Research dating before marriage
On the speculative side is their notion that having multiple partners increases awareness of spousal alternatives.
It’s evidence for this proposition that the divorce rate increases in regions with more single people; in other words, we’re always willing to consider alternatives to our current mate.
The biggest declines occurred for people born between the 1920s and the 1940s, the latter of whom came of age during the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Since then, the chances of having only one lifetime sex partner (or, less often, marrying as a virgin) have held steady for married women at around 40%, and have actually inched up for the past couple of cohorts of married men.
Along similar lines, sociologist Jay Teachman showed that premarital sex between future spouses didn’t make divorce more likely, but sex with other people did. Rhoades and Stanley offer two explanations for this finding, one empirically demonstrable and one speculative.
None of these variables has an appreciable effect on the relationship between sexual background and marital happiness.By implication, our marriages suffer when we make more comparisons.What’s missing from these studies is an exploration that considers the effects of a full range of premarital sexual activity on marital happiness using national data.Table 2 shows how men’s sexual biographies affect their marital happiness.As for women, men who report only one sexual partner in their lifetime are more likely to report very happy marriages.