Premarital sexual pathways and relationship development

F. Scott Christopher, Rodney M. Cate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Fifty-four dating couples were interviewed in an investigation of the interrelationship of premarital sexual intimacy and relationship development. Using a cluster analytic procedure, the couples were divided into sexual pathway groups based on the developmental progression of their sexual involvement over four points in time (first date, casually dating, considering becoming a couple, and the couple stage of dating). The cluster analysis resulted in four pathway types: (a) rapid-involvement couples, (b) gradual-involvement couples, (c) delayed-involvement couples, and (d) low-involvement couples. Comparisons between individuals who followed the different sexual pathways on selected relationship dimensions revealed that couples reportedly experienced significant increases in conflict as they approached orgasmically-oriented sexual activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-288
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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