Are couples that do it on the reg — despite life's other stressors or the amount of time they've been together — happier than those who do it less often?
Actually, no, according to a new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. They’re no happier than couples that have sex at least once a week. But you've gotta make it count.
“Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week,” head researcher Amy Muise said in a press release. “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.”
Oh, and for all you single people: there doesn't seem to be a consistent association between sexual frequency and happiness.
The study was based on an analysis of the results of surveys of more than 30,000 Americans collected over 40 years in three different projects. It’s the first study that finds that intercourse could be one of those activities that offers diminishing returns, sort of like the study that said money can buy happiness — but not after $75,000 a year.
And despite myths that sex is more important to men, and less important to both genders with age and amount of time in a relationship, the "findings were consistent for men and women, younger and older people, and couples who had been married for a few years or decades,” said Muise.
But before you send your partner a searing glare from across the room, keep in mind that the study couldn’t prove cause and effect. In other worse: experts don’t know if happier couples tend to have more sex (up to once a week) or if having sex once a week makes couples happier.
Still, the study is significant because it shows us that we don't need to be constantly desiring and having sex to be happy in a relationship.
“The current set of studies help dispel the notion that sex has limitless benefits for well-being,” the authors wrote. “It’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner without putting too much pressure on engaging in sex as frequently as possible."
Quality, in sex's case, definitely trumps quantity.
(h/t The Guardian)