We live in a world of instant gratification.
Want this package shipped across the country by tomorrow? $20.
Want to eat some delicious bacon? Microwave this for five seconds and voila!
Want to find true love? You can find a partner by next weekend.
But can the speed at which we rush into loving someone sometimes affect us negatively?
Some really important sounding studies say “yes… yes it can.”
The Trouble With Fast Love
Have you heard of the Cohabitation Effect? It basically states that people who live together before they get married are actually doing more harm than good (statistically speaking) for their relationship’s long term health.
One possible reason for this is that by just sliding through each phase of commitment (date, kiss, have sex, move in, get engaged, etc.) the couple misses out on making actual concrete decisions together for the direction that their relationship is taking.
New research out of Cornell University is now showing that the same effect takes place when people rush into the bedroom too quickly during the early stages of a new relationship.
Believe me, I am one of the most sex-positive, anti-slut shaming guys I know, and I am not recommending that you need to wait a year before getting physically intimate just to make your relationship work. And yet these findings don’t surprise me in the slightest.
Having sex with someone is one of the most deeply personal and intimate acts you can engage in. Going with the hetero-normative definition of sexual intercourse, and depending on your gender, you either open to allow someone to put a piece of themselves inside of you, or you open someone else with your most sensitive and tender parts. Whether we want to admit it or not, sex can be an extremely vulnerable and nerve-racking experience (and beautiful, and warm, and tender, and lots of other positive adjectives too).
So is it that surprising to find out that couples who waited longer than a month to first have sex reported significantly higher levels of relationship satisfaction down the road?
Speaking from personal experience, every time that I have fallen the most deeply in love with my partner it has been when I had waited at least a month before having sex with them.
Why Are People Rushing Towards Sex?
Remember when you were younger and making out with someone would make your head spin with all of the dizzy, happy chemicals? You would do it for hours just to get a high from it. Well guess what? That never ended. People just tend to gloss over it faster as they grow older.
I can’t tell you how many men and women I have talked to in my coaching practice who complain about feeling too rushed. The stranger part? By far the majority of these people are male.
Men were raised with the social conditioning that taught them that “all men are sex crazed” and it’s strange if they didn’t want to always have sex at the drop of a hat. Because of this, many men rush into physical intimacy faster than they want to because they believe it’s expected of them.
And guess what? You don’t have to rush in. Why? Because fools rush in. Chandler Bing told me so.
Take Your Time, Make Your Relationship Last
It’s always important to be intentional about your love life.
Racing from one fling to the next leads to overall poorer emotional fulfillment and dramatically decreases the chance of your relationship lasting if you choose to get married to each other.
So slow down, think about what you want out of your love life, find a partner who embodies the morals and values that you know you need long term to be happy, and take your time easing into the relationship.
There’s a big difference between wanting and having. In fact, our bodies have two different kinds of pleasure systems available to us psychologically… we have an anticipatory pleasure system, and a consummatory pleasure system.
The anticipatory pleasure system is activated when you imagine yourself having something that you want (sex, a vacation, a delicious meal). The dopamine drip that you get from this feeling can last almost indefinitely. This is part of the reason why always having a vacation set in your near-distant future is so good for your mental health.
The consummatory pleasure system is activated when you get the thing that you have been wanting (sex, a vacation, your delicious meal). The happiness chemical burst that you get from having what you want is much shorter and passes quite quickly.
The moral of the story? Don’t rush haphazardly into your new romance. The future of your intimate relationship might depend on it.
Dedicated to your success,