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When starting a sexual relationship, timing is everything

Why jumping in the sack too soon could sabotage your future

By Sally Wadyka Feb 7, 2013 7:52PM

Everyone seems to have their own “rule” when it comes to how long to wait before having sex. Three dates, five dates, a month -- and everyone also has tales of results (both happy and disastrous) of what happened when they broke their own rule by either jumping in too quickly or waiting so long that they got relegated to “just friends.” But the problem with all of these theories is that they’re, well, just theories, mixed with a hearty dose of urban legend (all single women have heard some version of the dire warning “you’ll never end up married to a guy you sleep with on the first date”).

Now, at long last, researchers have taken on this most fraught of dating dilemmas, and a new study finally answers the question of when is the ideal time to get it on. The researchers studied a huge sample of the dating population in order to lend some science to the issue of sex timing. They had nearly 11,000 unmarried people (all of whom reported being in “serious or steady” relationships or being engaged to their partners) fill out a 300-plus-item questionnaire that evaluated all aspects of their relationships -- including duration, quality, stability and satisfaction.

And then there was the one question on which the whole study hinged: “How soon did you and your partner have sexual intercourse?” The answers broke the participants down into four groups: Those who jumped in bed together before they even started dating; those who had sex on the first date or within the first few weeks of dating; those who waited a few weeks; and those who still hadn’t done it.

Nearly 50 percent of those in the study waited a few weeks after they began dating to have sex. And apparently, that’s a good thing. According to the researchers, a little delayed gratification is “generally associated with positive outcomes.” Those who got busy right away not only scored lower on measures like communication with their partner and overall satisfaction, but things appeared to get worse the longer they stayed together.

In other words, your friend who warned you that you’ll never marry the guy you sleep with on the first date might actually be right.


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Feb 7, 2013 11:08PM
I think the girl in the photo could do a lot better than that guy with a goofy expression and enormous holes in his ears.
Feb 7, 2013 11:21PM
By the time it's all said and done, man will have brilliantly come to the conclusion that the Bible is right; about everything.  However, by then, the world will be burning and our hearts will be so hard that even though the truth is staring us squarely in the face, we'll continue to deny it.

I'm not a kook, by the way. I used to live my life 'my way' and 'did what I felt was right'. Then, by the grace of God, I realized that even though I was a nice guy, fairly smart, blah-blah-blah, I was a blithering idiot, who didn't know a thing and had no control. I owe God my everything, and now live out my days striving to obey His every word. 
Feb 7, 2013 11:29PM
Followed the Bible and waited until marriage and the sex was terrible to nonextistent.  Met a lady and hopped in the sack and we're still doing it like rabbits after 40 years and loving every minute of it.  Follow your instinct and your own judgment
Feb 7, 2013 11:04PM
"Didn't the Bible say that a long time ago?"

Not really... The "current" popular interpretation of the bible says wait until you're married.  Lots of people (especially in biblical times) marry(ied) complete strangers.
Feb 7, 2013 11:30PM
That guy's hairy armpits are so gross.
Feb 8, 2013 12:04AM
If you love someone enough to marry them, then when it comes to sex you'll be thinking how to please THEM above yourself. If your spouse feels the same, then the sex should be pleasurable for both. Besides, you'll have plenty of time to work at it. We're all free moral agents with the right to choose how we live our lives, but with that choice comes the consequences as well. Waiting till you're married to have sex is nothing to scoff at.
Feb 7, 2013 11:43PM

It is unfortunate that the study only looked at unmarried people who do not appear to show any interest in actually getting married.  Engagements may or may not be a commitment.  It may only be a ticket for free sex.  The study needs to include another survey of the same people in two and five years to see if they actually get married or just want a friend with benefits.


Feb 7, 2013 11:37PM

I went to the actual published study itself .... here's what the article left out (I wonder why???):


Relationships 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.

Compared with those in the early sex group, those who waited until marriage:

Rated relationship stability as 22 percent higher
Rated relationship satisfaction as 20 percent higher
Rated sexual quality as 15 percent better
Rated communication as 12 percent better
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