Hollywood movies and other romanticized depictions of love like to imagine "good sex" as a spontaneous splurge of impulsive animal desire. However, according to a new German study, the key to a healthy and fulfilling sex life could actually be... conscientiousness. Wild, right?
A new study published in The Journal of Sex Research has looked at what personality traits and partner types tend to create a happy sex life. They came to the unlikely conclusion that people who are conscientious, typically associated with planning and organization, report fewer problems and higher satisfaction with their sex lives.
Psychotherapists from Ruhr University in Germany reached this conclusion by quizzing 964 German couples – caveat: 98 percent of whom were in heterosexual relationships – about their sex life and satisfaction. The questions asked them about intimate details, such as how easily they were aroused, how inhibited they were, and how they thought they performed sexually.
They also asked the respondents to complete a questionnaire looking at the Big Five Personality traits: Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Openness to Experience.
“Studies have shown that most of these personality traits and sexuality-related traits are relevant, but it was unknown which factors are the most crucial when taken together,” Julia Velten, a post-doctoral fellow in clinical psychology and psychotherapy, told Quartz.
Although they were looking for some correlations between personality traits and sex lives, they were not expecting these results. However, the researchers speculate that people who display the Conscientious trait might actually make more thoughtful lovers as they are more likely to carefully engage with their partners, make sure they are fulfilled, and remain focused on resolving any hiccups in the relationship.
“Individuals low on emotional stability or agreeableness may be more likely to behave in a way (ie express criticism, avoid communication) that triggers a negative response from a partner, which in turn may lead to inadequate sexual communication and result in lower sexual functioning,” the study authors write.
“High conscientiousness can be especially beneficial when it comes to putting effort into a satisfying sexual life or to postpone one’s own needs and interests to focus on resolving a sexual problem within the context of committed, long-term relationships.”
So, if you’re looking to spice things up in the bedroom, you just need to get out your pen and your day planner, it seems.