It goes without saying that married sex is vastly different from one-night-stand sex, but what about sex with a long-term partner? How is we’re married now, so let’s have sex, any different from we’ve been together for a long time and I want to keep being with you for the foreseeable future and take our relationship to the next level, so let’s have sex? Well, according to psychology and empirical data, the difference is colossal.
According to one Stanford sociologists study, getting married to your partner reduces the likelihood that you’ll break up by incredible odds. Five years into a relationship, unmarried couples separate that year by a rate of about 20%. Married couples? About 4%. By year 10, unmarried couples separate at an annual rate of about 10%, and married couples by about 3%. 40 years into a relationship and the unmarried couples are still more than three times as likely to separate than their married counterparts, and what do the separation statistics look like for married couples during that same anniversary? Almost 0%.
This is important stuff to know because, on average, Americans tend to have sex either after a few weeks of dating (51%) or during the first date/first few weeks of dating (38%). This means (according to the Stanford study) that the majority of Americans are having sex with people they have a 50-75% chance of breaking up with and never seeing again. What’s more, there are tons of other studies out there actually showing that the longer you wait to have sex (like, waiting until marriage), the more likely you are to make it into marriage territory and the more likely that that very marriage will be satisfying. You may think that moving in together pre-marriage is a good idea and therefore commitment enough to have sex, but statistics simply say otherwise.
Finally, there is an additional, large body of evidence available today suggesting that not only do married couples have more sex, but they have better sex too.
So, obviously, there is something going on here. Waiting for marriage to have sex provides a myriad of enormous benefits. We can’t say exactly why. But we do know it’s a quantifiable phenomenon. In case you need more convincing than simple numbers and data can provide, however, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Admittedly I’m a little biased since my husband is responsible for taking my virginity and vice versa, but honestly, let’s start there. What could be hotter than that?
It Ages Like Fine Wine
The sexual relationship you have with your husband ages, but contrary to what pop-culture would have you believe, it doesn’t grow stale and boring. Instead, you become experts in knowing each other's needs, wants, and desires. And just like how a professional musician can finger every note on his instrument with expert level precision, coaxing forth its music more beautifully than any novice could ever hope to achieve, so too will you and your husband learn to master each other's bodies and psyches.
For the musician and the spouse both, practice makes perfect. And just like the musician, with each new discovery, your confidence and enthusiasm grow. Your intimacy deepens as the tantalizing knowledge gained during each encounter becomes a secret garden only the two of you have access to.
You can never grow bored when there are always new things to discover – new ways to hold the same person you’ve always held, new ways to touch the same skin you’ve always touched. Humans are infinitely deep and meaningful creatures, and even once you feel like you’ve done, seen, and felt it all, your husband changes. You change. Life happens, and your soul shifts. Maybe as the years go by, you begin to feel more at home in the solidness of your own bones, or maybe you wake up one morning to look in the mirror and no longer recognize the woman staring back. Maybe one day, as your husband holds his brand new baby daughter for the first time, you notice how the sparks of gold in his hazel eyes soften to warm honey as he falls head over heels in love again in a single instant.
Maybe we weren’t meant to love many people, but many iterations of the same person, over and over again.
Maybe you fall in love with his patience and gentleness as you fall out of love with your own body. Flesh marked permanently by the self-sacrifice new life demands, you find it a little harder to love something so…used. But not your husband. Night after night, he teaches you what it actually means to love. As the months tick on, he helps show you how your broken windows and cracked ceilings were only to make room for the stained glass and spired rooftops of the cathedral you were always meant to be. Maybe his gentleness erases your physical and emotional pain, bit by bit, till you feel like a whole woman once again.
Maybe one day you watch the sunlight playing in your husband’s hair and notice a few gray ones, maybe you notice how the lines at the corners of his eyes have deepened slightly. Maybe you think back on all the days, all the nights you have loved this one man and realize that he’s no longer the person you married, the person you spent that first giddy and nervous night with. And you’re not the same girl either, thank goodness. You’re better, he’s better. Maybe, you think, we weren’t meant to love many people, but many iterations of the same person, over and over again, hand in hand, till the end of time.
There’s No Competition
If you both waited for marriage before having sex, this goes without saying: There’s no competition between you and his past flings because there weren’t any past flings, for either of you. There’s something deeply comforting about that. He has no one to compare you to because there has never been anyone else. There’s no jealousy, no wondering who he’s thinking about, no anxiety about being “the best he’s ever had.” There’s no competition whatsoever, and it’s in this very environment that trust and therefore sexual arousal and connection can thrive.
If either of you has had past partners, you don’t exactly get this benefit; however, you still get the benefits of there being no current or future competition. Because of that, you both benefit from all the freedom commitment brings.
