Do Women With More Premarital Sex Partners Really Have a Higher Divorce Rate?

Many of the questions/myTakes regarding sexuality and female promiscuity have had at least one guy point out, "MEN DON'T WANT WOMEN WHO HAVE SLEPT WITH A LOT OF WOMEN" (totally fair if that's a requirement for you, you have your own standards and I may disagree with them but that's fine). That's all good, BUT THEN they like to quote a study that says it's women who have slept with a lot of men are at a higher risk of divorce. That claim, turns out to only be partially true.

It turns out...that:

Women with exactly two premarital sex partners have consistently higher divorce rates than women with three to nine sex partners.

Some background on this study, researchers at the University of Utah looked at the five-year divorce rate for over 10,000 women, and took into consideration how many sexual partners the women reported having prior to the marriage. Unsurprisingly, women in recent years have far more sexual experience prior to marriage than those from previous decades. Makes sense, I think we can all agree that premarital sex has become more acceptable nowadays.

Additionally the age in which most people are getting married in the US is becoming later and later so it is reasonable to assume that if you get married later you are likely to have a few more partners than if you were to get married earlier. in the 1970's about 21% of women were likely to marry as virgins, compared to only 5% in the 2010's.

TRUTH: women who marry as virgins had the lowest divorce rates within 5 years, and women who only had one partner had the second lowest.

ALSO TRUE: in the 1980's and 1990's, the highest five-year divorce rates were seen with those who had two partners.

These women had divorce rates of 28%, which is substantially higher than those who had ten or more premarital sex partners with a rate of 18%.

ALSO ALSO TRUE: in the recent 2000's, yes, women with ten or more premarital sex partners had the highest five-year divorce rates among those marrying in that decade at 33%.

Let's Discuss:

There are many factors that this study does not take into consideration in drawing such a conclusion. Additionally for anyone who has taken statistics, we all know that "Correlation does not lead to causation." I have a few issues with the study both in how it was conducted and how the conclusion was drawn, outlined below.

1. This study is based off a 5 year divorce rate, not an overall divorce rate. My parents got divorced after 19 years (only partner). So their divorce statistic wouldn't even have been counted. Although indicative to a certain extent, it is definitely not broad enough to apply this study as an overall blanket conclusion to female promiscuity and divorce rate.

2. The number of premarital sexual partners was SELF REPORTED by women. Which inherently leads to a huge potential bias. Many women could have under-reported numbers making it seem like they had only been with a few number of guys and if they haven't divorced yet, would lead the study to show lower = better.

3. This study does not take into account the sexual behavior of men in marriages, and its effects on divorce. Rather, it is ONLY the women's sexual behaviors were closely observed, and linked to high or low divorce rates. This leads to a portrayal of women’s premarital sexual behaviors as solely responsible for helping or harming a marriage.

4. Divorce, like premarital sex has followed a recent trend where it is only now more common. Divorce used to also be a similarly taboo and unacceptable practice, and it could just be a matter of these two upward trends (higher number of sex partners, higher number of divorces) occurring at the same time that has lead to someone trying to establish a correlation between the two. Remember in certain countries and cultures, divorce is still very greatly frowned upon.

As a final note, it’s important to take into account that those who avoid or have trouble with commitment may find it easier to have more sexual partners while being more naturally inclined to not settle with one. So, it’s not that more partners lead to divorce, it’s just already a part of their personalities leading to less satisfaction with only one partner. Again, assuming that they have commitment issues already, which would be the eventual cause for divorce NOT the number of partners itself.

Thanks for reading friends. 👍


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  • Only because the type of woman to wait til marriage is also *usually* the type who works extremely hard to keep the marriage together and often will "work through" bad things in the relationship... which isn't always a good thing.

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What Guys Said 12

  • 1. If a current study looked at wife's number of sexual partners and 20 year divorce rates, it would necessarily be looking at couples who married prior to 1996. You would then be complaining that the behavior of people born in the 1970's and earlier is much different than the behavior of the current generation.

