Listen as we talk to Helen Fisher, a world-renowned researcher, and unpack the results of her Singles in America study. We discuss this concept of fast sex; slow love, men wanting women to make the first move, and what singles are looking for in 2019.
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Season 9 Episode 9: Singles in America 2019 with Helen Fisher
00:00:00 - 00:22:57
The Dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that the Huffington post calls one of the top ten podcast about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about. From sex parties to sex droughts, date fails a diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host Yue Xu, former dating coach turned dating sociologists. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Krafchick as we explored this crazy dateable world. hey everyone welcome to another episode of dateable a show all about modern dating in our special guests on this episode i feel like has really defined with modern dating is following dr helen fisher for a long time and i not only i think has she put relationship research on the map but has it relevant and cool for younger generations julie or quick bio for dr helen fisher she's a world renowned biological anthropologist senior research fellow of the kinsey institute and chief scientific adviser for match she has conducted extensive research and written six books on the evolution in future human sex love marriage gender differences in the brain and how your personality style shaped who you are who you love she's curly using her knowledge of brain cancer street to discuss a neuroscience of business leadership and innovation she is from new york currently lives in new york and single we've been wanting to talk to dr helen fisher longtime in it's so exciting to have her here talk about the most comprehensive survey of singles in america which happens every year is that correct yes does absolutely in this was done by match it was done with match yes absolutely i do with them but we do not pull the match members nationally representative sample of reckons based of american singles based on the US census oh it's a scientific study we've done it for nine years collected on over five thousand americans from every ground every walk of life so every age group age eighteen to seventy one plus i don't allow every part of the trade center and we need to conduct the study do you go into it with hypothesis already i do yes i don't know if other academics there's all kinds of things that i apologize and i just want to see if it's true or not and and there's a lot of trend questions i mean there's some questions that we just simply ask every year we just wanna know how times a changing and then every year we chose a whole pilot new questions than if it we've done it for nine years we're just about to door ten so we've got data on forty five thousand americans it's y'all i do research as well and i'm just curious like how do you send the sir is it a survey we august restarting now again and redesigned about two hundred questions and and then an ethics until middle of october or early november then we give it to one of these survey national survey poll on the internet they collect data the data comes back of thousands of ages and it comes back in sort of middle of december and destroys christmas for me eh and everybody else sift through it and we're looking for patterns and look into the answers certain questions and i'm also thinking very clearly about you know the public what issue what are they wanna know about the question of the questions that they're asking i mean for example this year we did all sitting on the metoo movement people have been talking about the two and their particular experiences but i don't know if anybody found out what is the act of me to use thinking in america so another one i did some time ago was on a poly-amorous people are talking about that so and then i've got all the questions that i wanna know personally sell from darwinian perspectives i mean -ticipant that people will act in certain ways am i right or wrong what are some of your hypotheses going into this year survey oh policies sheer guess i wanted to know more about milan i've very impressed with millennials we hear all the time i am at the very edge among us our ambitious you are ambitious you don't wanna catch feelings until you are ready i wrote an academic article uncalled flow love courtship in the digital age and i just wanted to see whether i'm really at one third of people in their twenties today i still live at home i mean this is one of the reasons not having sex that you guys are having sex by you want to define the religion you wanna know where it's going and of this not work you're gonna get rid of and move on because you have very little time you're very busy very interesting to me is at forty percent of you so don't want a date until you've got more self acceptance unusual these are were preparing for what they're doing i wanted no more about how men women coach i had the hypothesis that men the new sense dot i think we definitely want to dive into both of those deeper like really interested in this like slow fast sex but maybe we start at the gender roles so i mean women are really fighting into have equal status and equal everything in the workforce and i understand that i wrote a whole book on it called the for sexually the natural towns that women and how they're changing the world when i felt for a long time that women are piloted the job market and progressing in that fashion but i wanted to know what about courtship so i asked fears questions in one of them is you know ended up finding out that for example seventy five percent of men today would be perfectly happy if a woman was the first shouts hello on a data site italy nineteen percent of women do