Relationship Dissolution as a Life Stage Transition: Effects on Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors



In this paper, with the use of linear regressions to investigate how relationship dissolution affects sexual attitudes and behaviors, the authors address the stereotype that newly single people seek multiple sexual partners. Although the newly single people surveyed did obtain new sexual partners, the rate at which they acquired new partners did not support the stereotype. Specifically, men with custody of their children seemed oriented toward finding a steady partner. Additionally, men and women with low incomes reported relatively high rates of partner acquisition after relationship dissolution. The high rates reported by disadvantaged groups may be more directly related to familial instability accompanying poverty than to cultural characteristics associated with income or race. We argue that a life stage model with categorical stages in a rigid, anachronistic progression provides insufficient means to gain an understanding of newly single people.