MARRIAGE: FREQUENCY OF MARITAL COITUS

The frequency of sexual intercourse in marriage varies greatly among the different groups. This fact produces some drastic changes in the rank-orders of coital frequencies during various age-periods. The median frequencies are, naturally, more stable than the mean frequencies, but even in the median frequencies there are some cases of sudden variation—as, for instance, the rise of the exhibitionists from last place at age-period 21-25 (with a coital frequency of 2 per week) to fourth place at age-period 26-30 (with a frequency of 2.5). While rank-order changes, ordinarily one does not find increases in actual frequency—the picture is generally one of inexorable decrease in frequency with increasing age, and the range in variation of frequency correspondingly narrows.

In terms of median frequency, it appears that the most active groups are the aggressors vs. adults, the offenders vs. children, and homosexual offenders vs. minors. Interestingly enough, the latter two groups had only a moderate amount of coitus before marriage, and the aggressors vs. adults never rose above third rank in this activity. Clearly, when marriage makes coitus more easily available the whole picture changes; it is evident that the premarital frequencies reflect savoir faire, appearance, social milieu, and other factors as much as or more than they reflect what one may term “sex drive” or strength of motivation. The control group begins in second rank in age-period 16-20 and exhibits thereafter a rather uniform and gradual decline in frequencies resulting in the group occupying intermediate status in the rank-orders.

There is considerable variation in which groups exhibit low frequencies, but the homosexual offenders vs. children are more uniformly low than other groups. It is interesting that the offenders vs. adults, who were the most active sexually before marriage, always rank low in frequency of coitus within marriage. The prison group and the offenders vs. minors, both of whom distinguished themselves with high frequencies before marriage, lapse into moderate to low frequencies thereafter.

Examination of the frequencies suggests that in the great majority of cases actual protracted coital deprivation cannot be a major factor in sex offenses committed by men currently married. One sees that while a minority of the sex-offender groups exceeds the control group in frequency of marital coitus, the others do not lag far behind, and between ages twenty-six to thirty-five the majority of sex-offender groups exceeds the prison group. Even in those age-periods wherein the control or prison groups rank high, their absolute frequencies are not greatly above those of the sex offenders.

Mean frequencies of marital coitus are extremely erratic. About all one can say is that the aggressors vs. adults and the homosexual offenders vs. minors tend to have higher frequencies, while the incest offenders vs. adults and the offenders vs. minors (after age thirty) have very low frequencies. All incest offenders are to be found in the lower halves of the rank-orders, and the exhibitionists are usually to be found with them.

In both means and medians the occasional high ranking of homosexual offenders is noteworthy. This seeming inconsistency led us to examine in detail the case histories of the ever-married homosexual offenders vs. adults. Some of these men were more heterosexual than homosexual in orientation, and their homosexuality did not reduce their frequencies of marital coitus. However, some men were definitely more homosexual than heterosexual and often had markedly underdeveloped premarital histories, yet these men married (generally briefly and but once) and began marital coitus with high frequencies. It is true that since marital coitus tends to be more frequent in early marriage than in late, the coital frequencies of brief marriages will exceed those of long-time marriages, but this explanation alone does not suffice. We presently cannot explain why some predominantly homosexual males have a brief but intense (in terms of frequency) unheralded outburst of heterosexuality generally in marriage. The best explanation that occurs to us is based upon the strength of “sex drive.” The homosexual offenders seem to have the greatest “sex drive”; note that their total sexual outlet always exceeds that of other groups. Given individuals with a strong “drive” and with various degrees of heterosexual inclination, put them in a situation where coitus is available (marriage), and one may expect occasional high coital frequencies.

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