Scientists have finally worked out how long you should wait before having sex in a relationship
Getting into a new relationship is almost always exciting, but it can be pretty difficult too. For instance, finding out a person's likes and dislikes can be a little risky - especially if they don't entirely conform with your own - and approaching the physical side of things can be nervewracking as well.
Some people tend to rush into things, and end up doing the deed before they even know the other person's surname, while others wait it out for months (or sometimes even years) until they know they're fully committed to one another.
But what is the ideal time to wait before bumping uglies with that special someone? Well, science has the answer. Or, at least, it has several - but each one will apply to different types of people.
The first option, according to Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist from California, is to wait until you've spent 36 hours in the other person's company. Of course, this doesn't mean you spend a day and a half with someone and then start stripping off when the clock hits hour 36, but rather that you spend that amount of time with someone over the course of a matter of weeks.
During that time, you could go on a couple of dinner dates, an evening stroll or two, and maybe a lazy Sunday together. Whatever you do, though, the point is to have enough time to actually get to know the person before jumping into bed together.
If the couple waits much longer than this, however, their sexual attraction to one another could subside, and the entire relationship could be put at risk.
But if that sounds like rushing into things a bit too quickly, then the second option might be the one for you.
If you trust what psychotherapist Toni Coleman has to say, then you should wait at least a few months into the relationship before engaging in humankind's favorite pastime. This is so that the "honeymoon period" has a chance to subside, and you have a more certain idea of how you feel about the other person without any sexual urges clouding your judgment.
"You move past that, and your feet are more on the ground," Coleman said.
But if that still seems like a bit of a rush to you, there is a third option: wait until marriage.
It might sound archaic, but some people whose religious beliefs dictate that they must wait until they are legally confirmed as a couple before doing the horizontal hula have claimed that it strengthens relationships to do so. There isn't a whole lot of scientific evidence to back this up; but Dean Busby, the director of the school of family life at Brigham Young University once conducted an observational study which basically showed that the best approach was to wait as long as possible (until marriage, if you can help it) before sleeping together.
Ultimately, though, the only people who are going to know what's right for them will be the ones who are actually in the relationship. Talk to one another about it, consider your own emotions before rushing into anything, and really consider what it is that you want to get out of a relationship. Otherwise, the only person you'll end up screwing is yourself.