it why do you think that's the case tell you some of the other ninety percent of men happy when is the first to ask for his phone number but only fourteen percent to it ninety percent of men are perfectly happy for women initiate the first kiss and only fifteen percent to it on an honest on it goes i mean women are being much traditional when it comes to courtship but that is a wonderful question here's why i don't know the father says you can have an i'm just wondering in court whether there is a biological aspect of this that whitman for millions of years women wanted to see who is interested in them what kind of person did for a living where they laze were they smart were they book being a good parent in a good husband and i think it's been men who needed to show their traits women are the according to the egg i mean you're going to have the babies for millions of years it was dangerous to have a baby i mean not only nine months carrying it to very open grassland is where this lions and leopards and of this round but the women everywhere in the world spend more more their time in the actually day-to-day care very small infants as a result menthol of faster than women do they fall in love more often and then want to introduce a defense of families sooner the art of momentum of insulin and took transfer likely to kill relationships over so how this reticence of women sure it's partially cultural lend me we've been trained for stopped us to be recipients of sexy you know the of courtship but there may be a biological aspect of it to that just want seen ceos on top and see how ben court them if they make dibble's so one thing i want to unpack it a little more is all the stats that you just gave around men had a falling deeper getting more like emotionally attached than women i feel faster faster more but having maybe more likely to kill themselves so perhaps you practice right so okay and that piece like i think there's always been this feeling that like women are more likely elite enter relationship and men are more likely to light pole back in not necessarily move as fast that was like historic feelings are you seeing as ridiculous i've been trying to tell i've been trying to get that straight with women's magazines for forty years just don't wanna listen they want that women are the more romantic and that meant you know among people under age forty women just as sexually active men is doger's so this isn't new stat what's this you said you've been trying to get this in for forty years of society is in seeing that as reality right well i think it's one i wanna say a couple of things it's i think it's interesting ninety percent men wanna woman to ask for their number i ninety percent men support a woman initiating i guess i'm like is a really ninety percent like it should be hundred percent okay with someone initiating i do think personally for me i've never been in a hunter kind of mindset never will gone into a bar and said zeroed in on a guy and said i need this guy i have to observe first and make sure one i feel safe and to the traits i'm seeing like you were saying helen and then whoever makes eye contact with me from bat pool of people then i can choose like who i may be possibly be interest they did so i think biologically for me the stats make sense yeah thing is don't forget that before you walked in at at bar you probably spend at least an hour washing your hair putting on mega wearing the right dress or skirt or whatever you know and making yourself attractive so all of those boys take a real good look at you and begin to sort of compete to to see if they can get your attention so i mean women play in the media game here players menu i think we're more subtle so as i thought was really interesting that i saw from one of your other interviews that the number one turned on now for men is a female entrepreneur fabulous i love it yeah and i feel like historic we as a woman you were told them men like caregivers they like nurses and teachers was always like kind of china like emphasis of trying to fit that mold why do you think this i think that there is biology to this being an entrepreneur these are the independent creative entering people and a day men are looking for a companion and not looking for somebody to justin nurse them they can do it by themselves they can struggle off to the doctors to a hospital you know times have really changed i think you're hitting on some really important you know everybody says it's technology that's changing technology is just neighboring amol thing just meet new people but the big big huge international trend is women piling in that what is changing things i mean a hundred years ago a women needed to marry a man was from the same background the same social set had enough money to support her and hopefully lived in the farm next door we don't have etan women are looking for a companion and men are looking for an they don't need a woman darn their socks they just go out buy new socks i don't like to cook dinner and call in or takeout nicon route themselves and get a hotdog whatever yeah so for different things in our partners and i think this is a wonderful i've never asked about this really it's important that the biggest turn on that men wata woman as an entrepreneur it really says a lot about men they really want an interesting creative daring independent partner instead of does that feed into your hypothesis that men are becoming more feminist i guess it is you guys are putting this together very nicely it is very interesting is you know i mean familiar years we lived in this little hunting and gathering groups and women community work together there with sixty to eighty percents it the double income family was the rule and for millions of years when we were regarded as actually socially an economic power phone as