Couples who save sex until they are married have happier and more stable relationships, according to a new study.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, questioned over 2,000 married individuals on when they ‘became sexual’ in their relationship and about their communication with their spouse.
It found that, compared to those who had sex early in their relationship, couples who waited until marriage enjoyed 22 per cent higher relationship stability and 20 per cent higher relationship satisfaction.
The study also said communication was rated 12 per cent better for those who waited to have sex compared to those who slept together early on in the relationship.
And the results showed that the sexual quality of the relationship was rated 15 per cent better for those who waited to have sex until they were married.
For couples who had sex later on in their relationship, but before marriage, the benefits were about half as strong.
Dean Busby, an author of the study, commented that “waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction”. He said this was regardless of “religiosity”.
Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, who was not involved in the study, said: “Couples who hit the honeymoon too early – that is, prioritise 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”.
In 2009 UN guidelines on sex education described abstinence education programmes as “fear-based”.
The guidelines said the programmes are “designed to control young people’s sexual behaviour by instilling fear, shame and guilt”.
In Britain in the same year an NHS-produced leaflet, which included controversial messages about sex for teenagers, was criticised.
The leaflet, entitled Pleasure, was circulated to teachers, parents and youth workers and said: “An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”.
The leaflet continued: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes physical activity three times a week. What about sex or masturbation twice a week?!”
Family campaigner Dr Trevor Stammers said at the time: “Underage sex is as dangerous as underage drink and usually leads to sexual ill-health”.
He commented: “It is unbelievable that this is being sent to schools”.