Sex makes people happy. And why not? It’s fun. It’s intimate. It’s not terribly time-consuming or expensive. It’s something you share with someone else.
You may conclude, therefore, that if you like sex then the more sex you have, the happier you’ll be.
Sex makes people happy. And why not? It’s fun. It’s intimate.
Except that’s not how it works.
No more than you’d be happier eating a steak at every meal just because you like steak, having more sex isn’t nearly as important as having quality sex.
“For this study, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and elsewhere recruited 64 adult couples, all married and heterosexual, and asked the volunteers how often they had sex, how enjoyable it was and how happy they were in general, based on standard questionnaires that measure mood and energy. Half the couples, picked randomly, were assigned to go about their lives as usual; the rest were told to double the frequency of sexual relations. If they had sex once a month (the minimum rate for inclusion in the study), make it twice; couples who had sex three times a week (the maximum rate for participants) were to go to six.”
Turns out that this did not make them happier.
“In fact, their well-being declined, especially in measures of energy and enthusiasm, as did the quality of the sex. Both men and women reported that the additional intercourse wasn’t much fun.”
Good sex is about mutual enjoyment, not merely frequency.
The researchers were surprised, but I wasn’t. The only time in my life when I didn’t enjoy sex was when I was being told (by biology) that I had to do it to conceive children. “C’mon, Evan, we only have two fertile days this month as tracked by my ovulation kit, so get it up and let’s make this thing happen!” Yeah, that’s not exactly the dirty talk that gets me going.
As a proud once-a-week guy (which, believe it or not, is evidently more than most of my married friends with toddlers), I can vouch for the idea that good sex is about mutual enjoyment, not merely frequency. Is it fun when I’m feeling extra randy and we go twice a week? Sure. But I wouldn’t want to be coerced into doing so.
Your thoughts, below, are always appreciated.