What is Wrong With Multiple Sex Partners? Video provided by: TruthMedia Films

Is it emotionally dangerous to have a lot of sexual partners? We are all aware of the physical risks associated with multiple sex partners, but could these choices also put you at risk for heartache?

It might surprise you to hear that research shows that people who wait until they are married to have sex end up with the best sex lives and the most satisfying marriages. Sheila Wray Gregoire talks about the difference between making love and having sex and what you can do if it’s already too late to wait.

Amy’s story: Unfaithful Husband: Thrown on a Roller Coaster

Maureen’s story: My Husband’s Pornography Addiction: Hardcore Betrayal

Daniel’s story: Divorce: When Forever Ends

33 Responses to “What is Wrong With Multiple Sex Partners?”

  • Elkay says:

    Carole, thank you for that. Yes, most certainly, marriage is a covenant and not just one covenant but two. In a traditional marriage ceremony, a first covenant is made before God (facing the minister, bride and groom reply to questions such as “Will you take . . . and promise to love . . . “) and this strengthens them to make a second covenant between each other (turn and facing one another, say words like “I take you to be my . . . richer and poorer . . . as long as we live.”) in which we commit to being loving, faithful, and true to our spouse regardless of undulating internal feelings or external circumstances.

    On pages 102-106 in his outstanding book, The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller says, “It is this covenantal commitment that enables married people to become people who love each other, to love the other person for who they are and not just for feeling or experiences they give us . . . and when I maintain my love for someone who is not constantly thrilling me, then I am actually loving a person . . . and if I stress unselfish acts of love over my feelings of love, I enhance the feelings . . . this is one of the secrets of (successfully) living out marriage.”

    May God richly bless your marriage!

  • Carole says:

    Definitely confess your sins to God and start over. Marriage is definitely a covenant. I am on marriage #2 after a 40 year and am just now understanding covenants. Please, let God lead you.

  • Alfred Neufeldt says:

    Hi, I am Alfred; a mentor for this site.
    I really like what Elkay says on Nov. 8th and 24th. Marriage is a commitment between a man and a woman, which includes much more than just sex. I have heard that people who have multiple partners suffer from what can be called a “fractured soul”. This is so because one gives of oneself (gives a little part of ones soul) to the other partner. The Bible sets standards of sexual morality in Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.“ NKJV
    May this discussion lead people to seek forgiveness and the purity and God intended for us!

  • Sharon says:

    good article and good discussion on this thread– sharon

  • Carole says:

    I thought the days of multiple sex partners was over. I guess it just proves that those who refuse to study history are bound to repeat it. I pray that each of you that are participating in such folly are at least using protection. Confess your sins to God.

  • steve says:

    People who say that they have had several sexual partners and say its fine only say its fine out of guilt. Deep down they regret it but are too afraid to admit it.they should be honest and admit it to help others learn from your mistakes.

  • Elkay says:

    Blake. I salute your decision to abstain from sexual activity until you are married to “the person who you will spend the rest of your life with”. I have been married for 35 years and because of our faithfulness to one another, my soul mate and I share
    “a deeper oneness with each, a oneness that is emotional, spiritual, physical, a oneness that creates a shared future that provides the safety to be vulnerable enough to ‘become one’ in a complete sense.” And this is a beautiful thing that enables us to grow in a loving and trusting relationship that “is a God-honoring self-giving of ourselves to one another and one of the many reasons God created sex.” I am quoting from my recent post of August 30 that I hope you will read with conviction.

  • Blake says:

    I totally agree with what has been said in the video.

    Im 22 years old male and since I could remember myself I always planned to wait until I get married to have sex. At a about age 16 I have seen people having sex with multiples of people and some even cheating on each other. I have even heard people say abusive stuff about virgins. It made me personally feel that I will never be able to date someone decent as I have no sexual info on my resume or that I will never be able to impress anyone. So at the age of 21 I went and had sex with a prostitute (legal in the country where Im from) and Im now regretting that I did it.

