Couples who delay sex have better marriages

Couples who delay sex have better marriages

Way to go

Couples who delay sex have better marriages

But a new study sides with a delayed approach, in which people wait for a deep level of commitment before having sex. The study involves 2,035 married individuals who participated in a popular online marital assessment called “RELATE”.

From the assessment’s database, researchers selected a sample designed to match the demographics of the married American population. The extensive questionnaire includes the question “When did you become sexual in this relationship?”

A statistical analysis showed the following benefits enjoyed by couples who waited until marriage compared to those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship: Relationship stability was rated 22 per cent higher; relationship satisfaction was rated 20 per cent higher; sexual quality of the relationship was rated 15 per cent better; and  communication was rated 12 per cent better. For couples in between—those that became sexually involved later in the relationship but prior to marriage—the benefits were about half as strong.

“Most research on the topic is focused on individuals’ experiences and not the timing within a relationship,” said lead study author Dean Busby, a professor in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life.

“There is more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspect of their relationship,” Busby said.

“I think it is because they have learned to talk and have the skills to work with issues that come up,” Busby added.

Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved with this research, read the study and shared his take on the findings.

“Couples who hit the honeymoon too early —that is, prioritise sex promptly at the outset of a relationship—often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy,” said Regnerus, author of “Premarital Sex in America”, a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press.