Latest from the University of the Bleedin’ Obvious: Couples stay together because women want love and men like sex
By Pat Hagan
It’s a bit of a cliche that women settle down for love, and men for regular sex.
But scientists are claiming it’s true. A study shows that women agree to cohabit because they view it as a stepping stone to marriage.
Yet men move in hoping for more sex and to ‘test drive’ the relationship to see if it is worth sticking around.
The findings are likely to raise doubts about whether cohabitation carries the same degree of commitment from both partners as marriage.
An estimated four million Britons live together outside marriage. They account for 14 per cent of couples, up from 9 per cent a decade ago, while marriage rates have declined by a third in 30 years.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Issues, showed that men and women agree on many benefits of moving in together – such as spending more time together and sharing the cost of living.
But Professor Penelope Huang, who led the research, said: ‘The notion that cohabitation allows for more frequent opportunities for sex, compared to dating, was emphasised much more by the men in our study than the women.
‘Men also linked living together far less strongly to marriage than women. They tended to view it as a “test drive”, without specific connections to marriage, whereas women tended to discuss it as a short interval on the way to marrying their partner.’