Red sex is for girls; Blue is for boys? 

Red sex, Blue sex

Red sex, Blue sex

When you think of red state sexuality, images of Bible believers saving themselves for marriage — or at least keeping their numbers down — may come to mind.

No wonder plenty of Southerners favor pastors and politicians who preach sex after marriage, abstinence education, no contraception, and shuttering Planned Parenthood.

And blue state sexuality? Full of “friends with benefits” and casual hookups, right? 

Red is for girls; blue is for boys?

When you think about it, red state sex resembles female sexuality while blue states “do it” like guys.

Except that dogma and behavior don’t always match.

Women and “reds” are both more monogamous?

red and blue statesWe still live in a world where sexually active men are “players” and where sexually active women are “sluts ’n hoes,” and where the “ideal woman” keeps her numbers in the single digits.

But who are all the players having sex with? Men can’t be all promiscuous if women are “monogamish.”

Bring out a lie detector (or what looks like one) and — it turns out — straight women and men have sex at just the same rate.

Red and blue are a lot alike

Roses are red

Roses are red

Image and behavior don’t match when it comes to red and blue states, either, say sociolgists, Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, in their book, Premarital Sex in America.

Surprise, surprise, young people all over the States are a lot alike. They have plenty of sex. They use – or don’t use – contraception at similar rates. They have plenty of abortions. And if anyone’s hooking up more, it’s the Bible Belters.

Still, most Americans, whatever their color, put marriage and family on a pedestal.

But there are differences.

Red states: idealistic early adopters

Kids of a reddish hue “do it” sooner. Trysts come in their teens, but are less experimental: less anal or same-sex, for instance. So their teen pregnancy rate is higher. And they usually want to settle down in their early 20s.

Speaking of which, reds are more likely to THINK sex should be saved for marriage, or at least relationships — even when they can’t manage it. So they’re a more guilt-ridden lot. Especially women, who get the purity message from both gender ideals and geographic location.

Blue staters: practical and less guilt

Violets are blue

Violets are blue

Blues feel a lot less guilty. They love sex, too, but don’t think it should be saved for marriage.

They think it should be saved for college. And that’s partly from fears that early parenthood could harm collegiate and career chances. Their 20s is the time for sex play. Their 30s is the time for marriage and family. So blues are behind reds by about a decade.

But then again, college-pursuing reds behave almost the same as their azure peers.

Unless they are also religious females. (Really, reds aren’t all devout!) These women are much more likely to live out red state ideals: no sex, married sex, relationship sex. And nothing too kinky. But they are the most likely to use contraception.

Maybe more purple than red or blue?

Roses are red, violets are blue...

Roses are red, violets are blue…

So, despite gender, politics, religion, ideology and geography – all those things that seem to separate us — we are actually a lot more alike than different. When you get right down to it, we are all looking a bit lavender.

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Is Male or Female Sexuality Better?
Empowered v Scripted Sex
Hookup Culture

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 August 11, 2014, in feminism, men, psychology, relationships, reproductive rights, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Cody McCullough

    Lavender indeed. Nice piece.

  2. Very interesting! Makes me think of the idea that what’s in our head might feel like it divides us but our bodies want the same thing- regardless of our intellectual or political persuasions.

    • Yeah. Interesting to see how red and blue behave similarly, even if they have different attitudes about their behavior. And then you have to wonder about policy, which can be a poor fit with reality.

  3. This is indeed correct, In European Schools they teach and discuss with students for better understanding and appreciation.

    • As opposed to abstinence education here in the States?

      • Here in Norway the kids start learning about sex before girls used to start their period. I think about 11 years old. By the time they leave Jr. High they have been through all of the practical stuff, diseases, ethics and the right to say no. Abstinence is also talked about.
        The quality of both teaching and learning depends upon the teacher and the pupils.
        We still tend to get the same divide along devoutism. Devout people tend to marry earlier and have children sooner. So do poor people.

      • I was reading something about conservative versus liberal minds, and it seems that about half the population leans one way and about half the other. So I guess it’s not surprising that you would get the divide in Norway, too. Of course, culture has it’s effects. And our environment, both physical and social, affects the structure of the brain, and social ideas. So there are conservatives in Berkeley, but not near as many as in Alabama. Maybe that’s also true of Norway.

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