Jean Huber, LCSW

Sexual Happiness: Why Sex Makes You Happy and More Sex Makes You Happier

Sex makes the world go ‘round. Or at least it seems like it sometimes.

You probably talk about it with a few close friends over drinks. Pop songs and television shows talk about sex all the time.

Most people would say that sex makes them happy. Wouldn’t you agree?

But sex doesn’t make us happy just because it feels good. Here’s the scoop on sexual happiness and how it makes you happier.

The Basics of the Study

A recent study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin asked participants about their sexual frequency, their general life satisfaction and the frequency of affectionate touches like kissing and cuddling.

Another component of the study asked Swiss couples to keep a diary of their sexual activity. They found that the more sex a couple had over a 10-day period, the greater their reported sexual happiness six months later.

It’s All About Connection

Some clichés say that it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. But that’s not true when it comes to sex in relationships. The study found that sexual happiness in relationships was significantly correlated to how often couples had sex.

All types of affectionate touch, like kissing and cuddling, create a great feeling of bonding between couples, too. The more affection between couples, the happier they said they felt. The positive effects of affectionate touch weren’t just evident immediately after a sexual encounter, but for many hours later.

The Benefits of Sex Aren’t Random

If more sex makes you happier, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can get it from just anyone. Nor does it mean that all encounters are equally likely to produce happiness. There needs to be some degree of connection between you and your sexual partner. Therefore, you won’t experience the same benefits if you have a casual hook-up with someone you don’t know well.

The Connection Between Affection and Sex

The largest component of sexual happiness in relationships isn’t in the orgasms—although these do have positive physical health benefits. But the biggest way that sex boosts happiness is in the affection you share with your partner. More than being about the affection during sex, it’s also created in the afterglow of your lovemaking. Yet another recent study, reported in the journal Psychological Science, found that the positive effects of affection lasted for about two days after a sexual encounter. The data is clear: you need to have that close contact with your partner. Affection leads to long-lasting positive feelings with each other.

The Foundations of Sexual Happiness

The relationships that had the greatest sexual happiness in the studies were those that started with a strong foundation. If your relationship starts with a big honeymoon phase with a lot of sex, you’re creating a significant bank of happy memories and affectionate habits. But if you let the frequency of your sex and affection start to lapse, don’t worry: you can always start to create the positive feedback loop.

According to the study researchers, couples who have difficulty relating to each other or expressing affection may be able to compensate by having more sex. The afterglow following sexual encounters can help couples become more bonded to each other even if they’re having trouble communicating affection.

It Doesn’t Take as Much as You Think

Even though more sex makes you happier, that doesn’t mean you must strive for having sex every day. Well-being was correlated with having sex at least once a week. More frequent sex didn’t diminish happiness, but it didn’t increase it, either.

If you want to be happier, show more affection to your partner. Happiness starts by spending more time in the bedroom. The good feelings will carry over into the rest of your time, too.

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