About 88 percent of Americans say they are happy or reasonably content with their married sex. And three-quarters report that their sex lives are reasonably fulfilling. That’s according to a national poll of 1,001 married Americans commissioned by Parade magazine.
In researching for my book His Brain, Her Brain: How divinely designed differences can strengthen your marriage, I found stunning research that shows:
- Sex is better in marriage
- Sex is better among religious or spiritual couples
- Sex is not better if you cohabit
Sex Is Better in Marriage
The movies and sitcoms have it all wrong. They are spreading the urban legend that sex is best when you have plenty of it with plenty of partners. But, one of the best kept secrets in America is that the best sex is not found in the singles bars or on university campuses, not even in the romantic hideaways of ski lodges or beach resorts. The best sex is not sex in the city or the sexcapades on Wisteria Lane. Nope, the most satisfying sex in America is in the bedrooms of people who are married for life. Don’t believe it? Check out the data yourself. In a survey published by the University of Chicago, the findings regarding the typical American sex life were rather astounding.
To summarize the overall pattern, American adults fall roughly into three levels of activity in partnered sex:
- They are either having sex with their partner at least 2 or more times a week,
- A few times a month, or
- Only a few times a year or not at all.
Only in the latter and most sexually boring category (no sex or sex only a few times per year) do non-married adults rate higher than their married counterparts. In other words, married couples have sex far more frequently than single or cohabiting adults. But, even more surprising is the following fact:
Sex Is Better Among Religious or Spiritual Couples
That’s right. This same study found that the more religious a married couple, the more frequent and satisfying their sex. Religious people who are married, by far and away have the best sex lives. They have the most frequent sex, the most satisfying sex, the most fun sex and the longest-lived sex lives. When the researchers looked at which religious denominations had the best sex, they learned that the faithful who are married reported that not only was their sex more frequent, but also they were far more likely to rate their sex as being extremely satisfying. Conservative evangelical Protestant women, the survey found, reported the most satisfying sex and the most orgasms: 32 percent said they achieve orgasm every time they make love. Mainline Protestants and Catholics were only five points behind, while those with no religious affiliation were way down—at 22 percent.
Sex Is Not Better if You Cohabit
The most dangerous myth of all may be the myth that living together before marriage will result in a better marriage. As a result, in the past 30 years, the number of couples who live together before marriage has increased 1,000 percent. In fact, cohabitation has become so commonplace in our society that a couple who doesn’t live together before tying the knot is, in many areas, a cultural anomaly. So why should a couple defy the societal norm by avoiding cohabitation? There are many important reasons, which David Gudgel fully discusses in his insightful book Before You Live Together. Perhaps the most devastating reason, according to Mr. Gudgel, is this: “Of eight couples that live together before marriage, four of them will split up and they will not marry. Of the four that marry, three of them will divorce.”
Walt Larimore, M.D. has been called “one of America’s best known family physicians.” He is a nationally-known and nationally sought after speaker and health expert.