Does Promiscuity Ruin You As Marriage Material?

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This question was posed to me by a female reader a while back, and I think it’s an interesting one. Before I get into it, I want to side-step the whole question of monogamy for a minute and operate under the assumption that we’re talking about men and women who want to be monogamous and married. So the question is, would these people who spent years sleeping around be more likely or less likely to be good long-term partners?

The implication here is that someone who spends an inordinate amount of time carousing singles lounges and having one night stands is going to be more easily tempted to wander when they’re tied down, or at least have less patience for working things through with their spouse, since there’s always an easy alternative available.

My personal experience and what I’ve observed has been the opposite though. The more sexual experience I’ve gotten and the more I’ve gone out, the more unimpressed I’ve become towards casual sex and pursuing one-night-stands, and the healthier and more fulfilling my relationships have become. Granted, it took me quite a while to reach this point, but I’ve seen the same process play out in plenty of other people as well. Surveys suggest this as well, as younger generations are waiting longer to get married, are more promiscuous before getting married, and as a result, are having more successful marriages than the previous generations.

Because I’ve been promiscuous. the fact that my standards for a woman that I’m willing to settle down with have become so high lead me to believe that I’d be less likely to stray when I did find that woman who I’d be willing to commit to for the long-haul. When a man has only been with two women in his life, it’s easy for him to question how valuable his connection with his wife is. But when he’s been with 100, he can rest assured that what he has in his relationship is truly special and unique, and therefore he’ll be less motivated to stray.

Now, that’s a nice sunshine and rainbows answer, and probably what wanted to hear. And although it has some truth, I do think there’s a deeper, and slightly darker angle to this situation.

Promiscuous behavior has a strong correlation with low self-esteem, so do failing marriages and cheaters. As I’ve said for years, becoming promiscuous isn’t just about the girls, it’s an effort of self improvement in disguise. People drawn to it are often drawn to it due to underlying emotional issues and traumas, and these same issues and traumas are very likely to cause relationship problems down the road if not resolved.

On top of that, behavior that is useful for being promiscuous is often counter-productive or damaging for maintaining relationships with them. For instance, an unwillingness to compromise your needs is a sexy and attractive trait when you’re dealing with a sassy girl in a bar. But when it’s your wife complaining about you ditching her for your friends for the fifth week in a row, then it’s not really that attractive anymore. Relationships require a totally separate toolbox to operate successfully. And although there’s plenty of crossover between the two, many of the tools for relationships are polar opposite of the ones we use to seduce.

So on the one hand, we have people becoming more experienced, more sexually satisfied and developing higher standards and appreciation for the partners they do date. On the other hand, the same impulses that fuel a person’s desire to sleep with a lot of people are often the same impulses that undo the relationship.

Ultimately, I think this is an impossible question to answer definitively, as individuals differ way too much. It also depends on people’s various standards for monogamy. Non-monogamous or “open marriages” are becoming far more common. I would say that the people who promiscuity as an avenue for self-exploration, emotional growth and sexual experimentation, may even possibly set themselves up to be far better spouses than they would have been otherwise. They will be better communicators, better listeners, more in touch with their emotions, more sexually satisfied, and more secure in their sexual experience.

Meanwhile, people who (ab)use promiscuity as an addiction for external validation, as another means of avoiding their emotional problems and traumas, they are likely going to be worse relationship material. Their underlying fear and pain of emotional commitment will remain unaddressed, and on top of that, they will have less patience, less of a willingness to make necessary sacrifices, and easier avenues for cheating.

So I’d say it comes down to the individual. We all use these tools for both healthy and unhealthy purposes at times. Some of us need more external validation than others. Some of us have more internal hurdles to overcome first. Some of us have healthier beliefs and prior experiences with women than others. Promiscuity itself is relatively benign in the long-run.

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43 Comments

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  • Reply

    Gully

    5 months ago

    I’ve been doing one night stand after one stand for a while now.

