William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On The Effect Of Pre-Marital Sex On The Likely Success Of The Relationship

An article stated:

"Couples who reserve sex for marriage enjoy greater stability and communication in their relationships, say researchers at Brigham Young University.

A new study from the Mormon college found that those couples who waited until marriage rated their relationship stability 22 percent higher than those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship. The relationship satisfaction was 20 percent higher for those who waited, the sexual quality of the relationship was 5 percent better, and communication was 12 percent better.

The study, published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology, involved 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 included the question “When did you become sexual in this relationship?”

Couples that became sexually involved later in their relationship – but prior to marriage – reported benefits that were about half as strong as those who waited for marriage.

“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 at Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life.

The study was co-authored by BYU professors Jason Carroll and Brian Willoughby.

“There’s 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 added. “I think it’s because they’ve learned to talk and have the skills to work with issues that come up.”

Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved in the study, responded to its findings, saying that “couples who hit the honeymoon too early – that is, prioritize 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.” Regnerus is the author of Premarital Sex in America, a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Because religious belief often plays a role for couples who choose to wait, Busby and his co-authors controlled for the influence of religious involvement in their analysis.

“Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” Busby said."

To which I responded:

I am not and never have been for sexual promiscuity. There seems to be a great deal of truth to the concept that the friendship aspect of a romantic relationship is more likely to grow deeper if the early stage of the relationship is not eclipsed by intercourse. I, of course, am no expert, and it also seems that there are a great number of couples who were sexual early on and still had a fulfilling lifelong relationship.

That being said, I believe that waiting until marriage to have sex is not without potential downsides, among them being the discovery by one or both partners, of sexual problems, only after they have entered into a committment which can induce a great deal of sadness and disappointment. On balance, it is probably best to wait for marriage for intercourse, but sexual issues should be discussed and explored in detail before the couple ties the knot. An erotophobic attitude which seems to thrive in puritannical religious circles can severely dampen a person's ability to have a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship even within marriage.

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