I came across an article a little while ago while browsing headlines on-line. It was a brief rundown of a survey that had been conducted of some 11000 couples in committed, monogamous relationships. The focus of the survey was whether or not the couples had had sex before or within the first three weeks of their relationship, and how satisfied they were overall with their relationship now. The result was that apparently, the longer a couple waited to have sex, the more content they were now with their relationship, in terms of communication, stability and current sexual satisfaction. The results were the same for several different age groups, race and religious affiliations.
I found this very interesting, not just because I write about relationships and romance, but because I think everyone has at some point or another faced the decision of doing it now, or waiting. As always, every couple is different and who’s to say someone who starts with a one-night stand isn’t going to last fifty years? I did actually work with a man once who – in the time I knew him – dated a woman he’d had what he thought was only a one-night stand with, got engaged and married her, and proceeded to have a family. As far as I know, they’re still happy together but I’m no longer in touch with them, so who knows?
The article went on to suggest that because of this evidence, there’s something to be said for waiting. Now, they don’t say specifically whether a couple who’s happy now waited 3 and a half weeks or 12 before having sex, so saying that only couple who wait at least 3 weeks are going to be that much happier is a very broad generalization. They also theorize that it’s the women making this decision to abstain longer or not. I don’t know if that was the case in every couple surveyed. Though, they do make a good point at the end of the article: “Healthy relationships lead to good sex. Good sex doesn’t create healthy relationships.”
True. And yet, incomplete. I dislike broad generalizations, in case you couldn’t tell by now.
I think placing all the blame on an early physical or intimate connection is a bit of a mistake. It’s up to the people making these decisions to decide if they’re going to give the relationship a fair try with or without the early sex. All the same relationship rules apply whether or not you’re naked within one day, or thirty. You can’t spend all your time sexing each other up. I don’t care how early you do it, sex alone is not a relationship – be honest with yourself before disagreeing with me on that! You need open and honest communication, unabashed affection, respect and support. Sex is important, I’m not saying it isn’t, but it’s only one part of a relationship.
Maybe the article is right in that the earlier you have sex, the more you tend to focus only on that aspect of your relationship. Things like discussing finances, future goals and dreams, or being able to spend the quiet moments together, become less important. To me, that is a mistake.
I won’t lie, this article did remind me a bit of a movie that came out a couple years back, He’s Just Not That Into You. I don’t know if any of you have seen that movie but it’s all about different relationships and relationship dynamics, and whether or not women should believe all those things they tell themselves, and each other, about men. It’s an ensemble movie with numerous different intersecting storylines. There’s a couple who have been married for some years, they’re renovating their dream home and talking about having kids. But they don’t have sex. There’s a woman who thinks the married man she befriended would leave his wife for her, because they have awesome chemistry and sex. There’s also a couple who have been together for seven or eight years, with no sign of a marriage proposal in sight. I’m sure, even if you haven’t seen the movie, you can imagine any number of ways those storylines would turn out. You’d probably be right. There are a couple of surprise endings to these romantic threads, but for the most part, they end the way you think they might. The theme of the movie is that you can tell yourself all the stories you want about relationships starting one way or another, but the stories of ‘it working out’ are few and far between, while the reality of is something else.
In my writing, as you may know, I’ve tried to hook my heros and heroines up in a few different ways. I did have a couple starting with a night of sex after just meeting each other, and that did lead to some complications early on in their relationship. I also had a couple becoming friends over a period of time before dating, and then even longer before sleeping together. Of course, in my writing universe, I’m able to write a happy ending, no matter how they get to the first kiss and the first time they have sex.
I often find I’m writing these scenarios because I’ve asked myself, can it work? Again, I’m dealing in fiction, so I can guide the characters somewhat towards a satisfying conclusion. In real life, things aren’t always so cut and dry, and it’s not always easy to find the solutions.
I’ve always said that every couple is different, and they are, from the way they meet, to how they handle each other, to how long they’re going to last. I’m definitely no expert but having been through a few endings and even more false starts, I have some idea of what works or doesn’t. For me. And in the end, that’s what’s important. If you know yourself, and know what you want, that’s a good start. I would just make one suggestion: if you meet someone and want to get naked with them now, ask yourself why? Is it because they’re hot? Or because you’re scratching an itch? Or because you think that’s the way you want to start a relationship with them? Just food for thought…
Take care and happy reading.