You know how your mom used to tell you that nobody was going to buy that cow if you kept giving away the milk for for free? Putting aside the very relevant facts that getting married shouldn't be like being purchased and "giving it away" implies having your udders suckled isn't a perfectly delightful way to spend an afternoon, your mom might have had a point. According to a study published in the September issue of Social Science Research, couples who waited longer to have sex were more likely to have happier long-term relationships than those who jumped into the sac(k) right away.
When the participants were quizzed about their emotional and physical happiness with their relationships, the Waiters had an average score of 4.2 (out of a possible five), while their Sluttier Counterparts scored an average of only 3.8. Which, when you think about it, isn't a whole lot of difference. I mean, my rating could go from a 5 to a -1,000,000 over a single afternoon.
According to the Washington Post, "Paik found that the problems weren't necessarily a result of the early sexual interaction. Instead, people who ended up together after what began as a casual fling seemed 'predisposed to lower relationship quality,' he says -- meaning they hadn't been after a commitment to begin with."
Paik also found that "people with higher numbers of past sexual partners were more likely to form hookups, and to report lower relationship quality." Because these people tend to start to actually enjoy intense, short-term flings and find themselves a little bored when it comes to anything long-term.
Paik wrote that it wasn't so much the time waited, but the people involved. "In the casual dating category, some people think they're headed for a long-term relationship, but there are also people who are only in it for sex. It basically brings 'players' and 'non-players' together. As a consequence, it raises the question of whether casual dating is a useful institution.This paper would suggest not really, because it doesn't screen out the non-romantic types."
Paik's other conclusion:
Consistent with prior research, he found that unmarried couples and those with children had lower relationship quality, but couples with positive ties to each other's relatives had higher relationship quality.
So basically, if you want a happy relationship, get married, but don't have kids. Oh, and no more mother-in-law jokes.