men as a result but we're doing is last ten thousand years of ober believes that a woman spices in the home janet orig- till death does buck and moving forward kinds of women that we were million years ago what we're really seeing as i mentioned in the return of the kind of women that we always were men like the female entrepreneur because millions women were entrepreneurs so one of the things that we're seeing just like from talking so many daters and obviously being in the scene ourselves is that a lot of times like men don't really know what to do these day and age like they know that women are equal so it doesn't necessarily i feel fair that they should be paying i states but also they're holding onto traditional values that like you were saying that women are kinda like trying to find the best mates want to impress and on top of that there's a layer of the metoo movement where men feel like they can't really make the first move anymore because they don't know what to do in a city so what should be doing well this is a big issue for both sexes i mean i remember times when i walked towards the door and i've seen a man begin sweat and he doesn't know whether to open the door for me or let me open the door i mean even out of the details because we are at this time of such tremendous transition that no new bills have been but what's interesting is in the me to move which we started this at singles in america this year this is our newest data of match and we wanted to know has the metoo movement change behavior and sure enough forty percent of men in our study of over five thousand missile representative sample are now more reserved with a female colleague at work thirty three percent are more reserved on a date thirty five percent of men are reserved in public twenty eight percent are more reserved on social media and you might think that that's little but when public health professionals study social changes and you tell people to stop smoking a tiny percent will stop smoking you tell him to stop eating this or that they'll tiny present will do it so this is any nurse pain arteries cultural change in only just a couple of years men are really responding to this and they flat out don't know what they really don't ought to do i think men are in a state of trance you know what i really think i think it's a correction device it's a writing device you know the the market does corrections we got ten thousand years of the men's roles very concrete women's roles were very concrete men held the money ah women ran the home men were economically powerful than women and women were regarded as sort of lesser creatures real in many respects i think this whole thing toward nato and other aspects of this is a correction device and it will settle down as we bill the new tradition i think we're already beginning to see i don't think anywhere near as many men are offering to take your home on the first day i think more and more women i think it's a real transition for man but it's also real transition for women like me who straddle agenda and legno generations where i still have these traditional oh values or i feel like i wanna man whose chivalrous i wanna man who makes the first move but i also want a man who respects an independent woman in the sorta climate right now it's hard to find a man like that because most men are unicorn who are kind of stepping back and just observing before they even make a i move so i think it'll be interesting to see the next couple years where my cohort of women will be in how we can transition our minds i think that's really important by the way the lennon's are leading the way thirty seven percent of genetics and millennial women are willing to step weapon baked across the text after i you guys are leading the way you were eighty away from ten thousand years of cultural traditions it's my guess is gonna take a long time before ninety percent of women are putting the moves on fourteen percent of men super interesting that we've talked to a younger people that are in their early twenties in like all these like rules of dating like that we kind of were like the elder millennials we like at the top range here like all that stuff is like foreign to them of like kind of waiting for the guy and all that piece but allegheny interesting unravel moment though because i kind of identify with what you just said you a it's like on one side like for about paying on dates like why would it be fair that the man his paying i make just as much money as they do why should they be paying for it but then on the other side it's like we're ingrained that if he really likes you help pay or like it'll show oh the he really values ed or is working to impress you like there is this struggle of the old and turn off if a guy doesn't pay on truthful can't like unravel that right i agree it's like i get it optically but whatever it is emotionally it's just area yes not connecting i don't even think that your everybody get there yet quote unquote because i think men want to be needed i think women want to be cherished the they're displaying when they pay them the bill right is showing i bet the money and i like bridal what's different now is that officials thursday starts much later in the relationship in yeah and i'm a lot older i'd pick up oh you know in spent a lot of money he up after dinner and and we went played miniature als in whatever but these days a first date in new york city way costs somebody to write or dollars and so we're seeing a different pattern of dating in something like seventy percent of particularly the young they start out are you start out i'm not sure about the two of you but just friends we're just friends low removed friends with benefit anion unlock between the sheets about somebody not just make love but why well they're patient whether they're