SEXUAL HEALTH

More Sex Is Tied to Happiness

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
 | 
November 04, 2015

But not if you’re having sex as a duty.

Will having more sex make your relationship happier?

Perhaps. A study of 732 older couples — including people ages 57 to 85 — found that they were happier as a pair if they had more sex, although the researchers note that the study asked about any kind of arousing touch, not necessarily the kind that leads to orgasm.  

It also helps if you think you’re having at least as much sex as your neighbors or peers, according to Tim Wadsworth, PhD, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder. In his analysis of government data from surveys of more than 15,300 people between 1993 and 2006, Wadsworth did see a statistical link between more frequent sex and greater happiness. Compared to people who said they hadn’t had sex in a year, those who had sex at least two to three times a month were 33 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness. If you had sex once a week, you were 44 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness. That figure jumped to 55 percent if you had sex two to three times a week.

This doesn’t mean the sex caused the happiness; it may be that happier people have more sex.

 

RELATED TOPIC: Sex Is Good for Your Health

 

Why you have sex counts, too, at least if you have sex because you’ve been asked to do so in a study. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University discovered this in a study of 64 male-female middle-aged couples. Half of the pairs agreed to double how much sex they had in a week; the other was given no instructions about sex.

For the next three months, the groups reported on their relationship satisfaction daily. The duos who upped their frequency ended up reporting less desire and enjoyment during sex. They were also slightly less pleased with their relationship.

Surprise — having sex as an assignment was a buzzkill. So much for any fantasies that you’d love a life as a porn star!

So what’s the best way to get a healthy amount of sex? A good marriage. Men tend to think they’d get more sex if they could take women to lots of expensive dinners. But according to one much-quoted large study, higher income does not buy men, or women, more sex or more partners. Married people have much more sex than those who are single, divorced, widowed, or separated. The happiness: maximizing number of sexual partners in the previous year is one. People who have been unfaithful to their spouses tend to be less happy, too.

How much sex is enough? Obviously that depends upon you and your partner. Among Americans aged 40 and over, 15 percent of women and 22 percent of men say they have sexual intercourse twice or more times a week. A quarter of those aged 40 and over say they are celibate.

The key takeaway here is that happier men and women are having more sex, but only a small percentage of people are getting it on often every week, and pushing yourself to make love as a chore will probably backfire. 

Updated:

November 04, 2015

Reviewed By:

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA

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