Sex before marriage is no longer taboo in America, but a new report suggests staying abstinent until after your wedding ensures a happily ever after.
Researchers from Brigham Young University found that 45 percent of men and women who had only had sex with their spouse reported a ‘very high’ level of relationship stability in their marriage.
But just 25 percent of people with five to nine sexual partners reported similar levels, and just 14 percent of those with 10 or more partners.
The researchers suggest their findings might be due to the risk of comparing or previous sexual partners interfering with a marriage.
However, Brigham Young University follows the guidelines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which preaches against premarital sex.
A new study claims that staying abstinent until after your ‘I dos’ ensures a happily ever after
Researchers noted the study was ‘controlled for religiosity, which captured for each participant how frequently spirituality is an important part of life, how frequently prayer occurs, and how important religious faith is.’
‘Being highly religious is related to having both fewer sex partners and longer relationships. We wanted to ensure that any differences we found based on sexual history were not simply related to how religious the people in the sample were,’ reads the study.
The report included surveys of 3,750 individuals in committed couple relationships who were asked to report relationship satisfaction on a scale from one to five.
The team found that in the US, the average number of sexual partners before marriage is 6.7, and men and women reported almost identical numbers.
‘We found that for every additional sex partner reported, the probability of being in the highest category of relationship satisfaction decreased by almost four percent,’ researchers wrote.
‘Relationship stability showed an even larger change and decreased by 6.5 percent for each additional sex partner and sexual satisfaction decreased by four percent for each additional sex partner before marriage.’
Questions included: ”How often have you thought your relationship (or marriage) might be in trouble?’ ‘How often have you and your partner discussed ending your relationship (or marriage)?’ and ‘How often have you broken up or separated and then gotten back together?’
Researchers found people who have only had sex with their spouse report higher levels of marriage stability
The team found that in the US, the average number of sexual partners before marriage is 6.7, and men and women reported almost identical numbers
Responses ranged from ‘never’ (1) to ‘very often’ (5).
The inexperienced group, those who abstained from pre-martial sex, reported their marriage being ‘very stable’ – 43 percent of men and 42 percent of women.
Only 40 percent of the less experienced group, those who had two to four sexual partners, reported similar levels of stability.
The more experienced group, with five to nine partners, was only about half as likely to report high stability.
And only 25 percent of the group’s spouses reported that their marriages were very stable.
The probability of those in the highly experienced group, with 10 or more partners, dropped even further – only 14 percent of both men and women reported the highest level of stability in their marriage.
The study also assessed sexual satisfaction among participants using a similar questionnaire.
Those who abstain from pre-marital sex also reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction with their spouse compared to individuals who had previous sexual partners
Those in the inexperienced group again showed the greatest likelihood of reporting that they are ‘very satisfied’ with all aspects of their sexual relationship, with more than 1 in 5 reporting high sexual satisfaction (20 percent of women and 21 percent of men).
Approximately 18 percent of women and 20 percent of men in the less experienced group reported similar levels.
Only one in 10 in the more experienced group reported being sexually satisfied with their spouse – 11 percent of women and 12 percent of men.
And just one in 14 respondents of highly experienced spouses (seven percent of women and seven percent of men) reported that they are highly satisfied with their sex life in marriage.
‘These findings challenge the notion that sexual experimentation in the dating years helps people ‘settle down’ and get ready for marriage,’ reads the study.
‘In fact, they may be doing the exact opposite. Overall, it appears that sexual exclusivity between spouses is what makes individuals most ready for the intimacies of marriage and best prepared to create a mutually satisfying sexual relationship with their spouse that sustains a relationship through all of the stages of marriage.’