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The Salience of Sexuality in the Early Years of Marriage

Cathy Stein Greenblat
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 45, No. 2 (May, 1983), pp. 289-299
DOI: 10.2307/351508
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351508
Page Count: 11
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The Salience of Sexuality in the Early Years of Marriage
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Abstract

The present research focuses on several dimensions of the early years of marriage, including the sexual relationship. Interviews, conducted with a random sample of 80 persons married five years or less, included questions on frequency of intercourse in the first year of marriage and at present, reasons for changes in frequency since the first year, and the importance of sex in marriage. There was considerable variation in first-year frequencies, which was not related to differences in major social characteristics such as education. First-year rates seem to result from idiosyncratic bargaining/negotiating within the couple, with few normative guidelines. While rates in the next few years declined for most couples, the only factor significantly related to later rates was first-year rates. Respondents' accounts of the decline emphasize work, childrearing, fatigue, and familiarity. Despite the relatively low frequencies reported, respondents consider sex important or very important in marriage.

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