Compatibility or restraint? The effects of sexual timing on marriage relationships

J Fam Psychol. 2010 Dec;24(6):766-74. doi: 10.1037/a0021690.


Very little is known about the influence of sexual timing on relationship outcomes. Is it better to test sexual compatibility as early as possible or show sexual restraint so that other areas of the relationship can develop? In this study, we explore this question with a sample of 2035 married individuals by examining how soon they became sexually involved as a couple and how this timing is related to their current sexual quality, relationship communication, and relationship satisfaction and perceived stability. Both structural equation and group comparison analyses demonstrated that sexual restraint was associated with better relationship outcomes, even when controlling for education, the number of sexual partners, religiosity, and relationship length.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage* / psychology
  • Marriage* / trends
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult