Guys Are Getting More Romantic


Turns out, men like relationships!

Guys are all about getting sex and avoiding love. Right?

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. And they prefer emotionally connected sex over random sex. So it logically follows 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: 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.

A rerun for spring break.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs

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 March 28, 2016, in men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. This was such an interesting article! It makes me happy that young men today feel the freedom to be open and honest about how they want relationships over casual sex. There is a rampant stereotype that all guys think about is sex, but I feel the playing field is getting more and more even every day. Women are encouraged to explore their sexuality, a significant difference from previous ideas that women should remain chaste and pure until marriage. And clearly from the results of the survey men are encouraged to embrace their romantic side, as there is less pressure on men to be so “masculine” today; wanting an emotional connection when it comes to sex doesn’t make you weak. I am in college where the hook-up culture is supposedly at its peak, but most, if not all, of my friends that are guys seem to prefer relationships over hook-ups. I think it should be completely up to the individual, regardless of gender expectations, if they want a relationship or a hook-up, and we are definitely in an age where this is becoming a reality.

    I would be interested to see the results of this survey for women, because I honestly think the results would be pretty similar!

  2. I can agree that men ages 15-19 are more into the emotional and romantic type of relationships nowadays. I say that because throughout high-school and now, I can see that the men in my friend group want the romantic relationships than just having sex. Just like in the article, my friends told me how they would not mind having a girlfriend with no sex because they’ll love her no matter what.

    While reading this article, I asked my boyfriend, “Before you met me, do you think you would have sex with any girl if they wanted it?” He replied, “I know it may sound surprising but, I would need that emotional connection with the girl and truly love her before I have sex with her. I do not think I can bring myself to have a ‘one night stand.’” I smiled when he said that because it was nice to listen more of that side of him. What he said relates to young men having more “emotional depth” because he expresses his feelings very easily than some older men I know. I wonder how men dealt with their emotions back then because I feel like it must have been frustrating to keep it all inside.

  3. This was a very,very interesting read. It completely shed a new light on me. I am also glad that it will be easier for me to raise a romantic for a son and am thrilled to learn that young boys are getting more in tune with their emotional wellness. It is funny because contrarily people say that technology is making us more apathetic. However, even if the articles you mentioned did made studies, I think doing and thinking are different. You can say that you won’t have sex with an attractive somebody, but when it comes down to it the results may differ. Therefore, I cannot believe that that study is a true measure of what guys are like today. I believe that having sex and then creating romantic feelings around that relationship is a trend as well, but that doesn’t seem to be in the studies. The pressure to lose their virginity but also the emotional needs are fulfilled together. This may be in part due to all these “dating” apps that have come out.

    • Well this was a study of 15 to 19-year-olds. Having sex and then forming a romantic relationship is more what happens in college. And even then, that’s more true of 1) four-year universities 2) that aren’t commuter schools.

      But I been teaching college for 15 years and I’ve noticed that the young men in my classes are much more supportive and open to gender equality and getting in touch with their full selves, than they used to be.

  4. I strongly agree with this particular post about how young men between the ages of fifteen and nineteen are more romantic than past generations. I was raised by both of my parents up until the age of 4 when they divorced which then led to joint custody living back and forth between the two. I believe that my upbringing shaped me into the kind-hearted twenty-one year old man that I am today who strongly prefers a fruitful genuine relationship with another woman rather than having sex with random women.

    My father was a womanizer ever since I could remember understanding the concept of him sleeping with different women every other week. The reason why my parents divorced was because my father cheated on my mother. Keep in mind this is not to say I despised my father since then, but that I instead learned from both his and my mothers mistakes based off the stories they would tell me about their relationship. Ever since I found out about the infidelity my dad did to my mom, I promised myself that I would never follow in my fathers footsteps. That I would follow my mom’s advice to later learn that being in a relationship means simply living to make your SO’s life extraordinary rather than a living hell. That it’s no longer about focusing on yourself all the time and instead realizing that if you truly love your boyfriend/girlfriend, making them happy makes you happy as well.

    I have been with my girlfriend for nearly two years while currently finishing my third year of college. I have a sexless relationship with her because she is a virgin and I respect her decision of wanting to wait until she feels she is ready. I have only ever had sex twice in my entire life before her. But even if I would have never had sex, that would have not derailed me from wanting to be with my girlfriend. Nowadays there is so much pressure on younger individuals to quickly have sex that it’s easy for one to be influenced.