    I must honestly say there is nothing bad being a virgin, its actually a good thing. Just because everyone is sleeping around it doesn’t mean they are being smart and more desired.

    The next person I want to find to have sex with is the person who I will spend the rest of my life with and I will apologise to her with all my heart that I didn’t wait for her.

  • Elkay says:

    Angel, you are blessed to understand that “wedding vows are a contract with God” and know that He takes them seriously as a covenant. I am well aware that some people in our society feel that it is unnatural, repressive and stifling to suppress our sexual desire as long as we are careful, respectful and consenting. Yet we learn something brand new about sex in Genesis 2, from the teachings of Jesus and from the Apostle Paul. We are taught that our deeper need is oneness with another person, a oneness that is emotional, spiritual, physical, a oneness that implies a shared future that provides the safety to be vulnerable enough to “become one” in a complete sense.

    This is why sexual intimacy is much more than “skin on skin. Sexual relations in marriage say “I make myself physically vulnerable but this is just a sign of making myself vulnerable to you in all other ways.” So it means that “I bind myself to you, commit myself to you as your spouse, and merge our lives forever.” This is a God-honoring self-giving of yourself to another person and is one of the many reasons God created sex.

    On the other hand, sex outside of marriage and/or with multiple partners says: “I don’t really want to give myself to you, I want to stay independent” and is a very selfish view of sex.

    People who engage in sexual oneness outside of the martial commitment can tell you that they’ve experienced afterward a feeling that something is missing, that there’s something not quite right about it without a shared future and an emotional and spiritual vulnerability that matches the physical vulnerability they’ve had together.

    And if one continues down the path of multiple partners, the danger is that sensitively to the full meaning of what sex is meant will become dulled and hardened. That hardening is more than simple loss of the full implications of intimacy. It is the damaging of the soul, for the soul and the body are inseparable (1 Cor 6:16-20). What I do with my body I also do with my soul and Jesus asks us “Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matt 16:26) Clearly the answer is an emphatic “No!”.

  • Susan says:

    Cathleen, my humble request is that, start a new life. Please put an end to this kind of life and surrender your life to Jesus. God hates sin. The result of sin is separation from God. Separation from God means, you are with evil. Please, run to Jesus, ask forgiveness and start a new life.

  • Angel says:

    We learned about this in our church group, I understand now that this is the truth because the history my wife & I have kind of hurts us now, its like we have to learn about each other to become one. I’ve prayed about this and understand that God frowns upon multiple partners. I understand now that wedding vows are a contract with God. I preached to my wife how as we work together on intimacy & keep God first in our marriage everything else falls into place. The world shows intimacy as lust & how its ok to get satisfied with our people if your not satisfied at home.

  • Tom Tom says:

    When you say you “got back together with your ex,” do you mean your ex boyfriend or your ex husband?

    Frankly, it doesn’t sound like either you or your ex have ever had any real commitment—either to each other or to your other partners. From what you wrote, it seems that sex has been the top priority and driving force in both of your lives, and that certainly won’t end in a lasting, trustworthy relationship.

    You’ve asked for prayer, but you haven’t specified for what. I would like to ask you what your own spiritual background is. Do you have a Christian background; and if so, what did that look like?

    In the meantime, I highly recommend you do NOT continue on the destructive path you’ve been on. I also suggest you carefully consider and take to heart what Elizabeth Elliott, the famous Christian author, wife, and radio host said: “Keep your hands to yourself, keep your clothes on, and stay out of bed.”

  • Cathleen LaGarce says:

    I’ve been on a destructive path ever since I got back together with ex. He cheated on me again so I decided to date and ive had three dates, three different men, sex with all of them but not at the same time. The last one wants to have a threesome (Me, him, and another man). I’ve never done this before but curious about it. I feel the need for the attention of men just because my ex don’t want me but skank. Need prayers.

