Lead researcher, Dr. Amy Muise, said, “Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week. Our findings suggest that it’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, but you don’t need to have sex every day as long as you’re maintaining that connection.”
Previous research has suggested that a high frequency of sex leads to greater happiness, but the latest findings, based on surveys of over 30,000 Americans, is the first to reveal that frequency does not actually contribute to greater happiness as much as regular weekly sex does. The study does not point to the causal process, so it does not reveal if being in a happier relationship leads to frequent sex or if having sex once a week causes happiness.
The findings are also based on those in a romantic relationship and did not reveal an association between single individuals and sexual frequency. For single individuals happiness is based on more factors, such as the relationship context in which the sex occurs and how comfortable they are having sex outside of a relationship. The findings are also representative of most heterosexual relationships.
In one study survey responses of 25,000 Americans were analyzed. Happiness was found to increase with frequent sex unless they engaged in sex more than once a week. Previous studies reported that established couples generally have sex about once a week.
There was also no difference seen between genders and their desire for sex – even though it is commonly believed that men want it more than women. Dr. Muise added, “Our findings were consistent for men and women, younger and older people, and couples who had been married for a few years or decades.”
The researchers also conducted an online survey using 335 people, which showed that sex led to greater happiness than money. Dr. Muise explained, “People often think that more money and more sex equal more happiness, but this is only true up to a point.”
A third analysis looked at survey responses from 2,400 married couples over the course of 14 years. There was no association between sex frequency and happiness, but life satisfaction increased if sex took place once a week.
Dr. Muise suggests that couples should discuss whether their sexual needs are being met, and the research does not necessarily suggest couples should engage in more or less sex. “It’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner without putting too much pressure on engaging in sex as frequently as possible,” Dr. Muise concluded.
The findings were published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.