Delaying Sex Leads to More Successful Marriages – New Study

Delaying Sex Leads to More Successful Marriages – New Study

Waiting until marriage to have sex had the strongest correlations with positive outcomes for the marital relationship concludes a new study published in the December issue of the Journal of Family Psychology. According to the study, married couples who delayed having sex were more likely to communicate, have more pleasurable sex, and see their marriages as more stable than those who had sex early on.

There is a widespread belief that having sex prior to marriage is important to ascertain if there is “sexual chemistry.”  In fact about 85 percent of Americans report having had premarital sex.  But the study offers a different perspective:  rushing into intimacy can actually impede marital success and satisfaction.  The study suggests that an early focus on sex may lead to “more brittle marriages.”

Dean M. Busby, co-author of the study, suggests that when pre-marital sex is involved “relationship inertia” propels poorly matched couples to remain together and eventually marry.   Busby cautioned that “sex is a powerful experience.  It really bonds us to one another and so it may be important before we go down that road to take the time to see if you can talk to this other person — see if you have similar personalities and similar directions in life — to see whether or not this is a relationship that can last.”

Here are a few specifics from the study.  Couples who waited until marriage benefited when compared to those who started sex early:
• Relationship stability was rated 22 percent higher

• Relationship satisfaction was rated 20 percent higher

• Sexual quality rated 15 percent better

• Communication rated 12 percent better

Benefits were half as strong for couples that were sexually involved later in the relationship but prior to marriage.

This study only confirms research that has already been done on cohabitation and its impact on successful marriages.  To see more information on this topic visit UFI’s Guide to Family Issues:  Cohabitation.

Here’s the citation for the new study:

Compatibility or restraint? The effects of sexual timing on marriage relationships. Dean M. Busby, Jason S. Carroll, and Brian J. Willoughby. Journal of Family Psychology 2010; 24(6): 766-774. doi:10.1037/a0021690


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