Waiting to have sex might make your relationship last longer

Exercising a bit of restraint in the initial stages of coupling up might be the key to a long-lasting relationship

How long should you wait to have sex with your partner? There’s no easy answer, and the enduring question has drawn various views. Previously, couples were urged to wait for at least 90 days before being intimate with each other. However, times have changed and the three-month rule has all but faded into oblivion.

A survey by dating blog Singles in America looked at 5 5000 people and found that 48% of millennials were more likely to have sex before going on their first date. According to the study, people used sex as a way to decide whether they wanted to be in a relationship with the person or not.

Relaxing social morals and the proliferation of online dating means people are more likely to seek instant gratification. Paula Quinsee, relationship expert and author of Embracing Conflict, says the way people date has indeed changed.

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“In the olden days, there was the rule [that you] wait three months,” she explains. “I don’t think that applies today, because we live in a world of instant gratification. We’re connected in so many ways with technology, and the dating game has changed. We meet someone online and the next minute we’re dating them and are in a relationship.”

Other experts have found that delaying sexual intercourse can be beneficial to your relationship. A study conducted in 2016 by Match.Com found that the longer couples waited to be intimate, the happier they were. According to the study, those who waited to have sex after going on five dates were 35% happier than those who slept together on the first date. In fact, researchers found that for each one-night stand a woman had her happiness decreased by 14%, and by 6% for men.

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Mathematician Robert M Seymour and sociologist Peter D Sozou of the London School of Economics found that males who woo women before having sex are more likely to look after their children.

“A ‘good’ male is willing to court for longer than a ‘bad’ male; in this way the duration of a male’s courtship signals his type and acts as a costly handicap,” they found.

Quinsee says although sex is an important part of a relationship, building a solid base with each other first can help the relationship last longer.

“Sex and intimacy is key to keeping a relationship together in that it forms a stronger connection. But connection comes before that, through communication, spending time together, being comfortable in each other’s space and being yourself,” she explains. This might take time to cultivate, she adds.

Quinsee says that if you’re looking for a long-term partner, it’s important to look at their core values, which are imperative to the survival of a relationship.

“Someone may be lusting after an individual because of the physical aspects without considering the deeper aspects of that person. A lot of the time, because we’re living in a world of instant gratification, I think we look at the physical aspects such as tall, dark and handsome … If you’re in the space to be in a long-term relationship, it goes deeper than that.”

Not all relationships are the same and not all couples are the same. The waiting game might work for some couples and not for others. Quinsee says ultimately it’s what the couple wants that matters.

“I think it’s the intention of the people in the relationship and where they are emotionally … It boils down to how comfortable two people are in their relationship and how comfortable they are moving to the next level.”

Additional sources: Match.com, Singles in America