  • Chris says:

    paul….so sorry to hear of your struggles…personally, having been married three times myself, fist wife left, second wife died, i can assure you that although the grass looks greener on the other side, it really isnt. its important to keep all earthly things in their early perspective. we all know that we wont be here forever and the body we live in now will return to dust one day which means we really should concentrate on whats eternal and not temporary. for more information on doing just that log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. praying now that you can see beyond the present to the eternal future and the great things God has in store for those who love him. blessings!

  • Paul says:

    Maybe I don’t belong here but I’m going to say my thing!. I’m 70 years old and had one sexual partner and been married to her for 49 years. You might say bravo but to be honest it hasn’t been a bed of roses rather the manure you feed the roses. Back in the 60s things espicially sex wasn’t talked about only more private. My family beat into my head to wait to have sex till married, that was how it was. Also people weren’t exposed to sex like today. We dated 3 years and really didn’t do any intimate touching, like some big eye was watching every move we made.
    It took me this many years to grow up, and it doesn’t make any difference how many partners you’ve had! I think everyone should explore what life is sex included. It doesn’t matter when the right one comes along you know and that person is the one and things change. Don’t ask how many partners you’ve had, those people may be way smarter than I was. I made a bad mistake and married the first one and to be honest since day one it sucked and we didn’t move on and were stuck with each other now just to old and just don’t care about each other. We hadn’t talked to each other in decades and I’m fine with that. When I was a teenager I wanted sex with any attractive female, but it never happen I felt that big eye was watching me again. I would like to rewind my life with what I know now and have different partners. Maybe its expressing my feelings and create a better learning experience toward life. I hate how my life turned out, I haven’t been happy with life. Every one experience life and enjoy life, its to short don’t mess up you might hate yourself.

  • Bridgette says:

    My on and off boyfriend has had over 20 different sex partners since we became involved 6years ago I have managed to only sleep with him, we have decided to depart, it has left me with no closure, I recently took an Aids test and other test, but very puzzled, we had great sex and I adored him when I leave him temporarily I am replaced within the next few hours then he changes again and again

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for joining the conversation Ollie.

    Obviously there are a myriad of factors that contribute to marital satisfaction including personality, family history, life experience, etc. It would be irresponsible to make any conclusive statement that happiness in marriage comes from abstinence.

    However, that does not rule out the evidence found from these studies, and anyone who is serious about finding satisfaction in their sexual relationships is well-served by considering this information. You can’t dismiss the results just because the study came from BYU, just as you can’t disregard a study on Palaeontology when it comes from the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

    The study examines the impact of sexual choices before marriage on the satisfaction in marriage. That doesn’t make a circular argument. In order to get understand the impact multiple sexual partners has on marriage one must study couple that are or have been married. Similarly if you had a study on the impact multiple sexual partners has on the satisfaction of singleness, the study would necessarily include exclusively people who have never been married. It is interesting that no one has done such a study. I wonder why that is.

    You state that the majority of our time as humans have been spent in communities where the norm was having sex with everyone. I imagine you have evidence of that, or is that just what you would like to believe? I think you would be hard pressed to find any culture that has that kind of view of sexual relations.

  • Ollie says:

    The research shows correlation, not to be confused with causality. The research is also based on circular logic… I can’t believe this is even considered research, in fact I don’t, this could never pass in a scientific journal. The research was conducted on married people only, this is a gaping issue. There are people on this planet that are not/have never been married that are unaccounted for…

    These are the works cited by Jamie:
    Correlation not causality
    Circular logic
    Research was conducted under religious bias (Mormon).
    Biased sample, married people only (negating the rest of humanity…)

    (“A New Study” is all that is mentioned, hearsay until the actual study is cited).
    Biased sample, married people only (negating the rest of humanity…)

    I’m gong to stop here, each “study” is biased to married couples only. An analogy:
    “Of the people who chose to eat cake, the ones that waited to eat one cake are more happier with that cake”, and what of the people who chose to eat pie? What of pudding? Do you see the problem here?

