How are divorced women's sex lives different from other women's? As a 2010 Journal of Women's Health study pointed out, research that looks at marital status and sexual behavior generally lumps all "single" women into the same category, without regard for whether they have been married before. To address that research gap, the new study analyzed data from the National Survey of Family Growth to compare divorced and never-married women's numbers of sex partners and rates of condom use. Yesterday, data visualizer Samuel Bennett posted an interactive graph that drew on the study to compare the "sex numbers" of never-married single women, divorced/separated women, married women, and women living with a partner. The study looked at 5,081 heterosexual women.
Divorced/separated women, the study concluded, are more likely than married women to have had five or more sex partners in their lives and two or more sex partners over the preceding year. This seems fairly obvious, since women who don't part with their S.O.s 'til death are less likely to have additional partners. But, here's where it gets interesting: Divorced/separated women don't revert back to their pre-marital sex habits after splitting from their partners: 16% of never-married women reported having had two or more partners over the preceding year, while 24% of divorced/separated women reported the same. What's more, divorced women's rates of condom use were significantly lower than those of never-married women: Only 26.3% of divorced women reported having used a condom the last time they had sex, as compared with 43.4% of women who had never gotten hitched. So, if you're getting your mojo back after a divorce or separation, remember that latex is better protection against STIs or pregnancy than life experience is. Other than that, go get 'em, tiger (or cougar, or woman, or whatever noun you like best).