Guys Are Getting More Romantic

Romantic-CoupleGuys are all about getting sex and avoiding love. Guys want random sex more than committed relationships. Women, the old ball and chain…

That’s what stereotypes say. But that’s not what guys say.  A large-scale survey called That’s What He Said found that young men between the ages of 15 and 19 are more romantic than past generations.

That’s right, 95% of them would rather have sex with their girlfriends or someone they love than with a random girl they don’t know and don’t care about. In fact, over half of these guys don’t want to have sex with a woman unless they really love her. And three-quarters want to lose their virginity to someone they love.

The lead researcher told the New York Times:

In fact, (the young men) often used strong, almost hyper-romantic language to talk about love. (A) boy whose condom broke told me the most important thing to him was being in love with his girlfriend and “giving her everything I can.”

Interestingly, while 61% do say they’d rather have sex with a “super hot” woman than with someone who is smart and funny, 78% would choose a relationship with someone who is smart and funny over super hot. So it logically follows from the above data that if a young man is in a relationship with Smart-and-Funny he’d rather have sex with her, too, right?

Further, if they must choose between sex and love, most choose love. Two thirds would rather have a girlfriend and no sex than sex and no girlfriend. These young men say they could be happy in a sexless relationship.

Sounds mind blowing.

Yet these findings resonate with a recent study of sex on college campuses where casual hookups are supposedly all the rage — yet really aren’t — as well as another large-scale study reported in the 2006 American Sociological Review which found that teen boys were just as emotionally engaged in their relationships as girls.

The researchers cite one surprising force behind the change. Now that internet porn can so easily feed their sex drive, young men can seek love and not worry so much about sex. But young men should be warned: overindulging may lead them to lose sexual interest in real women. (See my post Porn Can Cause E.D.?)

But young men today also have greater emotional depth, or are at least more willing to express it, than men of past generations. That may be due to less sexism and homophobia, leaving men better able to tap into and express emotion, and feeling less need to act macho and prove their manhood and heterosexuality by screwing a girl.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 11, 2012, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. “…may be due to less sexism and homophobia, leaving men better able to tap into and express emotion and feeling less need to act macho….”

    I would have to say that I am in agreement with this statement. Even though we still live in a patriarchal society, it is not so forced because the new generation is much more accepting and open. I didn’t know the number would be so high for young men to choose love and sex than sex and no love. I think it is cool that men are tapping into their emotional side and breaking down the stereotypes that most believe to be true about men.

  2. Thank god for internet porn I suppose. Of course that can lead into issues that have already been posted about in regards to women competing against porn stars, or thinking they need to give their boyfriend the “pornstar” treatment. Which of course leads me to question how many of these guys think that sex in a loving relationship is how they do it in porn, which worries me.

    I don’t exactly mean to be a downer on it, as a guy I almost feel like I should be pushing this and declaring that it’s one of the few times I’d be overly proud to be a guy. But at the same time, I am a guy, I’ve got guy friends, and that gives me a fairly good insight into how the “average male” works, and I’m just hoping that their parents have raised them to know the difference. I’ve always been a person who believed yes, sex is great, I like it, I’ll do it, but sex with someone who enjoys it, is even better. But the best is always going to be with someone who I love and who loves me back, because it’s with those people that you can open up to, and who hopefully opens up to you and you guys get to have an intimate relationship, both of a sexual nature and not, because you’re not just a random hook up.

    So yay to this hopeful new trend of guys finally realizing that a relationship over time is much more fulfilling than multiple one night stands over that same period of time. Because yes, while you might be getting a lot more “strange” than your friends who have girlfriends, but you don’t have anyone to go home to, you don’t have someone you know you can rely on, the list goes on, but it’s such a huge list that for people to ignore it would be sad in my opinion.

