Across the United States today, young women are much more likely to graduate from college than their male peers, a trend that's been compounding itself for a few decades now.
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It's possible that, for Jacob, signing up for really did change his outlook, rather than exacerbate personality traits that were already there.
But ultimately, I only want to illustrate how dicey it is to fixate on a single factor like the Internet when trying to explain something so complicated as the social-psychological mores that underpin love and dating, especially when there are other equally viable explanations waiting to be explored out there.
But in fact, social scientists have been researching the society-wide effect of sex ratios on marriages and relationships since the early 20th century, and some of the evidence suggests that when there are excess women around, young men are less likely to commit.
In 1983, Marcia Guttentag and Robert Secord posited the theory that in female-heavy populations, men would become more promiscuous, and that in male-heavy populations, they'd become more faithful.
And in an interesting, gender-equitable twist, research on China has found that women there are more likely to sneak away for extramarital sex in communities with too many men.**With those findings in mind, it seems reasonable to suggest that instead of pointing a finger at the internet for Jacob's relationship habits, we can keep things simple and just blame Portland, where going to a bar, going to a concert, or even going to work would probably leave him surrounded by available women. In truth, my goal here isn't to convince you beyond reasonable doubt that sex-ratios are turning young, educated American adults into commitment-phobes.