Does more sex mean more happiness?

A really interesting paper just came out today that looked at, and challenged, the widely held belief that the more frequently you have sex the happier you are… and they discovered that this was simply not true. What the researchers did find was that most healthy couples had sex about once per week and that those couples who had sex less frequently than this were not as satisfied with their relationship. But what was interesting was that those couples who had sex more frequently were no more happy than the once-a-weekers.

The researchers made several guesses about why there was a curvilinear rather than direct/linear “dose-response” or relationship between frequency of sex and satisfaction. Interestingly one of these hypotheses was that many couples and individuals have unrealistic beliefs about how often they should be having sex and when they realize that their frequency is in-line with the average healthy couple, they feel greater satisfaction. This reminds me of a concept I discuss with my patients (individuals and couples) all the time… I call it the myth of “Hollywood Sex.” People often feel that sexual relations must be completely spontaneous, with strong libidinal urges magnetically drawing two people together and eventually culminating in hours of passionate sex with simultaneous orgasms. The fact of the matter is that this just doesn’t happen much in the real world (outside of the movies). Once people accept this fact they tend to be less judgmental and down on themselves and their partners about what sex is really like for them… and they tend to enjoy it much more when they don’t feel they’re being compared to the fantasy lives of movie writers.

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