One of the biggest articles of faith of modern, liberal societies is that the sexual freedoms now available to us have made people happier and more fulfilled. An accompanying belief is that we needed to slay the ‘dragon’ of religious sexual repression in order to win our freedoms. But now a major new study has been published which shows that religious believers, and more specifically religious women, are more fulfilled in their sex lives than their secular counterparts.
The study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, draws on a huge, nationally representative sample of thousands of British people aged 18-60.
Citing previous studies, the researchers set out the hypothesis that “higher sexual satisfaction among religious individuals may at least partly be attributable to higher investment in long-term partnerships and relationship intimacy”.
The authors refer to other studies which show that “those who attend church more frequently are more likely to be married” and less likely to be divorced.
They point out that sex frequency is correlated with “satisfaction from sex life”, but that this link is “significantly associated with happiness only among those who were in a romantic relationship”.
Drawing on their sample of thousands, and cross-correlating levels of religiosity with sexual fulfilment, the authors find that “more religious women reported higher sexual satisfaction than less religious women”.
This is not surprising if women are more likely to want to feel properly valued and loved by their sexual partners compared with men and religious women are more likely to be married compared with their secular peers.
The researchers place their study in the broader context of radically changed social norms which have, among other things, led to the postponement of union formation, including marriage.
If you’re not living with your sexual partner, you are likely to be having sex less often, which stands to reason as a general rule. That alone reduces sexual satisfaction. In addition, if you are having sex outside a committed relationship, then women in particular are likely to feel less valued which also reduces sexual happiness.
Tellingly, the authors state: “…the decline in religiosity and the rise of the single population are likely to exacerbate these trends”.
The sex revolution was supposed to increase both frequency of sex and sexual happiness, but the opposite seems to be happening.
Sex education is supposed to be concerned with the ‘facts of life’. If so, then young people should be told that detaching sex from love, commitment, and yes, marriage as well, might not have brought about the promised paradise after all and it is time for a reassessment. That reassessment is backed by a growing body of evidence.