    2. "The number of premarital sexual partners was SELF REPORTED by women." How else would the study have determined that number? Anyone conducting a study of this nature understands the unreliability of using self-reporting to determine a variable and these researchers probably made a standard disclaimer in their report.

    3. "This study does not take into account the sexual behavior of men in marriages." When you conduct studies of this type, you study one variable at a time. By choosing to study the number of prior partners of the women, no reasonable person would conclude that the researchers had a bias and believed that women were responsible for the divorces.

    4. Actually, the divorce rate in the US appears to have peaked around 1980-1983 and is now significantly lower than it was 35 years ago. https://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005044.html

    I agree with your conclusion. I think the number of sexual partners prior to marriage is an indicator of female assertiveness and resistance to compromise on desires. These same personality traits would explain why the women would be more likely to seek a divorce if they were unhappy in their marriage. Interestingly, the study did not track the relationship between the number of the wive's prior partners and which spouse filed the divorce.

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    • Thanks for your detailed response! Totally agree with your first point, crossed my mind but I forgot to write it in haha.

      2nd point, yes any study like this would have to be self reported, but that point wasn't a knock on the study itself, more just pointing out a fact to the general populace who takes this study and spits it as truth. Same with the 3rd point, again agreed that you have to isolate variables but there are those who draw that conclusion without understanding this important concept in conducting studies.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting!

  • "So, it’s not that more partners lead to divorce, it’s just already a part of their personalities leading to less satisfaction with only one partner."

    That's the core of the problem isn't it? People who point to divorce statistics are actually trying to point to this.

    The most promiscuous women I know (and there are quite a lot of them for some reason) either suck at committing (only have flings or short-term relationships) or get committed in relationships that in some way, shape or form are not monogamous.

    "This study is based off a 5 year divorce rate, not an overall divorce rate."

    True, but that is because of practical reasons: people who got married 30 years ago grew up in a different culture: their divorce dynamics won't predict whether a couple who get married today will divorce in 30 years.

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    • Everything in your comments is true, the issue though is that many will take that first quote as an overall unyielding truth. Which isn't the case. People go through different stages in life, someone who could have been really promiscuous in their early 20's could be totally different 10 years later because of what they experienced and/or learned.

      Also true, but I feel it doesn't give a wholistic view of the entire situation. Perhaps people with more partners get divorced in 5 years as compared to people with less partners, but what's to say that people with more partners don't also have more successful relationships in 10, 15, 20 years? We don't know because the study doesn't show that.

    • People can change, but how likely is it to happen, for the right reasons (the biological clock doesn't count as a right reason IMHO), and be permanent? I can't know for sure but I'd estimate less than 50%. And I don't know of a reliable way to figure out how genuine she is when she says she has changed (she may even believe she has changed only to fall back into her old ways as soon as we have a fight or she gets bored). So it puts her at a disadvantage, maybe not an insurmountable disadvantage but still a disadvantage. Women have the same problem with guys who have a player/cheater past.

      What happens past 5 years of marriage is indeed unknown as is what happens in long term relationships without marriage. Based on Occam's razor a reversal of the trend after 5 years is less likely though than a simple continuation.

  • I don't care about all those kinds of claims. According to legal records, around something like 75% of divorces are called by women anyway, so whether she had premarital partners or not doesn't matter since women call for the most divorce anyway.

    What I do have to say is I feel like women strongly want us to stop caring about their numbers and sexual lifestyles so much, but are judging or scrutinizing other people for theirs.

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    • That's fair. I think we're still pretty far away from a non-judgmental society when it comes to sexuality. Hopefully it happens soon, but we're not there yet.

  • My feelings on that idea is that a person who has many sexual partners pre martially might be a different persona and may not stay in a bad relationship so would leave very quickly. Numbers may make it seem worse but I don't think your number of pre marital partners would affect your ability to commit to a relationship.

