Does More Sex Make You Happier?
In a relationship, happiness and intimacy seem to be two sides of the same coin. When you have one, you probably have the other.
So if you’re happy, you’ll probably have sex more often. And if you have sex more often, you’ll probably be happier, right?
Lots of self help books, love gurus, and life coaches preach this message. If you’re intimate with your partner more often, it’ll make you feel more connected to your partner. And when you feel more connected, you’ll be more happy.
But then, a study in May 2015 reported the opposite. That more sex, in fact, did not increase happiness.
New research published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality say that this isn’t a black or white question. The answer is a bit more naunced. And might give us a little light on the subject.
So does More Sex Make You Happier? Let’s find out.
Between the Sheets
Let’s talk about the study back in May that was published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon were the first to provide evidence that love gurus had it all wrong.
They looked at 128 different couple between the ages of 35 to 65.
They split the couples up into two groups. The first group received no instructions on how often to have sex. The other group was told to double their sexual frequency.
Happiness levels and behavior was measured before the study and multiple times throughout. The couples that had increased their frequency didn’t increase their happiness. In fact, there was a small decrease.
The couples also reported lower sexual desire and enjoyment. However, the scientists thought this might have been because they were asked, instead of initiating it on their own accounts.
A Deeper Look
The study from Carnegie Mellon didn’t answer all the questions. And it didn’t explain why previous research had different results.
A more ambitious study – published Social Psychological and Personality Science – looked at surveys of over 30,000 Americans collected over 4 decades.
What they found was that happiness increased with frequency of sex, but only up to a point. Anything more than once a week and this was no longer true. This would explain way previous research found a positive association.
The researchers also analyzed another set of data gathered over 14 years from over 2,400 married couples. Here, they saw two different things.
They saw there was no association between sexual frequency and overall life satisfaction. They did, however, see more satisfaction with the relationship. But again, this link was only observed with sex being had between couples once a week. No benefit was found for more than that.
So what if you’re single?
The team of scientists found no association at all between sexual frequency and happiness when looking at singles. Most likely there’s more variables in their equation, so they’ll have to wait for answers.
It appears that there is a sweet spot of around once a week to hit peak happiness and relationship satisfaction levels.
However, remember that these are just averages. Individuals, and more importantly, couples are all different. So it’s best to use it as a guideline, and find out what works best for you and your partner.
Amy Muise, a researcher and author on the study, summed up the research by saying this:
“Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week.”
So what actually increases happiness?
Here’s Amy’s take:
“Our findings suggest that it’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, but you don’t need to have sex everyday as long as you’re maintaining that connection.”