Study: Happy husband in bed 83% less likely to divorce!

Does the frequency of sex and how happy a couple is with their sex life reduce the chance of them getting divorced? The obvious answer seems to be yes, but according to Kristina Dzara at Southern Illinois University it really hasn’t been studied very much.

So to examine how sex life affects the success rate of marriage, Dzara used the Marriage Matters Panel Survey of Newly Wed Couples that followed over 1000 couples in Louisiana from 1998 to 2004. The average age of the wives in this study was 28 and the average age for men was 30 years.

They looked at three aspects in the first three to six months of marriage: frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual satisfaction, and agreement between spouses about their sex life.

She used these measures to predict if they would be divorced by their fifth year of marriage. (For more on the controls and limitations (such as that all the participants were from one state) of the experiment read the link.)

From The Huffington Post:

“So, first, does frequency of sexual intercourse matter in terms of couples staying together? No, say these findings. On average these young couples had intercourse between one and several times a week, but frequency didn’t seem to matter. “

“What about satisfaction with sex and physical intimacy? The author tests this effect for both husbands and wives. For wives, satisfaction with physical intimacy decreased the likelihood of divorce, but overall marital quality and satisfaction with intimacy appeared to have the same effect. In other words, marital quality and satisfaction with sex could not be teased apart for wives.”

“So what about the effect of husband’s sexual satisfaction and the prospects of divorce? The probability of divorce is dramatically reduced when husband’s report being sexually satisfied. Dzara writes, “a couple with a husband who has the highest self-rated satisfaction with physical intimacy, compared to a husband with the lowest self-rated satisfaction with physical intimacy, decreases their odds of experiencing a marital disruption by around 83.7%.” Overall, husbands’ satisfaction with physical intimacy is a stronger influence on divorce than any other measure in this study.”

I am unclear if the level of sexual satisfaction is linked to the amount of times they are doing it or it purely how well things go when they are having sex? It looks like not linked to the volume of times but I’m not sure how those feelings can be separated out.

The article goes on to say that they know there are many other factors that can break up a marriage. It would seem that even having sex at all is a good sign – if you’re not having sex then you are in trouble.

Also I wonder if the sex predictor would be more accurate later in a marriage. It seems like everyone would be pretty happy in the beginning or else you wouldn’t have just got married – right??

So what so you think of this study? What do you think of 83 percent less likely to divorce if a man is happy in bed? (That is a pretty high number!)

95 comments Add your comment

Jeff

October 7th, 2011
5:28 am

As important as it is, being on the same pages is more important to me. If I’m a 7 times a week guy (not true, but this is public record), and she’s a once a week gal, I’ll be frustrated no matter how off the charts it is once a week.

Candy Man

October 7th, 2011
6:42 am

uh hello, that’s why God invented hookers and mistresses

Bob

October 7th, 2011
6:47 am

catlady

October 7th, 2011
6:53 am

“when husband’s report being”–I am hopeful that they didn’t really include the apostrophe.

fundad

October 7th, 2011
7:07 am

It makes perfect sense. In order for good sex to take place, there has to be harmony in other areas of the relationship. Good, satistying sex is a a reflection & by-product of that harmony.

TeachAManToFish

October 7th, 2011
7:09 am

Men need to have sex to feel intimate. Women need to feel intimate to have sex. We’re different.

James

October 7th, 2011
7:13 am

Not sure I understand why you would marry someone who you don’t find sexually satisfying–that sounds like a recipe for disaster. Who would sign up for an eternal bond (or at least a legal one) with somebody they aren’t fulfilled by?

big mac

October 7th, 2011
7:29 am

it takes real committment and years for a husband and wife to understand each others needs, and what satisfies each. we’re not wired the same and it’s not easy. communication is an integral part of what happens or doesn’t happen in the sack, if communication ain’t happening, neither is real hokey pokey. when it lines up the way God intended it to be, it will be ‘off the chain’, no outsiders, hookers wanted or allowed or needed. i like my wife to look and act like an expensive ‘trick’ in bed, we don’t have to face the consequences and finance the expense of an ‘extra order of fries’. even the cashflow lines up with what is necessary for the marriage to maintain momentum. it’s easy for a spouse to get a sexual need met anywhere and with anyone else but it always ends up in disaster. if folk aren’t willing to ‘invest’ and sacrifice for each other needs, someone else is always out there hanging out looking for opportunity to steal someone elses dessert. the path to satisfaction is filled with misconceptions and distractions, ending up in divorce. sizzling and smoking hot can be good or bad. God created many beautiful sights but the choice is ours to make. for my wife and myself into our 50’s, it gets better with time… like a bottle of fine imported wine. God intends for us to enjoy the best. gotta go, just woke up and i hear her hollering my name again… loving it!!!

shaggy

October 7th, 2011
7:36 am

Wow! That means that me and my honey will be married for 1000+ years ;o)
This has shaggy considering certain “possibilities” for a Friday night.

