One of our world’s most persistent myths is that religion is the enemy of good sex. The idea of Christians as repressed Puritan prudes—as historically inaccurate as that is—still exerts enormous power over our imaginations.
The other side of that myth is perpetuated in the glamorous portrayals in movies and TV of sexual liberation juxtaposed alongside frigid marriages. The message is clear: Faith and tradition are shackles that must be shed if we are to enjoy the kind of freedom the sexual revolution promises.
But here’s the truth: It’s a false promise—as false as the idea that religion puts a damper on sex. A sweeping new study by the Institute for Family Studies at Brigham Young University reveals that, in terms of both sexual satisfaction and relationship quality, highly religious couples fare better than the non-religious.
In their report, entitled, “The Ties that Bind: Is Faith a Global Force for Good or Ill in the Family?,” the authors looked at data from eleven countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Canada, and Argentina. What they found was striking: Highly religious couples “enjoy higher-quality relationships and more sexual satisfaction,” have more children on average, and are far less likely to have cheated on their spouse.
The correlation of religion with good relationships was especially pronounced among women. Those in highly religious marriages were fifty percent more likely to report being “strongly satisfied” sexually than their secular and less religious counterparts. And in a relationship quality index that took into account attachment, commitment, satisfaction, and stability, highly religious women whose husbands shared their faith were ahead of every other group.
So why are religious couples so doggone smitten? Why is religious devotion, in particular, such a powerful predictor of marital bliss? There are a couple of possible reasons.
First, as Bradford Wilcox and Lyman Stone write in The Atlantic, American young adults have been hit by two major recessions: one of happiness and the other of sex. Wilcox and Stone think the two are related. After all, as one Dartmouth study found, having sex at least once a week provides the same happiness boost as a $50,000 raise.
To be blunt, married couples get more raises. Contrary to the sitcom portrayals of marriage as the old ball-and-chain, those who say “I do” and stick with it have sex five times more often than their unmarried neighbors.
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Source: Christian Headlines