  3. tiffanyguzman

    This article was very surprising. I would have never guessed that there were so many men who would have this mind set. If someone had asked me this I would have thought the stereotypes were true and I think a majority of women would to. I think this is a great thing that men are able to be more in touch with their feelings and able to be romantic. This will help with the gender unequality issue, women will more likely get the respect they deserve as well as a boost in their self-esteem.

  4. Maria Estrada

    It is really surprising to find out that young men are more interested in a serious relationship than a one night stand. This is what most girls look for in a guy. It is also incredible to find out that guys can be in a sexless relationship as long as they have a gf who they love. I strongly agree with the fact that it is much more rewarding to be intimate with someone that you love and have a strong bond with because then it is more than just about pleasure, it is about having that special connection and expressing your love for each other. When you are intimate with someone who you have a strong bond with you feel like you can be more open with that person and when theirs more communication you will have a fulfilling relationship.

  5. Personally I think it’s more a case of younger men being more comfortable expressing the more romantic, emotional side and being less concerned with appearing macho. The men that I know well (my partner and other male members of my family) are all considerably older than the young men surveyed and all appear quite tough and ‘manly’ in public. Yet scratch beneath the surface and they are all just as concerned about love and relationships as the average woman. What differs is that they lack the emotional vocabulary and confidence to express themselves.

    It’s definitely a step in the right direction that this emotional intelligence is moving towards parity, making overall gender equality more of a reality.

  6. Weiyi Xia (Klark)

    It is not surprising for me to know that guys are getting more romantic than past generations. I can think of several reasons for why this is happening. Since gender equality has been more often emphasized than any time before, when women are gaining higher social status, men feel more comfortable revealing their emotions and expressing their love as well. Unlike before, showing emotions are regarded as weak and girly, now it is oftentimes thought to be nice and respectful. Furthermore, sex can be replaced by masturbation, yet love can never be replaced by anything else but finding someone you have feelings for.

  7. I particularly enjoyed reading this post because I do feel that it applies to me. I myself, as I stated last week, am a virgin and am completely and totally for losing your virginity to someone you love. Now, I’m not saying you have to wait until marriage, but the sole reason I have not lost mine yet was simply because I have not found someone that I trust with that big a part of me. I also find myself in more of the category of being romantic rather than macho. I will admit that, of course I have to act macho, I’m in college. But for the most part when it comes to girls, I feel that a good guy will always win over a guy that is just in it for the good night.

  8. Yes, it’s good to hear things contrary to the popular “men are dogs and will hump whatever is close enough”. It’s dehumanizing to be taught that we basically don’t have a heart.

  9. I agree that young men between the ages of 15-19 are more romantic than past generations because I am a witness of it. I fell in love with a young man when I was 15 years-old. I did not know what love was because I felt like I was too young to feel it. We talked about being intimate, but he wanted to make sure that I was the right one for him. From the moment we met, he knew I was. I can understand that because with all the AIDS and STD’s going around, it is hard to trust someone and it is getting more common. Also, I think that a male would not be intimate with just any female for that reason and also because she may have “been around” for too many times and that wouldn’t be attractive. I am glad to hear that there are men out there who are the romantic type and to treat a woman how she is suppose to be treated.

  10. Sindy Vilchez

    Its pretty suprising to read these stats but i also find it intirging. It s a pleasant thought to find out guys are becoming more romantci and although the idealize beauty and would rather have sex wuith someone hot over someone who has a good personality and is funny they still choose a elationship with the funny person over the more attractive person. The stereotypes will always be there for the most part but it seems both sexes have high expectations of who they are going to end up with now. All this really depends on the person as well some will always support the stereotype while others go against it.,

  11. If I would have read this two years ago I would be totally shocked by such an article. I grew up thinking everyone cheats and everyone has sex w everyone (divorced parents and way too much porn at way too young). I’m very dramatic and my life has been filled w drama. By since it’s my experience I thought it the only normal one. In growing up and maturing I’ve found that most people don’t cheat and most people don’t have one night stands. “casual sex” is a common misconception. It was my experience I had nothing to compare it too. I look around at t peers and most of them go to school or work and have family relations. I am the outlier who takes the road less traveled and thought most people are like me

