decriminalization of adultery and fornication; criminalization of marital rape), reflecting new concepts about the role and purpose of sexual interaction, and new conceptualizations of female sexuality and of self-determination.
For instance, in the European Values Study (EVS) of 2008, the percentage of respondents who agreed with the assertion that "Marriage is an outdated institution" was 37.5% in Luxembourg, 35.4% in France, 34.3% in Belgium, 31.2% in Spain, 30.5% in Austria, 29.2% in Germany, 27.7% in Switzerland, 27.2% in Bulgaria, 27.0% in the Netherlands, 25.0% in Slovenia.
has led to women making individual choices over their reproduction with decreased reliance on male partners for financial stability.
All these changes favored living arrangement alternatives to marriage.
The fact that many couples choose to live together without formalizing their relation is also recognized by the European Union.
Today, cohabitation is a common pattern among people in the Western world.Cohabitation shares many qualities with marriage, often couples who are cohabiting share a residence, personal resources, exclude intimate relations with others and, in more than 10% of cohabiting couples, have children.This helps provide the surviving partner a legal basis for inheriting the deceased's belongings in the event of the death of their cohabiting partner.The rise in the number of cohabiting couples and children born out of wedlock in the Western world has made cohabitation a strong focus of sociological research.Opponents of cohabitation say non-marital parenting is an unsuitable environment for a child's development.Cohabitation and births to unmarried mothers increased, and in some countries the increase was very quick.The rise in cohabitation is part of other major social changes such as: higher divorce rate, older age at first marriage and childbearing, and more births outside marriage.The percentage of women ages 19−44 who had ever cohabited increased from 45% in 1995 to 54% in 2002.Cohabiting couples who have children often get married.Factors such as secularization, increased participation of women in the labor force, changing in the meaning of marriage, risk reduction, individualism, and changing views on sexuality have been cited as contributing to these social changes.There has also been a change in modern sexual ethics, with a focus on consent, rather than marital status (i.e.