Love & Sex

The Sex Lives of Women in 1945 vs. Women Today

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The gap between Bettie Page and Megan Fox.

You may look back on the women who were born in 1945 — who are now 69-years-old — and think their sex lives are nothing like yours. They came into their youth at a time when the birth control pill had never been used, Masters and Johnson hadn't teamed up, and The Beatles had never held anybody's hand. And we may think premarital sex was never in vogue for women who came of age by 1960, but according to a longitudinal study done by the Guttmacher Institute, the age we've been losing our virginity hasn't changed that significantly in the last 40 years. For women, the age of first sex has decreased slightly from 19.2 to 17.3 years and for men, from 18.1 to 17 years. That's an insignificant age jump from the homecoming dance to senior prom. 

What was surprising to the researchers, however, was that while the time when we pop our cherries isn't changing that much over time, the gap between first sex and first birth is widening at a quick clip. Mary, born in 1945, only had 3.7 years between her first roll in the hay and her first diaper change, while Jennifer, born in 1982, waited a whopping 9.7 years between her first dorm room hookup and her first Bugaboo Stroller. Bettie Page first used a condom at age 20.2, while Megan Fox bought her first Trojan at 17.5 (Okay, we're just assuming). A lot can happen between Bing Crosby and the Steve Miller Band.

Of course, a few reasons for this enormous shift is that women have more access to contraceptive health and are going on the pill at a younger age, ladies aren't getting married until an average age of 26.5, and as Sheryl Sandberg would have it, we're leaning way into our careers. The Guttmacher Institute is calling this new extended no-baby period the "longer period of risk for unintended pregnancy," of course, some of us just call it our 20s.

Images via Wikipedia.