  5. This article was quite interesting to read. Although I do know of guys who are really romantic and prefer love and having a girlfriend rather than hooking up and having sex with anyone, I still believe that most guys just want to have sex and get pleased. This may not be the case for EVERY single guy, but at my age (19) I think that guys are not ready and also are not mature enough to know what they want with a girl. In the survey “That’s what he said”, they say that guys from the age 14-19 are more romantic than any past generation, but if that is true I think that they still lack romanticism. I have noticed that a lot of guys skip the small details on how to speak to girls, on dating, on making a girl feel good about themselves. Once they have the girl they want, they stop doing what they did to get that girl in the first place. Even though all the percentages in this article about guys preferring to not have sex if the girl isn’t the special one or that they rather not have sex if it is not with their loved one or their girlfriend, although those percentages are higher, the guys actions out in the real world, in the every day life, their actions do not say the same as their surveys do.

    • Well, most people think that everyone is like themselves and their friends, But similar people tend to hang out together (birds of a feather flock together). But if everyone were like us and our friends, we wouldn’t need any social research. We would already know how everyone was.

      And some guys actually prefer romantic relationships but feel pressured from other guys to act like they don’t, So that could be playing a role, too.

      It also depends on your definition of romantic. You seem to be talking about bringing flowers and that sort of thing. The author is talking about being deeply in love versus non-romantics who are one of two types 1) religious men looking for a wife or 2) guys who just want sex with random women.

  6. I would agree that there is a stereo type of guys that all they want is sex and not to be in a relationship. I feel that most of these guys that do just want sex or a “hook up” are either just getting out of relationship or they just don’t want to settle down just yet with just one person. As things have changed in todays generation, a lot of guys that i know don’t want to be in a relationship with a girl “its too much work” and would rather have a one night stand because they think its easier not having to be in check as they would say and not having up there ass! but don’t get me wrong there are still good guys out there that do want a relationship for so long before having sex with their partner.
    I believe how culture and how a boy is brought up as a man plays a role in how they treat women. A boy who is was raised with just a father rather than a mother can make a difference later in their life.
    As for men becoming more romantic i believe any man can be romantic just the right girl has to bring it out in him.

  7. Yeah I’m not sure how this is happening now. I mean maybe some might have a different perspective on what sex and sex with an intimate passion is but I disagree with this. From what I’ve seen in today’s society I think sex has been twisted in a different form of behavior . I see more people who are young that would rather have sex period . I mean I can be wrong too, intact I am cause it can be the other way around but the male generation of today has been very influenced by many things and I’ve been observing what might be some key things that affect the young me that might be just freelancing on sex or “love” . There’s a big possibility that porn may twist ideas but also media and what things on there are displayed . Sometimes even small communities built within schools or outside of schools of machismo culture plays a role in influencing young men on wanting sex and just calling it love . It takes a lot to achieve love and sex at once creating a huge passion of emotional, physical and mental common ground .

    • Most people think that everyone else is like them and their friends. That’s why we need social science research. And the broader research suggests that men are indeed getting more romantic!

  8. I think the very last point of your article might be the key to it… the excessive access of all kinds of porn fulfilling the physical needs of younger male generation, where their sexual fantasy gets so twisted they don’t find relations between love and sex anymore. The two became a very separate and different entities or ideas

    • Well that would be the downside wouldn’t it? But most men still seem to prefer sex in the context of relationship — unless they get too much porn and bond with their computer instead. Crazy stuff.

  9. I disagree. While there are some things a person may know leading up to a relationship, there are other things they won’t know until they encounter them in a relationship. I don’t think a “failed relationship” is necessarily a waste of time and think all interactions with others are learning opportunities.
    Also, not everyone is you (the obvious), therefore, not everyone has the same values as you and what’s “fun” to you isn’t necessarily “fun” for everyone else.”

