Sex before marriage
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Sex before marriage (Demographic Patterns)

There's been a lot of discussion about the way morals and attitudes about sex are changing in this country. If a man and woman have sex relations before marriage, do you think it is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all? Results weighted by WTCOMB (General Social Survey 2012 Cross-Section and Panel Combined)


Sex before marriage by Age


18-2930-4445-5960-7475 or olderMissingTOTAL
Always wrong12.8%
88
21.3%
193
19.0%
163
26.0%
153
29.6%
60

11
20.2%
657
Almost always wrong2.6%
18
4.5%
41
6.8%
58
6.1%
36
11.3%
23

2
5.4%
176
Sometimes wrong18.5%
127
14.2%
129
16.2%
139
15.6%
92
19.7%
40

5
16.2%
527
Not wrong at all64.4%
442
58.4%
530
54.9%
472
49.9%
294
33.5%
68

14
55.7%
1806
Don't know0.9%
6
0.9%
8
2.2%
19
1.9%
11
4.9%
10

0
1.7%
54
No answer0.7%
5
0.8%
7
0.9%
8
0.5%
3
1.0%
2

1
0.8%
25
Missing25341646828511301535
TOTAL 100.0%
686
100.0%
908
100.0%
859
100.0%
589
100.0%
203

33

3245



Sex before marriage by Worship attendance


Less than once a yearOnce a yearSeveral times a yearOne to three times a monthNearly every weekEvery week or moreMissingTOTAL
Always wrong6.2%
65
6.2%
27
16.1%
53
18.2%
86
29.1%
34
45.9%
394

8
20.2%
659
Almost always wrong2.5%
26
3.2%
14
4.0%
13
5.9%
28
12.8%
15
9.3%
80

0
5.4%
176
Sometimes wrong14.0%
146
21.6%
94
21.3%
70
19.9%
94
19.7%
23
12.2%
105

0
16.3%
532
Not wrong at all75.8%
793
67.4%
294
57.4%
189
53.4%
252
30.8%
36
29.1%
250

5
55.7%
1814
Don't know1.1%
12
1.4%
6
0.6%
2
0.6%
3
7.7%
9
2.4%
21

0
1.6%
53
No answer0.4%
4
0.2%
1
0.6%
2
1.9%
9
0.0%
0
0.9%
8

2
0.7%
24
Missing4692031622566738601543
TOTAL 100.0%
1046
100.0%
436
100.0%
329
100.0%
472
100.0%
117
100.0%
858

15

3258



Sex before marriage by Political ideology


Extremely liberal or liberalSlightly liberalModerateSlightly conservativeExtremely conservative or conservativeMissingTOTAL
Always wrong10.5%
54
11.1%
41
13.5%
161
26.9%
129
41.0%
241

41
19.9%
626
Almost always wrong4.3%
22
2.7%
10
4.9%
58
6.5%
31
8.2%
48

7
5.4%
169
Sometimes wrong12.8%
66
19.3%
71
18.2%
218
16.0%
77
14.8%
87

13
16.5%
519
Not wrong at all71.1%
367
66.0%
243
60.6%
724
48.8%
234
34.2%
201

49
56.2%
1769
Don't know1.4%
7
0.8%
3
1.8%
21
1.3%
6
1.2%
7

10
1.4%
44
No answer0.0%
0
0.0%
0
1.1%
13
0.6%
3
0.7%
4

6
0.6%
20
Missing23017355421731101485
TOTAL 100.0%
516
100.0%
368
100.0%
1195
100.0%
480
100.0%
588

126

3147



Sex before marriage by Race


WhiteBlackOtherTOTAL
Always wrong19.6%
486
25.5%
120
19.3%
62
20.4%
668
Almost always wrong5.0%
124
6.4%
30
7.1%
23
5.4%
177
Sometimes wrong16.5%
409
14.2%
67
17.4%
56
16.2%
532
Not wrong at all56.8%
1410
50.1%
236
53.7%
173
55.5%
1819
Don't know1.5%
37
3.0%
14
0.6%
2
1.6%
53
No answer0.6%
16
0.8%
4
1.9%
6
0.8%
26
Missing11512331611545
TOTAL 100.0%
2482
100.0%
471
100.0%
322

3275



Sex before marriage by Religion


ProtestantCatholicJewishNoneOtherMissingTOTAL
Always wrong30.9%
464
13.6%
104
3.5%
2
3.8%
25
25.7%
70

2
20.4%
665
Almost always wrong7.4%
111
5.5%
42
1.8%
1
1.5%
10
4.4%
12

0
5.4%
176
Sometimes wrong16.4%
246
18.9%
145
21.1%
12
12.8%
85
15.1%
41

2
16.2%
529
Not wrong at all42.7%
642
58.5%
449
73.7%
42
81.0%
537
52.9%
144

4
55.6%
1814
Don't know1.6%
24
2.6%
20
0.0%
0
0.6%
4
1.8%
5

1
1.6%
53
No answer1.0%
15
0.9%
7
0.0%
0
0.3%
2
0.0%
0

1
0.7%
24
Missing7233643229512801542
TOTAL 100.0%
1502
100.0%
767
100.0%
57
100.0%
663
100.0%
272

10

3261



Sex before marriage by Sex


MaleFemaleTOTAL
Always wrong19.0%
289
21.6%
378
20.4%
667
Almost always wrong5.0%
76
5.7%
100
5.4%
176
Sometimes wrong16.1%
246
16.4%
286
16.3%
532
Not wrong at all58.6%
893
53.0%
926
55.6%
1819
Don't know0.7%
11
2.4%
42
1.6%
53
No answer0.7%
10
0.9%
16
0.8%
26
Missing7058411546
TOTAL 100.0%
1525
100.0%
1748

3273



Notes

The General Social Surveys (GSS) have been conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) annually since 1972, except for the years 1979, 1981, and 1992 (a supplement was added in 1992), and biennially beginning in 1994. The GSS are designed to be part of a program of social indicator research, replicating questionnaire items and wording in order to facilitate time-trend studies. This data file has all cases and variables asked on the 2012 GSS. There are a total of 4,820 cases in the data set but their initial sampling years vary because the GSS now contains panel cases. Sampling years can be identified with the variable SAMPTYPE.




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