    Not to say I don’t want a relationship. It just doesn’t happen. And I have this theory that I’ve now got sucked into this loop of one night stands, casual sex, lack of serious intentions/responsibilities with women, its meant that relationships become less and less realistic.

    Maybe it will come in good time. But I feel like I have perhaps got sucked into a loop in the way I perceive/act with women.

    Relationships need work and commitment. They need you to put up with things you wouldn’t usually put up with. You need to be willing to make sacrifices for that person. Hopping from girl to girl, casual fuck here, casual fuck there just completely flies in the face of that.

    I wonder whether its a natural progression, and as I progress through my twenties things start to even out..I hope they do.

    Because in my opinion, all one night stands help you at is one night stands. There is no depth. No real progression of anything. It just fills a carnal desire for base needs.

    I personally think its a dangerous habit to get into in some ways..Maturity and opportunities for proper relationships is surely incompatible with promiscuous attitudes and patterns in the long run ?

    Or perhaps most of the girls I do have one night stands with I don’t find attractive enough to date, and perhaps its really as simple as that..lol

  • Reply

    Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life

    5 months ago

    You’re also assuming that a woman of high quality is going to want to marry someone with a huge notch count. Most marriageble women are going to be repulsed by it.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      Disagree strongly. You’re making a lot of unproven assumptions in those statements.

      • Reply

        sofi21

        3 months ago

        I disagree with you, I’m a woman and will tell you that most if not all RESPECTABLE women would be disgusted. Promiscuity reflects what type of person you are, you assume that if a man did not experience with women will stray and men who have a lot of experience with women will not stray is simply wrong, statistics show that promiscuous men tend stray more often after all they are used to it. Traits of a respectable women is known you don’t have to sleep with a lot of women to finally understand that. You say you got tired of being promiscuous and that in your thinking led you to want to settle down, or maybe it could be that you are getting older, its natural as you get older you would want to live a more settled life. I assure you that women accept promiscuous men not because that’s what they want but the LACK of other options. I hope you encourage men to be more respectable instead of more promiscuous.

        • Reply

          Jan

          1 month ago

          I speak for my friends and myself when I say that we find male promiscuity to be a very unattractive quality. I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily a deal breaker (though I know many of my friends will think believe so without question). A man may have other great characteristics that override the past promiscuity and also who a person is in the present is much more important than what they did in the past but past decisions and life choices do illustrate something about the kind of person he is, that is, the reason he was promiscuous may still be a part of who he is e.g. he may have stopped being promiscuous because he wants to settle down but he may have not changed his opinion on the threshold for whom he would otherwise be intimate with.

          Nick – it is true that women find men who are desired by many as attractive but this doesn’t mean we desire a promiscuous men. A man who is attractive but who has some standard for who he will sleep with based on his commitment level to the woman is very attractive. Having such a standard shows control; shows that he has compatible values regarding sex to the women in my circles; and this exclusivity makes him a hell of a lot sexier than someone whose decisions are more easily influenced by their libido which rightly or wrongly comes across as weak.

          It comes across as a weakness because a lot of women just do not understand your experience as a man that causes you to have a desire for sex with random people who you have no desire to see again. Many women want intimacy from sex foremost which you can’t get from ONS so many of us find it extremely difficult to see this topic from your point of view. Even as I try I cannot see how I could come to a conclusion that a promiscuous man is a desirable as a husband. I think at best it is neutral and at worse a deal breaker.

          In case you were wondering my observations have not been influenced by religion. Only a few people that I know are religious.

          • Spencer

            5 weeks ago

            Jan

            I respect your comments, but the number of women that a guy sleeps with is such an arbitrary fact that it doesn’t matter. There’s a reason that a guy has the ability to sleep with a lot of women and typically is because he has qualities that a lot of women find attractive.

    • Reply

      Nick

      5 months ago

      Have to agree with Mark on this. There may be a small subset who are completely turned off, but it’s not a major percentage. Women want a man who’s desired by many. It may make her slightly jealous or even insecure at times but rarely will it make them run the other way.

