The fact that marriage success rates can be tied to how satisfied a couple are with their sex life is kind of a no-brainer, right? But until recently, there hasn’t been a study that looked specifically at how sexual satisfaction affects marriage in its early years and since nearly half of the marriages in America end in divorce, it is not a bad thing to look into, right?
Not surprisingly, the level of satisfaction IS linked to how likely a marriage will make it. What is genuinely surprising in this study reviewed by Prof. Robert Hughes, Jr., in the Huffington Post, is WHOSE satisfaction is important. The study, which followed about 1000 newlywed couples in Louisiana, looked at how often the couple had sex, how satisfied each partner was with their sex life, and whether or not the couple agreed in their assessment of how satisfied they were. Kristen Dzara, the author of the study, then used that info to predict whether the couple would divorce by the fifth year of marriage.
So, where do the surprises come in? First, the frequency of sex had no bearing on the outcome of marriages. Second, women who reported they were satisfied physically in the marriage decreased the likelihood of divorce only somewhat. Third, men who reported being the most satisfied with the physical intimacy in their marriages decreased the odds of the marriage failing by 83.7%.
The study also found that women tended to equate their satisfaction with the physical side of their marriage to their satisfaction of the marriage as a whole. Men looked at the two as separate things and found the physical side to be the more important factor when it came to whether or not to keep the marriage going.
So, to summarize: Men are more likely to end a marriage if they aren’t satisfied with the quality of their marital nookie.
Which makes them just about as douchey when it comes to sex as women were afraid of.
I jest. (Sort of.)
Personally, I think it is sadder that women can be in a marriage where they aren’t satisfied with either the sex or the relationship (if the two are tied together, as the study indicates) and still remain married, rather than ending the marriage as a man would.
Maybe things have changed since this information was collected (which was from 1998 to 2004) and women are more outspoken now. The researcher notes that because the study was done on a younger demographic, and in only one state, that it may be skewed, so it would be really interesting to see what came up in a larger, more diverse study.
What do you think? Are you sad for the women who don’t speak up or mad at the men for basing so much of a relationship on sex?
Photo Credit: © Doreen Salcher – Fotolia.com
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