Real Sexual Liberation and Freedom of Expression
Marriage makes the bed for true acceptance and devotion. There’s no open door as a “just in case this doesn’t work out,” “just in case you have a weird habit I don’t know about,” or “just in case we’re not as compatible as we thought, after all.” Marriage is in sickness and in health and ‘til death do we part. And as heavy as that is, there’s a lot of freedom to be found there. You’ve promised to accept and love each other no matter what. You haven’t promised to love each other just when you feel like it, or just when you’re not upset with him, or just when it’s easy. No. You’ve promised to work your butt off to love him. You’ve promised to work through flaws, and problems, and damage, and baggage, and all the ugly, muddy, scummy slop the world can throw at you. You have promised to love him in spite of how hard it can feel at times to do so. And he’s promised to do the same, because you’re not perfect either. And believe it or not, that’s where the real magic happens.
Not during the bad times, the magic doesn't happen then because, let’s be honest, those times suck, but during every time you recommit yourself to him, and he to you. Those little magic moments are what make up the foundation of your relationship. That foundation is trust. And trust is where true sexual liberation and freedom can blossom.
When a woman feels “emotionally attuned” to her partner, she achieves her best sex life.
Just think about it – are you more likely to broach sensitive sexual topics with a man you’re afraid of “scaring off” if things get too deep and emotional or a man you know is fully committed to you 100%, no matter what and, in fact, will help make sure you feel safe and secure during those delicate conversations? It’s really a no-brainer, so it should come as no surprise then, that when a woman feels “emotionally attuned” to her partner, she achieves her best sex life. She has sex more often, she orgasms more often, she’s more adventurous in bed, and her overall rating of sexual satisfaction is higher. And the magic formula for this “emotional attunement,” you ask? About 15 years of a long-term, committed relationship. So, yeah…I’ll take that any day over some guy I feel the need to hide my period from, thank you very much.
It’s About More Than Pleasure and Performance
The longer you’re married, the more you realize that sex is a language. Not just a language that your two bodies speak to each other, but a deeper way you and your husband can communicate with the hidden parts of one another.
The meaning and reasons behind having sex deepen and diversify the longer a husband and wife are together. It’s one of the many reasons why sex with a long-term partner never gets boring. It becomes a tool the two of you can use to help rebuild the relationship and each other. It’s a consistent way of providing comfort and acceptance when it feels like the world has turned against you. And it’s a place you can come to, together, again and again, to always feel love and connection. It’s a place where you can give, and ask, for whatever is necessary. And it’s a shelter where generosity abounds.
The beauty of such a relationship, I believe, is best illustrated with this study. In it, scientists wanted to study the effects of oxytocin (the female bonding/love hormone) and vasopressin (oxytocin’s male counterpart) on wound healing. Not only did the scientists discover that some married couples’ wounds healed faster than other couples, but they determined the fastest healing wounds were found in the couples who had the highest levels of these two hormones. Furthermore, the men with the highest vasopressin levels also had the highest levels of a specific tumor destroying protein in their blood.
The fastest healing wounds were found in the couples who had the highest levels of oxytocin and vasopressin.
So what influenced these hormone levels? Scientists say it was the communication quality between the couples. The more positive the communication, the better the relationship quality, the higher the bonding hormones, the faster the healing. In short, a husband and wife’s bodies can literally heal each other. What’s more romantic than that?
There’s Nothing More Exhilarating Than Baby-Making Sex
You want to experience a real rush? Try making a baby. Try knowing that this time the thrill is different. This time it’s more meaningful because this time the ending isn’t as simple as a breathless, intoxicated collapse. This time, it means that in 24 hours, a little life made from part him, part you, could begin to take root deep within your womb. It means that two weeks from now, your world and your body could be permanently changed. The entire course of your life could shift directions and alter existence as you know it, forever. And you want that. And your husband wants that. It’s a desire in his eyes and a desperation in his fingertips that you’ve never felt before, and it’s a heady rush as you stand at the edge of a deep, yawning precipice with every fiber of your being clamoring for you to jump.
The two of you get to sing life into the world together. You get to kiss, and caress, and breathe it into being. You get to take what’s his and make it into something completely different and brand new. There’s no holding back. It’s what the pursuit of life demands. Every pleading gaze, every movement, every pleasure, every salt-sweetened taste, demands that the two of you lie down together in complete and total surrender to the whim of nature. Brazen and hungrily hopeful in the face of something sharp-toothed and fearsome.
It’s wordless prayer sighing from your lips as he clutches your hands in his. It’s the spark two bodies make as they collide to fulfill thousands of years of sacred and ancient rite. It’s a deep and primal longing roiling just beneath the surface of warm and familiar flesh, and each joined moment coaxes it closer to fulfillment.
As you can see, there’s really just no comparison here. It isn’t even fair. Pop-culture may give hookups and moving-in together all the glory, but it’s just a trick. There’s so much that’s worth waiting for and so many reasons to do so.
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