What a Better Marriage? Stop Touching

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What a Better Marriage? Stop Touching
If you’re single and searching for Mr. Right, touching too soon can break your budding romance.

If you’re married or in a committed relationship, touch is vital to your connection. Kissing, holding hands, caressing, and sex bind you and deepen your emotional connection.

But if you’re single and searching for Mr. Right, touching can break your budding romance. Casey can tell you all about that. She’s 32 years old, and a single mom. Recently she met Brandon, 29 years old and cute as heck. Here’s what happened, in her words.

“I started dating this cute guy. The first date was awesome and fun; he spent all week texting and calling. We also went on a second date in the middle of the week because he couldn’t wait to see me. We went out Saturday and had sex and now the texts and the calls are limited. Is that it?”

Before you jump to judgment about Casey, stop and think. When was the last time you saw a move with a romantic storyline in which the couple did NOT have sex on the first date? I’m talking about movies made within the last ten years. Right – me, too. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie featuring a couple getting to know each other without sex, over a long period of time. Let’s face it – that kind of story is not particularly exciting or dramatic, so don’t hold your breath waiting for Hollywood to give us those kinds of role models.

It’s no surprise that Casey is surprised about the demise of her latest relationship. I don’t see the role modeling in the media for waiting to have sex, let alone for putting off touch. Studies show that both men and women tend to model their dating habits after the information they glean from popular media. But new studies are revealing what we’ve known intuitively for ages: the sooner you touch and the sooner you have sex, the less likely you are to have a good marriage with your partner. That’s assuming that the relationship you accelerated into the bedroom even makes it to marriage. Most of them don’t.

One study, published in the August edition of The Journal of Family and Marriage, looked at couples who are married or live together. Their finding: that women who dated for at least six months before jumping into bed reported higher levels of satisfaction, commitment, and sexual satisfaction in their relationships.

Why is the timing of touch such a critical factor in relationship satisfaction? Because when couples begin touching, intimately and romantically, it sets off a powerful neurological and physiological chain reaction. That’s fancy verbiage for “chemistry.” If you have chemistry with someone, and you start touching them and being touched, it’s almost impossible to prevent your body from reacting to the urge to have sex. In fact, the only sure-fire way to avoid “sex too soon” is to stay in public venues for dates and limit alcohol consumption. But why, you might ask, would you want to avoid touching and having sex with someone you’re attracted to, especially when it feels so good?

Article contributed by
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Nina Atwood

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Nina Atwood, M.Ed., LPC
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Dating/Being Single Support
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