Married Men Live Longer, Wealthier Lives and Have More Sex Interview with:

Nicholas H. Wolfinger PhD Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Studies Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0080

Dr. Nicholas Wolfinger

Nicholas H. Wolfinger PhD
Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Studies
Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0080 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: W. Bradford Wilcox and I have been studying marriage and divorce for fifteen years. Last year we published Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos (Oxford University Press). We’re always looking for opportunities to present our findings to the public, so Valentines Day is a great excuse!

It’s probably too strong a statement to call our new research brief a study, as we’re not offering any novel findings. Instead, we’re just compiling data from different sources—some published by other scholars, some based on our own analysis of national data—to reaffirm a basic point: marriage is good for men in myriad ways (Marriage is also good for women, but they await their own research brief.) In particular, marriage offers these benefits to men:

  • Higher earnings, greater assets and more job stability. Married men make about $16,000 a year more than their single peers with otherwise similar backgrounds.
  • Better sex lives compared to both single and cohabiting men. According to data from the National Health and Social Life Survey, 51 percent of married men report they are extremely emotionally satisfied with sex, compared to 39 percent of cohabiting men and 36 percent of single men.
  • Longer and happier lives. Men who get and stay married live almost 10 years longer than their unmarried peers. Also, young married men are about twice as happy: 43 percent of married men report they are “very happy” with life, compared to 20 percent of single men and 24 percent of cohabiting men.

Trends in Marriage by Race and Ethnicity

Trends in Marriage by Race and Ethnicity Aside from Valentines Day, why did we write this research brief?

Response: There are two reasons. The first is what’s been called the “retreat from marriage,” the fact that Americans will spend less of their adult lives in a marriage than they have in years gone by. Although the divorce rate is at a 35 year low, it’s still high by historical standards. Also, Americans are waiting longer to get married than ever before. For these reasons, the percentage of Americans who are married at any given point in time has declined a lot in recent years (see attached figure).

At the same time, we shouldn’t pronounce marriage to be dead and buried. The overwhelming percentage of Americans still want to get married, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 percent will do sometime in their lives.

The second reason we wrote this research brief is the rise of the Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) movement. This is a group of men who have publicly renounced interest in marriage and, in some cases, relationships with women altogether. Some MGTOW adherents feel mistreated by women; others feel they have to cede too much freedom if they opt for marriage. MGTOWers have reported bitter custody disputes and being unfairly deprived access to their own children. Given their publicly strident views of marriage, they have clashed publicly with my collaborator W. Bradford Wilcox. Our research brief is our response to MGTOW. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Marriage is good for men, but that’s only part of the story. Obviously, there are some men who aren’t good candidates for matrimony. Nor is marriage a panacea: Americans who are already struggling financially, for instance, won’t automatically be lifted out of poverty by acquiring a spouse. Marriage is often beneficial to men’s bank balances and their overall well-being, but structural reforms to our labor market and welfare state would do wonders to support healthy marriages. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Three things.

Obviously women merit their own research brief. Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher’s landmark 2000 book, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off, and many other studies have shown strong benefits of marriage for men and women alike.

Much less is known about same-sex couples given the relatively recent advent of marriage equality. Also, under two percent of the population is homosexual, and of course many gays and lesbians aren’t married. This all makes collecting representative samples of same-sex marriages more difficult. Accordingly, more research is needed.

Finally, I’d welcome more progress on the Holy Grail of research on the benefits of marriage: the question of sample selection. Does marriage itself produce benefits for health, happiness, and finances, or is it just that healthier, happier, and wealthy men are most likely to get married? It’s clear that both are true to a certain extent. Obviously W. Bradford Wilcox and I think that marriage does produce direct benefits for men and women. Nevertheless, new research approaches that offer greater traction on this question would be welcome.


Nicholas H. Wolfinger is Professor of Family and Consumer Studies and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of Utah. His most recent book is Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Children, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos (with W. Bradford Wilcox; Oxford University Press, 2016). Follow him on Twitter at @NickWolfinger. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Debunking the Ball and Chain Myth of Marriage for Menby W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas H. Wolfinger

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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  • J C Smith
    Posted at 04:20h, 18 August

    Of course there is no actual research that documents this “doctor’s” assertions. There is, however, a LOT of research indicating that married couples have far less sex than cohabitating couples. Of course, once a man is divorced and has only 1/3 the income and assets he had before he married, the less attractive he is to women and the less sex he will have..

  • Nopy Nope
    Posted at 11:50h, 27 April

    Yet another mangina in the service of “feminists” who crave for men to support them.

  • another guy
    Posted at 07:53h, 23 April

    funny, to see sandman’s impact

    Nicholas H. Wolfinger PhD is wrong on so many levels and not seeing the complete frame is beyond ridiculousness

  • Pedantic Chap
    Posted at 03:35h, 23 April

    This Dr Nicholas is himself unmarried yet wants other men to take their chances and play Russian roulette with the divorce industry. Physician heal thyself…..

