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Sex and marriage – Having sex with too many people affects your chances of getting married

Sex and marriage - Having sex with too many people affects your chances of getting married

Could the number of people you’ve slept with hurt your chances of getting married later on? New research indicates yes, but only in the long term.

The institution of marriage is in decline in most advanced societies, and new ways of relating romantically are emerging. According to data from the agency IPG Mediabrands, the number of divorced and single people already reaches 36% of the population, but the new conclusions, published in Social Science Research, indicate that this effect is only temporary. In other words, a person’s pattern of short-term sexual activity is associated with their chances of marriage, but the total number of lifetime partners is unrelated to their chances of getting married.

Two researchers at the University of Utah and the University of Oklahoma tried put this controversial theory to the test on declining marriage rates by examining two large datasets of American adults.

Other authors argue that the easy availability of casual sex and pornography hurt the marriage rate, but there really is no direct evidence. For their research, the scientists analyzed four waves of the National Survey of Family Growth, which collects cross-sectional data on factors that affect pregnancy and women’s health in the United States.

The researchers found that marriage rates were lower for women who had many partners🇧🇷 Among women who reported a non-marital sexual partner, 95% were married by age 40. In contrast, among women who reported having between six and nine male partners, 76% were married by age 40. For women who reported having ten or more partners, the marriage rate dropped to 67%.

But the initial results include an important limitation. The cross-sectional nature of the data makes it difficult to determine whether a greater number of non-marital sexual partners causally reduces the odds of marriage.

To overcome this limitation, the researchers analyzed seventeen waves from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The survey interviewed a large sample of adolescents in 1997. Participants were re-interviewed annually through 2011 and every two years thereafter. The sample included in the final analysis consisted of 4,598 men and 4,377 women.

The researchers found that having more sexual partners was associated with lower chance of marriage, but only in the short term🇧🇷 Having more than one partner in the past year led to a lower likelihood of marriage. Not having had a partner in the last year also led to a lower probability of marriage.

Although, the number of partners in a person’s life was not statistically related to their chances of marriage after controlling for annual sexual partners, indicating that “recent sexual behavior, not complete sexual biographies, is what matters for marriage rates,” according to the researchers.

This indicates that, for most people, premarital sex has no long-term effect on the chances of marriage. But short-term behavior is important. Having multiple partners in the same year greatly reduces the chances of marriage, although having zero sexual partners does the same.

In short, promiscuity does not seem to be the cause of the decline in marriages.

REFERENCE

Does a longer sexual resume affect marriage rates?

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