Sleeping Together Doesn't Hurt

Sex before marriage won't necessarily bring ruin to your relationship; nor does living with your partner before exchanging vows increase the risk of divorce. However, women who had lived with more men had a greater chance of splitting up.

By Colin Allen, published on May 1, 2003 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015

Sex before marriage won't necessarily bring ruin to your
relationship; nor does living with your partner before exchanging vows
increase the risk of divorce. Jay Teachman, Ph.D., of Western Washington
University in Washington, found that neither are predictors of divorce
for women, as long the person they slept with was their future
husband.

"Premarital sex and living with your [future] husband has become
part of regular courtship," says Teachman. "People who are in these
committed relationships are more comfortable with having sex and living
together prior to marriage."

Teachman analyzed results from the 1995 National Survey of Family
Growth, in which 10,847 women answered questions about their sexual
history. The 18 percent of married women who did wait to have sex or
cohabit had the lowest levels of divorce, while women who jumped the gun
with their future husbands were no more likely to break off their
relationship.

However, those who had lived with more men did have a greater
chance of divorce."People who are not as committed to marriage are more
likely to engage in a variety of premarital relationships," explains
Teachman. Still, he adds that living with or sleeping with others does
not directly lead to a higher rate of divorce. Rather, it indicates how
women think about relationships. “When a relationship is not as
satisfying as a woman had hoped for, she is just more likely to end
it,” he says.