Does virginity lead to a happier marriage?
Urges and instant gratification are very hard to control even if we know what is really best for us. How many people ruined their lives with vices such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gluttony, sex etc.? However, some people can have their cake and eat it too. Would you risk short term happiness and instant gratification for a greater chance of long-term sustained happiness or just roll the dice?
Study 1: Does virginity lead to a happier marriage?
Sociologist Jay Teachman study used data from the National Survey of Family Growth 1995 cycle and involved over 6500 women. He analyzed among other variables of women who only had sex with one person, women who cohabitated and had premarital sex and women who had sex with many partners in many circumstances. After reviewing all the data he concluded that “that premarital sex or premarital cohabitation that is limited to a woman’s husband is not associated with an elevated risk of marital disruption. However, women who have more than one intimate premarital relationship have an increased risk of marital dissolution. ” (1).
Source: NSFG, 2002-2013
Study 2: Does virginity lead to a happier marriage?
The study above can be a corroboration to an older study who found the same thing. Just like the study above they also took into account many variables between both virgin and non-virgin groups. Joan R. Kahn et al. concluded that “Women who were sexually active prior to marriage faced a considerably higher risk of marital disruption than women were virgin brides” (2).
Study 3: Does virginity lead to a happier marriage?
Another study by Anthony Paik, associate professor of sociology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences analyzed data of 3,793 ever-married women from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. His findings were that “women who make their sexual debut as young teens are more likely to divorce, especially if “the first time” was unwanted, or if she had mixed feelings about it” (3). His data showed if the woman didn’t 100% want to have sex, there was a high instance of divorce. However, if the sex was truly wanted at an age of over 16, there was no direct link to a higher instance of divorce. This is very close to what Teachman was showing where pre-marital sex as long as it leads to marriage had no impact on future divorce (3, 4).
Study 4: Does virginity lead to a happier marriage?
“When premarital sex, rather than cohabitation, was studied, white women from 1965-1988 had a consistent 60% increased rate of divorce if they had engaged in premarital sex; among black women, the benefit has been apparent only since 1975 but is increasing” (5).
Two other studies by Sociologist Tim Heaton and Dr. Laumann et al. also using surveys and analysis come to the same conclusion that when marrying as virgins, dissolution rates are lower and stability is higher (6,7)
My personal observation agrees with the studies even though I hate to admit it. Topics like these are very hard to talk about because we only have one shot at it and most of us (95% by current studies) have already exhausted it.
That is what breeds a lot of cognitive dissonances which is defined as “The psychological tension that occurs when one holds mutually exclusive beliefs or attitudes and that often motivates people to modify their thoughts or behaviors in order to reduce the tension” (8). Basically, that means we try to rationalize our decisions. For example, some people will say “smoking helps keep their weight down and that has a better than obesity on my health, so ha”. I am in the 95%, however, I was always a relationship leading to marriage guy, so maybe I was affected less, as some studies indicated if you really wanted to do it, no to very little impact? However, I feel like it did put a damper.
Cognitive dissonance can also breed confirmation bias where we have “a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions” (9). We will ignore all the data and find the one person who succeeded and think it is that easy.
I always thought, what is the difference between having multiple friends with benefits versus a marriage partner? Think about it, I can talk to and sleep with a doctor, lawyer, physiologist, engineer etc. I can have many different conversations and have different visual stimuli anytime I want.
I remember on an episode of Two and a half Men where Charlie said: “Behind every beautiful woman, there’s a guy who is tired of f****** her”. Do you not get tired of eating the same food every day?
Marriage and practicing monogamy is hard but what stops us?
Would I get tired of eating the same food every day if I knew it was a food that nobody ever had and will never have? Could casual sex ever match a bond that two people share for the first time? I have noticed that many couples have some type of resentment, even if it is just a little when a spouse does something without them. Friends even have that same resentment because first times are always special. I am sure previous sexual experiences would have a greater impact even if just subconsciously.
Being active in religious faith has been shown in many studies to decrease divorce. If you have a strong moral and religious character, would you remember and take to heart the 80/20 rule from Why Did I Get Married by Tyler Perry? He said “The belief that in a relationship, you’ll never get 100% of what you want, so at most you get 80%. But some other person may come along and have that missing 20% you don’t have. Some folks fall for the 20% just to realize they should’ve stayed for their original 80%.
Instant gratification and vices are very tempting. Many of us get blinded by it, That is why many marriages fail because of wandering eyes, not feeling loved, lack of communication, intimacy etc. I just feel the sacredness of virginity would make the other person (man or woman) think twice. HOWEVER, the word “MAY” (nothing is absolute) makes many people think twice. Imagine doing everything right and still losing?
So what do you all think? Do you believe that a virgin would HELP strengthen marriage? If you do, is the increased chance of long-term happiness worth giving up the instant gratification and thrill of casual sex? Or just like in the casino, sometimes long shots pay off. Do you live it day by day and hope you can have your cake and eat it too?
(1) Teachman, J. (2003). Premarital Sex, Premarital Cohabitation, and the Risk of Subsequent Marital Dissolution Among Women. Journal Of Marriage And Family,65(2), 444-455. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2003.00444.x/abstract
(2) Kahn, J., & London, K. (1991). Premarital Sex and the Risk of Divorce. Journal of Marriage and Family, 53(4), 845-855. doi:1. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/352992
(3) UI study examines link between teen sex and divorce rate. (2016). News-releases.uiowa.edu. Retrieved 24 October 2016, from http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2011/june/061411paik_study.html
(4) Paik, A. (2011). Adolescent Sexuality and the Risk of Marital Dissolution. Journal Of Marriage And Family, 73(2), 472-485. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00819.x
(5) Cohabitation: Effects of Cohabitation on the Men and Women Involved – Part 1 of 2. (2014). American College of Pediatricians. Retrieved 24 October 2016, from https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/societal-issues/cohabitation-part-1-of-2
(6) Laumann, E., Gagnon, J., Michael, R., & Michaels, S. (1997). The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States.ResearchGate. Retrieved 24 October 2016, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/37689415_The_Social_Organization_of_Sexuality_Sexual_Practices_in_the_United_States
(7) HEATON, T. (2002). Factors Contributing to Increasing Marital Stability in the United States. Journal Of Family Issues,23(3), 392-409. Retrieved from http://jfi.sagepub.com/content/23/3/392.abstract
(8) Cognitive dissonance. (2016). TheFreeDictionary.com. Retrieved 25 October 2016, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cognitive+dissonance
(9) Confirmation bias. (2016). ScienceDaily. Retrieved 25 October 2016, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/confirmation_bias.htm