In 2010, Dean Busby, the director of the school of family life at Brigham Young University, did a study which suggested that the longer you delay sex — especially if you wait until marriage — the more stable and satisfying your relationship will be.
Having a good level of communication and an understanding of where the relationship is also helps make sure the experience is positive, she said, referring to her professional experience working with single men and women working toward successful relationships.
Like many relationships, the answer is a little complicated.
One of the reasons it’s so hard to determine the best time in a relationship to have sex is because there haven’t been a ton of studies that address that specific question.
Her study of almost 300 college-aged men and women found that it did.
Though not a clear indicator of the exact timing to have sex, Mett’s study did provide a checklist of potential steps partners should take before they get physical.
Plus, the studies have been conducted on very specific samples: married heterosexual couples and college-aged men and women.
Few studies have taken a look at the health of a relationship as it relates to when the couple first had sex. Back in the early 2000s, Illinois State University communications professor Sandra Metts did a study to find out if having an emotional connection — in particular saying “I love you” before having sex — could have a positive impact on the trajectory of the relationship.
Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist from California, agreed that being on the same page emotionally is helpful for finding the best time to start having sex.
“The most important thing is you both agree not to push,” he said.
Research has given us the answers to several of our biggest sex questions, from how often couples should have sex in a relationship (it depends on your sex drive) to whether having more sex will make you happier.
(It usually won't.) But when is the optimal time to start being sexually intimate in a relationship?