kind whether they can listen whether they got a sense of humor and then they slowly out and then they have the i thirty four percent of singles today at sex before the first day and older people think that this is its singles particularly the millennials you don't have much time you don't have very much money i state has gotten important you don't want to spend that kind of time that kind of money kind of energy the first date is taken on much more important and i think that who pays is a big part of it one thing that i am interested in because you're saying that people are alike hooking up before the actually going on dates or going on less states because of the cost and all that but with dating apps like i found your stats dating apps are still the number one way that people are finding that our state how does that work like you're kind of the first meet is a first date or people does not thinking of that as an actual in doing more low key stuff take a moment to focus on mental health sometimes i go through phases where i don't feel great i feel like there's something preventing me from achieving happiness and i'm not motivated to do anything i used to just wait for these phases to pass because that's the way i've always dealt with it but then i discovered better help where i can get online counseling and connect with professional credible compassionate counselors in a safe and private online environment better helps counselors specialize in depression relationships trauma and so many other areas everything stays confidential and you can always change your counselor with over three thousand US licensed therapists across fifty states and your choice of communication modes including ex- check phone and video better health has made it easy for me to find help better help also really affordable and for dateable listeners only you get ten percent off your first month with the count code dateable just go to better help dot com slash dateable fill out a simple questionnaire so they can match you with the great counselor again that's better help dot com slash dateable and use code dat for ten percent off your first month now back to this episode how does that work like you're kind of the first meet is a first date people not thinking of that as an actual date and they're doing more low key staff oh moping that the vast majority of a coffee or a drink and not regarding it as much as date as a looks basically people aren't putting that much emphasis on a first date if they're meeting online a lot of these i dates armenian bar for drag or there is no dinner involved in law they begin to like each or maybe it's the definition that i'm kind of going because i feel like for me because i'm in this generation like a date is a drink so that like would feel like i wouldn't necessarily feel like i slept with someone before for a state but i guess your definition or maybe like the more traditional pull out the stops nice dinner like that type of high well what we've called it matches the fissile i got it i agree with you by the way one here on their singles to america's steady we did ask people what do you day did some people will say a video chat on the internet is a date and i would agree with that and others certainly say every anchor even having a posse so it's so interesting now i mean this is a good example of how times have changed unless that nobody knows what a first date yeah that's definitely true because i would even venture to say people even younger than me with say like oh it just like hanging out in a group or something is a date like sell all over the place and hi there so much confusion in modern dating because people think what are we doing here we just hang out or refinance with benefits are we headed into a something more serious yes and this goes into your whole research about slow love fast sacks the extension of were historically i think this is really interesting that marriage was the beginning of the ship but now it's the finale so look research on slow love i really feel like there's some generational differences i think baby boomers were all about traditional marriage and you mean one person and you you get married to them and then they experienced the highest divorce rate the consequence of that was i'm not going to get married to someone just to get divorced so i'm gonna along gate this courtship process may be put up with more people test drive a little bit more before i settle down with someone so gen-x created the ice the hookup culture which millennials took on and said okay we saw we did next took on hookup culture SEI's increase i don't want to have that so i'm going to extend the course the process but with a more intentional angle which is to find a meaningful relationship which i'm seeing in gen z.
00:22:57 - 00:23:56
they're like very traditional if you think about i feel like they're going full circle you're going back to the very traditional values of identity believe in marriage that can last a long time but i'm going to wait a really long time to find the right person absolutely they wanted and by the way you know there's some concept of DT are defined the relationship they young wanted divine and we asked in what point in the body parts that conversation you know defining the relationship and the average time was months about right oh i would never invest i'm a baby boomer i never had somebody after four months dating we had i never would have but navigation maybe i'm not a little unusual as you wouldn't have because it's already defined or you have because he wouldn't want to have that conversation i wouldn't want to pin down but listen most of the people in my generation married very young and i only married for about six months and then didn't marry ends probably a little you guys singles today but certainly millennials and gen z.