Kassie

October 7th, 2011
7:37 am

LOL@Candyman! Thats why he also invented guns LMAO!

Tom

October 7th, 2011
7:46 am

Don’t you know children can read these blogs? This is not an appropriate topic for a publicly-accessible website. One Million Moms will be along shortly to protest and start a boycott of your column.

….just as soon as they get that stick out of their ice.

Mr.C

October 7th, 2011
7:54 am

I think that it has some truth to it, but kids are the ones that help kill marriages. Take time to be with one another before you start having kids!!

James

October 7th, 2011
8:09 am

I think this is kind of a Chicken and Egg scenario. Does a happy marriage lead to a good sex life or does a good sex life lead to a happy marriage? It is different for every couple. In the grand scheme of things, happiness is based on more things than just sex. Often security, safety, communication, stress (or lack of), and time play a greater part in a couples sex life. If one of those things is off, then often times, so is the sex. I doubt many married couples say, “our lives are perfect but the sex just isn’t happening.” Usually something else is wrong and the sex suffers. A good marriage is about good communication and understanding of one another. The sex just follows.

James

October 7th, 2011
8:11 am

Different James than the one who posted earlier. ^

KZGuy

October 7th, 2011
8:19 am

Just remember what that wise man Woody Allen once said; Women need a reason to have sex, men just need a place.

dc

October 7th, 2011
8:24 am

No surprise at all. It’s never a good idea to “withhold” sex, whether for punishment or just lack of caring (prioritization), and then send your husband/SO out into a world of women who know exactly how to use what they have.

It’s really scary how different men and women are in this area…..and I sincerely wish women understood how important it is to a man, and put it at the TOP of their to-do list (sadly….not romantic, but neither is divorce) instead of the bottom.

shaggy

October 7th, 2011
8:28 am

Tom,

Yes, let’s keep sex a secret. A kid shouldn’t know that their parents are having sssssseeeeeeexxxxxxxxxx, now, should they?
Then, Tom and maybe, heaven forbid, Mrs. Tom might have to explain that knocking sound coming from the master bedroom for exactly 7 minutes…once every other month. .

ken

October 7th, 2011
8:30 am

My wife of over twenty years has started turning off the sexual fountain around eight years ago and our marriage has suffered. Intimacy is validation to a man that he is a man. It seems that being faithful all these years just got me lots of not tonight. Oh, and it was very good for the first ten years.The study did not cover enough time most men I know in their fifties say the same thing that I have. Hence the affairs and hookers. Duh

JJ

October 7th, 2011
8:32 am

oh this is going to get interesting!!!!

shaggy

October 7th, 2011
8:35 am

ken,

I am happy to report NOT being “most” men. Mrs. shaggy and I have been knocking some serious boots for over 20 years, with no end (except Mrs. shaggy’s purty end) in sight.
Recipe for success: Mix it up. Laugh about it. Pick a place and just throw down…just don’t get caught – we have been caught before and after laughing hysterically, we were almost embarassed.

Hey, James (the first James blogger)...

October 7th, 2011
8:37 am

…your question about why anyone would marry someone with whom they are not compatible is a no brainer – most of us were fooled into thinking that the sex was good, and would continue to be good and frequent, just like during the courtship process. Then, once the “I do’s” were completed, the wife said that she meant “I do” for most things, but sex was not one of them; I have heard from many of my wife’ friends when asked about, they responded that I didn’t have to anymore, because their husband married them “for better or worse”…and so it goes…

Why do you think most women are smiling on their wedding day? They know they have pulled one over on their spouse, and most know they have given their last BJ…

shaggy

October 7th, 2011
8:39 am

Poll time:

How many of you have been busted by a police helicopter, with spotlights shining, nekkid with your honey and having some serious fun, on the hood of an International Travelall?

shaggy has.

Mr. Obvious

October 7th, 2011
8:42 am

When you get the pizza delivered to to you nice & HOT, there is never any need or inclination to drive down the street to Papa John’s.

