Youtuber Louis Rossman has said in one of his videos that

There are studies on this; there is a direct correlation between number of sexual partners and likelihood of failed marriage, based on real marriages. These are not made up statistics.

He claims that there are studies behind this and that they would be in the description of his video, but they are not.

What truth is there behind this claim?

  • 2
    @Peter That is not what this question is stating, nor inciting. I laid the claim out word by word, and I put my question exactly as I meant it.
    – tuskiomi
    Jul 26, 2017 at 18:53
  • 8
    The title says "divorce", but the body says "failed marriage"; are they supposed to be the same? My grandmother had a failed marriage for decades, but she only got divorced very recently.
    – Erik
    Jul 26, 2017 at 19:46
  • 6
    @Oddthinking: Why does a mere 600 likes make something notable? I could fake that by hand.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 27, 2017 at 5:17
  • 3
    I still think this question needs clarification with regards to what "number of sexual partners" means. As phrased, it could mean total lifetime (both before and after a potential divorce), before marriage or concurrent sexual partners.
    – Paul
    Jul 27, 2017 at 9:55
  • 3
    @tuskiomi: There were very valid points raised. The whole question is much less clear-cut than you are making it to be. To recap: 1) What constitutes a "failed marriage"? Being unhappy? Living apart? Divorce? 2) What constitutes "sexual partners"? Before marriage? During marriage? Lifetime? -- We could say that much of this "you had / have other partners, we fail" is culturally induced. So what's the correlation, being sexually active / emotional failure, or stupid cultural conventions / conventions failure? ;-)
    – DevSolar
    Jul 27, 2017 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


From Counterintuitive Trends in the Link Between Premarital Sex and Marital Stability:

This research brief shows that the relationship between divorce and the number of sexual partners women have prior to marriage is complex. I explore this relationship using data from the three most recent waves of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) collected in 2002, 2006-2010, and 2011-2013. For women marrying since the start of the new millennium:

  • Women with 10 or more partners were the most likely to divorce, but this only became true in recent years;
  • Women with 3-9 partners were less likely to divorce than women with 2 partners; and,
  • Women with 0-1 partners were the least likely to divorce.

Live Science writes about the study I cited above:

Virginity and stability

Still, the study found that having more sexual partners was associated with reduced marital stability. Women who married as virgins were less likely to divorce within five years across all three waves of the study — just 11 percent in the 1980s and 6 percent in the 2010s.

But women who reported two sexual partners had the highest divorce rates in the 1980s and 1990s, the study found. For instance, in the 1980s, about 28 percent of these marriages dissolved within five years; by comparison, 18 percent of marriages ended when the women had more than 10 premarital sexual partners.


By the 2000s, women who had more than 10 sexual partners saw their marriages dissolve within five years almost 33 percent of the time, the study found.

  • 7
    How is this "most certainly true"? The link you quote here suggests that the effect peaks at 2 sexual partners. The highlighted passage is misleading with regards to a positive correlation between number of sexual partners and likelihood of divorce.
    – Paul
    Jul 27, 2017 at 9:45
  • 5
    The linked article literally opens with "When it comes to sex before marriage, a lot may be better than a little.", which is the exact opposite of the claim made in the answer.
    – Erik
    Jul 27, 2017 at 10:58
  • 2
    The article states that a woman who only ever had two sexual partners -- her husband and one other -- is more likely to divorce than either a woman who only had her husband or a woman who had more partners. As the average number of sexual partners is higher than two (four for women in the USA), I don't see a positive correlation between number of sexual partners and likelihood of divorce.
    – DevSolar
    Jul 27, 2017 at 13:53
  • 2
    +1; the cited study does appear to have useful information. It also seems reasonable to say that there's a positive correlation in the 2000 series, though the same doesn't seem quite as true for either the 1980 or 1990 series. The unreliability of this correlation over those periods strongly suggests that it's not reliably causative, but rather something else appears to be at play. For example, women who had no premarital sex always had the lowest divorce rates; this may reflect the personality/upbringing of those women more than a consequence of their chastity.
    – Nat
    Jul 28, 2017 at 1:29
  • 2
    @T.Sar The question is about correlation. This answer shows a correlation, and you dispute it because of the (speculated) causes for the correlation. "Someone who married as a virgin... are more often than not those women that are abused by their husbands but don't leave them" is a very bold claim and should have evidence to support it.
    – KSmarts
    Aug 1, 2017 at 14:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .