[Bella’s intro: In Singled Out, I wrote a section called “The Command Team Wears Wedding Bands,” in which I described instances of singlism (stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against singles) in the military. Retired Navy veteran Roger Morris read the book and got in touch, saying that although he agrees that there is some singlism in the Navy, he also thinks there are important ways in which the Navy is a pretty great place to be single. I invited him to share his views and he did so here and here. Then, just recently, another single sailor got in touch with me about his own experiences and views of singlism in the Navy. I invited him to share his perspective, and that’s what you can read in this post. He wishes not to be identified so I’m just calling him “guest blogger.” Thank-you, guest blogger!
As if all of those singles-bashing “why are you still single” lists are not bad enough, there’s more. I just learned that there is a traveling road show addressing the question, “Why is everyone still single” – as if that’s a bad thing.
My primary interest is in people who are single. Marital status (or coupled status) is a separate issue from parental status. You can be single with kids or married with no kids. I know that’s obvious but the two are conflated all the time. In this post, I want to focus on the “no kids” part.
Psychology journals are overflowing with articles about loneliness, and have been for decades. Recently, scholars are starting to study solitude, in the sense of the positive aspects of being alone. Take a look at what we know so far.
In writing about single life, one topic that comes up especially often is friendship. Below are links to some of my blog posts on (1) the importance of friendship; (2) whether single people get ditched when their friends marry; (3) making friends; (4) breaking up with friends; (5) how friendship is erased and distorted; and (6) other friendship themes.
I have also published a collection of my academic papers on friendship. It is called Friendsight: What Friends Know that Others Don’t.
There is a question that comes up now and then when I’m blogging about singles issues: What kinds of events or places work well for single people, especially single people who are not looking for something they can do to help them become unsingle. I just realized that I discovered one of those places during an unlikely vacation.
I have spent a lot of time and effort debunking myths about marriage – for example, if you get married, you will be lastingly happier and healthier, live longer, have more and better sex, more interpersonal connections, and raise more successful children. (You can find links to all of the debunking here.) But there is one claim about marriage that I do not contest – if you get married, you probably will end up better off financially.
If you get married, will you get more sex and better sex? So far as I know, a methodologically persuasive study has never been done. That would involve following people over time as they stayed single or got married or got unmarried, and seeing how their sexual behavior and sexual satisfaction changed (or didn’t change) with those transitions. All we have are studies that compare married and single people at one point in time. You can never know from those kinds of studies if any differences really are about being married vs. single or whether they are about any of the many other ways that married and single people differ other than in their marital status. With that qualification, here’s what we know.