April 15, 2024


Here is a classic publication from the 1990’s from Family Research Council [even the address has changed]

In Focus

Reprinted with permission from
Gary L. Bauer, President
700 Thirteenth St. NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.393.2100, Fax: 202.393.2134
Does premarital sexual experience improve one’s chances of marital success? Too listen to much of the current public discussion about “living together” before marriage, one would certainly think so. But a number of recent research studies suggest that couples who engage in sex before marriage are more likely to break up than couples who save sex for marriage.

* A 1991 study published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family found that “cohabiting unions are much less stable than [unions] that begin as marriages.” Specifically, 40 percent of cohabiting unions disrupt before marriage, and marriages that began as cohabiting unions have a 50 percent higher disruption rate that those that did not. (Larry L. Bumpass, James A. Sweet, and Andrew Cherlin, “The role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates of Marriage,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, 1991, pp. 913-927.)

* A 1992 Wisconsin study of more than 13,000 adults found that couples who had cohabited prior to marriage reported “greater marital conflict and poorer communication” than marrieds who had never cohabited. (Elizabeth Thomson and Ugo Colella, “Cohabitation and Marital Stability: Quality or Commitment?” Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 54, 1992, pp. 259-267.)

* A 1975 study of more than 100,000 women by Redbook magazine found that those who had been sexually active at age 15 are more likely to express dissatisfaction with their current marriage and their current sex life. (Robert J. Levin, “The Redbook Report on Premarital and Extramarital Sex: The End of the Double Standard?” Redbook, October, 1975, pg. 40.)

* A 1992 random-sample survey of 993 Christianity Today subscribers found that 78 percent of those who have been divorced engaged in sexual intercourse prior to marriage. Conversely, 64 percent of the 714 first-marrieds surveyed were virgins at marriage. The study also found that those who had engaged in sex before marriage were more likely to commit adultery than those who had no premarital sexual experience. (CT Inc. Research Department, “Christianity Today Marriage and divorce Survey Report,” July, 1992.)

* A 1992 review of ten cohabitation studies reported, “Those who cohabit prior to marriage have been shown to be significantly lower on measures of marital quality and to have a significantly higher risk of marital dissolution at any given marital duration.” (Alfred DeMaris and K. Vaninadha Rao, “Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Stability in the United States: A Reassessment,”

Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 54 1992, pg. 178.)

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