Couples who are highly religious are more likely to be satisfied with their sex life than those who are less religious or who claim no religion, according to a new report.
The World Family Map report by the Institute for Family Studies was based on 9,566 interviews in 11 countries.
“There is a strong association between shared regular participation in a religious community and both relationship quality and sexual satisfaction in our sample of married and cohabiting heterosexual couples,” says the report, which was released this month.
“While both women and men in highly religious couples reported significantly higher overall relationship quality and satisfaction with their sex life, the results in both cases were strongest for women in these couples. In fact, women in highly religious relationships are about 50% more likely to report that they are strongly satisfied with their sexual relationship than their secular and less religious counterparts,” it says.
The report placed couples into three groups. “Highly religious” couples were defined as those who attend services at least 2-3 times a month. “Less/mixed” religious couples were those who attend services once per month or less, or that include one partner who regularly attends and another partner who rarely or never attends. “Shared secular” couples were those who never attend religious services.
“We also found that married couples reported significantly higher levels of relationship quality than cohabiting couples,” the report says.
The National Review’s David French said the report provides a stark contrast to the conventional wisdom in the entertainment world.
“How many happy, sexually vibrant religious married couples have you seen on popular television shows or movies — even in this era of fragmented, targeted entertainment?” he asked in a Wednesday column. “Now, compare that number (which is very, very close to zero) with the number of times you’ve seen liberation from religion portrayed as the key to sexual fulfillment.”
Sexual liberation, he wrote, “has all too often” brought “neither sex nor liberation.”
“[T]hanks to the work of the IFS, we can respond to felt need with real data,” French wrote. “Are you seeking love in this life? The church doors are always open, and while matchmaking isn’t its purpose, the connection to a holy God carries with it connection to his flawd people, and in those connections you can find profound joy.”
The 11 countries surveyed were Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom and the United States. The World Family Map report only included data from married or cohabitating heterosexual couples.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Denisse Leon/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.