1 in 5 Americans Would Wait Until Marriage to Have Sex

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of DatingAdvice.com's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

This is an exclusive study conducted by DatingAdvice.com, which surveyed respondents over the course of three weeks to reflect an accurate representation of the U.S. population.

Not too many decades ago, the notion of premarital sex was viewed unkindly among many, if not most, Americans.

Now it appears to have become a normal practice for quit a few men and women.

In a DatingAdvice.com exclusive study, 20 percent of Americans said they would wait until marriage to have sex.

Women were nearly twice as likely to wait compared to men, 26 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

However, it was older Americans who were the most likely to hold off on sex with a partner until they are married.

Roughly one in three among those aged 65 and older answered in the affirmative – nearly twice the rate seen from those aged 25 to 34.

“Twenty percent of Americans would

wait until marriage to have sex.”

Gina Stewart, DatingAdvice.com expert, said with music, movies television and the Internet, people have become more sexually exposed, so the findings reflect that.

“Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?” she said. “The idea of sex with one partner after marriage is propagated as old fashioned, which may be why older people are more likely to hold to it, and not surprisingly the strongest hold is in the Bible belt of the South.”

Middle-income earners and Southerners also had some of the highest responses.

Men and women earning between $25,000 and $49,999 a year were almost three times as likely to wait until marriage to have sex than those earning between $100,000 and $124,999 annually.

In terms of region, Southerners were 67 percent more likely to do so than Westerners.

Gay respondents and divorcees were found to be the least likely demographics to wait.

Just 7 percent of gay men and lesbian women said they would refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage versus 22 percent of their straight counterparts.

Divorcees had a 27 percent lower likelihood of waiting until marriage to engage in sexual activities than singles.

The study surveyed 1,080 respondents over the course of three weeks, balancing responses by age, gender, income, race, sexuality and other factors in order to accurately represent the U.S. population. The study has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.

The Breakdown: Americans Who Would Wait Until Marriage

By gender:

  • Male: 15%
  • Female: 26%

By sexuality:

  • Straight: 22%
  • Gay: 7%

By marital status:

  • Single, Never Married: 14%
  • Married: 26%
  • Divorced: 11%

By age:

  • 18 to 24: 19%
  • 25 to 34: 16%
  • 35 to 44: 18%
  • 45 to 54: 17%
  • 54 to 64: 23%
  • 65 and older: 32%

By race:

  • White: 21%
  • African-American: 21%
  • Hispanic: 17%
  • Asian: 18%

By income:

  • Under $25,000: 18%
  • $25,000 to $49,999: 25%
  • $50,000 to $74,999: 21%
  • $75,000 to $99,999: 19%
  • $100,000 to $124,999: 10%
  • $125,000 or higher: 21%

By region:

  • Northeast: 18%
  • Midwest: 21%
  • South: 25%
  • West: 15%

Visit DatingAdvice.com/Studies for more research on dating and relationship topics. 

Advertiser Disclosure

DatingAdvice.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). DatingAdvice.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.