How much sex do you need a week to be happy? While a slightly ridiculous question, most of you are probably thinking of a fairly high number. Well, science has been on the case and it’s discovered that, if you’re in a relationship, sex just once a week is all you need to be content. The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, drops this bombshell, among others.
Lead author Amy Muise, a sex and romance scientist at the University of Toronto Mississauga, conducted a three-part study on the sexual behaviors of a wide range of people in an attempt to uncover the link between sex and happiness – and it’s not as simple as you think. There are many studies – and of course, many opinions – out there that link the amount of sex you have each week to how happy you are overall. The results of Muise’s study dismiss this concept, to a degree.
The first part of the study used data from a 23-year-long study of over 25,000 people, looking at their sexual desires, patterns, and preferences. In line with the general consensus, this research found that more sex is indeed linked to higher levels of happiness, but only until the frequency reaches once per week. After this point, the link between personal happiness and sex becomes more tenuous, and more sex has a far less significant effect.
This link only applies to those in romantic relationships, though – the relationship between singletons having sex and their own happiness wasn’t statistically significant.
The second part of the study asked 335 ethnically diverse participants to take an online survey; they were asked the same types of questions about sex and happiness in relationships, and the results here confirmed the previous findings. This time, however, she decided to compare the sex-happiness link with another oft-cited measure of happiness: personal wealth.
People earning up to $25,000 (£16,400) per year were less happy overall than those earning $75,000 (£49,100); similarly, those having sex on a monthly basis were less happy overall than those having sex on a weekly basis. This isn’t surprising, perhaps, but what was striking was just how much happier they were due to a change from monthly to weekly sex when compared to those who began to earn up to $50,000 (£32,740) more than their peers. To put it another way, weekly sex made people happier than a huge pay rise.
Lastly, data from a 14-year-long study of 2,400 married couples was examined, and the overall trend was that more sex was linked to higher levels of relationship satisfaction, but once again this link became insignificant once the sex became at least weekly.