Dr. Ahlishia Shipley: Playing the Field Too Much Before Marriage Can Be Bad for Your Relationship


shipleyBy Ahlishia Shipley, PhD, CFLE

Have you ever heard the advice “just get it out of your system” before you get married with it being $ex? Or perhaps, someone may have warned you “make sure you try on the shoes, before you buy them,” so to speak. The majority of Americans do approve of premarital $ex, so what’s the harm in testing the waters? Although this advice may seem like a good idea, having an extensive $exual past could taint your marital future.  In a recent study with over 2,500 married individuals, researchers tested whether the number of $exual partners was associated with marital quality.

Two opposing perspectives of couple $exuality guided the basis of the study. The first one being the idea of $exual compatibility, in which $ex is viewed as an essential component to forming a relationship. From this angle, partners are able to assess their ‘$exual chemistry,’ which, for many, is a significant aspect of relationship quality.

From the other perspective of $exual restraint, sexual involvement before solid commitment is seen as harmful to relationship formation, especially early on in a relationship. The $exual restraint model also suggests that more $exual experimentation can hinder relationship stability and satisfaction because a more experienced partner may have unrealistic expectations of $exual intimacy that are not sustainable in a marriage (i.e, the thrill of newness). At the couple level, the less experienced partner may question the symbolism of $ex in the marriage due to their partner’s past promiscuity.

So, which perspective held the most weight?

The researchers found having more $exual partners before marriage was negatively associated with $exual quality, communication, and relationship quality even when various demographic variables were taken into account. The effect was highest for the emerging adults in the sample (ages 18-30). These findings indicate support for the $exual restraint perspective because they demonstrate $exual experiences with multiple partners do not contribute to marriage in a positive way.

The researchers seem to think those who have been $exually active with many partners may focus too much on the physical side of a relationship resulting in less attention devoted to other areas, such as building communication and trust. With respect to $exual quality, a high number of $exual partners could increase a more experienced partner’s need for variety which may or may not be met in the marriage. Unmet needs could cause $exual dissatisfaction, insecurity, and communication issues in the relationship.

Although, the researchers would like to expand the research questions for this topic in the future, the current findings support the idea that 1) a great deal of $exual experiences with several partners may be positive in the short-term, but could possibly harm your marriage in the long-term, especially among young adults AND 2) sequencing commitment prior to $ex places a couple in a better position to establish a friendship as the foundation for a relationship.

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  1. My great grandmother filled me in on the dangers of promiscuity when I was young, and said not to sleep around before marriage. “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” is what she said. Listen to your elders, they know what they are talking about! This advice may be old but it still holds true today!

  2. The less information I have and options that I am aware of, the more satisfied I will be with a current option? Seems legit.

  3. This shouldn’t be considered rocket science, especially for those in the black community given the epidemic levels of AIDS and STDs. And who wants a severally used up/warn out spouse. Too many black folks are still a day late and a dollar short on common sense.

  4. I’m a single middle aged man. I have a saying when it comes to women and that is when is the “number to big”. The number being her past sexual partners and experiences. And the answer is “when I think it’s to big”. I see and encounter many middle aged women late forties and they all come with a story. Unfortunately they don’t come with a “pussy facts report” which should be required lol. Don’t laugh because I’m serious. Many of these women have multiple children, never married, and after living a life of being a total freak they now are at a point that they want a relationship. I find it very hard to start or have a relationship with these women so I’ll break it down for you in raw terms because it is what it is. When I’m sitting across the table and she utters the classic line “you’ve got to get to know me” I just shake my head and feel like telling her this. You’re 48 years old you’ve been fucking for over 30 years. There’s no telling how many motels you’ve been in and out of, how many back seats of cars you’ve been fucked in, how many men you’ve fucked & sucked in college, how many you’ve fucked during the club scene, fucked at work, and there always one or two that you’ve been a total low down dirty freak with where you’ve been banged in every hole you’ve got. And here you are sitting across the table from me trying to make me believe you’ve been a virtuous woman and have saved this pussy just for me. And you’ve got the nerve to tell me I’ve got to get to know you. So I want to look this woman in the eye and say the following. I may not know if you like your steak medium or well done or hot sauce on your greens. I may not know if you like your eggs scrambled or sunny side up.
    But the one thing I do know is “All I’m getting is a well Fucked Bitch”. And there’s not much left in that pussy for me to get excited about and certainly not to go through any changes for so finish your meal so I can take your sorry ass home.

    • Sir, i could not have expressed that thought more eloquently. I have come to that conclusion myself and as soon as I hear that get to know me bs i turn off immediately. Everybody got it for free but Im suppose to pay for it! Not in this lifetime. You can keep it. Thank you sir for letting me know I am not an island in my thinking.

  5. There is no reason to suggest that experience means being unrestrained because that language and tone can impede open honesty if there is immature labeling set forth from the door. Experienced individuals will be less tolerant of mediocre attachment and much more clear on what they require to stay committed. Get your game up and stop trying to rely on stilted stereotypes and limited roles to maintain a relationship through dependency, shame and denial as opposed to true attraction to the individual, passionate love desire, genuine friendship, unselfishness and respect for real and enduring character and relationship quality. It is always best to endeavor the spirit of God above indulgence in bodily pleasures but with a mind for love and right intentions, you can do both in good understanding, even if it doesn’t blossom to marriage. Early marriage(legal teenage or emerging adults) with familial generational supports and intermittent pastoral counseling and check-ups is a healthy way to plan one’s life and family and wealth. Wisdom and maturity are key in any case.

  6. I don’t agree at all personally I love it when a woman has lots and I mean lots of experience, and has been a true freak in her past. I would be praying that she use that experience with me on the wedding night and years to come.

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