Abstinence Gets Some “Scientific” Support

In an age characterized by scientism and what one of my colleagues calls the “mathematization of man,” some people won’t believe a proposition unless you can back it up with statistical evidence of some kind. Now it looks like those of us who say premarital sex isn’t a good idea have some of that evidence.

As reported in the Economist this week, a new study surveyed thousands of married people to find whether couples who wait until marriage to have sex have healthier relationships. After controlling for religiosity, income, race, education, and length of relationship, they found that couples who practice abstinence before marriage do in fact have better communication, more satisfying sex, and more stable relationships with their spouses.

We find this weird comment at the bottom of the article:

Dr Busby’s method cannot distinguish the cause of this. It could be, as many moralists preach, that the delay itself is improving. It could, though, be that the sort of people who are happy to delay having sex are also better at relationships. Correlation, in other words, rather than causation.

First let’s replace the silly word “happy” with “willing” in the penultimate statement above; surely there are many abstaining people out there who aren’t necessarily “happy” about it. But it does mean that they could have a measure of self-control that others do not. Surely that self-control would be beneficial in a marriage, wouldn’t it? Either way, it doesn’t invalidate the “moralists'” arguments about abstinence.

So our case has another arrow in its quiver. Just wait, though. Someone out there will surely make the argument that this study can’t be accurate because it came out of BYU.

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About Dr. J

I am an Associate Professor and head of the Department of Humanities at Faulkner University. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy.
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One Response to Abstinence Gets Some “Scientific” Support

  1. Pingback: Who Decided What the Code of Sexual Morality Should Be? « TopCat2x2's Blog

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