  • john smith
    Posted at 02:59h, 23 April

    Perfect put down! If what spawned MGTOW didn’t exist, then there would be no MGTOW. Logic 101. And this dude is a PHD living off tax dollars. Give me a break.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 03:37h, 06 April

    Dude, do not commit the mistake of underestimate MGTOW, you are only one and we are legion. The gynocentric society has the full attention of the eye of Sauron and it is been analized by it at the point that if there has ever been anything worthy tho be called “gender studies” you will find it in MGTOW.

  • Ben Carter
    Posted at 17:10h, 04 April

    Blame feminism and it’s societal effects. Do not expect us to risk relationships with women without legal protection. Quieten feminists and their vile anti male hatred which can openly express itself whilst crying misogyny at a single word the other way. Then you can explore MGTOWS role

  • mark roberts
    Posted at 03:36h, 01 April

    Wow. I’d be hard pressed to let a woman tie my shoes after that.

  • john doe
    Posted at 00:50h, 01 April

    This report is full of junk. MGTOW is the backlash for the feminists and their anti-men justice system and courts they created. Writing this report will not stop the decline of men getting married. This is a report backed by the feminists and their simps slaves.

  • Menotyou
    Posted at 00:38h, 01 April

    Married men have more sex…? ROFLMAO!!! You’re kidding right?? Is there a qualitative measure to ‘all this sex’ that married men are allegedly getting? Because from my experience bad sex is far worse than no sex at all. Screw the plantation. We’re not coming back. Deal with it! Thanks to toxic femininity plenty of men are now learning to transcend our sex drives. Leaving women with ZERO POWER OVER US. But that’s the real issue here isn’t it? We are no longer controllable via the pussy… If you think you can shame us back to slavery you are sorely mistaken. Loreal is a Liar! Women are NOT WORTH IT.

  • Oldclimber
    Posted at 14:10h, 25 March

    Really !!!??? You ignore the key element in your “study”, “Married men … not divorced …”. At the rate of divorce present, combined with those proceedings initiated by women in the vast majority of cases, and the man-shredding they indulge in during and after the process, with male satisfaction in those left married low, how many are left to hit the “marriage lottery” ? No statistics there ? Hmmmmm. Seems like this is another POS of a feminist “study” that attempts to shame or entice men into a pursuit for a unicorn.

  • G Man
    Posted at 13:18h, 23 March

    Yea, this useless Kenny G wannabe motherfucker is wants to tell us all about the joys of being a wage slave for some woman. Yea men, step right up and choose your slave master.

  • Jamie
    Posted at 00:18h, 21 March

    This guy is a joke. From whom u talk to most men want to get married but dont. Why? For the legal and Financial draw backs. If America wants to lower divorce and I crease marriage take away the ensentives for divorce. Take away alimony, take away public assistance, reduce the amount of child support that can be awarded, if at all. Men raise children without assistance all the time (because men don’t qualify for public assistance for not being female). This is classic left rules of debate. Don’t tell the truth only what fits our bill.

  • Shane
    Posted at 23:16h, 19 March

    Married men make more????

    NO SHIT SHERLOCK! They have to make more to feed the extra mouths they’re on the hook for. I’ll pass, you can keep your “family values ” and bullshit religion

  • Wes Chapman
    Posted at 09:49h, 19 March

    Married men are WEALTHIER? Balderdash! Many years of extensive research by sales & marketing experts have proved that WOMEN CONTROL, entirely or predominately, 85% OF ALL SPENDING DECISIONS. A married man who earns 100K will actually control only about 15K. But a single man controls every dollar he earns, plus he will feel less obligation to work unwanted overtime, or stay in a job he dislikes, “for the sake of the family.” The truth is, married men are wage slaves!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 07:28h, 16 March

    he’s not even married

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 07:27h, 16 March

    lmao this coming from a guy that is not married!

  • Kenek
    Posted at 00:19h, 14 March

    Interesting and expected conclusions by this feminist author supplying text for a predetermined conclusion in the true leftist style. It is impossible to be a free man with a financial and emotionally unstable anchor around your neck and bank account. MGTOW have it right. A certain percentage of heavy smokers get lung cancer due to smoking. It it still safe to smoke? About 50% of men get divorced and the vast majority of divorces are initiated by women, knowing they can “cash out” on a mans wealth and often future earnings as well. It is not clear whether marriage or smoking is more dangerous to a man.
    MGTOW understand that women want to be independent of men and are more than happy to oblige. Unfortunately for feminists we also believe in fairness and in merit. This is the opposite view of a feminist. Too bad so sad (for the feminazies who now have to pay their own way).
    Both Trump and Brexit showed how extensive and unreliable the fake news can be and this article shows the falseness of this biased research, always conducted by feminists (both male-like and female).
    Here is some more false conclusions using this intentionally biased data:
    “Longer and happier lives. Men who get and stay married live almost 10 years longer than their unmarried peers.”
    This is one of my favorite myths. Men who are divorced, lose their children and become wallet slaves for the rest of their lives have a tendency to kill themselves, either violently or passively. This cohort skews the entire data, as even these dishonest “researchers” know. In fact men who make it past the stress and expense of divorce unscathed have the same lifespan (likely more) as those rare men who stay married and are actually happy.
    Better sex when married?? what the hell is “emotionally satisfied”? lolol yeah sure… what about AFTER year one of marriage… the jellybean test ALWAYS works. case closed.
    Silliest conclusion of all ” Marriage is good for men, “…. is this EVER true? Maybe for some, but then those unicorns that the NAWALT ride are hard to find.
    It is clear from many perspectives that a man needs to be extremely generous (or ignorant) to get married.
    There is one obvious conclusion for any man:
    Choosing the MGTOW lifestyle is as important for your health as choosing NOT to smoke. But hey, not everyone that smokes will die from cancer.
    – You live longer (statistically) and
    – You can work less and have the same or better lifestyle
    – you don’t lose everything you worked and your children on a female whim
    Will “Nicholas H. Wolfinger PhD” do some valid research on this subject?
    Time will tell but I doubt it, feminists are usually consistent in their conclusions.

