Abstinence and Its Importance for Future Happiness


Alec Willard-Herr

It is more important to consider the future in the present than you might think, especially if you are considering having a family.

Sawyer Paugh, Guest Contributor

Marriage is rightly seen to be something magical in the eyes of those looking for it. When we think of marriage, we conceptualize a romantic relationship with the perfect person who we would like to spend the rest of our lives with. As statistics point to nearly half of married Americans divorcing and fewer and fewer Americans getting married, we can observe the apparent shrinking of marital happiness within society. 

I believe that an interesting and important factor playing a role in this cultural shift is the issue of premarital sex, or the act of having sex before marriage, which is a temptation that people confront while navigating adolescent development.  

Many reasons are said to have caused the dips in marriage rates, but no direct cause can be attributed to the decrease. Why should this matter to the average young person? Well, simply because it is our future. People say not to get stuck in the future too much and to enjoy the present, but there are caveats. The actions that we take now can drastically affect our futures. 

It is more important to consider the future in the present than you might think, especially if you are considering having a family. The biggest question one should ask when thinking about marriage is whether or not you should have sexual intercourse now, and not exclusively with your future spouse. 

Multiple studies have supported the idea of abstinence forming healthier and fruitful marriages. A report released in 2008 called “A Scientific Review of Abstinence and Abstinence Programs” by Dr. Bradford Wilcox, Ph.D., concluded that people who are virgins until marriage are empirically shown to be more likely to “have happier and more stable relationships than their non-virgin counterparts.” Thus, we may conclude that premarital sex could be detrimental to future wellbeing. 

The Institute for Family Studies came to a similar conclusion, that relationship happiness and marital satisfaction drop significantly among those with more sex partners prior to marriage. 

Because of the direct correlation between the amount of sexual partners and happiness within marriage, those who are abstinent or have less premarital sex have significantly lower divorce rates compared to their more sexually active counterparts. 

The reasons behind why having more sexual partners before marriage decreases marital happiness vary greatly. Trust commonly tends to be weakened between those who decide not to practice abstinence. Saving yourself for your future spouse manifests a unique bond, primarily because they will be the only one to experience this intimate bond. And, if the idea of abstinence is reciprocated by both partners, then the special trust will be doubled because it is mutually exclusive within your relationship. It’s actually quite romantic and exquisitely charming to think about the possibilities of what comes out of premarital abstinence.

A similar issue is the presence of sexual comparisons with previous relationships. In general, people are tempted to compare old relationships with the quality of their new relationships, including the quality of intercouse if it was present. Comparisons are seen as red-flag behavior in relationships and can lead to turmoil within marriages. Practicing abstinence is an easy way to avoid these red flags.

Counter arguments against abstinence are faulty at best. The reasons for why you should have sex prior to marriage don’t often address the desensitization to sex that can result from a lack of abstinence. Many of the cases made for premarital promiscuity are the lustful pleasures of sex and the overall experience that comes with it. Although you may feel a great deal of temporary trust or greatness, these “benefits” carry implications that statistically harm your future relationships and can lead to greater chances of divorce. Any notion of temporarily improved mental health can be refuted by the increased chances of the destruction of a marriage and the lack of happiness associated with premarital sex.

Interestingly enough, many of the lists you’ll see when researching the benefits of having sex before marriage include having a pleasurable sex life as a benefit, and if that is something important to you, then consider this. Waiting to have sex has shown to result in a greater sex life with your spouse. A statistical analysis from Brigham Young University concluded that “sexual quality was rated 15% better” with those who waited until marriage. Abstinence proves true for enhancing the quality of your sex life, refuting the idea that having sex with partners prior to marriage will better your sex life.

When thinking about the idea of having sex in the present or future, it may be smarter to save yourself for marriage instead of being promiscuous now. Considering the implications of premarital sex and how it can affect your future relationships, one ought to practice abstinence until their wedding, especially if you wish to have a greater chance at a healthy and stable marriage.

Doing so may be difficult due to social pressures and all the faulty and cognitively dissonant information that argues in favor of premarital sex, but the future result remains to be empirically and logistically good in the long run and will fare better for you, as well as for your future marriage and family.