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Why Save Sex for Marriage?

Waiting until marriage to have sex will improve your relationship.

"While true love does indeed wait, it may actually work the other way around-- waiting helps create true love." Jason S. Carroll

Popular culture in television, music, literature, and art glorifies casual sex and sends the message that it is fun and satisfying to have an intimate relationship with someone before marriage. However, religion and social science studies make stronger arguments that waiting for marriage may be one of the smartest choices to make.

Scriptures teach that we should wait to have sexual relationships only within the bonds of marriage. For example, Joseph of Egypt refuses to be with Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:9). Jesus Christ teaches that even lustful thoughts (not just lustful actions) are against God’s ways. These examples are useful in explaining the background of this moral standard, but they don’t answer the why.

During a symposium hosted by Brigham Young University’s Wheatley Institution, Jason Carroll, professor of Marriage and Family Studies and Associate Director in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, gave a lecture titled, “Slow But Sure: Does the Timing of Sex During Dating Matter?” In his remarks, Professor Carroll emphasizes the importance of waiting until marriage to have a sexual relationship and indicates that relationships in which the partners wait longer have a better chance of lasting longer. Carroll’s research shows that “couples who wait until marriage to have sex compared to those who started having sex early in their dating report higher relationship satisfaction (20% higher), better communication patterns (12% better), less consideration of divorce (22% lower), and better sexual quality (15% better).”

If you are interested in having a long and loving relationship, says Carroll, waiting for sex may be key: “While true love does indeed wait, it may actually work the other way around—waiting helps create true love.”

Read “Slow But Sure: Does the Timing of Sex During Dating Matter?

Source: Wheatley Institution
—Tacy LeBaron, Mormon Insights

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4 Comments

  1. Interesting post! I definitely agree–we’re presented with so many ideas of how sex and relationships should or could be. But often it’s such a narrow view of how it’s supposed to do, and the sacredness that sex should have isn’t even mentioned. Because sex is such a sacred thing that sanctifies relationships, and marriage is such a sacred relationship that allows people to be unified together eternally. Waiting is definitely a skill that helps people grow and mature.

  2. Such an interesting read. I thought this quotation from the main article was especially interesting: “Adequate time is required for romantic relationships to develop in a healthy way. In contrast, relationships that move too quickly, without adequate discussion of the goals and long-term desires of each partner, may be insufficiently committed and therefore result in relationship distress, especially if one partner is more committed than the other.” I wonder if this research also applies to people who marry shortly after meeting each other even though they don’t have sex before marriage. Of course, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, but I wonder if we are putting too much pressure on young couples to marry quickly in order to avoid sexual sin, rather than having them take the time necessary to decide if they are truly committed to each other.

  3. This is so important! I knew it was important before I got married and now I know just how important it is! My husband and I are able to have complete trust in each other, something that has been vital for our marriage. Whatever your past, however, you can still have a happy, successful marriage by striving to follow and emulate the Savior. The Prince of Peace can bring safety and security to your marriage.

  4. Pingback: It Is Well with My Soul: Reclaiming the Sanctity of Sex - Latter-day Saint Insights

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