They discovered that the negative association between sexual timing and relationship quality is largely driven by a link between early sex and cohabitation.
Specifically, sexual involvement early in a romantic relationship is associated with an increased likelihood of moving more quickly into living together, which in turn is associated with lower relationship quality.
Are these dating patterns compatible with the desire to have a loving and lasting marriage later?
In fact, couples who wait until marriage to have sex report higher relationship satisfaction (20% higher), better communication patterns (12% better), less consideration of divorce (22% lower), and better sexual quality (15% better) than those who started having sex early in their dating (see Figure 2).
These are important questions to ask since most single adults report that they desire to one day have a successful, lifelong marriage—and while dating, many couples move rapidly into sexual relationships. Couples who do nottest their sexual chemistry prior to the commitments of exclusivity, engagement, and marriage are often seen as putting themselves at risk of getting into a relationship that will not satisfy them in the future—thus increasing their probability of later marital dissatisfaction and divorce.
In fact, as noted in Figure 1, recent studies have found that between 30 and 40% of dating and married couples report having sex within one month of the start of their relationship, and the numbers are even higher for currently cohabiting couples. However, two recently published studies call into question the validity of testing sexual chemistry early in dating. This study involved a national sample of 2,035 married individuals who participated in the popular online couple assessment survey called “RELATE.” We found that the longer a dating couple waits to have sex, the better their relationship is after marriage.
As your relationship goes on for longer, you might decide you’d rather sleep in instead of waking up for morning sex before work.
Or, if you like rougher sex, you may want breaks between sessions to recover from soreness,” she says.Gender had a relatively small influence on the dependent variables. These patterns were statistically significant even when controlling for a variety of other variables such as respondents’ number of prior sexual partners, education levels, religiosity, and relationship length.For the other dependent variables, the participants who waited to be sexual until after marriage had significantly higher levels of communication and sexual quality compared to the other two sexual timing groups. The second study, by Sharon Sassler and her colleagues at Cornell University, also found that rapid sexual involvement has adverse long-term implications for relationship quality.“I think the quality of sex is far more important than quantity,” Rader points out.“Would you rather have sex twice a week with long, 1.5 hour-plus sessions with multiple orgasms, or quick, mediocre sessions each day?Or you might miss what sex was like in the early days of your relationship.You might wonder, what would happen if you went back to having sex every day? A 2017 You Gov survey found that only 4% of adults say they have sex at least once a day.“There are other ways to have intimacy besides penetrative sex, and opening up to different definitions of sex will likely increase your frequency of sex.Explore more options for varying situations and scheduling limitations.”However, the frequency of sex isn’t the most important factor in evaluating your sex life.The means displayed here demonstrate that the Sexual Timing Group that participants belonged to had the strongest association with Perceived Relationship Stability and Satisfaction as all three groups were significantly different from each other.In other words, the longer participants waited to be sexual, the more stable and satisfying their relationships were once they were married.