    I am 32 years old and I currently have multiple sex partners and I am quite happy, fulfilled in ways I never knew I could be, because the people I have sex with I happen to love, rare right? Actually not so rare in this lifestyle. In order for it to work, communication becomes paramount. Because this is not a template, its uncommon, thus you have few models to reference, thus for the relationship to work, you MUST be on the same page. I am absolutely honest, acknowledged for this honesty (apparently its absurdly rare) which reinforces and encourages the sharing of my feelings further. The majority of our time as human beings have been in small communities (trusted communities of people who all knew and loved each-other) where we all had sex with one another. It is part of who we are as a species, its not an opinion.

    People are individuals, how individuals love is up to them, and them alone. Marriage is just another option people who are in love sometimes take, most certainly not a pre-requisite and often times (and throughout history) unrelated to love all together.

    There is love first, and then we categorize it as such.

  • Kathryn Kathryn says:

    This is quite an old post now but I see Diane has been on in the last few weeks and is in quite a sad situation. I wonder if you have already come to some conclusion Diane and are moving on. When I first read the article I thought it was meant for younger people who were thinking of experimenting and I was going to say, “What is right with multiple sex partners?” But it is too late for a lot of people after they find out the harm and misery it brings. To tell the truth, as a married woman of some years I find it difficult to even contemplate having several sexual partners because to me and my husband there is such a strong spiritual and emotional bond which, with times becomes stronger and supersedes the sexual side of love making it impossible to break that closeness. I do feel for those who have not experienced this for any reason but broken relationships can be mended with self sacrificing love and understanding plus seeking God’s strength to start over again.

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up Dianne to You at this time in her life that You will bless her and help her with her issue. In Jesus name amen

  • Dianne says:

    Dear Noodles123; I totally understand your pain and process. 35 years ago the love of my life left me 7 months pregnant. He went on to marry which further destroyed me. I made non stop bad judgements from drinking and having sex with who ever just to try and find the same type of love I got taken away from. Long story short, I am now married to a man I left my husband for. I never was in love but it seemed like the thing to do to try to find unity and love (my ex was not that person). Now after 35 years, the love of my life is back, divorced and healing from some really bad events. I have had an affair 2 times and want to continue until he and I can some how get a place together (meaning one of us must relocate to another state, and give up his/her job). I hurt deperately that I will do the same thing to my current husband. He is a very good man but destroyed my heart several years ago with his temper, cowardish mannerisms, and made me his whole reason for living. I was smothered so badly it killed us. I am now a mental wreck over this. I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds in 3 months, and under counseling 3 times a week and anti depressants & anxiety meds. I know what the Bible says about this, and I know God isn’t going to bless me. But no one understands my pain. I have always wanted my first true love to return to me. I just never thought it would actually happen. GOD HELP ME PLEASE!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for the link Bryan. I enjoyed reading your article. You didn’t include a link to the Psychology Today article. Can you pass that along?

  • Bryan says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on this crucial topic; we need more people encouraging others to wait until marriage. I am working on a book and have a new blog out http://www.everyonelovessex.org and I have been doing tons of research. I want to point out that you may have been a little misleading with one of the studies you quoted. I believe you are quoting a study out of BYU but many psychologists are questioning their research, especially since they will not repond to questions about the specifics of their research. Here is an article in “Psychology Today.” When I first read the BYU results I was excited! But after more research, I am doubtful of their results. I do appreciate all you are doing and wish you the best!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Lilith, I appreciate that in the conversations you have had with your friends but there are published studies that do indeed show that couples who do not have sex prior to getting are more stable and report more satisfaction in their sexual relationship. The “Journal of Family Psychology” published a study by Dr Dean Busby that showed “the following benefits enjoyed by couples who waited until marriage compared to those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship:
    – Relationship stability was rated 22 percent higher
    – Relationship satisfaction was rated 20 percent higher
    – Sexual quality of the relationship was rated 15 percent better
    – Communication was rated 12 percent better.” (quoted from http://news.byu.edu/archive10-dec-benefits.aspx)

