Dina and Stuart both sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail about study showing the benefits of abstinence for relationship quality.
People who lose their virginity later than their teenage years are more likely to enjoy satisfying relationships later in life, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people who didn’t have sex until they turned 20 or even later are more likely to end up in a happy relationship.
[…]Previous research suggests that there may be cause for concern, as timing of sexual development can have significant immediate consequences for adolescents’ physical and mental health.
However, until now little had been done to study long-term outcomes, and how early sexual initiation might affect romantic relationships in adulthood.
Psychological scientist Paige Harden, of the University of Texas in the United States, set about changing this.
She wanted to investigate whether the timing of sexual initiation in adolescence might predict romantic outcomes – such as whether people get married or live with their partners, how many romantic partners they’ve had, and whether they’re satisfied with their relationship – later in adulthood.
Doctor Harden used data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health to look at 1,659 same-sex sibling pairs who were followed from around the age of 16 to about the age of 29.
Each sibling was classified as having an ‘early’ (younger than 15), ‘on-time’ (age 15 to 19), or ‘late’ (older than 19) first experience with sexual intercourse.
Those who lost their virginity later on in life were more likely to have a well-paid job.
They found, as expected, later timing of first sexual experience was associated with higher educational attainment and higher household income in adulthood when compared with the early and on-time groups.
People who had a later first sexual experience were also less likely to be married and they had fewer romantic partners in adulthood.
Among the participants who were married or living with a partner, later sexual initiation was linked with significantly lower levels of relationship dissatisfaction in adulthood.
This sounds a lot like the results from the previous studies that were featured in the guest post by Mathetes. He linked to this UK Daily Mail article about one of the studies.
“Courtship is a time for exploration and decision-making about the relationship, when partners assess compatibility, make commitments and build on emotional and physical intimacy.”
“The rapid entry into sexual relationships may, however, cut short this process, setting the stage for “sliding” rather than “deciding” to enter co-habiting unions.”
“Around a third of the men and women said they’d had sex within the first month of dating, while about 28 per cent waited at least six months, the Journal of Marriage and Family reported.”
“Analysis of the data clearly showed the women who had waited to have sex to be happier. And those who waited at least six months scored more highly in every category measured than those who got intimate within the first month. Even their sex lives were better.”
“The link was weaker for men. However, those who waited to get physically involved had fewer rows.
[…]‘A strong sexual desire may thwart the development of other key ingredients of a healthy relationship such as commitment, mutual understanding or shared values,’ the report said. ‘Good sex is sometimes confused with love; some couples overlook problematic aspects of their relationship that ultimately matter more in the long run.’”
This is the kind of research that has informed my own decision to be chaste well into my 30s. I have a plan for my marriage and for my children. I know that they will need a stable environment to grow up in and guidance from a woman who knows how to be a good mother and wife. Not only will they need mentoring and nurturing, but a good example of how to love a man. So I need to choose carefully and not rushing into sex helps me to do that. It’s not good for me to get involved in anything that will wreck my ability to give my wife and children the best me that I can give them. I think a lot of this self-control comes from having a definite plan for my life and marriage, and being careful to do what it takes to a achieve it. A lot of selfishness now would remove my ability to achieve my goals.
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