Does sex before marriage have any effect on your future relationships?

Is it OK to tell women they are wrong?
Do young people understand the long-term impact of premarital sex?

I’ve posted before about how premarital sex affects the stability of marriages by making divorce more likely. But there has been more research published since. Let’s take a look.

Here a good study on relationship tempo and relationship quality.


Rapid sexual involvement may have adverse long-term implications for relationship quality. This study examined the tempo of sexual intimacy and subsequent relationship quality in a sample of married and cohabiting men and women. Data come from the Marital and Relationship Survey, which provides information on nearly 600 low- to moderate-income couples living with minor children. Over one third of respondents became sexually involved within the first month of the relationship. Bivariate results suggested that delaying sexual involvement was associated with higher relationship quality across several dimensions. The multivariate results indicated that the speed of entry into sexual relationships was negatively associated with marital quality, but only among women. The association between relationship tempo and relationship quality was largely driven by cohabitation. Cohabiting may result in poorer quality relationship because rapid sexual involvement early in the romantic relationship is associated with entrance into shared living.

The authors are from Cornell University and University of Wisconsin – Madison. Prestigious schools, and very far to the left.

Here’s another recent study that shows that if a woman has more partners than just her husband as a premarital sex partner, the risk of divorce increases.


Using nationally representative data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, I estimate the association between intimate premarital relationships (premarital sex and premarital cohabitation) and subsequent marital dissolution. I extend previous research by considering relationship histories pertaining to both premarital sex and premarital cohabitation. I find 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.

Here’s another study that makes it even more clear.


Data from the 1988 US National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) were utilized to assess the impact of premarital sexual activity on subsequent marital stability. Among white NSFG subjects first married in 1965-85, virgin brides were significantly less to have become separated or divorced (25%) than women who had not been virgins at marriage (35%).

[…]The lower risk of divorce on the part of white women with no premarital sexual experience persisted even after numerous intervening and background variables were controlled.

And I am going to save the best study for last. This marvelous PDF is from August 2014, and is put out by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. It is comprehensive, and links to many papers from decades ago to the state of the art today. It seems like people are really rushing into sex these days, without much thought. They want to have fun, feel accepted, be like their friends, conform to the culture. But sometimes, it’s better to be practical than to be governed by the desire for fun and thrills. If you want to do something, look at the research and find out what the consequences are before you do it. That’s what a sensible person does.

When it comes to discussing the Bible’s rules on sex, evidence is very important. Evidence is what convinces even non-Chrsitian people to take the Bible seriously when it comes to putting sex in its proper place. That’s why we need to know what the Bible says, and we need to augment that with real-world evidence so that it is applied to our own decision-making, and so that we can be persuasive when discussing it with others.

2 thoughts on “Does sex before marriage have any effect on your future relationships?”

  1. It does WinteryKnight, sex before marriage makes marriage more challenging. For women it can create some problems with how she perceives herself, with her own perceptions of her own worth and value, the realization that she once sold herself short. However it is not the end all, be all, to marriage as some like to portray. The Blood of the Lamb can fix anything, I truly believe that, and I think there is entirely too much virgin idolatry being promoted in some quarters.

    Something else to keep in mind with those statistics, women who do NOT grow up with fathers in their lives have a 30% higher chance of becoming an unwed teen mom. So it is not actually the sex act itself that causes the damage, but rather the wounding that led one to seek sexual gratification outside of marriage.

    Men or women it does not matter, anyone who has had numerous sexual encounters has wounding inside that they often take into marriage with them, like luggage. Unless of course they have been healed emotionally, spiritually, sexually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The blood of the lamb” biblically covers the consequences of sin which would otherwise be eternal, wages of sin are death. Believe whatever you like but at no point in scripture are we taught that the consequences of bad choices, earthly, temporal, just go away because we repent of the sin. Sadly, many “Christian” single women’s choices have rendered them unsuitable for marriage by any reasonable standards. Why would a man risk it? Did God give a woman a hymen or didn’t he? Yet he didn’t put one on a man.

      Eternal consequences of sin are the same for men and women, the earthly consequences of casual sex are far worse for women. It’s why for millenniums women were the gate keepers… They were smart enough to know they had the most to gain by waiting and the most to lose by not doing so, completely independent of the moral consequences…


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