As I mentioned in my blog post earlier this week, Sunday’s sermon on sex was a little long and there were several things I gathered in my research I was unable to fit into the sermon. Those things ended up on the cutting room floor, but they are worthy to read and consider. I included some of those things in Part 1. Here are a few more things to help you think wisely about sexual issues in marriage and in our culture.
From The Week, February 16, 2007 via Leadership (Summer 2007), 59. This will make men feel good about themselves (see sarcasm):
A survey of 1,000 American women found that most valued their favorite clothes more than sex and would gladly abstain for 15 months in exchange for an entirely new wardrobe.
In his book, 11, Len Sweet (p. 32) quotes this statement from Bill Perkins for those who think they're immune from ever falling into sexual sin: “If you think you can’t fall into sexual sin, then you’re godlier than David, stronger than Samson, and wiser than Solomon.”
Does delaying sex until after marriage improve your marital relationship? According to a 2010 research study, the answer is a clear yes. As reported in the Journal of Family Psychology (and later in the January 22, 2011, edition of The Economist), the study surveyed 2,035 married couples and asked them about their initial sexual experience together (before or after the wedding). Of the 2,035 couples, 336 couples reported waiting until they got married to have sex. The largest group of couples had sex within a few weeks of dating, and 126 couples had sex prior to dating. (This prompted a psychologist who reviewed the study to note, "I guess I'm not sure what constitutes dating anymore.")
After analyzing the data, the three researchers concluded that waiting until after marriage improved the relationship (for both men and women) in four key areas: sexual quality, relationship communication, relationship satisfaction, and perceived relationship stability. According to the study, people who waited until marriage:
· rated sexual quality 15 percent higher than people who had premarital sex
· rated relationship stability 22 percent higher
· rated satisfaction with their relationships 20 percent higher
The data showed that premarital sex doesn't necessarily doom the future marriage to failure. On the other hand, based on this research, there is no validity to the idea that premarital sex is needed to "test" and possibly improve the future marriage relationship. The authors stated that waiting until after the wedding day (what they call "commitment-based sexuality") "is more likely to create a sense of security and clarity between partners … about exclusivity and a future."
It takes power away from women as a group, because it provides men with another sexual outlet. Some will say that Playboy has been around a long time, but today's porn is not like that. It puts one bedside in high definition. Individual women notice it in their relationships, especially in marriage. But even before marriage, it's still at work, eroding the value of what she has that he wants. Now she has to compete with virtual sex partners as well as other women.
I used to think young women would have the last laugh here—that men would come to understand that sex is not like porn. I'm not so sure about that anymore. Speaking as a sociologist, you can't form enough accountability groups to erase the effects of porn on the relationship pool. It's not just about helping Joe Christian steer clear of this thing he'd like. It colors more than we think.