Regnerus on How SSM Will Change Marriage


Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, responds to the Atlantic Monthly's cover story on how redefining marriage will change marriage, arguing in the Public Discourse that "the sexual permissiveness of men will emerge a winner in the contest of ideas as same-sex marital norms begin to shape the larger institution of marriage":

Man Putting Engagement Ring on Woman's Finger"...Stacey notes this gatekeeping function as well in her ethnography of gay relationships in Los Angeles, quoting early gay activist and journalist Randy Shilts’s remark that among gay men there was “no moderating role like that a woman plays in the heterosexual milieu.” Furthermore, Shilts, author of And the Band Played On, asserted that “so much of the gay community’s sexuality . . . seemed more defined by gender than sexual orientation.”

The Add Health data concur, revealing that the subject of monogamy and its discontents is not limited to gay men. Shilts described how “some heterosexual males privately confided that they were enthralled with the idea of . . . immediate, available, even anonymous sex...if they could only find women who would agree.”

This phenomenon, I suspect, has the unique potential to genuinely shape or affect heterosexual marriage. Why this one? Because it’s the only one of the side effects Mundy notes that is exclusive to men. And why does that matter? Because—as I’ve written elsewhere—men have gained a decided advantage in the wider mating market." (Public Discourse)