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According to a new study, couples who engage in faith-based activities at home (like reading the Bible) and view their marriage relationship as sacred report higher sexual satisfaction than couples who aren’t religious or who merely attend religious services together. The findings, published in the academic journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, are from surveys of more than 1,300 U.S. married couples, ages 18 to 45.
“Religion helps encourage people to improve their relationships overall, and a better relationship leads to higher reports of sexual satisfaction. That is really important,” says co-author Jeffrey Dew, associate professor of family life at Brigham Young University. “In a hyper-sexualized culture, sex has almost become an end in and of itself. Well, religion is one of those things that will help people improve their relationship, which will lead as a byproduct to better sex.”
Study - Religiosity - Married - Couples - Satisfaction
The study, titled “Joint Religiosity and Married Couples’ Sexual Satisfaction,” is groundbreaking for several reasons, according to Dew and his co-authors. Previous research into sex and religion has mainly explored nonmarital sexual activity, and those studies that have focused on sexual satisfaction within marriage tend to define that mainly in terms of sexual frequency. In addition, most research delves into the religiosity of individuals, which “is problematic because within marriage, religion is both an individual-level and couple-level phenomenon,” the study notes.
Although attending worship services together certainly can contribute to marital unity and happiness, this study found no correlation between churchgoing and a couple’s sexual satisfaction. “There’s a little more likelihood one spouse is sort of dragging the other: ‘I am sitting in the pew with you for an hour, but I am not really engaged in this activity,’” says study co-author Brian Willoughby, also an associate professor of family life at BYU.
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