The ?ccurrence ?f prem?rit?l sexu?l beh?vi?rs f?r ?d?lescents ?nd ?dults ?like h?s bec?me incre?singly m?re ?ccepted in t?d?y’s s?ciety (G?rris?n, Smith, & Besh?r?v, 1994).

With 69% ?f fem?le ?d?lescents ?nd 64% ?f m?le ?d?lescents ?ged 18-19 h?ving h?d experienced sexu?l interc?urse ?lth?ugh never m?rried (?bm?, M?rtinez, M?sher, & D?ws?n, 2004), specific c?ncerns f?r unm?rried sexu?lly ?ctive individu?ls ?re ?pp?rent. If unwed individu?ls ?re n?t t?king ?dv?nt?ge ?f the v?ri?us f?rms ?f c?ntr?cepti?n, the risk ?f ?n unw?nted pregn?ncy is present.The f?ur le?ding STDs in the U. S. , which ?cc?unt f?r 14. 5 milli?n new STD c?ses e?ch ye?r, ?re Hum?n P?pill?m? Virus (HPV), Trich?m?ni?sis, Chl?mydi?, ?nd Genit?l Herpes; these f?ur STDs ?re tr?nsmitted by skin-t?-skin c?nt?ct ?nd c?nn?t be prevented by ?ny f?rm ?f pr?tecti?n ?v?il?ble (L?uisi?n? G?vern?r’s Pr?gr?m ?n ?bstinence, 2005).

The m?st prev?lent STD, HPV (Center f?r Dise?se C?ntr?l, 2005), is the c?use ?f ne?rly 100% ?f ?ll cervic?l c?ncer w?rldwide (?meric?n C?ncer S?ciety [?C?], 2005). ls?, the n?nuse ?r misuse ?f sexu?l pr?tecti?n m?y le?d t? ?n incre?se in the r?te ?f ?ther sexu?lly tr?nsmitted dise?ses. C?ncerns th?t ?re n?t ?pp?rent m?y ?ls? be present. Prem?rit?l sexu?l interc?urse h?s ?ls? been linked t? future m?rit?l diss?luti?n (He?t?n, 2002; K?hn & L?nd?n, 1991; Te?chm?n, 2003); h?wever, rese?rch ?n this rel?ti?nship is sc?rce. D?es prem?rit?l interc?urse h?ve benefici?l ?r h?rmful effects ?n gener?l m?rit?l rel?ti?nships ?r m?rit?l sexu?l ?djustments? This is ? c?mm?n questi?n this rese?rch w?s n?t designed t? ?tt?ck.

In ? sep?r?te pr?ject, h?wever, s?me d?t? h?ve been ?bt?ined fr?m m?rried men rel?tive t? their experience in prem?rit?l interc?urse, ?nd their ev?lu?ti?n ?f the effects ?f these experiences ?n their m?rit?l ?djustments. ?ls?, m?ny ?f the tw? hundred men wh? p?rticip?ted in the study rep?rted in the preceding ch?pters h?ve since m?rried. S?me ?f these h?ve visited the writer, ?nd ev?lu?ted the signific?nce ?f their prem?rit?l experiences s? f?r ?s gener?l m?rit?l ?djustments ?nd m?rit?l sexu?l ?djustments ?re c?ncerned.These d?t?, theref?re, seem t? w?rr?nt s?me discussi?n ?f the p?ssible signific?nce ?f prem?rit?l interc?urse f?r m?rit?l ?djustments. This discussi?n m?y help stimul?te further rese?rch ?nd determine its directi?n. Bef?re ex?mining these d?t? it will be helpful t? survey briefly ?uth?rit?tive ?pini?ns ?n this questi?n.

S?me ?pini?ns ?re b?sed ?n rese?rch ?nd ?thers ?re simply ?pini?ns. ? respect?ble ?m?unt ?f liter?ture ?n the subject h?s ?ccumul?ted, f?r writers ?nd rese?rchers, n? less th?n l?ymen, h?ve been c?ncerned with the effect ?f prem?rit?l interc?urse ?n m?rri?ge rel?ti?nships.Specul?tive ?pini?ns r?nge fr?m ?ne extreme t? ?n?ther ?nd ?re e?sier t? find th?n ?pini?ns b?sed up?n rese?rch. S?me ?uth?rities reg?rd prem?rit?l interc?urse ?s essenti?l t? successful m?rri?ge where?s ?thers reg?rd it ?s highly d?m?ging.

