The Sunday Times asked me how the new markets for sex and love were affecting marriage and divorce. Here are my thoughts in a column in this Sunday’s paper,
Do a quick online search for the term “What causes divorce” and you will be greeted with a myriad of sites claiming to have the answer. A popular claim is that online dating and social networking sites are major contributors to infidelity and divorce. A new economics paper presents some very compelling evidence that it is simply not true. The ease at which married people can find new lovers online is not causing an increase in marital instability.
Warning, the four minutes you will spend reading this blog post may be hazardous to your marriage.
Or so you might think.
A protest in Toronto last weekend against sexual assault stereotypes, affectionately called the “Sluts March”, reminded me that I have omitted (or perhaps avoided) talking about rape here on Dollars and Sex. You may think that violent crime falls outside the scope of economic analysis, but there is a question about rape rates that is worth examining within an economic framework: How has the rise of internet access contributed to the fall in rape rates over the past twenty years?
According to new research released by the Oxford University Internet Institute last month, I really AM the only single woman not looking for love on online. Okay, perhaps that is an exaggeration but results of the international survey find that in 2009 30% of newly cohabitating couples with access to the internet met online. If that number doesn’t surprise you then maybe this will – social networking sites are gaining on online dating sites as the most popular places to find love.
Craigslist Canada is under pressure from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to take down the erotic section of their Web site following a decision by the U.S. site to remove that section earlier this month. So far they have resisted and it will be interesting to see how that plays out.