amazing story of how the architect of evolution, Kew Gardens and the Royal Navy conspired to build a fully functioning, but totally artificial ecosystem.

Read more at BBC News.

Magic Cures

When I was in first grade, no one would hold my hand when we were supposed to grab hands because both my thumbs were covered in warts.

I cried.

My folks took me to a doctor and the warts on my right thumb, the lesser covered thumb, with only 23 warts, were burnt off.

A week or two later they were back.

We went to another doctor. He recommended several options.

One was to sleep with an oily rag under my pillow. Not doable. We couldn’t ruin linens like that. We didn’t have the money for more.

Another was to rub the warts with a cut potato. You were supposed to say, “Potato, potato, take these warts away.” Then you buried the potato.

Worked a treat. All 67 warts gone and I have never gotten another.

My dad wrote the Old Man of the Hills in Oklahoma for a wart cure when he was young. That worked too.

And at church last Thursday night we were discussing the fact that if you put a bar of soap under the sheets in your bed, you wouldn’t get leg cramps. When I started to get a leg cramp, I went and got a bar of soap out of the bathroom and stuck it between the sheets. (We were at a hotel. I wonder what the maids thought of that.)

So, serendipitously, I saw “The Magic Cure” in The Boston Globe.

You’re not likely to hear about this from your doctor, but fake medical treatment can work amazingly well. For a range of ailments, from pain and nausea to depression and Parkinson’s disease, placebos–whether sugar pills, saline injections, or sham surgery–have often produced results that rival those of standard therapies.

I believe that.


Weapons are coming out of the ice

Discovery Archaeology says:

A treasure trove of ancient weapons has emerged from melting ice patches in the Canadian Arctic, revealing hunting strategies thousands of years old.

The weapons, which include a 2,400-year-old spear throwing tools, a 1000-year-old ground squirrel snare, and bows and arrows dating back 850 years, have been found high in the remote Mackenzie Mountains, a region where Mountain Boreal caribou abound in the summer months.

Dotted with ice patches resulting from accumulation of annual snow that, until recently, remained frozen all year, the mountains have been the caribous’ shelter for millennia.

And, so, we have further proof that global warming is not manmade. What made this area warm 2400 years ago, if it is?

Boys v. Girls: Different

The Common Room has a post that is exceptional:

However, the female response to stress is completely different, and prompts instead a decreased heart rate and blood flow to the brain, dizziness, nausea — all of it triggering a desire to hug and be hugged, he said.

AI Killed by Creator? Is that really what this says?

Is it true?

It was here, half a dozen years ago, that Cope put Emmy to sleep. She was just a software program, a jumble of code he’d originally dubbed Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI, hence “Emmy”). Still — though Cope struggles not to anthropomorphize her — he speaks of Emmy wistfully, as if she were a deceased child.
Emmy was once the world’s most advanced artificially intelligent composer, and because he’d managed to breathe a sort of life into her, he became a modern-day musical Dr. Frankenstein.

His second creation, Emily Howell, is creating modern music, letting go of the problem Emmy had, with recreating works by great composers or in their style.

But what does it say for musicians? Will art go away as we see software creating it?

Read more inTriumph of the Cyborg Composer.

Bogus Global Warming Claims Were for Political Purposes

Scientists used and re-used this information without ever checking it. I am guessing part of the reason for the lack of checking (especially since it was never published in a peer-reviewed journal which should have checked it) is that it matched what the scientists were expecting to find and so they accepted it.

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Doesn’t that tell you more about science being subjective than you wanted to know?

I found this on Watts Up With That. It includes several screen captures of British papers on the topic.

Global Warming Cont’d

Bishop Hill blog has a run down of potentially or should-be damaging emails.

I am only quoting those which offend me as an academic particularly. It all offends me.

Reaction to McIntyre’s 2005 paper in GRL. Mann has challenged GRL editor-in-chief over the publication. Mann is concerned about the connections of the paper’s editor James Saiers with U Virginia [does he mean Pat Michaels?]. Tom Wigley says that if Saiers is a sceptic they should go through official GRL channels to get him ousted. (1106322460) [Note to readers – Saiers was subsequently ousted]

Grant Foster putting together a critical comment on a sceptic paper. Asks for help for names of possible reviewers. Jones replies with a list of people, telling Foster they know what to say about the paper and the comment without any prompting.(1249503274)

Global Climate Change

We have been reading on this in my freshman class. As usual, most of the class is “Yes, global warming is a problem that humans have caused.”

Do you think some of those leaked emails would change their minds?

The leaked data is real. I don’t think the guy understood what he was admitting.

Hockey Stick Graph references.

In an embarrassing blow to the movement to combat global warming, hackers have posted hundreds of e-mails from a world-renowned British institute that show researchers colluding to exaggerate warming and undermine skeptics.

It’s an “embarrassing blow?” It’s not outright lies and fabrications? You can see that reality hasn’t hit the Boston Herald yet.

Global warming is NOT a problem if these guys were colluding, exaggerating, and lying.

What about Gore?

in 2007, a British High Court judge ruled that Gore’s film contained nine significant errors and should no longer be screened in schools unless accompanied by guidance notes to balance Gore’s “one-sided” views.

The film’s “apocalyptic vision” was not an impartial analysis of climate change, High Court Judge Michael Burton said, adding that the film is “substantially founded up scientific research and fact” but that the errors were made in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration.”

Buoyed by the ruling, two Irish journalists — Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney — released a documentary in which they gather evidence outlining the damage of global warming hysteria. In “Not Evil Just Wrong,” they challenge the claims made in Gore’s film and conclude that the film is not worth screening in schools because it is shown there as “an article of science, not faith.”

And this was happening before the hackers:

German scientists from the Liebnitz Institute for Marine Studies and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology led the way, admitting that “global warming is taking a break,” referring to the increasingly widespread acknowledgment that for the last decade temperatures have remained stable and that over the last 40 years the level of overall warming is considerably lower than previously claimed.

in Global Warming Fraud Exposed.

The hacker emails were mentioned in the NYTimes, but overall they are being ignored by the MSM in the US.

However, the Brits continue to discuss it.

The Telegraph says:

If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and released 61 megabites of confidential files onto the internet.

When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at Hadley CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:
Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.

And, as an academic, I am appalled at the ways they discuss to limit peer review and take down a legitimate journal.

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

Ultrasound and Abortion

from Fox News comes this:

The former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in southeast Texas says she had a “change of heart” after watching an abortion last month — and she quit her job and joined a pro-life group in praying outside the facility.

Get Religion has a discussion of local coverage and the dearth of coverage.