Study: Definite Link between Premarital Sex, Cohabitation, and DivorceOctober 31st, 2011 by Olivier
Sociology Professor Jay Teachman, of Western Washington University, conducted a study to determine the association between premarital sex, premarital cohabitation, and the risk of divorce. Teachman’s research differentiates itself because the study simultaneously examines both premarital sex and premarital cohabitation. This study was published in the May 2003 edition of the Journal of Marriage and Family.
Results and Significant Data
- Multiple premarital sex partners enhance women’s risk of divorce, regardless of their cohabitation experiences.
- Women whose intimate premarital relationships are limited to their husbands—either premarital sex alone or premarital cohabitation—do not experience an increased risk of divorce
- Having at least one other intimate relationship prior to marriage is linked to an increased risk of divorce
- There is a substantially higher risk of marital dissolution if the woman both had sex with another man and cohabited with him
- 17.8% of women, in the sample size of 6,577, did not have premarital sex and did not cohabit prior to marriage.
Notable Excerpts and other Facts
Professor Jay Teachman:
Women with no premarital sex or premarital cohabitation serve as the baseline
I control for a wide range of potentially confounding variables that have been identified in the literature… race, religion, education, parental education, parental marital history, premarital births and conception, and spouse homogeneity with respect to race, religion, and age.
Megan Sweeney, a sociologist at the University of California, adds her own comments:
It is interesting to note the number of women in Teachman’s sample who experienced premarital sex with multiple partners, rather than just with their husbands. It is this experience of multiple sexual relationships that Teachman finds to be associated with an increased risk of divorce.
We live in a society which glorifies promiscuity or, at the very best, looks the other way. Time and time again we hear the adage “test drive the car before you buy it”. However, nothing speaks louder than research and statistics. Professor Teachman’s study is yet another piece of research, in the ever growing mountain of data, which proves what so many of us who are waiting until marriage already know: human beings are wired for monogamy. Furthermore, it is through monogamy that the highest chance for healthy, satisfying, successful marriages presents itself.
Link to the Study
The first three pages contain a press release which comments on the study’s findings and significance. The remaining pages comprise the actual study.