    Yeah but it seems like many people go into relationships to have girlfriends or boyfriends, instead of being with someone who there’s actual potential to be something serious or to me looking from the outside feel. “How could they not know this person was not the one to them?”. I’ve always been a results person though, so if something doesn’t work out it seems like a waste, like I could have done something else with my time instead of invest it in someone who was never the one for me. You never know, but it’s one thing to think someone is and be wrong than where some people I’ve heard know that person isn’ the one and knew it, yet still were in a relationship for 3 years when they should have never let it go even close to that long when they felt it in the beginning.

    But many people need a companion to help their loneliness even or to have sex apparently with a connection so have relationships so they can have that companionship and intimacy under the “emotional” relational umbrella, even though I don’t think that’s any better than non relationship sex, because atleast you’re not wasting your time with someone just to be a person you can connect with so allow yourself to have sex which seems to be true for women more so than men and to help fix loneliness or that substitute. When you might as well be single and not get in a relationship unless you see or atleast feel someone has qualities that match you and compatible to what a long term partner would be for you. It’s weird, I didn’t have to have many relationships to know what’s important for me or not and I’ve only had a few relationships and it was never hard for me to realize what I want in a long term partner.

  10. I don’t know the cause, but it seems like an improvement. I have friends who tell me it’s because of the estrogen mimicking chemicals in all of our consumer products.

  11. It’s from research that was reported on in 2011. Prior to this research everyone thought that everyone on campus was hooking up all the time.

    short version
    my summary:

    I just checked and they have moved the link for the data on guys getting more romantic. It’s from 2009, And you can look at it here:

    Click to access thatswhathesaid.pdf

    Yeah see, research from 2011. I started college in 2004 and it seemed like guys were hooking up then. So that doesn’t make me or others feel better when their time period was hooking up. It’s the millenials and more recent times where they have been more romantic. Not people in the early 2000s and before…

    • It seemed like everyone was hooking up in 2011, Too.

      Circa 2011 researchers asked college students:

      Question: what percent of the student body hooks up every weekend. Answer: practically everyone
      Question: did you hook up last weekend. Answer: (Almost always) no.
      Question: how many people have you had sex with. Answer:(by the end of four years) 7

      So everyone thought that everyone else was hooking up all the time, But if you look at how people were actually behaving, Hardly anyone was.

      That fits your experience from 2004.

      Turns out, hook up culture was just a myth that everyone believed — Circa 2011.

  12. I think it might be more men in tap with their emotions but I don’t know if it’s all because of men being less sexist. I mean I’m sure some of men fooling around might be because sexism. But for me, I think other guys want just sex from women, not because they feel they have to be macho in front of others guys or because they think women are inferior to them. For me, I’m actually quite sensitive and emotional and am romantic and want love and think it’s great. BUT, I don’t see relationships or treat them for shits and giggles. If I’m invested in a relationship it,s not to have a “girlfriend”, but to be with a girl/woman I think is a keeper and want to be a wife. This is something for the long haul, so it’s a woman that isn’t just a good girlfiend, but someone I’d like to know for a while and be friends with and feel, we are just a great match for each other and I see great potential for her as a wife/mother and would want something serious and potential for what hopefully could lead to being a person I want to marry. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time, because I don’t have to love a girl or need love to have sex with a girl. I can crave and want sex, just for a girl I’m not that emotionally invested in, because she’s hot. So if it’s not there, I’m not going to be abstinent for a year or years, I’m going to want to have sex.

    Girls can make that decision easier it seems, but guys with our crazy strong visual sex drives and our ability to have sex without needing a connection,allows us to want sex and go after it without being in a relationship. Sure relationship sex is better, probably, but I don’t want a relationship just to have better meaningful sex, I want it or the time I want it is when I’ve decided I want to settle down and be serious so my decision from getting into a relationship is all about long term desire. I have to be ready for such long haul. So I guess there isn’t a rush to be in something so serious when or if you haven’t seen what else is out there first and experience that. The ultimate goal, marriage, serious relationship is there, but on the back burner until you’re ready or you come across the right girl. If you don’t come across the right girl, a relationship is a waste of time to you and her.

    That;s my philosophy. I don’t want a girlfriend, I want a wife if we’re talking about relationships. And there’s a difference. A girlfriend which all these young kids in relationshops have someone they love or like, but aren;t the one, so a year or so or 2 or three, but eventually breaking up with each other and to me 2 or 3 wasted years they could have spent atleast the guy with sowing his oats, finding himself and discovering what he likes and then after that only deciding to be in a relationship not with a girlfriend, but a “keeper” just as the girl shouldn’t waste her time with or going for a relationship with a “boyfriend”, but a man who should be a “keeper” to her and husband potential too.

