A recent BYU study about the benefits of saving sex until marriage is echoing across the country, highlighting the growing divide between Americans who scoff at abstinence and sexual fidelity and those who value traditional marriage and monogamous, post-marital sex.

An article in The Economist reiterated the finding by BYU professor Dean Busby and his colleagues that couples who waited until after they were married to engage in physical intimacy reported 22 percent higher levels of relational stability, 20 percent higher levels of satisfaction, 15 percent better sexual quality and 12 percent better communication than couples who didnt.

The BYU study was also picked up by the Boston Globe, AOL Health.com and myriad blogs.

Sex is important, Busby told the Deseret News. But youve got to be able to talk to one another, got to be able to have a common take on life, so you can go through the struggles that occur, instead of just having fun.

Busby pointed out that sex too early can overshadow other important parts of the relationship, causing them to be underdeveloped or ignored.

It could be, as many moralists preach, that the delay itself is improving, according to The Economists article. It could, though, be that the sort of people who are happy to delay having sex are also better at relationships.

Yet for many young adults today, becoming better at relationships is synonymous with sexual experimentation to ensure sexual chemistry — with abstinence nowhere in the picture.

The thinking among young American adults is that good sex should emerge rapidly and silently with the commencement of a sexual relationship, and if sex is awkward, this means the chemistry just isnt there, writes Cheryl Wetzstein in the Washington Times.

Her comments rely on findings by from the book Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About Marrying, by Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Jeremy Uecker, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In the book, Regnerus and Uecker explain how young adults follow certain scripts that encourage them to wait to get married for several reasons. Besides finding someone with a complimentary sexual chemistry, theres also the desire for increased financial stability, time to be their own person and a chance to travel without settling down.

My reaction to this list? Wetzstein writes, Relationship-skills education cannot be introduced fast enough.

And now is the perfect time to begin such a conversation, at the start of National Marriage Week and with Valentines Day around the corner, which many teens have pledged to make a Day of Purity.

For those already married, Utah is offering several National Marriage Week events across the state to help couples improve communication, affair-proof their marriage and learn how to better date their spouses.

Such emphasis is needed, many say, because for every pro-marriage, pro-abstinence article published, young adults can also find articles and advice on how to become more sexually appealing and increase their sexual chemistry. Like the website WebMD.com, which picked up the BYU article, yet on the same web page offered links to other articles like Sex Ed for the Suddenly Single, and Virginity Lost, Experience Gained.