Move dating into relationship
In an online study of nearly 600 married and cohabitating couples in which the female partner was less than 45 years old, Sassler and colleagues examined measures of relationship quality, sexual satisfaction, communication, and conflict.
For women, but not men, the factor most related to early sexual involvement was later sexual satisfaction.When couples are led by sexual desire, financial need, or an unexpected pregnancy to get married, they are less likely to stop and examine whether they share similar life values, goals, compatibility, and emotional intimacy.It’s that process of assessing whether they’ll make it for the long haul that ultimately will impact their relationship quality, especially for the women.The researchers weren’t sure if this finding reflected something unusual about the sample or that people just aren’t very good at estimating how long it takes for relationship to progress to sexual intimacy. Slowing things down for women, but not men, meant paying attention to other factors that would ultimately improve the relationship such as commitment and emotional intimacy. Early sexual activity symbolized relationship commitment. Again for women, but not men, having sex early in the scheme of things signified to them that their partner was committed to the relationship.For men, having sex early in the dating period didn’t actually have that same meaning. Entry into cohabitation accounted for the negative effect of relationship tempo on quality.
Having sex early in a relationship, followed by cohabitation, sets the stage for women to be less satisfied with the sex they’re having now.