      It’s all about how you present and handle it.

      • Reply

        Janie

        18 weeks ago

        As an attractive, intelligent woman, It makes me run the other way every time. I must be part of that small sub-set.

    • Reply

      Matt T

      5 months ago

      Also depends on the definition of “large”. If it’s around 50, I doubt they’ll care. If it’s 650, then they might be a little worried.

      • Reply

        David

        5 months ago

        I think Mark you once mentioned that if a guy has over 100, then he may have some kind of issue he needs to deal with.

        Whatever the number we’re talking about, if he seems messed up or something, then that is going to be what a ‘high quality woman’ will notice and be turned off by, rather than the actual count.

        If he seems like a great guy, then I don’t the number in itself will be an issue.

    • Reply

      Jon

      5 months ago

      It also depends on your definition of “high quality” and the fact that you can use such a term as though it applies to all men equally tells me a lot about where your issues are.

      • Reply

        António

        5 months ago

        Exactly. In my book, a judgemental woman is not quite “high quality”.

    • Reply

      Zen

      5 months ago

      Wait, back up. What do you mean “high quality” or “marriageble”?

      Those are for each man to decide for himself. There is no class of women who are “better” than others, there is simply the question of what kind of girl do YOU want to marry? What makes YOU happy?

  • Reply

    Dangles

    5 months ago

    The way I always saw it when (if) I end up getting married I’ll be able to look the woman in the eyes and say I looked pretty hard for her and I’m damn sure this is something I want to do. That’s the point of this for me personally.

  • Reply

    Dangles

    5 months ago

    ++ Maybe to have a little fun and gain valuable life lessons in the mean time….. It beat’s World of Warcraft. Maybe not Minecraft though.

    • Reply

      Alan

      27 weeks ago

      You don’t get valuable life lessons by sleeping with random bitches. Go back to your games. thanks

  • Reply

    MikeG

    5 months ago

    Athol, i have never encountered such a volume of garbage in two short sentences in my life, on a topic that wasnt religion related.

  • Reply

    Peter Phoenix

    5 months ago

    Haven’t you ever heard the quote that a reformed rake makes the best husband?

    • Reply

      James

      8 weeks ago

      No such thing as a reformed rake. Only a rake in hibernation

  • Reply

    PUA Vault

    5 months ago

    I’ll prolly second Gully. Although sex comes in fairly easy with nice-enough girls for me these days, none of them have been the quality I’m aspiring. But I do wonder if should I start notch-counting those higher quality girls, will I really stop at one, or keep looking for higher.

    Reminds me of a story of some millionaire who had a private learjet, but he was envious of his billionaire friend who had a 747.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      It sounds like you guys are definitely in the process of getting external validation, although I’d say that as long as this is something you want to eventually break out of, then you’re fine. A lot of us need to go through a period of tons of ONS to validate ourselves as part of our process.

      The next step for both of you would be to seek higher quality women — but not higher quality in looks (as that would lead to your learjet analogy), but higher quality in the quality of interaction — smarter, happier, more open, more interesting women. Women that you actually have a hard time not wanting to see again.

      Gully is on two fronts: he’s gaming women in such a way that he only attracts shallow one night stands, and he’s also not attracted to the women he’s getting. Both are correct.

      The answer is to up your game. Open up emotionally. Screen for more interesting women. Don’t seek the carnal success as much as let it be a side-effect of other connections.

  • Reply

    Mark

    5 months ago

    Mark! so you’re saying that eventually we will have to settle down with an ugly bitch? kidding ;D It seems that we guys can’t find a 10 that’s very emotionally mature & high self-esteemed to deal with, we may have to go for a 6.5 in looks eventually but compensates a lot in personality, but it’s a numbers game, hope we all can find a 10 and highly matured at the same time-though unrealistic but possible.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      Read this, this and this.

