Lesbian couples moving in together lightning fast is a myth, according to a new study out of Stanford University.
Sociologists surveyed some 3,000 couples about their cohabitation history and found that most moved in together — either with or without the benefit of matrimony — after about 18 months of dating. Older couples were quicker to shack up, as were couples where at least one member is an evangelical Christian.
Lesbian couples, however, weren’t any faster than heterosexual pairs in spite of the conventional wisdom that queer women bring a U-Haul on the second date.
“Contrary to popular conceptions of lesbians as eager to commit our results indicate that after controlling for couple age there are no significant differences in relative rates of cohabitation among couple types,” explained the researchers, who included more than 220 female couples in their data set.
Why lesbians are perceived as moving in right away isn’t exactly clear: So-called Boston marriages date back to the 19th century, so maybe there’s just more of a general awareness of two women sharing a home together.
If the stereotype was ever true, it’s certainly not anymore — perhaps because social expectations on women have eased somewhat in recent years. Same-sex couples tended to be older when they met: The average age of lesbians when they met their partner is 34, as compared to 24 for straight couples. Given that older pairs tend to co-habitate faster it might be a question of age, not sexuality.
The study also found that more educated couples were slower to move in together.
A separate study from the UK revealed that same-sex couples were generally more likely to marry later in life than heterosexuals.
According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2014 the typical age of a heterosexual woman when she married was 31, and hetero men it was 33. But the average age of lesbian couples who tied the knot was 35. For gay male couples it was 38 in 2014 and nearly 40 years old by 2015. England legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, though it is still not recognized in Northern Ireland.