  12. This article is somewhat of a suprise, but i’m happy to know that there are more guys out there like me. No i’m not just saying this to sound nice, i could care less how I look on the internet. It’s just that because of all the media and music which portrays sexual encounters with random people as the norm, I have always thought that I was an outcast compared to the average male these days. It would cause me anger and sadness to think about the world as a place full of sex hounds and women who are willing to take that. So this article has actually made my day, no lie. I agree with the fact that porn would influence this change in teenage boys, this upcoming generation is probably the first that has had internet porn at it’s finger tips since the beginning. I actually thought this whole time that internet porn would cause boy’s minds to be even more perverted, but it makes even more sense that porn would tire them out of that hype of meaningless sex. Since all that is doing is fulfilling both individuals sexual urges or fantasies and has no meaning. It’s nice to know that there are still good people out there, alot of them, who would rather have substance than surface level bullshit. I also think that the whole “college hype” was a psychological shadow from the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s that caused the image of a sex festival on campus. It’s not to say there aren’t alot of promiscuous girls and guys out there at that age, but it’s definitely alot more civil than I expected when I was younger. I think societies go through cycles, as easily seen in fashion. And myself being in a serious relationship really hopes that we are going back into a society where being faithful and down to earth is the new popular trend.

  13. I agree that guys are becoming more romantic. Gender roles from a couple of generations ago were fare more strict and firm. Stepping outside of the norm had more negative consequences then than now. For instance, a man was supposed to provide, the woman was supposed to be at home. While gender roles and societal norms still exist the same pressure isn’t upon to the extent that we are forced to follow them anymore. Times have changed and we live in a more egalitarian society, women are more independent and our gender roles and expectations have changed greatly and so why shouldn’t they change for men?
    I think it is good that men are getting more romance and want romance. Women are stereotyped a great deal, we are suckers for romance bla bla bla.. Well personally, I would like to think that the person I am involved with too likes romance.

  14. Oh of course men have more emotional depth than ever before. Society is contunuously developling. In fact, I think that one reason why women in the 60′s were apparently “unfullfilled ” was that the men were not good at making love at not just a physical level but an emotional one.
    I am a guy and I have made love to women I did not care so much about but also women I truly did care about and the latter is such a better feeling. It’s like an enhancer.
    As for the sexless relationship thing, that’s not how I feel. I want to physically express how I feel in a relationship. I am sure men care more about sex in relationships but I am surprised that such a majority of the men are interested in that.
    One reason why I hate prostitutuon is I would hate sex with some one who doesn’t truly want to have sex with me and plus I would prefer sex with women who care about me.

    What matters to me about sex is having it for the right reasons. But sex does not require people caring about eachother or loving eachother. Like I said, It’s an enhancer.

  15. In my experience guys have usually been romantic. While it is true that sex is a great motivator, it is true for women as well as men. Romance has always been a crucial factor in my relationships and I have found that men are quite capable of being committed, supportive and motivated by genuine intentions.

    Relationships are a give and take, and women are just as capable as men of being an emotional or physical drain. Energetic balance is critical to healthy & harmonious relationships. If I encounter a man who seeks only to use me I do not give him the time of day. Just as I see my male friends walk away from women who seek only to use them as well. Being able to see past the surface layers and make intelligent choices is certainly an art and skill that takes some time and practice to develop.

    The goal is not to find perfection at the first try, that is a setup to fail. Rather the goal should be to practice, communicate and learn with your partner, so that each person contributes equal energy and supports each other. Over time you will learn more about yourself and the world around you. If there are signs that the balance with your partner is slipping, then it should be re-evaluated. These are personal issues however and should not necessarily sway your opinion on an entire gender.

