The Relationship Between Premarital Sexual History and Marital Satisfaction for Men

Anne Marie Strauss

Major Professor: James E Maddux, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Jerome Short, Ali Weinstein

Johnson Center, #B
December 16, 2011, 12:30 PM to 09:30 AM

Abstract:

Premarital sex has become an accepted part of life for many people in the United States.  Some research, recently conducted with women, suggests that marital satisfaction and/or stability may in some cases be negatively related to a history of premarital sexual relationships.  Research on this issue with men is lacking.  Furthermore, research on men and sex has shown that men think about and use sex to fulfill different purposes than women and, as well, that society seems to stigmatize the sexual behavior of unmarried women more than men. Thus, results from research on women and premarital sexual relationships cannot be necessarily assumed to be true for men. The purpose of this study is to fill this gap in recent research.  The study addressed four hypotheses, based on previous research and public mindset: (1) There is a negative correlation between the number of premarital sexual partners that a man had and his marital satisfaction; (2) There is a negative correlation between the number of premarital sexual partners that a man believes his wife had and his marital satisfaction; (3) Men who believe that their wives’ number of premarital sexual intercourse partners exceeded their own had will report less marital satisfaction than men who believe they had more premarital sexual partners than their wives; and (4) The number of premarital sexual partners that men have had and that they believe their wives have had will contribute uniquely to predicting men’s marital satisfaction, beyond what is predicted by the number of cohabitation partners men have had, the number of cohabitation partners that their wives have had, the quality of communication in their marriage, and their sexual satisfaction in that marriage. Results of this study did not support any of these hypotheses. These results suggest that there is no adverse relationship between number of premarital sexual partners and marital satisfaction for men. Avenues for further research are considered.