Three-quarters of Christian students think it is important to become or be good at sex, according to a study by the Dutch daily paper in cooperation with researchers Daphne van de Bongardt (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Hans van Dijk (Tilburg University). Some 89 percent of those questioned said they considered sex important and 79 percent regarded good sex as essential to a good marriage.
Sociologist and educationalist Daphne van de Bongardt is project leader of the Erasmus Love Lab, a team of scientists that researches intimate relationships, love and sexuality. Van de Bongardt is currently researching the sexual experience and health of teenagers and people in their twenties; it is one of the reasons why she is involved in this paper's research on Christian students from her expertise.
Still little research into the sexual experiences of young people
According to Van de Bongardt, researchers are increasingly looking at the connection between young people's sexual experiences and the type of relationship. "Of course, it seems logical that to understand young people's sexual experiences, you also look at who they have these experiences with, but surprisingly, not much research has been done on this," Van de Bongardt explains. "Yet we see more and more, and thus also in this research, how one is inseparable from the other. Most young people have their sexual experiences largely with someone with whom they are also in a relationship."
"Most young people largely have their sexual experiences with someone with whom they are also in a relationship."
The survey shows that the vast majority of Christian students do not see sex before marriage as wrong. "Although the vast majority of respondents indicated that sex before marriage is usually not wrong (70 percent), it also appears that almost three-quarters think that sex does belong in a relationship," says Van de Bongardt.
Van de Bongardt's own research shows that the way young people experience sexuality also depends on whether they are in a good or bad relationship. "This shows, for example, that young adults themselves indicate that a good relationship, in which there is room for emotional intimacy and open communication, has a positive influence on the sex they have. And vice versa, that good sex, in which you can experience certain tension or security together, can also ensure a better atmosphere in other aspects of your relationship."