Identify and Explain Two Reasons for an Increase in Cohabitation [17]

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  • Topic: Marriage, Cohabitation, Monogamy
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  • Published : March 26, 2013
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Identify and explain two reasons for an increase in cohabitation [17]
One reason is changing social attitudes. Religion regarded cohabitation as ‘living in sin’, but today there is less shame attached to it. Barlow et al found increasing acceptance of cohabitation. This shows that the change in religions social attitude, cohabitation is accepted more, leading to an increase in cohabitation. Some people prefer love that focuses of on intimacy, closeness and emotion rather than the duties of marriage. Giddens argues that there has been a trend towards confluent love. This love focuses on the intimacy, closeness and emotion of a relationship, rather than the feelings of obligation and duty that is in vows at marriage. When a marriage no longer has confluent love, the relationship is likely to end. This shows that monogamy may start being replaced by serial monogamy, in which cohabitation is most suited to. However, the ONS found that 60% of cohabiting couples will eventually end in marriage showing that monogamy can often replace serial monogamy. There is less pressure to follow traditional norms and values. Beck and Beck-Gernshiem argue that individualism has led to changing attitudes towards cohabitation and marriage. There is less pressure to follow the norms and values around love and relationships set by family, religion or culture. This shows that the change in attitudes has led to people making their own decision about whether they marry or cohabitate. The acceptance of sex outside marriage has made it more likely that cohabitation will occur. Allan and Crow argue that effective contraception has made it possible for partners to cohabit without fear of pregnancy. This alongside the acceptance of sex before marriage means cohabitation without marriage is likely to occur. This shows that the change in social attitudes towards sex outside of marriage has led to an increase in cohabitation.

Another reason is the decline in the popularity of marriage. The...
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