We will d? n? m?re th?n t? qu?te ?pini?ns fr?m these extremes. ?n illustr?ti?n ?f the view th?t prem?rit?l interc?urse is highly benefici?l is f?und in the f?ll?wing qu?t?ti?n fr?m Reich (84, pp. 6 - 27): “N?t l?ng ?g?, it w?s c?nsidered ? m?r?l crime, c?lling f?r dr?stic punishment, when ? c?uple wh? intended t? be m?rried, bec?me sexu?lly ?cqu?inted with e?ch ?ther bef?reh?nd.T?d?y, quite sp?nt?ne?usly, ?nd in spite ?f the influence ?f church, sch?l?stic medicine, ?nd purit?nic?l minds, the view bec?mes m?re ?nd m?re gener?l th?t it is unhygienic, imprudent ?nd p?ssibly dis?str?us if tw? pe?ple bind themselves with?ut h?ving first c?nvinced themselves th?t they ?re m?tched in the b?sis ?f their life t?gether, th?t is, in their sexu?l life.

In ?dditi?n t? the incre?sed r?te ?f prem?rit?l sex, the r?te ?f c?h?bit?ti?n ?utside ?f the m?rri?ge rel?ti?nship h?s gre?tly incre?sed. It is s?id th?t ?nly ?b?ut 8% ?f the p?pul?ti?n were inv?lved in c?h?biting uni?ns in the 1960’s (Bump?ss, 1990). In ?ur s?ciety t?d?y, ?f the 62% ?f w?men under ?ge 44 wh? h?ve ever been m?rried, ?ppr?xim?tely 50% ?f them h?ve c?h?bited ?t s?me p?int in their lives. In ?dditi?n t? this, 10% ?f w?men under ?ge 44 h?ve c?h?bited but h?ve never been m?rried (Br?mlet & M?sher, 2002).M?ny studies h?ve linked c?h?bit?ti?n t? b?th future m?rit?l tr?uble ?nd div?rce (?m?t? & B??th, 1997; B??th & J?hns?n, 1988; He?t?n, 2002; K?mp Dush, C?h?n, & ?m?t?, 2003; L?rs?n & H?lm?n, 1994; Th?ms?n & C?lett?, 1992).

It is ?ls? been suggested th?t prem?rit?l sexu?l interc?urse h?s ? simil?r rel?ti?nship t? the future m?rri?ge (K?hn & L?nd?n, 1991; Te?chm?n, 2003; Whyte, 1990); this rel?ti?nship, h?wever, is n?t ?s th?r?ughly rese?rched ?s is the rel?ti?nship between c?h?bit?ti?n ?nd the m?rri?ge.The purp?se ?f the current study is t? ex?mine the rel?ti?nship between prem?rit?l sexu?l beh?vi?rs, including c?h?bit?ti?n, ?nd the st?te ?f the first m?rri?ge. ?cc?rding t? W?ite ?nd G?ll?gher (2000), the defining ch?r?cteristic ?f the c?h?bit?ti?n rel?ti?nship th?t distinguishes it fr?m ?ther n?n-m?rit?l r?m?ntic rel?ti?nships m?y be the high imp?rt?nce ?f the sexu?l rel?ti?nship between the p?rtners. ?s ? result, c?h?bit?ti?n m?y be neg?tively rel?ted t? m?rit?l st?bility ?nd s?tisf?cti?n bec?use ?f the sexu?l rel?ti?nship th?t existed between the c?h?biting p?rtners pri?r t? m?rri?ge.The study intended t? ex?mine the rel?ti?nship between prem?rit?l sexu?l beh?vi?rs ?nd the st?te ?f the m?rri?ge t? cl?rify the ?ss?ci?ti?ns th?t ?re present within ?nd ?utside ?f the ?ccurrence ?f c?h?bit?ti?n.

The current study ?ls? exp?nded ?n ? previ?us study c?nducted by Te?chm?n (2003) th?t c?nsidered the ?ccurrence ?f prem?rit?l sexu?l rel?ti?nships ?nd future m?rit?l disrupti?n. The study f?und th?t when w?men experienced sexu?l interc?urse pri?r t? m?rri?ge with individu?ls ?ther th?n her husb?nd, her pr?b?bility ?f div?rce incre?sed.H?wever, when sexu?l interc?urse w?s limited t? ?nly her future husb?nd, there w?s little risk ?f m?rit?l disrupti?n. The pr?p?sed study will ex?mine the rel?ti?nship between v?ri?us heter?sexu?l prem?rit?l sexu?l beh?vi?rs ?nd m?rit?l s?tisf?cti?n ?nd st?bility ?m?ng w?men.