      • Reply

        Mark

        5 months ago

        thanks mark, i hear ya

  • Reply

    Dr. Jeremy

    5 months ago

    I’m wondering whether “game” just makes men more selective as a potential husband. Perhaps it just stops men from “settling” or putting up with excessive disrespect, when they have other options to choose from. Sure, that can be taken to excess – especially if they are dumping girls for small issues. Overall though, equalizing the power and giving men more say in a relationship, because they have options to go elsewhere if it sucks, is not a bad thing. We all know guys who are at the mercy of a girlfriend/wife because they think they “can’t do better”. It isn’t pretty…

    Perhaps the trick for moving from “game” to “relationships” is finding new ways to apply the increased power that comes from choice. Learning how to use the leverage of being desirable to motivate and shape satisfying behavior in one woman over time – beyond simply getting short-term, sexual access. Plus, women need time to adjust to this type of power dynamic as well, especially if they are used to it being more lopsided in previous relationships. Women in relationships with men who have “choice” need to continue to work, invest, and be valuable – rather than just rely on the fact that he “can’t do better”. That is why they often feel it “ruins” men as husbands. In effect, it just “ruins” men as unequal and “whipped” husbands, which is unfortunately the standard and culturally-supported norm.

    • Reply

      Zen

      5 months ago

      I can see how women might feel threatened by a man who has options. If the man knows he can go find a woman who will treat him well, then he is not willing to put up with dis-respect he is harder to control and manipulate. Therefore the kind of woman who likes to control and manipulate men would be repulsed by men who had a history of many partners. I think that makes sense, although I may just be letting me deep bitterness flavor my logic…

    • Reply

      James

      8 weeks ago

      Wow, Dr. Jeremy just spit some profound shit. The power dynamic. The power of choice vs. The power of NO

  • Reply

    Nick

    5 months ago

    I’ve had somewhere between 60 and 80 sexual partners. Some of that is my ADD and the associated impulsiveness. I certainly never had to learn how to be a pick up artist, I was kind of a natural at it. As I get older I have grown to dislike hook ups too. I don’t share with my girlfriend my level of experience though. I don’t think people can relate to my numbers. As I get older now (32) I am pleased to say that my impulsiveness wanes and I feel more and more ready for a relationship that never ends. Like you said, I had a lot of low self esteem when I was younger, a result of my strange youth. And again like you said, now my standards are so high other women can’t touch the girls I date.

  • Reply

    Wudang

    5 months ago

    THe addiction to casual sex and to porn probably has a lot of similiarities. These sites have very interesting theories about that and about what maintains sexual attraction in LTR: yourbrainonporn.com and reuniting.info. YOu can also look up teh posts made by me (Wudang) at fastseduction.com about Karezza and tantra for some good explanations of the mechanims described in teh sites I linked to.

    I belive LTR require a balance of alpha and beta traits to work and that most PUAs er on the side of too much alpha in LTR. THe blog marriedmansexlife.com takes exactly such an approach and the people who aply it get a lot of success with it.

  • Reply

    Gretta

    5 months ago

    I know the topic is men, but in an alternate view, I think my promiscuity in my sexual “youth” has had an interesting result.
    It seems that men and women are justifiably generalized in this post so I’ll say that as a woman I was more of your stereotypical “man” in regards to casual sex. In the end, with a monogomous and happy relationship in my grasp I would say that it comes to a point for a woman where we feel empty and drained from the experience. We want a comfort to come home to, not a new or better dressed, or more pumped up version of the same thing over and over. Just commitment. I’ve never once for an instant felt I was settling. For men, keep in mind the woman doesn’t feel like she’s settling, you shouldn’t either, but the more women you sleep with. . .even if you don’t share it with her, the harder it is to transition to that level of unconditional love.