    • Well, there’s a difference between men a) being in touch with their emotions and b) not using women. On that last point, people can have sex without emotion because they enjoy it — and not because they are just using and abusing each other.

      The way that feminism helps men to be in touch with their emotions is this: when we devalue the feminine, and label emotion feminine, then many men feel like emotion is something that they need to avoid.

    • I don’t think a relationship is necessarily a waste of time if it doesn’t lead to marriage. Some people don’t even desire or aspire to marriage and, of those who do, all of their relationships and interactions with others are learning experiences.
      I wouldn’t expect someone in high school to know exactly what their core values are, and, thus, what their dealbreakers are. We learn these things about ourselves through our relationships and interactions with others and people are still discovering themselves in high school and even early college (I know I was!).
      Also, if someone isn’t in a consistent and committed relationship over time with someone, then it’s hard for me to see how they could know whether or not they’re compatible with that person for marriage, since people unfold over time and we get to know them as they unfold to us.

      • Well I mean marriage if that’s what you want. I meant it in the sense as far as serious, long term relationship, “the one”, soul mate thing. Even people who aren’t married and don’t want to be, they may be with someone for 10 years of more and plan on being with them for the rest of their life. Well it’s fine having relationships in highschool if theyare short like that. That’s how you learn, but some people have long relationships for a year or longer and then break up or go back to that person and break up again or the next person.

        You can learn about yourself from just having casual relations and friends with girls and people. I wouldn’t be in a consisten committed relationship with someone if they don’t have the “keeper” quality to me, so there wouldn’t be time or patience to see them unfold. People do that and then see that the person is never who they were or better. Let’s put it this way. If you don’t know what you want with a relationship or deal breakers are, then why are you in a relationship in highschool? or in a long one? If that’s the case, have a short 3month relationship, or hook up or date multiple girls and have fun. You only live once and a short period of time to be young and wild, and sow you oats. You get the rest of your life to have serious relationships, so I don’t see the rush. And put it this way, you have a relationship in highschool, as a junior. Say it goes for 2 years, so you out of highschool now and freshman in college.

        You break up with your gf. Then you get in another relationship, or 2 though college. So now your out of college and you would be 22 or 23 years old now. And say you have two more long relationships over a span of 5 or 6 years. So now you’re almost 30 an age many people want to usually be serious. As a result, you have a total of what 5 partners in this span, still pretty inexperienced and robbed yourself of exploring and dating and just having fun and sowing your oats. But now it’s a time to get serious or now you could come across someone special , but not in a comitted mode, because you wasted time when you could have gotten yourself ready for comittment, but instead wasted time in relationships that went nowhere and you had to know it. I mean if it doesn’t lead to more, you might as well have had casual affairs and parties in college with friends and such, but now you let that slip by and now if you get married to a woman or long term soul mate relationship, she’ll be the 6th or 5th and last woman having sex with for the rest of your life. To me it’s better to either find that special one earlier if giving up that exploring or else it’s a waste or to sow your oats a little so you’re ready for the long haul and want the long haul. Whereas, wasted relationship could inadvertentaly get in the way of that.

      • I disagree. While there are some things a person may know leading up to a relationship, there are other things they won’t know until they encounter them in a relationship. I don’t think a “failed relationship” is necessarily a waste of time and think all interactions with others are learning opportunities.
        Also, not everyone is you (the obvious), therefore, not everyone has the same values as you and what’s “fun” to you isn’t necessarily “fun” for everyone else.

  13. I knew the stat you gave was misleading. You said boys in college only have an average of 7 partners according to a study and that includes the promiscuous men’s average too, so probably less than 7 for many men. But This is for this generations guys. I wondered about that, because I know that wasn’t the case for guys I knew who went to college or highschool and what happened. I see it moreso now, where girls I work with who are 19 or 20 and in college and they have boyfriends they’ve been with since highschool or sincer freshmen year and been with them for a year or longer. I see more of that from the younger generations than I recall from my age when in highschool or so forth.

Thoughts? (Comments will appear after moderation)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: