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Heterosexual men are more likely to play the field, and heterosexual women must compete for men’s attention.

Of course, tales of scarce men and sexual permissiveness in ancient Sparta won’t convince everyone, so I began to explore the demographics of modern religion.

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On a lark, I emailed my friend Cynthia Bowman,* a devout Mormon who grew up in Salt Lake City and returns there often, and asked her whether Mormon sex ratios are as lopsided as the ARIS study claimed.

[Editor’s note: “Cynthia Bowman” is a pseudonym, as are other names denoted with an asterisk.

But lurking beneath the Census data is a demographic anomaly that makes Utah a textbook example of how shifting gender ratios alter behavior.

The LDS church actually has one of the most lopsided gender ratios of any religion in the United States.

Shidduch is the Hebrew word for a marriage match, and Orthodox Jews (including the more assimilated Modern Orthodox) now refer to the excess supply of unmarried women in their communities as the Shidduch Crisis. Or maybe it’s the women who are holding out for the Mormon or Jewish George Clooney?

Mormon and Orthodox Jewish leaders alike fear that their respective marriage crises reflect some failure to instill proper values in young people. In fact, the root causes of both the Shidduch Crisis and the Mormon marriage crisis have little to do with culture or religion. The fact is that there are more marriage-age women than men both in the Orthodox Jewish community and in the Utah LDS church.

I told her to freeze her eggs.” Secular-style dating is rare in the Orthodox community in which Elefant lives.

Most marriages are loosely arranged—“guided” is probably a better word—by matchmakers such as Elefant.

Some biographical details have been altered to hide their identities.] Yes, she told me, the ratios are lopsided. “They wait for the next, more perfect woman,” grumbled Bowman, a veterinarian in San Diego.

Premarital sex remains taboo for Mormons, but the shortage of Mormon men was pushing some women over the brink.

“There might actually be a more promiscuous dating culture than there otherwise would be in the Mormon culture because of this gap.” Months later, still neck-deep in Mormon research, I got lucky again.

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