Secret of happy marriage? Only having had one sexual partner in your lifetime
THE secret to a happy marriage is having just one sexual partner during your life, research has suggested.
It found that men and women who had only had sex with their spouse are 7 per cent more likely to be happy than those who played the field when single.
Even one or two sexual relationships before marriage leads to lower levels of wellbeing.
The evidence for the study for the USbased Institute for Family Studies indicates that the benefits of fidelity extend beyond a couple’s marriage – and that celibacy before finding a life partner may lead to greater wellbeing in later years.
One reason may be that anyone who has had just one sexual partner is less aware of temptations, according to the study by Nicholas Wolfinger of Utah University.
‘Spouses reporting only one lifetime sexual partner are 7 per cent more likely to be happy than are those with other partners,’ Professor Wolfinger said.
The figures were produced from findings of the US General Social Survey which showed that 64 per cent of women with
‘Less aware of the temptations’
one sexual partner described themselves as happy in their relationship.
A smaller share, 60 per cent, of those who had had two partners said they were happy with their husband; with four partners that number fell to 54 per cent and with six to ten partners it was 52 per cent.
Among men, 71 per cent of those with just one partner said they were happy; happiness levels also declined with more sexual partners.
Professor Wolfinger said: ‘The difference between having one and more than one lifetime sexual partner is most consequential in predicting marital quality.
‘People reporting one lifetime sex partner have the happiest marriages. Past one partner, it does not make as much of a difference. The overall disparity is not huge, but neither is it trivial.’
He said that someone’s sexual history may affect their behaviour in complicated ways. For example, ‘people who are promiscuous before marriage sometimes don’t stop after they are married, and adultery leads to unhappy marriages’.