  16. I’ve just found this post is really interesting for me. In my opinion, it sounds great that guys are becoming more romantic and sensitive. Romantic man – it is quite a strange concept in the modern world. For many modern people romantic man seems weak. Fortunately, it’s just wrong stereotype.
    According to my life experience, I’ve seen a lot of romantic man, but independent and with strong characters. Romance can be expressed as love and devotion to the partner. Usually, with romantic relations is becoming longer and more expressive as well as girls feel happier and protected.
    Romance is a good step to good relations, especially by men.

  17. I find it surprising that young men these days actually do want to find true love rather than than having casual hook-ups from different girls because the guys that I know would rather do the opposite. They claim to love the single life and their freedom. But I can assure any man or woman would agree that “sex” isn’t better than “Love.” Sex doesn’t always bring joy, happiness, understanding, patience, but love does.” It is also surprising than men are especially with all the patriarchy and propaganda about sex and how sex is so open and easy to get that they still would consider Love above all

    . This is def. food for thought. In my opinion, I think this is actually a great thing that guys are getting more “romantic” because finding an actual romantic guy in this generation has been very rare and hard to find. Maybe its just the guys I run in too. haha, but on a serious note I would love to one day meet that romantic guy who is in love for all the right reasons, passionate about expressing his love without a care in the world, being devoted and loyal and not self-seeking. Patient, Kind, Understanding, Doesn’t Boast, doesn’t Envy.

  18. This post was came as a surprise to me. I didn’t know that there are still guys out their that prefer their lady friend over a stranger. Growing up with males friends, you hear stories of their sex fantasies with a porn star or people who can for fill their needs.

    I find comfort in this bit of news, to know that guys are still more interested in having sexual intercourse with their love partner than with a stranger. I’m a huge romanticist and to know that there are still guys out there that still appreciate the old fashion sex with someone they love is sweet.

    Though I know that it is not a 100% of guys but the percentage of love as a factor being as high as it is, should give girls with low self-esteem more courage.

  19. I want to start of by saying that this is all very shocking. As a 21 year old I have to admit that I was going along thinking that all men wanted was to have sex with mulitple girls to add onto their sex list. The last thing I thought was that men wouldn’t want to be tied down in a relationship and only have sex with their girlfriend. But then again we go by stereotypes and live as they were true. I think it’s very cute how young men would rather be in a relationship than go around having sex. Or that they would choose love or sex. Haven’t really met a guy would actually admit this. Maybe it’s because they have an image they have to follow as a man in society.

  20. I really enjoyed reading through everything on this blog post. For a while now I had been wondering how men, particularly my age, really are in relationships. It’s sort of a subject that I have never really talked about with anyone. Being somewhat reserved, I keep to myself everything that has to do with my relationship. I always wondered why I act so differently than what I see and hear on TV or hear from other people talking. Growing up all I knew was the loveless marriage of my mother and father; who stay together for the sole reason of their children. I have never known two people that dislike each other more than my parents. Their relationship is so damaged that they even have their own bedrooms in their house and are still married to each other. Looking at the example given to me my whole life I wonder why I am, or at least believe myself to be, romantic. I treat my relationship with the greatest care and made myself a promise to never be like my parents. I vowed everything my parents did in their relationship I would do the opposite. I found it interesting how the studies show a shift that contradicts the stereotype of men in relationships. That they’re not just in it for the sex, but weigh more value on the love and emotional connection with their girlfriends. I wonder what the reasons for this change are as I only know the reason behind my own.

  21. I feel like there is some guys that are getting more romantic, but i believe that about 68% of them now days just go to parties hook up with different girls every weekend. But i feel like after a while they realize that, they don’t want to just hook up with any girl, they actual feel like being in a relationship. I feel like guys want to change now days but still i think theirs a lot of work for them to do to get there. Also i feel like sometimes they are more romantic then a girl because that is their job for the most part be “cute”. i think a guy does more romantic things then a girl would, because that what most girls want from their man. But i believe that the girl must at least show their love to their boyfriends in oder for a guy to be romantic. and lastly Most guys think by having sex makes you closer to one another and more comfortable, which i believe is true and not true. If you think about it, it could make sense how, but also i guess that shouldn’t be the only reason how girls would be more comfortable and closer to their boyfriends.

