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A study involving 1,000 Louisiana couples both confirmed and debunked some already generally accepted notions on sex and its role in divorce.
The study, conducted by a professor at Southern Illinois University, followed these Louisiana couples between 1998 and 2004, surveying them along the way, to decipher how sex plays a role in causing or preventing divorce. The average age for the women involved was 28 while men averaged a combined age of 30.
The experimenter measured these trends by frequency of sexual intercourse, agreement between husband and wife about sex life and sexual satisfaction. Here are conclusions the professor drew on each of the measures:
• Frequency of sexual intercourse: The couples included in the study varied in their frequency of sexual intercourse. With some couples engaging one time a week to others that would engage several times a week, the frequency of sexual intercourse did not prove to have an effect on whether or not a couple decided to divorce.
• Sexual satisfaction: This measure illustrated a difference between men and women. The doctor behind the study could not distinguish a difference between sexual satisfaction and overall marital quality among women — both aspects blended together. While a combination of increased martial quality and sexual satisfaction decreased the likelihood of divorce, it could not be attributed to sexual satisfaction alone.
However, in men, the study uncovered that satisfaction with physical intimacy was far and wide the strongest influence on divorce, more so than any other factor.
• Agreement in sex life: This was another factor that did not prove to affect the divorce rate.
All in all, sex is an important part of marriage, but not the only factor that can lead to a divorce. Other factors like quality of marriage and premature marriage can lead to divorce as well.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Does sex predict marital disruption?” Robert Hughes Jr., Oct. 1, 2011