University Study Finds Race Is a Factor in the Pace of Intimate Relationships

Sharon Sassler

A study by Sharon Sassler, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University, and Kara Joyner, an associate professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University, finds that race is a factor in the pace of intimate relationships between young men and young women. The research, published in the journal Social Forces, found that relationships between White men and Black women progress to sexual intimacy faster than relationships between men and women of the same race. The research also found that on average, interracial couples also progress to cohabitation more quickly than men and women intimate partners of the same race.

The data showed that young interracial couples on average have sex within one month from the beginning of their relationship whereas as young same-race partners wait for nearly two months before engaging in sexual intercourse.

The research was funded in part by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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  1. DIANE LEWIS says:

    As a black female, I resent the underlying implication that black females participate in sexual intimacy faster if involved in relationships with white males than if involved with black males. What does your data reveal about white females and their pace of intimacy with black males versus white males? There are obviously more white female/black male relationships in America that vice versa…why not do a survey on the reason for that?????

  2. Savonne says:

    This is quit interesting but seems very vague. It is hard to believe that facts and statistics show this to be true. As a young African American female, with friends of all races and cultural backgrounds, I honestly found the opposite to be true. I have friends who inter-racially date all the time. Granted I do not sleep with them at night but from what I am told, they rarely make it to the point of intimacy. I, myself, have dated outside my race and have honestly never made it to the point of intercourse with Caucasian and Asian males I’ve dated.
    So this was interesting to read. Although, I wish it had more details.

  3. LD Follins says:

    Fascinating… I did not “read” what you read at all. My assumptions were that there might be some power dynamic between straight White men and Black women that might lead to sex sooner OR that if the couple felt some social stigma for being in an interracial relationship, that shared experience might lead them to engaging in sex sooner than others in same-race relationships.

    But in keeping with my belief that I must read the original study to truly understand the data, I’m going to contact the lead author for a copy of the article.

  4. Jane Eyre says:

    This does seem to be a flawed study. Why only study relationships between white men and black women? That’s only *one* variety of interracial relationship — out of many possible kinds — and studying only one kind of interracial relationship is hardly grounds for drawing conclusions about *all* interracial relationships.

  5. S. Beasley says:

    @ Diane Lewis I completely understand your concerns with this research since I was immediately on guard when I read the title of this post. The manner in which this post is written is designed to garner attention, but somewhat distorts the message of this research. It may be useful to read the author’s opinion for why this type of research is important. The questions you raised are addressed in the above link to the article. I suggest reading it and seeing if you still feel the same way.

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