Simil?r t? Te?chm?n, the study c?nsidered the c?mmitment level th?t the individu?ls felt t?w?rd their sexu?l p?rtner during the time ?f the prem?rit?l sexu?l ?ct ?nd the ?ccurrence ?f sexu?l beh?vi?rs th?t were limited t? ?nly their husb?nds.In 2005, the m?rri?ge r?te f?r the U. S. w?s 7. m?rri?ges per 1,000 pe?ple ?f the t?t?l p?pul?ti?n.

The div?rce r?te f?r the s?me ye?r w?s 3. 6 div?rces per 1,000 pe?ple ?f the t?t?l p?pul?ti?n (Muns?n & Sutt?n, 2006). With the percent?ge ?f m?rri?ges th?t end in div?rce ?t ?b?ut 50%, it m?y seem th?t individu?ls w?uld be disc?ur?ged fr?m entering int? ? m?rri?ge uni?n. H?wever, ?ver 90% ?f emerging ?dults rep?rted th?t m?rri?ge w?s their ultim?te rel?ti?nship g??l ?midst the c?ntinuing thre?t ?f m?rit?l inst?bility (?rnett, 2004). M?ny ?spects ?f prem?rit?l ?nd m?rit?l rel?ti?nships h?ve been f?und t? predict m?rit?l st?bility ?r diss?luti?n.

He?t?n (2002) f?und th?t f?ct?rs such ?s higher r?tes ?f c?h?bit?ti?n, m?re experiences ?f prem?rit?l sexu?l beh?vi?rs, ?nd heter?g?my ?f dem?gr?phic v?ri?bles between p?rtners m?y be rel?ted t? higher levels ?f m?rit?l diss?luti?n. ?ne ?f the m?st n?t?ble predict?rs, perh?ps, is the ?ge ?t which ?n individu?l m?rries. Rese?rchers h?ve c?nsistently linked ? y?unger ?ge ?t m?rri?ge t? future m?rit?l diss?luti?n (B??th & Edw?rds, 1985; Bump?ss, C?str?-M?rtin, & Sweet, 1991; Feng, Gi?rruss?, Bengts?n, & Frye, 1999; He?t?n, 2002).B??th ?nd Edw?rds (1985) suggested th?t the m?rit?l inst?bility evidenced in c?uples wh? m?rried ?t ? y?ung ?ge w?s due t? ? l?ck ?f sexu?l exclusiveness in the m?rri?ge ?nd the in?dequ?te perf?rm?nces ?f m?rit?l r?les.

The ?ge ?t the first m?rri?ge, h?wever, c?ntinues t? rise in ?ur s?ciety. During the 1950’s, the ?ge ?t the first m?rri?ge w?s l?wer th?n ?t ?ny ?ther time during the 20th century in the U. S. , with men m?rrying ?t the ?ver?ge ?ge ?f 22. 7 ye?rs ?nd w?men ?t the ?ver?ge ?ge ?f 20.

2 ye?rs. In 2005, the ?ver?ge ?ge ?t the first m?rri?ge w?s 27. 1 ye?rs ?nd 25. ye?rs f?r men ?nd w?men, respectively (U. S. Census Bure?u, 2006).

He?t?n (2002) pr?p?sed th?t the rising ?ge ?t the time ?f m?rri?ge is resp?nsible f?r ? recent decre?se in the div?rce r?te. He?t?n suggested th?t, ?s evidenced by the div?rce r?te th?t beg?n sl?wly decre?sing in 1980 ?nd h?s presently leveled ?ut, m?rit?l st?bility in the United St?tes m?y be incre?sing r?ther th?n decre?sing. The perceived effect ?f the rising ?ge ?t the time ?f m?rri?ge m?y c?unter?ct the experiences ?nd ch?r?cteristics th?t ?re th?ught t? le?d t? higher m?rit?l diss?luti?n (He?t?n, 2002). cc?rding t? Wright (1982), ? Christi?n prem?rit?l c?unsel?r, p?rticul?r ch?nges in s?ciety p?sed ? thre?t t? m?rit?l st?bility reg?rdless ?f the incre?sing ?ge ?t m?rri?ge.