00:23:56 - 00:23:56
00:23:56 - 00:38:16
watch everything about that person before they tied the knot and they don't wanna catch feelings at waste a lot of time in with people who aren't going to be right for them so they're having the sex avenue sex but you're getting rid of person faster than older generation would we would net around and tried to figure it out and talk to our girlfriends whether they mean by that geez i can't i don't know if these you guys want transparency kerry impressed and so you start out this just friends you really get a person in your climate better than learn a lot between the sheets and then you slowly come out and then you have the official thursday and then you throw time before you read and you know is so interesting i mean what what what started this is it was a sings in america studying every year we as special have you ever had one night stamp fifty percent of singled ceus over the every you're over fifty percent of the friends with benefit and over fifty percent of singles have had live with somebody long term before they married and you know a lot of people think oh this is reckless a study why are you doing this and i began to realize this is cost you is wants to know every single thing about this person when you walk down now you wanna know who you got in fact i began to think to myself well you know with his long period of recommitment you'll learn a lot about yourself you learn how to get rid of somebody and get in something too long so i begin this slow love fast sex slow love we will see were happy magic because people got rid of what they didn't vote so i didn't study eleven hundred married people one of the questions would you re-marry person you're married to an eighty one percents said yes we may even be going towards more stable partnerships because millennials are taking this so i want to unpack one piece that i've been curious is about is like i feel like the millennials are known as the hookup generation but kind of all your staff are showing that like actually they are really looking for like real connection why do you think that that's kind of like the emphasis that it's all about saxon less about feelings when you're kind of saying that it's that's like the means to get to those feelings i don't know i don't why the press wants to continue to say all that i mean there's quite a few studies now that everybody in think that everybody else and they're not in one study thousand thirty percent of single watery mid virgin wow that's really high ever said we all swing in another direction that you guys have grown up in a time of real terms well and i think the great maneuvers and i'm going to build a career i'm going to get myself under control i'm going to work for saban's i third singles today i don't want to is utter the chip in the till their finances are ordered you wanna get saints in auriemma career with a ride in you want finances going direction and you're gonna stick it out to get that done so i think we are looking up but just like you said that was very small art is that you guys are hooking up almost as sex interview what do you think about this idea of slow love no sex what we're seeing right now with a sex drought with a younger gratien i mean most of that sex drought is because first of all living at home one-third of no money and they're so ambitious the catch feelings until they get themselves in their finances in order so regardless of the sex drought as very cautious people being more careful about route sex i'm not in the should business thirty four percent of people have had sex before the first day most valencia's aren't scared of getting ahead of that not scared of disease in a heartbeat and scare the walker shame so the lid off the pot and and a lot of singles are using success in it again percents to see whether they weren't spend time money energy and perhaps they life with somebody so all of these it's so undertaken by day everybody thought that we were having okay too much sex now the whole thing is your sex i mean getting millennials are gonna have sex just slowing it down making it smart but so there's one stat that was interesting that only nine percent of singles wanted to casually in sixty six percent of sales are open to a new relationship which has doubt you should never tell tinder i know i know the socio pursue used to be the sociologist at tinder even there eighty percent of of those singles are looking for some kind of relationship i will say i actually reactivated tinder recently because forever i was like i don't wanna be on tinder it's hookup and i keep saying the people in their profiles being here for relationship like really emphasized this is my question do people actually mean what they say these are all self reporters data link all of my girlfriends say they're looking for sears relationship but then i look at their actions so why is there such a discrepancy here i think honestly it's what helen said of like i want to get myself in order i think that's a huge piece of it because i know so many people personally like i think like we're talking about with like the men and women equality even though like that exists a lot of men still feel like i need to be a provider each for my finances or order in probably women into the path of like it's you could always self improve right like one that line of like stopping in just being like i'm gonna go on this journey with someone versus when he gets the very best possible piece of who i could be you could be there till you're like sixty in theory by never end so the maybe the question on one hand aspirational what he want aspirations i think most people want a serious damage relationship and the next question is are you ready for right achieving that all right now then what's the definition of ready because i think that's like we're saying it's like it's like a hamster wheel like you could go on forever as well let's let's dot back to the brain you know i and my colleagues are are the first to put people in brain scanner and studied the brain circuitry using functional FM find the brain circuitry of romantic love and that brain's circuitry it's very clear in circuitry it comes from bay base of the brain way below the cortex where you do it wave factories in the middle of yours had orchestrate the emotions in basic drive with obsession with motivation enter james optimism and that brain circuit can be triggered anytime brain circuitry for romantic love is like the fiercest fear can be