A University of Iowa study has found that women who first engage in sex as young teens are more likely to divorce.
Published in the April issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, the analysis found that 31 percent of women who had sex for the first time as teens divorced within five years of getting married, and 47 percent divorced within 10 years. The divorce rate for women who delayed sex until adulthood was far lower: 15 percent at five years, and 27 percent at 10 years.
Author Anthony Paik, associate professor of sociology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, examined the responses of 3,793 ever-married women to the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth.
A first sexual experience that was unwanted or not completely wanted was strongly associated with divorce. If the young woman chose to lose her virginity as a teen, the results were more nuanced.
When the first intercourse took place early in adolescence - before the age of 16 - the women were more likely to divorce, even if that first sexual experience was wanted.
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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