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Gender had a relatively small influence on the dependent variables. These patterns were statistically significant even when controlling for a variety of other variables such as respondents’ number of prior sexual partners, education levels, religiosity, and relationship length.For the other dependent variables, the participants who waited to be sexual until after marriage had significantly higher levels of communication and sexual quality compared to the other two sexual timing groups. The second study, by Sharon Sassler and her colleagues at Cornell University, also found that rapid sexual involvement has adverse long-term implications for relationship quality.

As the following five tales illuminate, there are remedies to cure some common moral hangovers and avoid future ones: “He bored me to death, but he is my friend’s friend, so I tried to be nice,” says Alex, describing a date that led to a moral hangover. The friend who fixed us up got mad at me, and I guess I don’t blame her.” Hangover remedy: Alex may not have wanted to “deal with it,” but most of the time, you end up having to deal with it anyway, by awkwardly running into your date or, in Alex’s case, getting lambasted by the mutual friend who fixed him up. “Occasionally, I’ll tell a white lie and say that I’m preoccupied with work and can’t focus on dating right now.” “My friends call me ‘runaway guy’,” says Atlanta native James, 32.

“It was bad because I’d made such a point about wanting to build a relationship slowly.” Hangover remedy: There’s no going back and “unsleeping with someone,” but, it’s not always a deal-breaker.


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