treated and romantic love can be tricky terms so my guess is when you talked about a girlfriend who said she wants a long-term partnership then she doesn't behave that a it's my guess is that she's going out with people she's trying them out and enough for her and she'll carry on a little while hoping so it but she hasn't triggered that brain circuitry inches off to the races doc is my guest that you can be both at same time so are you are you in the camp that finding the right person is more important than timing i think the timing is absolutely essential it's amazing how the perfect person can sit on your lap and if the timing is right for you just don't even see if there's so many factors that go into medical but i do the timing is is one of the essential we carry in our head a love map a list of what we're looking for in a partner but when the timing is right and the prison fits within net that list of traits you can then vol mattielo but now i think timing plays a big role so i think the other piece that's interesting that you brought up helen is people are just like newest trying people on for size and i think there's also this line of like you kind of at some point after just doubled down on somewhat in like make a commitment in see if it can grow together we've talked to other experts to in like experiences personally like no one's ever going to be perfect in like conflict is gonna come up knowing you can't expect someone to be like identical to the way you think all of that people today are very quick to just like talk someone out and go to the next what are your take on that issue geysers sparked that is the biggest problem today does nothing wrong with these datings i don't even call data so that's all they are is introduced size we celebrate the right size shape back on it has sort of a sweet spot we can cope with between five and nine options at once yes if you go out and you meet between five and nine geico you can order likely remember who they are and what you did on the date after that you began to an all the dating services should know that certainly edge does the more people out with after nine the less less likely you are gonna find anybody so the bottom is you've got to learn how to use due introducing sites so what i say to people in this one at the two things that i always say after you've met not just to met nine people stop get off the dating site and get to know at least one of those people better our data also more you get to know somebody the more you like why the you think so it's nothing really wrong with the data says i give you all those actions but we don't know how to use it so stop after nine you know you go out to the whole of france and released farmington sweet person says did you gain a little weight what are you going on that's all you remember when you meet somebody first time you'd have know so little about them that you overweight those few things they weren't they got no sense of humor you know they say one thing a little odd music always not a kind person always lazy this that we overweight so stop after nine and think of reasons yes actionable so i feel like my biggest takeaway of all of this is like there's rules now all right so it's hard to balance what you've been told for years especially if you straddle the higher end of being a millennial but i think what we're kind of seeing from this study in other studies out there is that a lot of like the old stereotypes of not wanting relationships or sex being kind of seen as a step towards relationship like all of that is it certainly the way it is today so it's easier said than done but it's like how do we kind of like separate like out of what we've learned for years really august in on what's currently happening well just listen to this i tell you some other things you know from what we've discovered men comfortable with women making the first move so take a chance you don't have to take a huge interest invite him to move your dining assay but i think we i don't know how to act any they don't wanna be called to task for a tiny little mistake of putting his arm around her in the movie us in her suddenly saying that was inappropriate so you know manner sit back and women need to take a little bit more the league the thing is we have to you gotta remember that men are looking even tender is not a hookup site over eighty percent of people are actually looking for some sort of relationship i think my biggest takeaway just to piggyback on all of what you both said is i look at my parents and how i talk about would you with them they start frowning they're like oh it's so complicated but i need to learn new technology because i want to stay relevant and i think it's the same thing with dating is that we can stay in our own mindset and say whatever's happening modern dating i don't want to worry about it i just believe in what i believe but there is something to be said about evolving with how datings changing evolving our mindset knowing that we're constantly changing that's what's going to help us stay not only relevant but also have more success when it comes to monitor the tomorrow you know romantic love courtship and romantic love feelings of detachment evolved so that we could spare bond and send our DNA these survival mechanisms i mean this is staying relevant this is staying eternal yeah definitely i think by other takeaway too is like i think we're in a really reposition that were being cautious in we're trying to find the right partner in all of that but i do think there is a line i think like it is up to us like i think that point oh i think this is like all options all of like the self improvement like back at a bad thing but it's up to us to use it in a way that actually gets us to our ingold which is finding a connection and finding love and that's a great way to wrap up this conversation with some stats for everyone because we didn't get to all the stats from the singles in america survey you know we hear from you all that there's a narrative out there that's there's nobody out there that's for me always looking for a serious relationship everyone's just looking for something casual they don't know what they want aunt but according to this survey sixty three percent of millennials want divine love seventy percent of gen z.
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does as well only nine percent singles want to date casually and sixty we're gonna wrap this up day want to continue the conversation i follow us