    In the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, a study showed, “Women who had sex for the first time as teens (17 or younger) as compared to women who delayed until adulthood (18 or older)
    •31% divorced within 5 years as compared to 15%
    •47% divorced within 10 years as compared to 27%
    •31% had premarital sex with multiple partners versus 24%
    •29% experienced premarital conceptions versus 15%
    •25% had a baby before marriage as opposed to 10%.” (quoted from http://waitingtillmarriage.org/losing-virginity-as-a-teen-means-higher-chance-of-divorce/)

    Both of these studies do acknowledge that this is one aspect of a couples health and waiting to have sex is not the only ingredient to a stable marriage, it is a significant contributor to greater marital satisfaction.

  • Lilith says:

    “It might surprise you to hear that research shows that people who wait until their married to have sex end up with the best sex lives and the most satisfying marriages”

    Uhhh, no. Every woman I know who waited to have sex until she got married is divorced. All they think about is what it would be like to be with someone else.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Those are some good practical suggestions Noodles. Something that makes a huge difference in my life when I have been hurt is to remember God’s promise that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose”. So rather than getting overwhelmed by hurt or anger, or allowing it to lead me into poor life choices, I focus my attention on recognizing how God is directing me and following His lead.

  • Noodles123 says:

    Channel your hurt or anger…Work out, study, learn a skill (Cooking, dancing, musical instrument)…Change your style, get rid of old useless things and try to start fresh…It’s okay to hurt for awhile but anything past 6 months is getting toxic.

    Sometimes I didn’t care or have the energy but I made myself remember why I was like that and got mad and hit the gym…AND ABOVE ALL…KEEP A JOURNAL so you can see your progress…Best of luck to all.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    So Noodles you are saying that the choice you made to fill your time with drinking and sleeping around was the wrong choice. Instead people should just allow time to pass without those other activities. How do you think your choice has affected your ability to be in healthy relationships now that you are healed of the hurt? Do you have any suggestions of what to do in that time that it takes to heal that will be more positive choices?

  • Noodles123 says:

    Errrrm maybe I didn’t write my point as clearly as I should have.

    I “USED to be proud” but I discovered “Truth is I was mostly sad and lonely”

    “I WOULD have traded 90% of them for the 10% that I missed and that mattered to me.

    Being Hispanic MADE ME THINK I would just drink and mess around till I forgot the one I loved BUT truth is you NEVER forget.”

    “Till the day I no longer NEEDED closure that was the day I no longer hurt or needed to sleep around or get drunk.”

    So yes of course it was destructive hence the comment…Was my crutch now luckily it’s not.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    If you don’t mind me being blunt Noodles, that sounds like a pretty destructive path for healing. Getting drunk and sleeping around until the hurt goes away does not seem like you are being healed. It sounds more like you are just creating more damage, like smashing your hand to forget about the pain of a stubbed toe. Didn’t all the other unfulfilling relationships cause more hurt to your heart?

  • Noodles123 says:

    Nothing but time cleans up the past…When those you love for whatever reason decide to close the door NOTHING but time will heal it.

    It is not very manly to beg, demand or remind…I’ve notice many people have sociopathic traits…Meaning they can take and take then disappear and you expect them to call or write and they don’t.

    Till the day I no longer needed closure that was the day I no longer hurt or needed to sleep around or get drunk…It’s sad but the best thing to do after a break up is to cut off ALL contact.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    So how do you deal with that now Noodles? Have you found a way that heals that hurt?

  • Noodles123 says:

    Used to be proud that I’d had so much experience truth is I was mostly sad and lonely sleeping with other sad and lonely women.

    I would have traded 90% of them for the 10% that I missed and that mattered to me.

    Being Hispanic made me think I would just drink and mess around till I forgot the one I loved but truth is you never forget.

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