Science Says Sex Too Early In A Relationship Can F*ck Up Your Marriage

by John Haltiwanger

Over the past several years, there's been a lot of debate surrounding the "hookup culture" of Generation-Y. If you're unfamiliar with this concept, it's the notion that this generation has overwhelmingly replaced traditional dating with casual sexual encounters.

Some worry this trend is leading to insecurity and, in turn, increased instances of depression and anxiety. Many have also blamed it on the ostensible lack of enthusiasm for marriage amongst Millennials.

Correspondingly, people under the age of 35 are increasingly comfortable with having children outside of wedlock.

In other words, people hold the hookup culture accountable for this generation's aversion to long-term relationships.

And even if Millennials are in committed relationships, the romance probably began with a drunken hookup.

There was likely no period of courtship involving dinner dates, flowers and drive-in movies. In all likelihood, serious relationships between Millennials began with a night of beer pong and shooters that culminated with clothes being taken off in a moldy dorm room.

More often than not, these hookups are only a one-time thing. If two young people find these casual encounters occur with a steady frequency, weekend after weekend, then they are considered to be "hooking up."

Eventually, this could lead to a full-blown relationship. These lovebirds might even change their status on Facebook to "in a relationship." This is the hookup culture in a nutshell.

In this day and age, being in a relationship doesn't have much to do with time spent with one another or the intimacy shared. It's more of a mindset than anything else -- a verbal recognition that exclusivity has been established.

The great speculation surrounding the "hookup culture" is whether or not this mindset is damaging to the mental and physical health of Generation-Y.

After all, it goes without saying that if you take the love out of sex, it skews people's perceptions of relationships.

Relatedly, a new study from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia presents some interesting findings surrounding sex and marriage in relation to Millennials.

It found that people with more casual sexual encounters under their belts -- and more partners in general -- were at greater risk for divorce. This was also true if they'd lived with partners other than the individual they ended up marrying.

The research also suggests that having sex, or hooking up, early on in a relationship can lead to an unsuccessful marriage later. What's more, if the relationship that led to the marriage began with a hookup, it was even more likely to be unsatisfactory.

This was even true for couples that had only had sex with each other before marriage. These findings are interesting, given many feel that physical compatibility is extremely important if two people hope to have a happy marriage.

What this study suggests is when a couple waits to have sex, it becomes more satisfactory and fulfilling in the long run. This is because the people are really able to ensure they're compatible on a psychological and emotional level.

In many ways, this comes as no surprise as it has been suggested that the brain is the most powerful sexual organ. If you're already connected to a person mentally, and you're physically attracted to them on top of it, forming an intimate relationship should be pretty easy later on.

It's also not shocking to believe that having many prior hookups can lead to an unsatisfactory marriage. It might leave you constantly comparing your partner to past encounters and wondering what else is out there.

While this study is but a limited sample of data surrounding Millennials, hookups and marriage, it's also very telling. Perhaps the hookup culture really is destroying this generation's ability to avoid divorce -- or get married at all.

Citations: Before I Do (National Marriage Project), The Casual Sex Project Reveals The Truth About Hookup Culture (Huffington Post), Casual sex makes you depressed and anxious finds new study (Daily Mail ), Why 25 of Millennials Will Never Get Married (Time ), Millennials Are Marrying Later Than Every Other Generation (Huffington Post), For More Millennials Its Kids First Marriage Maybe (NPR), On Transgender Issues We Tend to Forget Our Most Powerful Sexual Organ Is the Brain (Huffington Post)