  • Reply

    mADELENAS

    3 months ago

    Fascinating article. I do think there is a point where promiscuity, or the reasons that drive it, do ruin men and women as potential spouses. Like the author and some commenters stated, promiscuity as a source of validation, is dangerous as this sort of person cannot be satisfied with the affections of one person for any length of time.
    Furthermore, there are women who are turned off by promiscuous men. I am one such person. One suitor confided that he slept with a very high number of women. It was so high that even if divided by three, the number would still be a three digit number. I initially dismissed it as male bravado but that claim, in combination with some other behaviours, raised some red flags for me so I gently broke it off with him early. We did keep in touch and it became apparent that the man was not joking about his promiscuity. I think a lot of it is related to coming from a family of promiscuous men and unhappy women where such behaviour was normalized. He is progressively getting unhappier and unhappier but unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough introspection to figure out the cause of his unhappiness.

    • Reply

      Zac

      3 months ago

      I don’t think it’s the behavior itself as much as the reasoning for why people engage in that behavior but I think you pretty much agree with that. that guy had quite the number… lol.

  • Reply

    Andrew

    3 months ago

    “The fact that my standards for a woman that I’m willing to settle down with have become so high lead me to believe that I’d be less likely to stray when I did find that woman who I’d be willing to commit to for the long-haul. ”

    I agree with this for sure. I think it begs one question you didn’t touch on though: being promiscuous certainly improves your standards, but our “standards” are something we always set beyond our current capabilities. as we set them higher, we move continually into a smaller pool of women that can satisfy them, apparently making it near impossible for anyone who has success to settle down.

    Maybe we don’t always set our standards beyond our grasp, but that has been my experience as I get better and better girls.

    Either way, this post is excellent. I am more impressed every time I read your stuff.

  • Reply

    linda

    1 month ago

    I have to say I find this article very sad and it clearly lacks insight into human psychology. You’re talking about women as if they’re objects to be obtained, you might as well replace the word “woman” with “car” or “smartphone” and it will still read ok. And this is precisely why through being promiscous men will never experience true love or it will be delayed by decades at best. Even your future wife will be seen by you as the most valued, rarest object available in the marketplace and you will look at her as you would look at a flashy Aston Martin until a new car gets your fancy when you realise it’s within your “buying power” to obtain it. All this sex clouds men’s vision and they are unable to see through the fog. It is about having a unique connection with someone, a bond. For that reason people have loyalty and love for their relatives and friends, I never heard of people being loyal to their car or tv even though most times these items required a lot of effort to get (i.e. through earning money.) It is true you will be more fascinated by a car that took more effort to get than one that was given to you, but that doesn’t mean you have an organic bond with that object – much like you won’t have an organic bond with girls you pick based on your hardcore pre-selection standards and how much effort you’d have to put in to get her.

    For instance, I asked my husband once why me, what were the things he liked about me the most. He had to take his time to figure this out when one day he approached me and said: “I can’t tell you why exactly and what is the thing, but because what you give me is so unique I can’t even name it… and I don’t think it would be good if I could as then I could perhaps find someone who would have more of that!”

    Just think about that.

    • Reply

      Alan

      27 weeks ago

      True.

  • Reply

    SecretE

    18 weeks ago

    Note to self…do not tell women about the 200+ “pros” I slept with. Only mention the 7 I got the “old-fashioned” way.

  • Reply

    TedMan

    14 weeks ago

    Women say they’re disgusted by male promiscuity, but, in reality, it’s the load-mouth, overly-confident jerk that walks out with a woman. With that said, the woman is usually drunk (though, most women say that they were drunk and that’s why they were a whore… usually always untrue, just an excuse), desperate, and/or dumb. I have many good looking, well educated, rich guy friends who behave like gentlemen and then end up holding their dicks at night’s end. I look for good looking women to score with so I don’t take every opportunity, but, if you go home with me, I am not going to call you. I might respect you — for 20 minutes or so — but after it over, that’s it. Damaged goods. Just truth telling.

    • Reply

      Mark

      14 weeks ago

      And you’re a douchebag.

      • Reply

        Professor Unrat

        13 weeks ago

        True, twice. Nevertheless simply true.

  • Reply

    jay

    13 weeks ago

    Wow, a whole lot of self-deception and rationalization, from the original author to many of the comments.

