It’s often been said on this website and elsewhere that as a woman increases her partner count, her ability to pair bond decreases. However, I’ve noticed a significant flaw with this, as from this study, an increase in sexual partners generally correlates with decreased likelihood of divorce: https://www.livescience.com/55104-sex-partners-and-divorce.html
- Women who were only intimate with their future husband prior to marriage had a much more stable marriage than those who had previously had intimacy with others before meeting their marriage partner.
- However, those who reported being intimate just once, before meeting their husbands, had the highest rates of divorce.
- Those who were intimate with a number of men before meeting their husbands actually divorced less than the above group, but divorced more than women who married the only men they’ve been intimate with.
- Women who have had a lot of sexual experience had a high rate of divorce.
The women who married their only sexual partner likely only remained in their probably unhappy marriage because of unusual environmental factors which prevents divorce (pressure from family to remain in the marriage, divorce being against their beliefs, or many other reasons). They are also likely to be below average in attractiveness or have less willingness to socialise with new people, resulting in less desire to divorce.
Those who have high numbers of partners are more likely to divorce not because of the reduced ability to pair bond, but probably due to their personality being unsuitable for monogamy.
Taking this into consideration of the two ends of the graph, there is a trend of decreasing likelihood of divorce as sexual experience before marriage increases.
1. Can the theory ‘an increase in sexual partners reduces the ability to pair bond with one’s long-term sexual partner’ still be considered valid?
2. If the above theory is still valid, how exactly does this occur? How does intimacy with a lot of partners damage the brain resulting in the reduced ability to fall in love with one’s partner (perhaps caused by decreased sensitivity to oxytocin)? Usually any negative effects upon the brain due to behaviour decrease over time, as the brain heals itself.
3. Does the above changes to the brain due to behaviour affect men as well as women? Perhaps women are more sensitive to the coolidge effect, or are less receptive to oxytocin, resulting in lesbian couples (who are generally sexually experienced) being the most likely to divorce across all demographics and women generally being the first to fall out of love (I can’t remember the study, but I recall reading it takes an average of 2 years for a man to lose attraction for his partner, but it takes a woman just 1 year).