“Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series
While it’s common for couples to have sex before marriage, a study released just before the new year and reported on WebMD says couples who wait until marriage are happier with the quality of sex than couples who have intercourse before the vows. Those who delayed sex were also happier in their marriages than those who had premarital sex.
Since a significant portion of the readers here are unmarried, and many of the married couples have children who are of dating age, I thought it was pertinent research to share.
The study appeared in the Journal of Family Psychology and involved more than 2,000 married participants. Those who waited to have sex reported 15% higher sexual quality, 22% higher marital stability, and 20% higher relationship satisfaction. The benefits were about half as strong for couples who became sexually active later in their relationships but before their wedding. Study author Dean Busby, PhD, surmised that the delay may have allowed the couples to develop stronger relationship skills and gave them more time to get to know one another.
Busby and his team controlled for the influence of religion, because that often influences when couples choose to initiate intimacy. “Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” Busby says.
In our culture, it is common for couples to view sex in the early stages of a relationship as a way to test compatibility, explain the researchers. However, they conclude that “the longer a couple waited to become sexually involved, the better that sexual quality, relationship communication, relationship satisfaction and perceived relationship stability was in marriage.”
Do you think it’s reasonable to delay intimacy in a relationship until a couple gets to know one another well, or are committed to one another?
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