How soon you have sex with a potential partner may have consequences down the line.
At least that’s the news coming from a new study conducted and released through research funded by Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life and Family Studies Center. The study looked at the sex and dating patterns of 2,035 heterosexual couples with an average age of 36 years old and who were currently married (for the first time).
The study collected data on when the couples first had sex as well as data on a variety of factors related to the quality of communication and empathy within their relationship. The study also questioned the couples on general relationship satisfaction and how stable they felt their relationship was. Couples were then divided into three categories for evaluation — couples who had early sex (before or within one month of dating), late sex (between one month and two years of dating), and couples who waited until marriage to have sex.
“Couples who waited until marriage considered
their relationships 22 percent more stable.”
The study found the greatest difference in results between couples who waited for marriage to have sex and couples who had early sex. When comparing the two, the study found couples who waited until marriage considered their relationships 22 percent more stable and 20 percent more satisfying, their sex life 15 percent better and communication 12 percent better than couples who shared early sex.
According to the study, 40 percent of couples choose to have sex on their first or second date, a decision which Brigham Young researcher Dean Busby states prevents them from truly evaluating their partner “before the powerful sexual bonding short-circuits their decision-making abilities.”
However, the couple’s role in a relationship is still considered complex and shifting, as a 2004 study found couples tended to rate the decision to have sex with their partner as either a positive or a negative decision depending on the current state of their relationship.