Everyone knows that relationship dynamics change over time, but how does sex change things? In a new study, researchers set out to discover what happens to a relationship after couples have sex for the first time.
The study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, found what happened to the relationships of 2,744 hetero American men and women after the first sexual encounter. Researchers tracked the relationship trajectories of 18- to 39-year-olds by pulling data from the National Survey of Family Growth between 2006 and 2010.
What’s the biggest trend that came from their research? Well, more often than not, relationships are often transitory after the first sexual encounter. While that may seem to be discouraging for people who are looking to turn their hookup into a relationship, the future doesn’t look to be too bad. In fact, your background could also play an important role in determining relationship progress or failure.
But according to the study’s authors, everyone is different. People have different feelings about what types of relationships they want to be in. Some people think relationships can stem from hookups, while others don’t expect them to lead to anything substantial. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, here’s what the study found:
1. Relationship Potential Is Determined Within The First 12 Months
People either moved in or moved on within the first 12 months after having sex with someone. According to the research, 27 percent of people started living together — that’s a little more than one in four people. Only 23 percent of people were still seeing each other, but weren’t living together. However, about half the people said they had broken up.
2. A Third Of Relationships Lasted Less Than Six Months After The First Time A Couple Had Sex
According to the study, about a third of people broke up before they could reach the six-month mark. People under 25 were more likely to end their relationships much quicker.
3. Your Parents May Influence How Likely You Are To Move In With A Partner
Individuals whose parents were remarried were more likely to move in with their partners much quicker. According to researchers, that’s probably because previous studies have found a link between parental remarriage and leaving home sooner.
4. Your Mom’s Education Can Also Determine When You Move In With A Partner
As the study found, individuals whose mothers had higher education were more likely to delay cohabitation. They pinpoint this reasoning to be that those who came from “economically advantaged backgrounds” didn’t feel the rush to leave home so quickly.
5. Is It Worth It To Wait?
Previous research has found benefits to holding off on sex if you want a long-lasting relationship. As Sharon Sassler, a professor at Cornell and co-author of the study told Tech Insider, "I would argue that relationships take time to develop — so try to take your time in a new sexual relationship before discussing the possibility of living together. Make sure there are enough talks about what the expectations are … The relationships that I've observed that are higher quality are often the ones that unfold over time. Get to know the other person a bit. See how good they are at making coffee and cooking you breakfast."
But remember, some people advocate for having sex on the first date, others wait it out until after dates 3-5 or longer. Ultimately, it's up to determine what's best for you and the type of relationship you want.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our video on sex positions for small penises:
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