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  • Well the divorce rate is higher than ever these days. There has to be other factors involved. I mean while it's possible that women with higher sexual partners get divorced more, you still never hear guys say oh I divorced my ex wife or she divorced me BECAUSE of her high number of sexual partners.

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    • Exactly lol. There's actually a theory about the increase in birth control leading to more divorces, again, not tied directly to number of partners either.

    • lol never heard that one either. I mean if someone is currently sleeping around the yeah they might not commit but just on their past alone doesn't mean they won't.

  • I think we need to focus on what type of person gets married as a Virgin. Is religious pressure involved maybe?

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    • Agreed, religious and cultural differences play a huge part in relationships and marriage to this day.

  • Marriage is the #1 cause of divorce.

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  • Interesting

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  • Old habits die hard! It's simple as that

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  • I would expect them to because they have a really high sex drive and sexual appetite. I do think they have commitment issues and they aren't fully able to make up their mind to stay with their current partner and want to explore and see if there is still someone else that can satisfy them sexually. But whatever the case may be, you won't know exactly how many partners they had been in bed with and what activities they had done in bed unless they are open to tell you about their experiences and that is only if you want to hear about it from them.

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  • Dating a virgin of legal age may give the best opportunities for securing long-term, satisfying relationships. Many, many men, and certainly not just those familiar with Return Of Kings, deplore the state of modern, slutty “femininity.” But what are you doing to both avoid the emotionally and/or physically diseased female population and find the better women? This is the question you need to be asking yourself every day you seek, spend time, or cultivate a connection with women you might bed.
    Regardless of whether you’ve already bedded zero virgins or twenty, you should still be chasing them, if you have not already taken one as a girlfriend, fiancé or wife. Your priority should be to find a woman who has either had no sexual partners or very few. This can be a relative thing, depending on the woman’s age (four partners for a 25-year-old is most often better than three for a 20-year-old).
    Though it has been easier to find regular sexual relationships with girls who have had a few sexual partners, these relationships often lasting years, my longest serious romantic relationships have been with virgins or near-virgins.
    These women shared three characteristics:
    1. They paid for their share of things. They knew I had traveled and still traveled extensively. They knew I had a penchant for jetting off somewhere for months at a time, eating out at restaurants (I deplore cooking), and new clothes, all of which pointed to the ability to pay for them (the girls) as well. All this said, they did not even try to manipulate the situation in their favor. Of course, I would have dumped them if they had, but the fact they did not is a trait too rare found in today’s women.
    2. In many cases they put themselves into debt or sacrificed very heavily to do things with me. If we planned a trip, whether in Europe, Australia or elsewhere, I made it clear I would pay only half. Anything lent to them would have to paid back with inflation. The same went for any living arrangements we had. There was one exception to this, where I offered to pay two-thirds for my girlfriend at the time when she was working as a shop assistant (I consider it a mistake that I did this, but the one third was still a lot harder for her to get than the two-thirds was for me). With these girls, I was always paid back, even if we had broken up before all the funds were returned.

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    • If you want my honest opinion, it sounds like you cultivated relationships with virgins and they lasted the longest because you took advantage of an inexperienced woman. She got attached to you as you were her first but you've always kept them at arms distance.

    • Probably true

  • yeah because a slut is always a slut. western society has done the abomination to isolate sex from the rest of the human experience. if you have casual sex you go through spiritual degeneration as well... . materialistic atheists can't understand these things... .

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    • abstinence is not about puritanism or psychological pressure as most of you think. there is spiritual abstinence, the virtue of the angels, what monks and other celibates practice with the grace of god. women that were brought up this way are almost impossible to cheat cause they are pure inside and out. they haven't cultivated narcissism and fallen instincts in their heart. its narcissism that gives birth to all vices... .

What Girls Said 3

  • Noooooooooo, am very happy with my first & only marriage after years of strings of BFs too many to remember all names

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  • I can only speak for myself. I had never been with another man besides my ex husband.

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  • Nice job!

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