Updated: 2019, Aug 3

Are You Doing More Sex? Study Says More Sex Doesn’t Make People Happy

Are You Doing More Sex? Study Says More Sex Doesn’t Make People Happy

According to the common belief, “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.” Does this belief hold true for the universal language of sex? There is no doubt that sex has the ability to induce happiness. However, it does not necessarily mean that the more sex you have, the happier you will be.

The relationship between the amount of sex and the level of happiness is quite a mystery and many experts are intrigued by it. Over the years, many studies and researches have been conducted to test the correlation between these two factors. Each experiment was strategized with different perimeters including different number of participants, selective demographics and relationships status of each individual.

Sex and Happiness

Sex and Happiness

In 2004, David G. Blanchflower and Andrew J. Oswald published their findings in the National Bureau of Economic Research. Their research objective was to find the links between money, happiness index and sexual behavior. With a pool of 16,000 Americans their findings weighed heavily towards a positive correlation between frequency of sex and level of happiness:

  • Americans average sexual intercourse 2 to 3 times a month
  • Married couples engage in more sexual intercourse than others
  • Highly educated people enjoyed sexual intercourse more
  • Being faithful to 1 sexual partner maximizes happiness level
  • Educated females tend to have lesser sexual partners

Notably, the research was able to conclude that by increasing sexual intercourse from once a month to once a week, partners experienced higher levels of happiness that is equivalent to an additional income of USD$50,000 per year.

A separate study was conducted in 2011 by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. The demographic target group only included Australians and had slightly less participants at 8,656 split between 4,290 men and 4,366 women. Participants were between 16 and 64 years of age. Of the total pool of participants, 3,240 men and 3,304 women were in a relationship. This Australian-based study concluded that:

  • 54% of men and 42% of women were dissatisfied with their frequency of sex
  • Dissatisfied men craved for more sex
  • Only 66% of dissatisfied women wished for more sex

The findings of this research provided an alternate perspective to the relationship between frequency of sex and level of happiness. While it does not establish how increased sexual activities induce happiness, it proved beyond doubt that a lack of sex effectively creates unhappiness.

In a recent study conducted by the Carnegie Mellon University in The United States, it took a different approach to understand whether the popular belief between amount of sex and happiness index is the victim of reverse casualty. It set out to discover whether more sex leads to happier lives or the other way round, happier lives lead to more sex.
Compared to other earlier researches, the pool of participants involved in this study is relatively small, with only 64 married couples aged between 35 and 65 years of age. The participants were split into two categories. The first group received no instructions to change their sexual frequency while the second group was tasked to double the amount of weekly sexual intercourse.

Participants were asked to complete questionnaires before and after the experiment in order to gauge the outcome. Over a period of 3 months, the researchers analyzed that:

  • Increased sexual frequency did not lead to increased happiness
  • Instead, it led to a decrease in happiness as the desire and enjoyment vanished with each sexual intercourse experience

While this study differed from the norm, its claim that additional sex does not lead to increased levels of happiness does come with substantiated evidence. Nonetheless, critics were quick to point out that the findings could have been tainted by the fact that participants were instructed to increase sex for the sake of an experiment. Rather, the experiment should have subtly encouraged participants to engage in more sexual activities. The findings derived based on this perimeter could have drastically altered the findings.

The Law of Diminishing Happiness

From the results above, it can be conclusively deduced that while increased sexual activities does possess a positive correlation with happiness, it also abides by the law of diminishing returns.

While this principle has been largely applied to the financial industry, it’s concept can be used to test this theory as well. Applying the law of diminishing returns to this scenario, it can be theorized that for each additional frequency of sex, a lesser increment in the level of happiness is recorded.

Frequency of Sex and Optimal Happiness

Frequency of Sex and Optimal Happiness

It can be difficult to balance the fragile relationship between frequency of sex and level of happiness. How much sex is considered an excessive amount and what is the perfect frequency of sex in order to achieve the highest maximum index?

Based on a study published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in late 2015, having sex once a week is the perfect solution to experiencing optimum levels of happiness. The study arrived at this conclusion based on researches over the span of 40 years that included more than 30,000 test participants aged between 18 and 89 years of age.

It should be pointed out that the data used in this study were based on researches done between 1996 and 1998. In a bid to freshen up the relevancy of the data used, Amy Muise, social psychologist from the University of Toronto, Mississauga led her own small scale experiment. Based on 355 participants from different backgrounds, the results showed that while a majority reported increased happiness index with higher frequency of sex, the happiness increment diminished at the frequency of once per week.

Conclusion

The theory of a positive correlation between frequency of sex and level of happiness is sufficiently substantiated through various independent studies. Despite the establishment of this relationship, experts have also discovered that with every additional sexual experience, the amount of happiness derived is ever-decreasing. Indeed, having more sex can be a bad thing.

While researches have recently identified the perfect frequency at once per week, individuals should not be alarmed should their personal experience vary from the norm. It should be noted that these researches are primarily based on American participants. Moreover, the issue of measuring happiness is a subjective and tricky area of interest that may differ between individuals.

Ultimately, all these reports indirectly highlight a single universal and fundamental point; That sexual interaction is essential towards maintaining a healthy and long-lasting relationship. It should be treated equally as any other elements of a relationship and should not be neglected due to other commitments such as work and children.

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Author

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandri

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