Cohabitation, Sexual Experience, and Male and Female Fertility

Li Zhang, Virginia Commonwealth University

In this article, I used the 2002 NSFG dataset to explore the links between cohabitation, sexual experience, and men’s and women’s childbearing behavior. I found having a cohabitation experience does not appear to be a factor that considerably improves fertility. Yet an increased number of cohabitation partners raises the level of fertility. This finding indicates that it is probably not only the formal martial status but the formal childbearing behavior along with the number of times people expose themselves to cohabitation, that play a role in how cohabiting unions determine fertility. Age at first sexual intercourse is negatively related to fertility. The effects of cohabitation and age at first sexual intercourse on fertility vary by gender. Having a cohabitation experience was found to have a stronger impact on female than on male fertility. Having only one sexual partner contributes to male fertility to a greater extent than to female fertility.

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Presented in Poster Session 7