Research has shown that being wealthy does not guarantee happiness, but does the same hold true for sexual relations? A new study evaluated couples’ sexual frequency and found the “sweet spot” for sexual frequency. The findings were published online on November 18 in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science by researchers in the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
The study authors note that the media stresses, and research supports, the premise that the more sex one has, the happier he or she will feel. They reviewed data from three studies (a total of 30,645 individuals and found that the association between sexual frequency and well-being could not be graphed as a straight line, rather it plotted out as a curve (a curvilinear association). It found that sex is no longer associated with well-being at a frequency of more than once a week. In the first study reviewed, the association between sexual frequency and well-being was only significant for people in relationships. In the other two studies, which included only people in relationships, sexual frequency had a curvilinear association with relationship satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction facilitated the association between sexual frequency and well-being. For people in relationships, sexual frequency was no longer significantly associated with well-being at a frequency greater than once a week.
The researchers found that couples who have sex once a week are happier than those who have sex less often; however, having sex more frequently than once a week was not associated with greater well-being. The findings remained significant regardless of gender, age, or the length of a relationship. The study also found that couples who had sex less than once a month and those who had sex once a week reported a difference in life satisfaction that was even greater than that reported by couples who earn $15,000 to $25,000 annually and those who earn $50,000 to $75,000. The researchers could not determine why having sex once a week appeared to be ideal; however, they did suggest that this frequency was adequate for couples to maintain their intimate connection. In regard to those who are single, the researchers found no association between sexual frequency and happiness. They also determined that men and women tend to want sex at different times of the day.
Take home message:
It must be noted that, although the study found that sexual relations more often than once a week increased happiness, one should not conclude that sex relations once a week are not of value. Frequency of sex relations is dependent upon each couple’s preferences, and as long as it is not excessive (e.g., interfering with work or other essential daily activities), any mutually satisfactory frequency is acceptable.