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And in an interesting, gender-equitable twist, research on China has found that women there are more likely to sneak away for extramarital sex in communities with too many men.**With those findings in mind, it seems reasonable to suggest that instead of pointing a finger at the internet for Jacob's relationship habits, we can keep things simple and just blame Portland, where going to a bar, going to a concert, or even going to work would probably leave him surrounded by available women. In truth, my goal here isn't to convince you beyond reasonable doubt that sex-ratios are turning young, educated American adults into commitment-phobes.Better yet, not only could the city's sex-ratio explain why he finds himself dating so many different women, but it might also clarify why so many different women are willing to date him: scarce alternatives. Someone who wanted to could probably marshall enough contradictory social science research to mount a good counterargument to the idea.Much of their thinking seemed to be confirmed in an analysis of 117 countries by Scott South and Katherine Trent.The pair found that, in developed countries, having a higher ratio of men led to more marriage for women, less divorce, and fewer illegitimate children.But in fact, social scientists have been researching the society-wide effect of sex ratios on marriages and relationships since the early 20th century, and some of the evidence suggests that when there are excess women around, young men are less likely to commit.In 1983, Marcia Guttentag and Robert Secord posited the theory that in female-heavy populations, men would become more promiscuous, and that in male-heavy populations, they'd become more faithful.We're complicated creatures, and as Alexis Madrigal wrote earlier this week, it's both a bit myopic and ahistorical to believe that most technology is capable of single-handedly warping our behavior.Suggesting otherwise doesn't do human beings nearly enough justice, even if we're just talking about a schlubby guy from Portland.

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Those exceptions take effort, and online dating is like Amazon Prime for sex.

Other studies have had similar findings across cultures and time.

A look at immigrant communities in early 20th century America found that as the proportion of men on the market went up, so did marriage rates for both males and females. S., academics have found that female college students are less likely to have a boyfriend or go on traditional dates, and are more likely to have bad feelings about the men on campus, at schools that enroll disproportionate number of women.

It's possible that, for Jacob, signing up for really did change his outlook, rather than exacerbate personality traits that were already there.

But ultimately, I only want to illustrate how dicey it is to fixate on a single factor like the Internet when trying to explain something so complicated as the social-psychological mores that underpin love and dating, especially when there are other equally viable explanations waiting to be explored out there.

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