Marriage, Cohabitation, and Sexual Concurrency: Unpacking the Effect of Marriage

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Sexual concurrency, or having temporally overlapping sexual partnerships, has important consequences for relationship quality and individual health, as well as the health and wellbeing of others embedded in larger sexual networks. Although married and cohabiting couples have similar, almost universal expectations of sexual exclusivity, the former report significantly lower rates of sexual concurrency than the latter. Given that sexual exclusivity differs between marriage and cohabitation, despite similar expectations of fidelity, sexual exclusivity can provide an important test of whether marriage has a causal effect on relationship behavior. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, I estimate an instrumental variable model testing whether observed differences in sexual concurrency between marital and cohabiting relationships are attributable to marriage itself via a recent implementation of the special regressor approach. I find evidence that, re
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1256
JournalSocial Forces
StatePublished - Mar 2019


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