?ne ch?nge th?t c?uld be perceived ?s ? thre?t t? m?rit?l st?bility w?s the shift ?f the f?mily’s f?cus ?w?y fr?m the extended f?mily ?nd t?w?rd the nucle?r f?mily; this shift c?uld be believed t? reduce the ?m?unt ?f res?urces ?v?il?ble t? the husb?nd ?nd wife.?n?ther p?ssible thre?t t? m?rit?l st?bility menti?ned by Wright w?s the independence ?f the m?te selecti?n pr?cess ?m?ng individu?ls inv?lved. c?uple in the ye?r 2006 m?y n?t be ?s likely ?s ? c?uple in the mid 1900’s t? c?nsider ?ther’s ?pini?ns reg?rding their ch?ice ?f ? m?te. Wright ?ls? cl?imed th?t undefined r?les, r?ther th?n the fixed m?le ?nd fem?le r?les f?und in ? tr?diti?n?l m?rri?ge, m?y je?p?rdize m?rit?l st?bility.

L?stly, Wright decl?red th?t the declining sexu?l m?r?lity ?f ?ur s?ciety c?uld h?ve ? neg?tive imp?ct ?n m?rit?l st?bility (cf. P?pen?e, 1996). ?ver?ll, Wright bl?med s?ciet?l ?ttitudes ?nd pe?ple within the instituti?n ?f m?rri?ge, n?t the instituti?n itself, f?r thre?tening m?rit?l st?bility.G?ttm?n (1994?), ?ne ?f the m?st pr?minent rese?rchers ?n the t?pic ?f m?rit?l st?bility ?nd div?rce, suggested th?t there ?re tw? types ?f m?rri?ges b?sed ?n inter?ctive beh?vi?r ?f sp?uses: regul?ted ?nd n?nregul?ted.

Regul?ted c?uples ?re th?se wh?se r?ti? ?f p?sitive t? neg?tive beh?vi?rs within inter?cti?ns w?s ?t le?st five p?sitive beh?vi?rs t? every ?ne neg?tive beh?vi?r; n?nregul?ted c?uples, h?wever, h?d ? r?ti? ?f less th?n five p?sitive beh?vi?rs t? ? neg?tive beh?vi?r (G?ttm?n 1994?, 1994b).G?ttm?n cl?imed th?t when ? he?lthy r?ti? ?f five t? ?ne is n?t m?int?ined, the c?uple is ?t risk f?r pr?gressing d?wn ? c?sc?de ?f h?rmful c?mmunic?tive beh?vi?rs. The c?sc?de begins with criticism ?r c?mpl?ining, which le?ds t? c?ntempt, which le?ds t? defensiveness, which results in ?ne sp?use c?mpletely withdr?wing ?r st?new?lling. The f?ur h?rmful beh?vi?rs h?ve been c?lled the F?ur H?rsemen ?f the ?p?c?lypse. G?ttm?n suggested th?t neg?tive inter?cti?ns between sp?uses were n?t unhe?lthy, but the use ?f ?ny ?f the F?ur H?rsemen w?s dysfuncti?n?l.

Sever?l studies h?ve suggested th?t m?rit?l s?tisf?cti?n c?n be predicted by the s?tisf?cti?n ?nd qu?lity ?f the prem?rit?l rel?ti?nship ?f the c?uple (F?wers & ?ls?n, 1986; L?rsen & ?ls?n, 1989; M?rkm?n, Ressick, Fl?yd, St?nley, & Clements, 1993). ?ne n?t?ble ?ssessment ?f the prem?rit?l rel?ti?nship is the PREP?RE invent?ry (F?wers & ?ls?n, 1992). F?wers ?nd ?ls?n (1992) used the PREP?RE invent?ry t? pl?ce c?uples int? ?ne ?f f?ur typ?l?gies: Vit?lized, H?rm?ni?us, Tr?diti?n?l, ?nd C?nflicted.Vit?lized c?uples ?re ch?r?cterized ?s being highly s?tisfied with their r?m?ntic rel?ti?nship.

H?rm?ni?us c?uples h?ve ? m?der?te level ?f rel?ti?n?l s?tisf?cti?n ?nd unre?listic views ?f m?rri?ge. Tr?diti?n?l c?uples ?re c?teg?rized by slight rel?ti?n?l diss?tisf?cti?n ?nd re?listic views ?f m?rri?ge. C?nflicted c?uples ?re seen ?s the m?st diss?tisfied with their rel?ti?nship ?nd dem?nstr?te high levels ?f c?nflict. These f?ur prem?rit?l c?uple types ?re believed t? be predictive ?f future m?rit?l s?tisf?cti?n (F?wers, M?ntel, & ?ls?n, 1996).Greeley (1991) suggested th?t the c?ngeni?l ch?r?cter ?f the sp?use, the ?greement ?f v?lues, high levels ?f c?mmunic?ti?n, ?nd s?tisf?cti?n with the sex life were ?dequ?te predict?rs ?f m?rit?l h?ppiness. He suggested th?t the tw? str?ngest predict?rs ?f m?rit?l s?tisf?cti?n were the kindness ?nd gentleness ?f the sp?use ?nd the feeling ?f imp?rt?nce t? the rel?ti?nship.

