New research says delaying sex improves relationships. But the reality's a lot more complicated.
According to researchers at Brigham Young University's School of Family Life (which, with no disrespect intended, doesn't exactly convey scientific objectivity),
Couples who had sex the earliest - such as after the first date or within the first month of dating - had the worst relationship outcomes."What seems to happen is that if couples become sexual too early, this very rewarding area of the relationship overwhelms good decision-making and keeps couples in a relationship that might not be the best for them in the long-run," said study researcher Dean Busby.
Read through the details of the study yourself to get a full picture — keeping in mind that it dealt exclusively with heterosexual couples — but the basic findings were that rRelationships fared better and better the longer a person waited to have sex, up until marriage, with those hitting the sack before a month showing the worst outcomes."
Now, I know married couples who had sex on the first date and others who waited years before sleeping together, so as with all things, take it with a grain of salt. But here's the thing: my first boyfriend and I waited several years before taking that step. I don't regret it: I was young and I didn't feel ready before then. But at the same time, I've often felt that it was a factor in the relationship's eventual failure. Yes, we knew, loved and trusted each other. But our relationship had also developed without sex, and it became difficult in some ways to introduce that after our dynamic was already established. Granted, that's both an extreme and personal example, but I think it bears mentioning.
At the end of the day, as if it needs saying, these are individual choices and relationships rise and fall for hundreds of reasons. Mine did, too. People are more complicated than statistics, and so, as LiveScience points out, is sex.
Delaying Sex Makes Better Relationships, Study Finds [LiveScience]