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Delaying Sex Might Strengthen Marriage
Date:12/30/2010

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Having sex early in a relationship may lead to less satisfying marriages because couples can fail to develop important skills to communicate well and resolve conflicts, new research suggests.

The study, done at Brigham Young University in Utah, found that married couples who had delayed sex while they were dating were more likely to communicate, enjoy sex and see their marriage as stable than those who had sex early on. They also were generally more satisfied with their marriages.

Why would rushing into intimacy impede marital happiness? According to study co-author Dean M. Busby, people who quickly become intimate may end up marrying even if they're incompatible because they become "entangled" in a relationship that becomes difficult to end.

"The take-home message is that sex is a powerful experience," said Busby. "It really bonds us to one another and so it may be important before we go down that road to take the time to see if you can talk to this other person -- see if you have similar personalities and similar directions in life -- to see whether or not this is a relationship that can last."

About 85 percent of Americans report having had premarital sex, according to research cited in the study. Also according to the research, there is a widespread belief that it is important for dating couples to see if they have "sexual chemistry," because it is key to a good marriage.

Trying to find out if the timing of sex in a relationship had a lasting impact on the eventual marriages, the study divided 2,035 participants into three groups: those who had sex within a month of meeting (776), those who had sex after a month but within two years (923), and those who waited until they were married (336) to have sex.

The longer sex was delayed, the more participants in the study reported better quality of sex, communication, rela
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