Greeley ?ls? f?und ? p?sitive rel?ti?nship between s?ci?l cl?ss ?nd m?rit?l h?ppiness; the higher ?ne’s inc?me, the m?re likely they were t? rep?rt ? m?re s?tisfying m?rri?ge. M?rit?l s?tisf?cti?n m?y c?ntribute t? the v?ri?us ?dv?nt?ges experienced by sp?uses.H?ppy m?rri?ges m?y impr?ve the physic?l, psych?l?gic?l, ?nd fin?nci?l he?lth ?f sp?uses. Sp?uses, especi?lly men, wh? ?re s?tisfied with their m?rri?ges, ?re m?re likely t? ?b?nd?n unhe?lthy ?r h?rmful beh?vi?rs up?n m?rri?ge, thereby impr?ving their physic?l he?lth ?nd incre?sing their l?ngevity ?f life (W?ite, 2002; W?ite & G?ll?gher, 2000).

S?tisfied m?rri?ges ?re neg?tively rel?ted t? levels ?f depressi?n, ?nxiety, ?nd distress (W?ite, 2002). These psych?l?gic?l benefits, h?wever, ?re ?nly present when the m?rri?ge is rep?rtedly h?ppy; unh?ppy sp?uses tend t? rep?rt higher levels ?f distress th?n unm?rried individu?ls (R?ss, 1995).lth?ugh m?rri?ges m?y be gener?lly slightly less s?tisfying th?n the 1970’s, the m?j?rity ?f rese?rchers ?gree th?t m?rri?ge impr?ves the em?ti?n?l well-being ?f sp?uses (W?ite, 2000). M?rri?ge ?ls? presents ? fin?nci?l ?dv?nt?ge t? sp?uses.

F?r wives, p?rticul?rly, m?rri?ge pr?vides ? higher h?useh?ld inc?me th?n w?men wh? ?re single ?r c?h?biting (W?ite, 2002). ?ls?, he?lthy m?rri?ges ?re ch?r?cterized by the speci?liz?ti?n ?f the fin?nci?l r?le, which ?ll?ws the m?re fin?nci?lly ?dept sp?use t? h?ndle the fin?nces (Seltzer, 2004; W?ite & G?ll?gher, 2000).This impr?ves the fin?nci?l situ?ti?n f?r sp?uses ?ver the c?h?biting ?nd single. Sexu?l s?tisf?cti?n is rep?rtedly gre?test ?m?ng m?n?g?m?us m?rried c?uples th?n ?m?ng c?h?biting ?nd d?ting c?uples (Christ?pher & Sprecher, 2000; W?ite & G?ll?gher, 2000). In ?ne study, 48% ?f husb?nds rep?rted th?t sex with their wife w?s em?ti?n?lly s?tisfying, ?nd 50% ?f husb?nds f?und m?rried sex physic?lly s?tisfying.

In the s?me study, ?nly 37% ?nd 39% ?f c?h?biting men f?und sex with their p?rtners em?ti?n?lly s?tisfying ?nd physic?lly s?tisfying, respectively.M?rried w?men ?nd c?h?biting w?men h?ve rep?rted being simil?r in their me?sures ?f sexu?l s?tisf?cti?n; 42% ?f wives ?nd 39% ?f c?h?biting w?men h?ve rep?rted em?ti?n?l s?tisf?cti?n with their sex lives (W?ite & G?ll?gher, 2000). H?wever, m?rried w?men were f?und t? be five times m?re likely t? rem?in m?n?g?m?us th?n w?men wh? were d?ting ?r w?men wh? were c?h?biting (F?rste & T?nfer, 1996). Husb?nds ?nd wives ?ls? rep?rted th?t sex in m?rri?ge c?ntinued t? impr?ve ?ver time bec?use ?f the cl?se pr?ximity, the l?ng-term c?mmitment, the exclusivity, ?nd the em?ti?n?l b?nding th?t m?rri?ge pr?m?tes (W?ite & G?ll?gher, 2000).