It all suggests that the “relational aspects of sexuality—and more specifically, the sharing of affection—are central in understanding why sex does good,” said lead researcher Anik Debrot.
Instead, they could “remember that sex is a great way to share an intimate and affectionate moment with your partner,” said Debrot, a research fellow at the University of Lausanne’s Institute of Psychology, in Switzerland.
She was based at the University of Toronto at the time of the study.
The findings are based on four studies of couples in the United States and Switzerland. Overall, the studies found, couples who were more sexually active tended to report greater satisfaction with life. They also had more “positive emotions”—both in general, and the morning after having sex.
But in each study, affection seemed to largely account for that sex-happiness link.
How much sex is normal?
When I confide to friends that I’m having sex less often than the much-quoted average of “a couple of times a week,” my friends then typically admit the same. “Sex life? What sex life?” is a common refrain among my peers.
In his book Mars and Venus in the Bedroom, John Gray describes the different ways in which men and women reach arousal. For women, arousal is usually a mental operation, requiring time to ‘switch off’ from the day’s activities and then to ‘switch on’ for pleasure. Quite often, it’s the delay between women’s and men’s responses that leads to sexual incompatibility.
Men and women differ in the degree to which their sexual act is attached to their physical, emotional, and relational well-being. Various reasons play a role among both genders, but for women, sexual function is heavily influenced by mental health and relationship quality.
By contrast, for men sexual health reflects physical health. This is also intuitive as the most common sexual disorders are due to problems with desire and erection for women and men, respectively.
Good sex makes us happy
Good sex is an inseparable part of our well-being and happiness. Those of us who engage in more sex report better quality of life. Sexual intercourse is linked to high satisfaction across life domains. In one of my studies on 551 married patients with heart disease, individuals who had a higher frequency of sexual intercourse reported higher marital quality, marital consensus, marital coherence, marital affection expression and overall marital satisfaction. These results are replicated in multiple studies.
In a study by another team, partners who both experienced orgasmduring sex were considerably happier. These findings are shown inside and outside of the United States.
Keep Your Marriage and Sex Life Healthy and Strong
- Communication is the key to a healthy and active sex life in a marital relationship, so talk with one another more! Be sure to talk about your innermost thoughts and feelings. Do so frequently!
- Share with one another your sexual desires. Be open and honest about what you want. You do not have to use this time to be critical of your partner.
- Talk with one another about your expectations concerning lovemaking. False or unmet expectations can hurt your marriage. If your expectations are not being met by your spouse, communicate this tactfully and sensitively.
- Sexual intimacy is a continuing process of discovery. True intimacythrough communication is what makes sex great.
- Sex in a long-lasting relationship can deepen and become a richer experience.
- When life becomes busy, and schedules are hectic, plan for sexual encounters with one another. Some people may find this undesirable, but it all depends on how you look at it. You can make this just as exciting as spontaneous sex. To make sex one of your main priorities means it may need to be scheduled.