  • Carter Osbourne
    Posted at 09:21h, 09 March

    In this age of “take him for all he’s got” settlements and man-hating courts, I think any man considering marriage should have his head examined.
    Divorce is big business and represents a transfer of wealth from men who are less likely to spend their money to women who are more likely.

    The ones getting shafted remain divorced dads and fatherless kids.

  • John Thomson
    Posted at 04:25h, 09 March

    He may earn an extra $16k… but who spends it? And on whom does it get spent? And how many extra hours does he have to work, and under what conditions does he have to work to earn that money?

    I have worked in construction camps in the north where it is winter 9 months of the year. -40 degrees for four of those months. There are men who spend their lives in these camps to support wives and children that they see 6 days a month. That kind of husband sacrifices are where the extra money comes from.

    I was wondering what happened to the comments supporting this proposition?

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 03:56h, 09 March

    Actually, to be a complete study, there needs to be 3 categories:

    Married men who are still currently married.

    Men who have never been married.

    Men who had been married and who are now currently divorced.

    Who need the last category’s stats to viewed separately on their own, but then we also need to add then into the stats of all the married men, since after all, this is a study of what ‘marriage does to a man’. Divorce and it’s negative by-products are one of the outcomes FROM MARRIAGE, so divorced men need to be included in the ‘have been or is currently marriage’ stats, not in the ‘never been married’ stats.

  • me
    Posted at 07:33h, 06 March

    I wonder if the effect stacks with more wives.

  • Nicholas H. Wolfinger
    Posted at 21:25h, 05 March

    As Wilcox’s longtime collaborator, I can say emphatically that this isn’t true.

    & for the record, I’m not religious.

  • Joshua
    Posted at 21:20h, 05 March

    Causation is not correlation.

    Women want healthy rich guys, so that is why there is an uptick in married men in that direction.

    But the reality is that marriage drains your pocketbook and destroys your health.

    First of all, half of all marriages end (usually because of women). Men, being social creatures, get emotionally destroyed in that process. And what is the claim that marriages end? Lack of money is number one.

    Even if you stay married, you are constantly around a source of stress.

    Do some, SOME, men benefit from marriage. Sure. Just like there are some lottery winners.

    But the author is just a religious kook pushing his agenda of marriage, marriage, marriage. Men are dying at a younger age, dying in the work place, and killing themselves at 4x the rate of women. And why? Because of marriage.

    But the author doesn’t care about men. It’s all about Quiverfull.

    We’re not interested in the rhetoric.

  • mgtow rogue
    Posted at 23:41h, 28 February

    Wow if marriage was all that and a bag of chips there wouldn’t be mgtow, would there?

  • Yeah Nope
    Posted at 19:15h, 28 February

    -Higher Earnings: Entirely offset and then some by vastly increase expenditures.
    -Better sex life: Completely subjective. Outside of adultery, a married man’s knowledge that his spouse is his only option for sex will likely cause him to have greater satisfaction with that single option. Alternatively, unmarried men know that they have a variety of options, many of which will simply not be feasible, therefore engendering less satisfaction. I find it telling that your bullet-point focuses on a nebulous metric such as “emotional satisfaction”, rather than an objective metric such as frequency.
    -Longer and happier lives. In most studies divorced men are categorized as single men, thereby skewing the results in favor of married men in both metrics of lifespan and happiness. Nor is it taken into account that men struggling with illness are less likely to pursue marriage, again skewing the results.

    There are still other factors for all three points which are rarely accounted for, if ever.

  • Will Winters
    Posted at 15:54h, 28 February

    I became very suspicious of this article as soon as I saw that Bradford Wilcox was attatched to it. This is a man who is justifies his own religious values with science and not vice-versa.
    Take a look at his video from Prager University on marriage then scroll to the comment section if in doubt.

  • creatardkiller
    Posted at 15:44h, 28 February

    none of it is true …rather exactly 180 degrees opposite.

  • TheShoveller
    Posted at 21:16h, 26 February

    In order to see if married men really do live longer than unmarried men it would be necessary to compare married men to never married men. The problem with the usual, ‘married men live longer’ is that divorced men get thrown right back into the single pot.

    Married men may make more money but they also need more simply because married men are more likely to be living with children which cost money. Simply put a single guy with no wife and no kids can live on a lot less.