The Intergenerational Transmission of Sexual Frequency

Scott T. Yabiku, Arizona State University
Chelsea Caloia, Arizona State University

Intergenerational relationships are one of the most frequently studied topics in social demography. Within the area of family, researchers have found intergenerational similarity in family behaviors such as marriage, divorce and fertility, with fertility being one of the most extensively studied intergenerational linkages. Yet virtually no research has examined the intergenerational aspects of a key proximate determinant of fertility: sexual frequency. We use the National Survey of Families and Households to examine the relationship between sexual frequency of parents and the sexual frequency of children when adults. We link parental sexual frequency in 1987-1988, when children were ages 5-18, to the sexual frequency of the children in 2001-2003, when these grown children were ages 18-34. We find significant associations between parental and adult children sexual frequency. A mechanism behind this association appears to be greater transition to marriage among children of parents with high sexual frequency.

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Presented in Session 79: Biosocial Investigations of Fertility, Sexuality and Reproductive Health