Men Before Marriage

In the era of Courtship (before 1920), young women generally lived at their father’s house until they were married. This produced a desirable wife — young, virginal, innocent, well-trained, well-cared-for, horny as heck and anxious for a home and husband of her own. But, a young man who lived at his father’s house was not exactly prime husband material.

There were some exceptions to this: In general, the eldest son would inherit the family farm/estate/business. As a young man, he would probably be “working” at the farm or business, in preparation to eventually taking it over. (Farming is hard work, and among the Amish today, men commonly step back from hard physical labor around age 50, leaving this to their sons.) These heirs could be desirable husbands, although they typically came with a lot of complications, in particular the mother-in-law who was often a tyrant to a young wife.

But, otherwise, a man would have to go out in the world and establish some kind of career. This took some time, and during that time, the man would often live alone. He might be traveling the world as a soldier, sailor or merchant. He might be moving from city to city, for business, or to build a career. When he got married, he was perhaps age 21-35, commonly 3-10 years older than his wife who married at age 16-25.

During this time, a man might gain some “experience” — that is, he was not a virgin at marriage. Usually this was not talked about much, and it was easiest to just make believe that he was a virgin like his wife. Also, it was, to some degree, a sign that the man was not a complete loser, and could make things happen in the world. A little dalliance was looked over, but debauchery (a “rake”) was not respected. As I noted earlier, it appears that the pair-bonding effect in men declines over a much longer period than for women. While the pair-bonding effect deteriorates with perhaps five partners for women, it takes thirty for men. Most men did not come anywhere near this figure before getting married, so their pair-bonding impulse was largely intact.

Published by proprietor

Happily married, with children.

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