In the late 1990s, I heard sociologist David Popenoe make a brilliant observation out of a few obvious facts. He noted that there was an increasingly long period of time in human development between when people mature sexually and when they marry. This growing period of time would, he observed, provide the average American young person with a lot of practice at being non-monogamous (or, at best, serious experience with serial monogamy). He suggested that this would undermine success in marriage.
If the average person can have sex and even make a baby by age 14, and the average person marries at age 27, we’re talking a 13-year period with a lot of independence and (for many) relatively few responsibilities. That’s Vegas.
So does what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas? Most of the time, no. What happens in romantic and sexual relationships before one settles down can negatively impact the options one will have moving forward in life. But many people do not believe that, as it runs counter to the tide of messages, media, and culture that support the Vegas Syndrome.