Researchers asked almost 600 couples (some married, some cohabitating) about their satisfaction with their relationship, including their level of commitment and emotional involvement and communication skills. The pairs were also asked how long they waited before they began sleeping together. The Daily Mail reports:
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.
Six months means 182 days of no nookie. Sadface! (As for the men, they were no happier whether they’d waited or didn’t — but the men who delayed sex reported having fewer fights.) How do researchers explain the results?
“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.”
We’re taking this study with a grain of salt, though. Waiting six months to hop into bed with your boyfriend is pretty unrealistic these days, and the study didn’t peer into the future to see if those “happy” couples were still equally happy (or even still together) years later.
Also, reports Slate, there are other facets to the big picture of happiness:
What the Daily Mail doesn’t say is that half-year stretches of celibacy may make a woman more satisfied in a long-term relationship, but they don’t necessarily make her a more satisfied person. This study only surveyed couples who live together or are married, so ignored couples who live apart, women who “leap into bed” without an expectation of commitment, and those who break up when their relationships no longer support their personal needs.
We say: Do what feels right for you, no matter what a study, or society, or your peers say.
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