Valentine’s Day is nearing, signaling a looming romantic milestone for any new couple. It built us want to get to the bottom of a tricky relationship question.

When is the optimal time to start being sexually intimate in a relationship ?

The answer, like many relationships, is complicated, spanning anywhere from a few dates to a few months after dating.

One of the reasons it’s so hard to determine the best time in a relationship to have sex is because there hasn’t been a lot of research tackling that specific question. Plus, analyzes that have been conducted feature very concrete samples, principally college-age men and women and wedded heterosexual couples.

Few surveys have taken a look at the health of a relationship as it relates to when the couple first had sexuality. And what’s out there is somewhat conflicting.

What we know about commitment and sex

In the early 2000 s, Illinois State University communications professor Sandra Metts performed a study to find out whether having an emotional connection in particular telling “I love you” before having sexuality could have a positive impact on the where the relationship went.

Her study of almost 300 college-age men and women found that it indeed did.

In fact, Metts received, couples that had sexuality first and said “I love you” after had a negative experience: The introduction of that conversation was often awkward and apologetic.

love

Flickr/ partie traumatic

Though not a clear indicator of the exact timing to have sex, Metts’ study did provide a list of classic steps partners should take before they get physical, including first getting to know the person, sharing a first kiss, and then house to an expression of commitment. That emotional connect is one of the key elements of any relationship, Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist from the Washington, DC, area, told Business Insider in 2015.

Having a good level of communication and an understanding of where the relationship is headed 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.

Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist from California, agreed that being on the same page emotionally is helpful for seeing the best time to start having sex.

“The most important thing is you both concur not to push, ” he told Business Insider in 2015. “Be clear that the person is comfortable.”

In other words, it’s best to wait at least a little bit, at the least until you’re comfy with each other and have a better picture of what each person wants in the relationship. But when it comes to how long you wait, that depends.

Option 1: Wait as long as possible

In 2010, Dean Busby, the director of the school of family life at Brigham Young University, performed a study that suggested that the longer you delay sexuality especially if you wait until marriage the more stable and satisfying your relationship will be.

Brigham Young University, which money Busby’s research, is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which isn’t a fan of sex intimacy outside marriage.

At the same time, all social-science studies are somewhat subjective: Many are taken with surveys and interviews, and participants may respond based on what they think the researcher wants to hear.

Option 2: Give it a few months

Happy

Flickr/ bigbirdz

In Colemans experience, and based on the findings of studies, she suggests that at least three months into a relationship or when it’s clear the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over is the best time to start having sexuality. The honeymoon period is the first few months of a new relationship, when impressions of attraction are intense and it seems as if the person you’re with can do no wrong.

“You move past that, and your feet are more on the ground, ” she said. “I think that’s likely the phase at which[ Metts’ study] told, the couples who waited until that level fared a lot better than people who had sex on the first, second, or third date.”

Option 3: Devote it a few weeks

Goldsmith disagrees. He guesses the time after the honeymoon period is too late. By then, he says, the strong desire to have sex may have already subsided. And there’s data to back him up a 2012 analyze on sexual desire found that after the beginning phase of a relationship, sexual desire fells, particularly in women.

In his experience, a total of 36 hours expended together is all it takes. And that 36 hours doesn’t have to be consecutive, Goldsmith says it could be a dinner date plus a weekend afternoon spent together, and so on, until the hours add up. It would probably take a few weeks to add up.

Read the original article on Tech Insider. Cpyright 2017.

Watch next: We eventually learned the purpose of that extra shoelace hole on your sneakers

The post Science Says Couples In Lasting Relationships Typically wait This Long To Start Having Sex appeared first on womendatingcoach.com.

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