  22. This was really shocking to hear. Yet the stereotypes are messing everything up and leading us to believe a guy doesn’t want anything more than sex. It’s rather cute that they want the exact opposite.

  23. This finding is not shocking for me. The idea of guys are all about sex and afraid of commitment relationships is just the stereotypes that arose from the media. One night stand and friends with benefits, for example, are being introduced and popularize by the media, especially by movies. Which the truth is guys are not like that. We just live up to the expectation the media has been feeding.

    I agree that guys are getting more romantic. Lots of people assume that guys are being romantic just to attract the girl, which eventually lead to sex, and he will be less romantic after they’re in relationship. I personally don’t agree with that. Romantic, I would say, is the guys’ way to appreciate the woman and way to show his love; which is not necessarily about getting sex.

  24. The title of this article is ” Guys Are Getting More Romantic”, after reading this article I do not feel that this title is appropriate. I feel that it should be changed to something more along the lines of ” Maturity in young men is occurring at a faster pace than in past generations”. Mainly because these values of having someone to love and cherish are those of a well matured person. Obviously you cannot ignore the fact that this articles is about men and sex. However it does not bring up the fact that having a girlfriend, in a way, will guarantee the fact the you will have intercourse. Now this may not be true for all cases, but it is a truth. Speaking from a young man’s point of view, which may be biased, I feel that being able to acknowledge ones feelings and being open with them and sharing them is a big step for any person. Mainly because you are putting yourself out there and you are in a way more vulnerable, to getting hurt. And by being a young male we struggle with showing our emotions, and correct me if I am wrong, men usually are not able to take hold of their emotions as well as women do. We usually suffer a little bit, and in time complete this grasping of emotions. Now taking in to account the fact that people grow smarter every year, it is possible that emotional intelligence is increasing and we as humans are evolving, and not in a physical sense but a social one. Putting changing times aside, men will be men and if being a romantic is getting you laid well than maybe todays boys are just too good. Nonetheless whatever is true I think being in a relationship with sex or no-sex, is a positive because it helps people grow, and learn to care for others instead of just themselves.

  25. I’ve always wondered whether everyone was honest about all the sex in college campuses. On popular confession pages on Facebook, everyone’s talk revolves around hooking up and all the secret places in the university or pretty public places at that! Doesn’t seem to realistic to me, and hearing that there was a study that debunked that casual hook ups are happening all the time. I mean, its fum to post and read about it, but we’re most likely napping in the librabry between writing essays and classes.

    Now, onto the porn watching. I was surprised to read that it can be healthy if seen here and there. I don’t completely agree. It ruins the image of what women really are and resuces them to mere objects. How can you find love when you grow to believe that women have only one purpose. There’s an excellent Ted Talk on this! I’ll just paste the link here for anyone who’s interested to watch. Why I stopped watching porn: Ran Gavrieli at TEDx…: http://youtu.be/gRJ_QfP2mhU

  26. ‘Interestingly, while 61% do say they’d rather have sex with a “super hot” woman than with someone who is smart and funny, 78% would choose a relationship with someone who is smart and funny over super hot. ”

    Being a male growing up through the ages of 15-19 in a public high school environment, and having the majority of guy friends, I would say this number caught me by surprise, but only because I didn’t think that many men would be all the way honest. In my high school, the overly ego inflated idea of being a popular guy was either dating the “hottest girl”, or hooking up with a bunch of girls and not really caring. This was mainly an egotistical façade that we as guys were taught as the “cool” thing to do. I will say as I and the general male population I associate myself with have gotten older the concept, even at 21, of pointless hookups, with no romantic attachment or someone to have to bond with and build a relationship with has dwindled to a few, with most my friends and myself being in a committed relationship.

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