(BTW, Pizza = Nay-Nay)

Mr. Obvious

October 7th, 2011
8:44 am

Of course, some men like the all-you-can-eat Pizza buffet instead of the single delivery.

All things in moderation, I suppose…

crackbaby

October 7th, 2011
8:44 am

“On average these young couples had intercourse between one and several times a week”

Perhaps the most useless, unspecific statement in the history of science. WTF does this tell us?

Mr. Obvious

October 7th, 2011
8:47 am

Pizza is great and all, but a spouse knowing when to not interrupt your sporting event with needless complaining/whining or not talking incessantly during movie night are pretty important to many men who stick around in a relationship, too.

Sounds True

October 7th, 2011
8:48 am

Scientific Fact: There is one known food that will kill a woman’s sex drive
as shortly after she eats it….Wedding Cake

Sounds True

October 7th, 2011
8:49 am

Scientific Fact: There is one known food that will kill a woman’s sex drive
shortly after she eats it….Her Own Wedding Cake

Mr. Obvious

October 7th, 2011
8:51 am

I believe I prefer my pizza servings with extra sauce.

The additional lycopene is reportedly very good for a man’s prostate health.

(Aren’t euphemisms great?)

Mr. Obvious

October 7th, 2011
8:53 am

Scientific Fact:

Needlessly hitting the *SUBMIT COMMENT* button multiple times will result in multiple posts of the same message.

stumpknocker

October 7th, 2011
8:53 am

I am 55 an wife is 56. Been married for 12 years. Still enjoy sex once per week. I think as we get older our natural physical sex drive reduces. Thanks to viagra cialis etc. We are able to keep that emotion alive more. Hopefully they will approve something for women soon. Anyways I think most men my age wants his wife to act like hi little mistress in the bedroom. Makes sex more exciting an something to look forward to. She needs to want to please the husband an vise versa. Makes marriage a lot better for sure.

James2

October 7th, 2011
8:57 am

I find it disturbing that people would even bring up having a extramarital affair. What is cheaper, a divorce or counseling? Is marriage a covenant or a contract? Either way our society gives us the impression that it’s okay to break it. Marriage is about two people and the needs of one do not trump the other’s. If you are only in it for yourself and looking out for number one then I feel sorry for you. You missed out what marriage is suppose to be about.

Brown Eyed Girl!

October 7th, 2011
9:07 am

“Not sure I understand why you would marry someone who you don’t find sexually satisfying–that sounds like a recipe for disaster. Who would sign up for an eternal bond (or at least a legal one) with somebody they aren’t fulfilled by?”

James, believe it or not, my husband and I were not familiar with each other when we got married ten years! No, we were not virgins, but we made a conscious decision while dating that we weren’t going to have sex. Because I loved him without sex, I knew that he would satisfy me and, of course, I knew I had skills! LOL Anyway, I saw someone above hit the nail on the head. Women are emotional beings, men are physical beings. If a woman is tired, stressed, irritable, etc., it is going to affect the frequency. For men, if the wind blows you right, you are there for the taking! Everybody has to definitely be on the same page and clicking to make it work!

ken

October 7th, 2011
9:16 am

OK, I’ll throw this out to the ladies that have responded (or not yet responded). Is once or twice a year satisfactory intimacy in a wedded relationship after many years of marriage?

Mr. Obvious

October 7th, 2011
9:27 am

Men & Women,

If you want to stay desirable to your mate so that they will WANT to serve you pizza (and have your pizza eaten in return) after two decades of marriage and having to constantly smell what the bathroom is like right after one another have been in there during that married life, you need to work out R-E-G-U-L-A-R-L-Y and keep your body in shape.

All else equal at the same age, well-defined curves are more inviting to be touched and caressed than amorphous blobs of flesh.

As the old story goes...

October 7th, 2011
9:29 am

…a young son was with his father when the dad stopped in to buy some condoms. The kid picked up a three pack and asked his dad who they were for – the dad replied that those were for high school guys (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). The kid next picked up a six pack and asked who those were for – the father replied they were for college guys (2X on Friday, 2X on Saturday, and 2X on Sunday).

They were just about to leave when the kid saw a 12 pack – proudly he told his dad that this big pack must be for older guys like his dad – the dad ruefully smiled and said that his son was exactly right – January, February, March…..

i LOVE...

