Because research shows children of divorce have sex earlier and with more partners, when I read, “Having between one and eight premarital sex partners increases the odds of divorce by 50%”1 the article catches my eye.
In their article, “Testing Common Theories on the Relationship Between Premarital Sex and Marital Stability,” Jesse Smith and Nicholas Wolfinger cited research going back to 1938 supporting that virgins have the lowest divorce rate, and having more sexual partners was correlated with higher chances of divorce—particularly with 9+ partners.
Other research shows women who had 3-9 partners were less likely to divorce than those with 2 partners, but most likely to divorce if they had 10 or more partners.2 How many had 10 or more? Around 20% at the beginning of the 2020’s!
One commonality in the research and, for me, the most intriguing point was they haven’t figured out why the divorce rate goes up. Factoring in demographics, family background, religion, sexual attitudes and behaviors, and personal attributes produced no definitive results. Lots of guessing and surmising, but we still end up with the what and not the why.
However, one source tells why. The apostle Paul wrote:
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.1 Corinthians 7:2 ESV
God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.Thessalonians 4:3-5 NLT
God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.Ephesians 5:3 NLT
The “why” is God loves us and knows what is best of us. Sexual immorality—sex before or outside of marriage—isn’t what is best for us.
God intended sex to a be a unique binder between husband and wife. Unfortunately, this beautiful creation of God has become a commodity—something that meets my needs.
There’s an expression: “guys use love to get sex, and gals use sex to get love.” Two different perspectives, but both are commodity driven. And capitalism has a rule for commodities: the more of something there is, the lower the value. Isn’t that what we see with sex today?
Also, don’t think living together nullifies the stats. The split-up rates are higher than divorce and the emotional pain can be just as intense. There’s just no paperwork. And it adds to the partner tally.
I started this blog with the sad reality of so many children of divorce’s sexual beginnings. If you’ve fallen into the trap of thinking premarital sex is ok, confess it to God, ask forgiveness, and start anew by honoring God with your mind and your body. You and your current or future spouse will be better for it.