Most couples engage in premarital sex. However, a new study discovers that couples who wait until marriage before engaging in sex are happier with the quality of sex than couples who have intercourse before their vows.
According to the study, which appears in the Journal of Family Psychology, couples who delay sex until their wedding night experience a more unwavering and happier marriages than couples who have premarital intercourse.
The study involved 2,035 married participants in an online assessment of marriage. From the study, it was deduced that people who waited until marriage:
- rated relationship stability as 22% higher
- rated sexual quality 15% higher than people who had premarital sex
- rated satisfaction with their relationships 20% higher
The benefits were about half as strong for couples who became sexually active later in their relationships but prior to marriage.
Developing Relationship Skills
In a news release, study author Dean Busby, PhD, a professor in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, says;
“Most research on the topic is concentrated on individuals’ experiences and not the timing within a relationship. There’s more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspects of their relationship.”
It may be that couples report greater satisfaction and sexual quality if they’ve waited because the extra time allows them to develop the skills necessary for maintaining good relationships.
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About 92% of the participants had attended college, 32% completed some college, 24% obtained a bachelor’s degree, and the average age was 36. The majority of the couples had sex within two months of starting to date, while 16% delayed intercourse until marriage.
Prioritizing Sex at Start of Relationship May Not Be Best
Mark Regnerus, PhD, of the University of Texas, who wasn’t involved with the study, says it suggests to him that couples who engage in sex quickly at the beginning of a relationship often find their relationships immature when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable.
The team controlled for the influence of religious involvement in their study because it often plays a role on when couples choose to engage in sex.
“Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” lead researcher Busby says.
The study says 21% of respondents were Catholic, 39% Protestant, 6% Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), 17% members of “another religion,” and 17% who indicated no religious affiliation. The authors write that sexual intimacy in the early stages of dating is sometimes regarded as an important part of testing compatibility, and determining whether a relationship would last.
But the research team concluded from their findings that;
“the longer a couple waited to become sexually involved, the better that sexual quality, relationship communication and satisfaction in marriage.