Romance is Costly?
Does the number of sex partners affect educational attainment? Evidence from female respondents to the Add Health (older version, ungated)
Joseph Sabia & Daniel Rees, Journal of Population Economics, December 2011, Pages 89-118
Abstract: We use data on young women from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to explore the relationship between number of sex partners and educational attainment. Using the average physical development of male schoolmates to generate plausibly exogenous variation in number of sex partners, instrumental variables estimates suggest that number of sex partners is negatively related to educational attainment. This result is consistent with the argument that romantic involvements are time consuming and can impose substantial emotional costs on young women.
Not sure this is right. Not directly a "cost," as much a correlate. Wasting time on promiscuity is dangerous and a sign of poor judgment, maybe also an artificially short time horizon. People with good decision making skills and a longer time horizon just aren't tempted to be promiscuous. This isn't sex, this is NUMBER of sex partners.
So, it's not, "Ya know, I could go to a bar, pick up a guy I've never met, and then do the bouncy-bouncy until daylight. But that would cost me too much time that I should spend studying for my PhD in physical chemistry. I would prefer to go out, of course, but I'll stay home." Rather, someone with ambition would just never consider doing those things. It's not appealing.
What I am trying to say is that the level of appeal of random hook-ups is the same for every woman, not that great. What differs is access to something else, an ambition for a career, which may come from having role models or parental encouragement from a young age. The hook-ups thing is just not that much fun.