AU$89.00 / 16 month(s)
Subscribe Online NOW »
30 October 2012
Waiting is hard. Kids obviously have trouble waiting but adults too struggle with delaying gratification. Politicians find it very hard to wait and do appalling Machiavellian things as a result. You only have to look at the body language in a queue to realise that waiting is not fun for most people but that doesn’t mean it is not good for you. To be “waiting” is to be in the gap, and in the gap lies space for wonder and insight. Not only that, if you can wait when it comes to sex then it appears that your relationships will be better in the long run.
This was discovered by researchers who looked at data gathered from more than 1,600 same sex siblings who were followed from teenage years until their late 20s. Each person in the study was classified as having had an early, “on-time”, or late first experience with sex. Early was defined as younger than 15, on-time as between 15 and 19, and “late” as older than 19. It emerged that there were quite a few life outcomes that linked to when first sexual intercourse occurred.
People who had “late” first sexual intercourse had higher educational qualifications and their income was also higher. It also seems that when you have your first encounter has direct implications for your later relationships.
For people living with a partner or married, later first sex was linked to a lower level of relationship dissatisfaction in adult life. There was however, no significant difference between “early” and “on-time” sexually active folk. This suggests that early sex is not so much a problem as later sex is favourable for long-term relationship outcomes.
There could be a couple of things going on here. It might be that people who delay their first sexual encounters might be avoiding negative events from earlier sex. Waiting until you are older to learn about relationships will mean that you have more advanced cognitive and emotional skills when you do. Equally, it might be that people who wait to have their first sexual encounter might have certain characteristics, like being more particular in choosing a mate and having certain expectations of a relationship that they will not compromise, which lead to better quality relating in the long run.
Whatever the reason, waiting seems to have benefits for relationships and being able to wait has life benefits as well. Waiting with grace entails a degree of mindfulness so set yourself a goal of learning to wait and you are also setting yourself to learn the central skill of living itself.