Couples who avoid sex before marriage end up having happier, more stable relationships and a better time in bed, according to psychologists. An American study backs the straitlaced view that sex should wait until one's wedding night.
Researchers questioned more than 2,000 married individuals about their relationships, and asked them when they started having sex.
Analysis of the results suggested there were rewards for not getting physical too fast. Compared with those having sex early, couples who waited until they were married rated the stability of their relationships 22 per cent higher. They also claimed 20 per cent increased levels of relationship satisfaction, 12 per cent better communication and 15 per cent improved "sexual quality". The findings appear in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Professor Dean Busby, from Brigham Young University's School of Family Life in Utah, said: "There's more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspect of their relationship. I think it's because they've learned to talk and have the skills to work with issues that come up."
For couples who became sexually involved later in a relationship but before marriage, the supposed benefits were about half as strong.