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Commenter Max from Australia ponders an elegant mathematical formula of marital satisfaction.

If a Man and a woman both have 20 sex partners: the odds are:::

1/20 X 1/20 = 1/400

That they will both be sexually satisfied by the one they marry.

Close, but no didgeridoo!

The concept is correct. The more past partners each spouse has, the less likely they will be sexually satisfied with their one remaining lifetime spouse.

The problem with this formula is that the variables aren’t equivalent. As we know, women with a lot of past lovers are less able to be happy in marriage. Men with a lot of past lovers are better able to leave their past in the past and not get hung up on nitpicking deficiencies in their current lovers.

So a man with 20 partners is more like a woman with 4 past partners. And a woman with 20 past partners is more like a man with 100 past partners.

The sexual history-sexual satisfaction equation would then be:

1/5(1/n{man}) partners X 1/n{woman} partners = odds of mutual sexual satisfaction within a marriage.

The greater odds of a formerly promiscuous man being happy in a marriage must be balanced against the lower odds of a formerly promiscuous woman being happy in a marriage. The woman becomes the bounding variable, but the overall odds of mutual marital happiness go down a little with the man’s total former partner count. A woman with 100 past lovers has only a 1% chance of marital happiness by herself, but the chance of mutual marital happiness decreases to 0.1% if the man has had only two prior lovers.

My probability math is a little rusty, so I welcome commenters to adjust this SH-SS equation to more accurately reflect the underlying sociosexual realities.


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