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This difference becomes particularly critical as couples naturally move past an initial period of intense attraction and excitement into a relationship more characterized by companionship and partnership. Mark Regnerus, author of , explains, “couples who hit the honeymoon too early—that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of the relationship—often find their relationship underdeveloped when it comes to qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.” Couples who have sex early in their relationship are at risk of developing lopsided commitment levels (i.e., the woman is more committed than the man), less healthy communication patterns, and less ability to manage differences and conflict.
For the other dependent variables, the participants who waited to be sexual until after marriage had significantly higher levels of communication and sexual quality compared to the other two sexual timing groups. The second study, by Sharon Sassler and her colleagues at Cornell University, also found that rapid sexual involvement has adverse long-term implications for relationship quality.
Sexual restraint allows couples to focus on and evaluate the emotional aspects of their relationship.
By gaining a deeper understanding of emotional intimacy, dating couples can more fully appreciate the principle of sexual symbolism.
To compare these three groups, the authors conducted a Multivariate Analysis of Covariance controlling for religiosity, relationship length, education, and the number of sexual partners.
The results from the MANCOVA indicated that Sexual Timing Group and Gender had a significant effect on the dependent variables while holding the control variables constant.