Americans’ beliefs about what counts as a marker of adulthood have changed, too.
A 2017 Census Bureau report showed that more than half of all American adults in a representative national survey said that getting married was “not important” to becoming an adult.
Dating and sex were only two of the behaviors that Twenge and Park analyzed in their study of U. They use their results to make the case for a new and slower life strategy, compared to a faster strategy of the past.
Teens can move more slowly toward adulthood, Twenge and Park argue, because, on average, they are in “resource-rich environments.” For example, parents have fewer children than they did in the past, and so they can invest more in each one.
In the three time periods between 19 (1976-1979; 1980-1984; and 1985-1989), the share of 12th graders who had ever gone on a date was either 86 percent or 87 percent.
The percentages for the subsequent years are below.
It is a real thing, the researchers have concluded: Some people just aren’t interested in sex, and not because there’s something wrong with them.
The bigger story, I think, is that humans have more opportunities than they've ever had before to live the lives that suit them best.
Dating, sex, marriage, kids — they aren’t mandatory anymore.
People can live full, and fully adult, lives without any of them.
During this tenure at school a child should date, but not anyone that shows signs of being violent, disrespectful, cloying or substance abusing.