When it comes to carving out notches in the bedpost, less is more.
A new study by researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah echoes a substantial body of research to conclude that a certain degree of premarital sex could impact your future relationship prospects.
Experts in family studies at BYU’s Wheatley Institute have shown that 10-20% of married adults who have only had sex with one person – their spouse – reported having a happier and higher quality union than those who had many sexual partners before getting hitched.
They found furthermore that those who had had only one sexual partner were almost three times as likely to declare that divorce is not on their mind and twice as likely to report that they were “very satisfied” with their marriage.
“Our study confirms what other national studies have been finding the last few years, that sexually inexperienced dating couples are two to three times more likely to be in a highly stable
marriage,” said Wheatley fellow Brian J. Willoughby, co-author of the report, in a statement for the religious university.
“It appears that sexual exclusivity between spouses provides an underappreciated foundation for the intimacies of marriage and helps spouses create a mutually satisfying relationship founded on emotional intimacy and healthy communication.”
The new report, definitely titled “The Myth of Sexual Experience: Why Sexually Inexperienced Dating Couples Actually Go On to Have Stronger Marriages,” relied on data from 3,750 Americans — in committed relationships with the opposite sex — included in the National Couples and Pornography Study, and factored in a number of recent studies that showed a correlation between promiscuity and marriage success.
Just one in 10 married people who label themselves as “highly sexually experienced” could say they’re “very satisfied” in their marriage, according to the 30-page report.
Only 25% of married people who had 5-9 sexual partners, and 14% of those who had been with 10 or more, reported a “very high level of relationship stability in their marriage.”
On the other hand, 45% of those deemed “sexually inexperienced” reported the highest degree of stability. Moreover, nearly 80% of those who have had sex only with their partner reported greater emotional closeness in their relationship, which is over 20% higher than people who had multiple sexual partners before they got married.
Notably, researchers saw no disparity between men and women when it came to the amount of sexual activity they reported prior to getting hitched.
Jason S. Carroll, associate director of the Wheatley Institute and co-author of the report, reassured singletons who regret their sex lives that there is still time to change course and set future relationships on their prescribed path, pointing out that 10-15% in the category of high sexual experience “are still doing quite well in their marriages.”
“It is likely that these individuals were able to improve their trajectory by changing their mindset about sex, approaching marriage with enduring commitment, and embracing fidelity by avoiding alternative seeking behaviors after marriage,” Carroll said.
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