Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Extramarital sex refers to any sexual activity, but usually intercourse, that takes place outside of a legally sanctioned marriage. Even though general use of the term is with respect to heterosexual partnerships, it can also apply to homosexual relations when one of the individuals is in a heterosexual marriage. Furthermore, extramarital sex is a broad concept that encompasses sex that takes place in a cohabiting relationship; teenage sex; any other form of premarital sex; and adulterous sexual relations between two people, at least one of whom is married. The 20th century witnessed increases in all the forms of extramarital sex, which eventually helped normalize sexual activity outside of marriage. A vocal group of commentators and scholars decried these increases as a sign that the American family was in decline. The 1960s, in particular, witnessed a marked increase in the rates of cohabitation, nonmarital births, and divorce. College students in the ...