Who doesn’t want sex to be as exciting and pleasurable as possible? Critics of Tim Tebow, The Jonas Brothers, and Lolo Jones poke fun of these celebrities for their desire to remain virgins until they get married. They treat this plan for making the most out of sex and marriage as the most ridiculous, antiquated strategy imaginable.
The idea they offer as a better alternative? Play around, test the waters, and figure out what works and what doesn’t before getting “hitched.” Take your time and test the waters.
The problem for the critics is a pragmatic one: when you compare the two strategies for making the most out of sex and marriage, those who wait seem to be having a whole lot more fun in the bedroom and intimacy in marriage. The “test the waters” approach hasn’t made sex more exciting and pleasurable. It hasn’t produced fidelity and commitment. And it hasn’t created a sense of optimism toward the idea of marriage.
You can see this in the wedding dress 15-year old art student Demi Barnes made out of divorce papers.
You can see this in Dana Rotz’s (Mathematica Policy Research) paper that found that the later you wait to get married, the less sex you’re likely to have. Rotz writes, “A four year increase in age at marriage is associated with a couple having sex about one time less per month.”
And you can also see this in the 2011 study conducted at Cornell University. Researchers interviewed 122 couples who are living together unmarried and found that more than two-thirds of the respondents claimed they didn’t want to get married because they were afraid it wouldn’t last. (1)
That’s some compelling evidence against the “take your time and test the waters” strategy. What about the evidence for waiting?
According to a 2010 study reported in the Journal of Family Psychology (2), waiting to have sex improves the marriage relationship in four vital ways: sexual quality, relationship communication, relationship satisfaction, and perceived relationship stability. According to the study, people who waited until marriage rated sexual quality 15 percent higher than people who had premarital sex, rated relationship stability 22 percent higher, and rated satisfaction with their relationships 20 percent higher.
15 percent higher sexual quality. Hmmm…it sounds like while the critics poke fun at those who wait, those who waited are…well…having a lot of fun.
1. Cornell University Study: “Divorce fears widespread among young couples,” R&D Magazine (12-21-11)
2. Busby, D.M., Carroll, J.S., & Willoughby, B. J., “Compatibility or restraint? The effects of sexual timing on marriage relationships,” Journal of Family Psychology (2010)