When it comes to sex before marriage, having more partners is actually better than flings with just a couple. A new study has found that women with three to nine partners are less likely to divorce than women with just two partners.
Women who enter the marriage as virgins or with one sex partner – – a fast shrinking population — are the least likely to divorce, the findings showed.
Women with 10 or more partners are the most likely to divorce, but this only became true in recent years, the study said.
For the research, Nicholas Wolfinger, Professor at University of Utah explored the changing relationship between premarital sex and divorce using data from the three most recent waves of the US National Survey of Family Growth, collected in 2002, 2006-2010 and 2011-2013.
The research showed that divorce rates have fallen for the shrinking per cent of American women who marry as virgins, and stayed essentially the same for those with one or two premarital sex partners.
Divorce rates went up the most for women with 10 plus sexual partners before marriage.
But the surprising thing, Wolfinger said, is that women with exactly two premarital sex partners have consistently higher divorce rates than women with three to nine partners.
“In short, if you’re going to have comparisons to your (future) husband, it’s best to have more than one,” said Wolfinger.
The research was published online on the Blog of Virginia-based Institute for Family Studies.
The research found that overall, young women who tied the knot in recent years have far more sexual experience prior to marriage than their counterparts from prior decades.
Women were four times as likely to marry as virgins in the 1970s (21 per cent) compared to the 2010s (five per cent), according to the researchers.
Also noteworthy is the decline in the proportion of women who get married having had only one sex partner.
As late as the 1980s, over half of new brides were virgins or had had only one sex partner.
This was true of just 28 percent of women by the 2010s.
“Overall, American women are far more likely to have had multiple premarital sex partners in recent years,” Wolfinger said.
“As premarital sex became more acceptable, it’s reasonable to anticipate that its negative effects on marital stability waned,” Wolfinger noted.
He noted a number of factors that contribute to the trends, including cultural and religious beliefs.