Sex sells. That may be an age-old advertising mantra, but it isn’t too far from the truth when it comes to how the media, or even the larger world, view people and relationships. Check out any magazine for men or women or on health and you will find at least one story on sex – how great it is, how to make it better … You can easily be led to believe that everyone but you is having a lot of sex and is much happier for it! So what’s the golden number – how much sex should you actually be having to stay happy?
The More the Merrier?
Popular belief is that a strong romantic relationship between two people requires high levels of physical intimacy. This is probably true, but then it’s left to each couple to define and decide that optimum level of physicality. For some, just cuddling in front of the television or kissing may be the perfect way to feel and stay connected. For others, a good roll in the hay may be important to satisfy their
A recent study looked at the happiness quotient and frequency of sex of over 30,000 Americans. The results were a huge surprise. Irrespective of gender, age, and length of relationship, the verdict was the same – sex once a week kept people happy and content.1 Beyond that, more sex didn’t necessarily mean a happier life or a greater sense of well-being.
The Sex Effect
The weekly ritual can give your body and relationship a boost by acting on three different brain systems.
- Stimulation of the entire body, especially the genitals, pumps up the dopamine system and creates a feeling of romantic love.
- Orgasms lead to the production of oxytocin, creating a sense of a deep, meaningful relationship.
- Sex increases the testosterone level, kicking the
So why wouldn’t people just want to have sex every day and amp up their well-being?
What Factors Play a Role?
How much you derive from any sexual encounter depends on the context of the engagement – your own gender and predisposition; whether it’s happening within a stable marriage/commitment or is random; whether or not multiple partners are involved; and even whether you have to pay for it! Researchers looked into these factors and the resulting “happiness” and found some interesting trends.2
- Men and women enjoy sex equally. What we see and read may have us believe that man is the sex machine, but women are just as inclined to want and enjoy sex.
- Sex is associated positively with happiness irrespective of age.
- Again, most people have sex once in a week. So something about this frequency is enough to keep people happy and in the game!
- Married folks have more sex as do highly educated women.
- Homosexuality doesn’t swing the happiness trend in either direction.
- You knew you can’t buy love but turns out you can’t buy sex either! Those with more money weren’t able to buy more partners or more sex.
Turns out sex is as universal as it was intended to be. It isn’t necessarily something young men enjoy in quantity over quality. And marriage doesn’t have to mean the death of intimacy in a couple. Now that’s turning some stereotypical notions on their head!
Sexing Up Your Happiness
The human species is designed to need, crave, and enjoy sex so that it may reproduce and keep the race going. But it’s good to know that while sex is important in a relationship, there’s only so much happiness to be derived from it. High scores don’t really matter. Having a partner and having sex at a regular frequency seem to be enough to keep the spirits high!
|↑1||Muise, Amy, Ulrich Schimmack, and Emily A. Impett. “Sexual frequency predicts greater well-being, but more is not always better.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 7, no. 4 (2016): 295-302.|
|↑2||Blanchflower, David G., and Andrew J. Oswald. “Money, sex and happiness: An empirical study.” The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 106, no. 3 (2004): 393-415.|