More than 2,000 married couples were questioned as part of a study by the Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life in Utah
Couples who do not have sex before marriage have happier more stable relationships and a more rewarding sex life, according to a new study. Psychologists found that couples who waited until after their wedding night rated the stability of their relationships 22 per cent higher than those whose physical relationships developed earlier.
Those who practised abstinence were also found to have 20 per cent increased levels of relationship satisfaction, 12 per cent better communication and 15 per cent improved “sexual quality”.
Experts said that this may be due to improved communication between individuals who were chaste before marriage.
More than 2,000 married couples were questioned as part of a study by the Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life in Utah.
Prof Dean Busby, who carried out the study, said: “There’s more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspect of their relationship. I think it’s because they’ve learned to talk and have the skills to work with issues that come up.”
For couples that became sexually involved later in a relationship but prior to marriage, the benefits were about half as strong, according to findings published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Although vows of chastity often accompany religious involvement researchers claimed that faith was not a factor in the study.
“Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationships form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” said Prof Busby.
Paula Hall, a sex psychotherapist for Relate, said: “People who wait will have found a lot of other ways of communicating forms of affection for each other. They may spend more time talking about their expectations.
“Ultimately though sex is always about communication and that is key regardless of whether you are married or not.”
Last year the Church of England invited couples who have already had children outside marriage for the first time to get married in church despite Christian teaching against sex before marriage.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics published last year showed the proportion of the population getting married had dropped to its lowest level since records began, in 1862. Women under 25 are more likely to have had a baby than to be married while 44 per cent of British children are now born out of wedlock.