  • Reply

    Chelsea

    12 weeks ago

    I think it’s just a fundamental difference in the way men and women are raised. Men are praised for being promiscuous. Women are… well, to put it mildly, certainly NOT praised for it. They are insulted. So men will look at promiscuity in a positive light and women (I know I’m generalizing here) will look at it in a negative light. I’m not sure how one would bridge the two.

  • Reply

    Jessica

    9 weeks ago

    Only people who have a promiscuous past can relate to this. I’m actually a woman who after I ended a 6 year monogamous relationship, I went on a meaningless sex spree for 2, almost 3 years. Friends with benefits and random one night stands. After awhile, I wasn’t enthused by it anymore and the beauty of a close and intimate relationship became much more attractive. It’s easy for judgemental and narrow minded people to label every sexually promiscuous person as dirty or emotionally unbalanced but most of the time, that’s not the case. There is nothing wrong with me, I just like sex and the thrill of it was once very attractive now it’s not. I think I really learned the value of a loving and close relationship and I’m much more ready to settle down and get married than I ever was before. I’ve been celibate now for 8 months trying for a year. You really have to take some time alone after you go on a partner spree. Although I know I can get ridiculed for my my past, especially as a woman, I don’t regret it. I feel like a better more confident woman because of it. And I’m sure I’ll find a man who will love me anyway.

  • Reply

    Lisa

    2 weeks ago

    This article is very insightful regarding the male mindset on “hooking-up” and promiscuity. I think it touches on some good points like “what is the motive behind your promiscuity”, but I don’t think it fully answers the question. After reading some of the other comments its clear that there is a very big disconnect on this subject between the men and women on this site. The reason being, WHO you want to marry really effects the answer to this question. A lot of the readers posted about attracting a “quality” or “marriage material” parter and why promiscuity would or wouldn’t effect their chances. One simple yes or no answer does not work because it is not applicable to everyone. If you want a girl who is sweet, values family and intimate relationships, who has a lot of self control and is focus on the future, then going out and sleeping with a bunch of girls is not going to work out well for you. This type of girl will be able to sense this about you, and will instead choose a guy who has had a couple long term relationship with a few casual sex experiences and is also nice, values family/ intimate relationships and has a lot of self control/future focused. If you want to marry someone who is more carefree, dramatic, and in the moment focused, then it might not matter to her that you have slept with a lot of women. Infact she is likely to have slept with a lot of men and this would not bother you. My examples are not to say that a women can’t be fun and carefree but still be more restricted when it comes to sex or that a family/future focused girl can’t be more promiscuous. This is just an attempt to describe two common personality types in an effort to convey the point. In general, promiscuous/unrestricted men will end up with promiscuous/unrestricted women and restricted men will end up with restricted women. Neither of these things are bad or good, just differences in people. Both types of relationships have their positives and negatives.

    My advice is to consider the type of women/man you would like to marry in terms of their promiscuity. If you envision a girl who has experimented a lot sexually and you like that, then promiscuity for you wouldn’t be a negative. If you envision a girl who has had a smaller number of sexual partners, I would really consider working on your self control, as someone with a lot of self control is not likely to marry someone who does not also have high self control in this area. All people and relationships are different so this is not a set in stone thing.

    I thought this article might lead guys into the idea that they could spend years having countless one night stands (racking up a huge number of sexual parters) and then walking off with some girl who has not participated in the “hook-up”/ONS culture. A restricted woman can generally sense there being something slightly off about a man with too many notches on his belt. Even if the subject never comes up, she is likely going to sense something is off and not feel as strongly about him. Most women do not find sexual promiscuity in a man an attractive quality, especially if they themselves are not sexually promiscuous. This is of course just a generalization, each person is unique and has their own life experiences/expectations and there is alway exceptions. However, you should consider how the type of person you want to marry might view these actions. This will give you the BEST chance of eventually meeting and marrying someone you consider quality material.

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