We Need To Stop Telling Men The Lie That Marriage Ruins Their Life

By Meghan Dillon··  6 min read
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When I was in college, I noticed many guys at frat parties and bars scour the room to find a girl to take home for the night for no-strings-attached sex.

Panic mode ensued when it was last call, leaving several guys in snapbacks scrambling to find any girl willing to go home with them. It was kind of pathetic to watch, but I assumed this would end after graduation. To say I was wrong would be an understatement.

Every time I go out (and even at some weddings), I notice several twenty-something and thirty-something guys trying to pick up girls to take home. This isn’t exclusive to social settings – it has never been easier to find a hookup for the night via dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. This is just one of many downstream effects of college hookup culture, which leads many men to fear losing this kind of “freedom.” So they don’t pursue a committed relationship or marriage.

Though men do lose the freedom to hookup with whoever they want when they get married, committing to one woman doesn’t mean it’s the end of their sex lives, their social lives, or their personal goals. In fact, we'd argue to say that the exact opposite is the case.

Hookup Culture Makes Marriage Less Appealing to Men, Even Though They Crave Intimacy

With hookup culture devaluing marriage, being a single twenty-something or thirty-something man is often viewed as easy and exciting (in the beginning, at least). Helen Smith of HuffPost writes, “Single men were once looked on with suspicion, passed over for promotion for important jobs, which usually valued ‘stable family men,’ and often subjected to social opprobrium. It was hard to have a love life that wasn't aimed at marriage, and premarital sex was risky and frowned upon. Now, no one looks askance at the single lifestyle, dating is easy, and employers probably prefer employees with no conflicting family responsibilities.”

With the bachelor lifestyle being more appealing to some than ever before and a belief among peers that a committed relationship with a woman is nothing but a “ball and chain” and a buzzkill, one important fact is ignored – men still seek both physical and emotional intimacy, and they’re looking for it through sex, even through the no-strings-attached variety. Peggy Orenstein, author of Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, and Navigating The New Masculinity, believes that young men search for emotional intimacy and closeness through the “socially approved” method of random hookups. She writes, "Although hookups are explicitly meant to be devoid of feeling, guys in college use them in part to experience emotional closeness, in however attenuated or fleeting a fashion."

Hookup culture presumes that men, unlike girls, lack even a basic capacity for love.

Orenstein continues, "Hookup culture presumes that they, unlike girls, lack even a basic capacity for love, that they neither can nor should acknowledge emotional vulnerability — not in others, not in themselves."

Not only does hookup culture devalue marriage, but it hurts men (in more ways than one). Most obviously, it isolates men from a healthy and productive way to experience emotional closeness, restricting them to dead-end hookups. Men aren’t sex-obsessed Neanderthals that crave nothing more than a new woman in their bed every night, but that’s what hookup culture reduces them to. Many young men crave the same kind of intimacy and romance that most women do, and they shouldn’t feel ashamed of it.

How Marriage and Fatherhood Benefit Men

More young men being against getting married is unfortunate for many reasons, one of them being how marriage benefits men in nearly every aspect of their lives. Married men tend to make more money than their single counterparts, have better sex, and live longer.

Yes, you read that right. With a strong wife and adoring kids, a man is much more likely to succeed in whatever endeavor he takes on. Is it any surprise? Having someone you can count on to support you and grow with you through different seasons of life, lift you up amidst challenges, and celebrate alongside you throughout career milestones shouldn't be taken lightly.

Married men not only make more money and live longer, but they also have better sex lives than their unmarried counterparts. According to Men's Health, “51% of married men report being extremely satisfied with their sex lives, compared to only 39% of men who just live with their partner, and 36% of single guys.” Why? Well, “Greater intimacy comes with the commitment of being with one person forever, researchers say. Women are much more likely than men to make love a requirement for having sex, and studies show men feel more sexually satisfied when they know their relationship is in it for the long haul.”

51% of married men report being extremely satisfied with their sex lives, compared to 36% of single guys.

Having sex with the same person for years also allows for more meaningful sex and just straight up better sex. After all, practice makes perfect. If men want emotional closeness and great sex, marriage sure seems to trump a one-night-stand.

Some men also view marriage as having more responsibility. Though this is true, many of the responsibilities lead to a more fulfilling life, including fatherhood. Many men (including famous and influential men like Prince William and George Clooney) say that fatherhood changes them and makes them better men. Research also shows that fathers tend to live longer than non-fathers. According to a 2017 Swedish study, fathers tend to live two years longer than their childless counterparts.

Closing Thoughts

Men caving to instant sexual gratification through hookup culture and their resistance to commit to marriage prevents them from actually doing anything of substance, and thus, leading a lonely and fairly meaningless life. While "having fun" in his 20s may seem appealing at first glance, how he behaves in these crucial years sets him up for how life will unfold in his 30s. We have seen far too many men wait until their 40s to shape up and at that point they're more likely to wind up alone and childless or settling for someone half their age who lacks the emotional maturity they crave. Just take Johnny Depp and Amber Heard as an example; we all see how unfortunate that dynamic has turned out for him.

The bottom line is that men need to stop listening to the lie that they can do whatever they want until they're in their 40s. Wasting time with meaningless one-night-stands and breaking the hearts of women they care about because of their fear of commitment is causing them irreparable damage.

The myth that a man’s life is over when he gets married only prevents men from admitting they want to become husbands and fathers, depriving them of what could very well be the happiest and most fulfilling time in their lives.

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