Former “Bachelor” fan-favorite Ben Higgins, 31, recently announced his engagement to fiancée Jessica Clarke, 24.
Higgins is one of the most beloved members of the Bachelor franchise, and Clarke has also won over the hearts of Bachelor Nation. The two recently announced that they were waiting until marriage to have sex, and psychological studies back up their decision.
Before I continue, I want to make it very clear that this is not meant to shame those who have sex before marriage, sex early on in relationships, or sex outside of relationships. I’m just pointing out that psychological evidence shows that waiting to have sex often leads to happier marriages and relationships.
Higgins on The Bachelorette and The Bachelor
Higgins first appeared on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette in the spring of 2015. He quickly became a fan favorite for his kindness towards Bristowe and staying out of the petty drama. When it came to the fantasy suite episode, he was vocal in that he didn’t want to pressure Bristowe into doing anything she wasn’t ready for. Although he admitted he wasn’t a virgin, sex was something he took seriously. He was eliminated after the fantasy suite episode, and our hearts collectively broke when he said he felt “unlovable.”
Higgins quickly became a fan favorite for his kindness and staying out of the petty drama.
He quickly became a fan favorite when the show aired during the summer of 2015 and was announced to be the next Bachelor that fall. At 26 years old, he was the youngest man to ever be the lead on The Bachelor.
I’ve watched the past eight seasons of The Bachelor, and Ben’s season is tied with Sean Lowe’s season as my favorite. Lowe was famous for vowing to not have sex with his final pick until their wedding night and is the only former Bachelor to marry the woman he gave his final rose to, Catherine Giudici. Lowe and Giudici have been married for six years and have three beautiful children together.
Unfortunately, Higgins wasn’t as lucky as Lowe. He had a hard time deciding between his final two women, Lauren Bushnell and Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher. He chose Bushnell, and they were engaged for a little over a year before breaking off their engagement. Bushnell eventually married country music star Chris Lane. Fletcher became The Bachelorette and gave her final rose to Jordan Rodgers. Fletcher and Rodgers are set to marry this fall.
Higgins’ luck began to turn around in February 2019 when he announced that he was dating Jessica Clarke.
Higgins and Clarke’s Relationship
Higgins and Clarke’s relationship is unique in that she is not a model or a cast member of a reality TV show. She’s a former student-athlete of the University of Mississippi and owns a gym in Nashville. Higgins noticed her on Instagram and slid into her DM’s. The two hit it off quickly and began a long-distance relationship with Higgins in Denver and Clarke in Nashville. Clarke was quickly beloved by Bachelor Nation due to her kindness and genuine nature. She currently has 180k followers on Instagram.
Clarke joins Higgins on his frequent charity trips to Honduras through his company, Generous Coffee. The two are a perfect match — both passionate about their Christian values, philanthropic work, and cheering each other on through their relationship. Higgins is currently quarantined with Clarke and her family in Nashville, where he proposed to her at the end of March.
Higgins was on former Bachelor Nick Viall’s podcast, Viall Files, when Viall asked what the sleeping arrangements were with Higgins quarantining with the Clarkes. Higgins said they slept in separate beds, and when Viall asked if they had had sex in the last week, Higgins said, “Definitely not this week, and not in the last like, year and a half.” Higgins later said they were waiting until marriage to have sex.
It's the decision we made that we thought was best for us as a couple to allow us the healthiest relationship.
Higgins later spoke of their mutual decision on his own podcast. He said, "It's been the healthiest decision for us. I think people are confused about it or like going, 'What in the world is going on here?' It's the decision we made that we thought was best for us as a couple to allow us the healthiest relationship. And we wanted to do that because we knew that we had something special, and we wanted to do some things personally to make sure that we were setting ourselves up for the most success. And this is one of the decisions that we've made, and it's been really good for us.”
The Benefits of Waiting to Have Sex
While Higgins and Clarke admit that their decision may not be for everyone, psychological studies are in their favor. Couples who wait to have sex, even if it’s not until marriage, show higher relationship satisfaction down the road than couples who have sex early in their relationship. Studies also show that those who have fewer sexual partners before marriage have happier marriages and are less likely to get divorced.
Studies also show that those who have fewer sexual partners before marriage have happier marriages and are less likely to get divorced.
Experts agree. Relationship expert Aubrey Hope suggests that couples who are sexually active should take a break from sexual activity to focus on emotional intimacy. She says, "Things can get chaotic and confusing when you are having sex all the time. How is the emotional piece of the pie? How is the mental piece of the pie? Do you both really have a future together and do you really connect, spiritually? Take a break from [sex] and find out who the person beside you really is."
Ben Higgins is one of my favorite Bachelor cast members of all time, and I adore him with Jess Clarke. Their decision to wait to have sex until marriage further cements the values that fans love them for, and they set the example that not all successful relationships begin with sex early on.