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Women who were virgins before they got married are the least likely to divorce after five years, but these brides are scarce, according to the results of a new study released Monday by the Institute for Family Studies.

The study also found that women married since the year 2000 who had just two sexual partners prior to marriage are surprisingly just as likely to end up divorced at the same rate after five years as a growing cohort of women who had 10 or more sexual partners before marriage.

And societal changes in attitudes toward premarital sex are partly to blame. Most Americans today, according to the latest studies, believe premarital sex is acceptable and are likely to have three or more sexual partners before marriage.

The study released on Monday was conducted by Nicholas H. Wolfinger, a University of Utah professor of family and consumer studies who recently co-authored Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Children, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos, with W. Bradford Wilcox.

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