October 7th, 2011
9:30 am

@Mr. Obvious

your use of pizza as a metaphor for sex is the reason some women don’t want to have sex with their spouses. it is GROSS. just say sex. and stop the whole “extra sauce” bullcrap. UGH

I Love Life Cereal

October 7th, 2011
9:32 am

Either way our society gives us the impression that it’s okay to break it.

Ok, so that’s not ok, but mistreating your husband is?

When you treat someone like they’re not wanted, they’ll go find someone who will treat them better.

I’m not saying it’s ok to cheat, but at the same time, if a woman selfishly mistreats her man and he finds himself with the opportunity to be happy with another woman, she has herself to blame.

Can’t have it both ways.

James2

October 7th, 2011
9:55 am

@ I love life cereal

“I’m not saying it’s ok to cheat, but at the same time, if a woman selfishly mistreats her man and he finds himself with the opportunity to be happy with another woman, she has herself to blame.”

Every scenario is going to be different. But it would seem to make more sense to talk to your wife instead of seeing what else is out there. If your definition of mistreatment is a sexless marriage then I think it can be fixed. If you mean verbal and physical abuse then that is a whole different story.

I wouldn’t call anyone in a physically abuse relationship selfish for getting out of it. But if your spouse isn’t meeting your sexual needs then I do think it is selfish to cheat.

oneofeach4me

October 7th, 2011
10:00 am

@Ken ~ no. I myself need it at the very least twice a week even when I am tired. Not to say it’s over the top… but I need the release myself. I do agree with fundad. I don’t withhold as punishment… it’s just much better and more intimate when everyone’s needs are being fulfilled (housework, kids, bills, etc.). A marriage cannot be about just one person’s needs and wants.

Mr. Obvious

October 7th, 2011
10:15 am

“i LOVE…” @ 9:30 am = Lactose Intolerant

Hold the cheese, please.

homeschooler

October 7th, 2011
10:24 am

@ Ken. IMO 1-2 times a year just can’t be good for a marriage.

I never understood the whole “sex declining after marriage” thing. I felt so much closer to my husband after we were married and he seemed to be so much more committed to me that it just made me want to have sex more. When the kids came along it made things a bit more difficult logistically but now we get together whenever we are alone in the house. (at least once a week) Our sex life truly seems to get better (at least I think so) the longer we are together.
I feel really bad for people who are in a situation where they are not in sync on this issue. It is a very important part of a good marriage. If you think it is not, you are fooling yourself.

Really???

October 7th, 2011
10:43 am

OK, let me get this straight……..

Scenario: Husband and wife have been married for 25 years. They have raised three kids, built a wonderful happy home, learned each other’s idiocyncries, have travelled extensively, made numerous memories, and shared their lives with each other for 25+ years. That’s a LONG time. However, HE is willing to throw all that away, simply because HE isn’t having sex on a regular basis.

How utterly selfish. He is willing to throw 25+ years away, along with 3 kids, and all that time invested into the relationship simply because of the lack of sex. WOW.

IF that’s the case, why stay all that time….????

ALady..........

October 7th, 2011
11:05 am

@ken: “Is once or twice a year satisfactory intimacy in a wedded relationship after many years of marriage”?
NO, change it to 1-2X a ‘week’……that would be satisfactory.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 7th, 2011
11:10 am

Catlady — sorry for the typo — I was typing fast and missed that one trying to catch up after having the flu! — Will go back and correct soon. thanks!!

Tom

October 7th, 2011
12:23 pm

Several states actually have civil statutes that allow for “abandonment” to be used as grounds for an “at-fault” divorce when one spouse withholds sex for a period of one year or more.

abc

October 7th, 2011
12:25 pm

So what so you think of this study? What do you think of 83 percent less likely to divorce if a man is happy in bed?

Something about the 100% chance that gravity will pull you to the ground if you jump off the roof. How can this possibly surprise anybody?

catlady

October 7th, 2011
12:32 pm

Theresa, thought it might be the Hufffington Post’s problem. Hope you are better.

I can tell you being with someone you enjoy as a friend and a lot more keeps the good stuff rolling, even past middle age.

Bigdog

October 7th, 2011
1:35 pm

My wife thinks that three times a month is enough (and she is the one who is insecure), it’s very frustrating to deal with. I try not to look outside the relationship, but she is sending me there.

Mike

October 7th, 2011
1:48 pm

Sex, what is that? After 2 decades of marriage, the bed is for sleeping. Bigdog, You get it 3 times a month? I am jealous. Yes, I am frustrated.