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Does More Sex Lead to a Better Relationship?

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We've all got those friends who swear they're super satisfied with their relationship even though the last time they got busy was weeks ago. Well, according to a new study, they're not just B.S.-ing you—or, at least, they don't realize they are. (Psst... Ever wonder how often other people are having sex?)

The frequency with which you get frisky does impact how satisfied you are with your relationship, according to new research published in the journal Psychological Science but it's not as straightforward as you might think.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the more you and bae spend time in the bedroom, the more satisfied you should be—literally and figuratively. Sex serves as a way to bond you together (duh), which is important for those species-saving instincts like procreating and child-rearing. But whenever researchers ask couples how often they have sex and how satisfied they are with their overall relationship, they've found no correlation between how much sex you're having and how happy you are. (Another study even found that Having More Sex Won't Make You Happier in a Relationship.) What gives?

To explore this inconsistency, researchers from Florida State University tested not just the conscious responses of couples but also their unconscious feelings about their partners. In the study, 216 newlyweds took a survey to measure relationship satisfaction. They were asked questions about how good or bad their marriage was, how often they had sex, and how satisfied they were with both their partner and the relationship overall. Just like previous studies, there was no relationship between how often the couples had sex and their reported relationship satisfaction.

But then the couples completed a task to test their gut-level implicit feelings about their partner. Each participant was shown a word that they had to classify as either positive or negative, but before the word appeared, a photo of their partner flashed on the screen for a split second. The idea is that by priming the participants with the image of their S.O., their response time would be affected—the faster they responded to the positive words and the slower they responded to the negative words would indicate positive automatic subconscious feelings about their partner. (Find out How Your Relationship Is Linked to Your Health.)

Now the researchers found a correlation: The more often couples got busy, the more positive associations they had with their partner.

So does this mean if you're not having daily sessions between the sheets your relationship is doomed? No. But it does explain why you might start to feel more warm and fuzzy about the person you're sleeping with on the reg, without even realizing it. Bottom line: Sex can create majorly good vibes that we might not even notice; pay attention, and so use them wisely! (Need some inspiration? Try the Top Sex Positions In Countries Around the World.)

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