Among activities that give people most pleasure, sex is way up there at the top of the list. Surveys are consistently indicating that when asked to point out what factors ensure their well-being, most people rank sexual activity as the number 1 thing that is prone to making them happy.
One study even went as far as to formulate the idea that those couples who go from having sex once a month to a more intense activity of going at it weekly are also scoring high in the happiness department. To be precise, the two authors (David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald) maintain that such increase in one’s sex life is equivalent to earning a sudden extra $50.000. That’s quite some happiness there, we’ll say.
However, it’s not yet clear whether more sex leads to a happier life, or simply happy people have more sex. More and more data indicates that sex in itself doesn’t bring happiness. A study carried out at Carnegie Mellon University showed some promising results for those of you who don’t feel like going at it on a daily basis, but are still eager to work towards becoming happier.
This study selected 64 couples, all heterosexual and married. Half of these were asked to keep having sex at their regular rate, while the other half were asked to get sweaty under the sheets twice as often as they usually had. In the meantime, they were also asked to answer a series of questions about their mood and satisfaction with life.
Just the Right Amount of Sex
As it turns out, the couples who doubled the rate of their sexy times together, ended up being less enthusiastic about their relationships, and about life in general for that matter. The women who took part in the study reported the whole thing was awful or at least not all that great as expected, while the guys shared their disenchantment to a great degree.
The lesson we can draw from this anticlimactic experiment is a bit more nuanced that we may be led to believe at first sight. Let’s start with a disclaimer: no one would ever dare arguing that a bit more action in the sack is a terrible thing. Sex is great, and we are all enthusiastic about it. It makes our lives better.
The best outcome of this study is the realization that we don’t need to push it to be happy (no pun intended). The rate at which we and our partners are settling into the habit of having sex should vary according to our own desires. This in itself will make us happy because we’ll simply get exactly what it takes to be satisfied. So if you like to have sex 6 times a week or once a month, as long as that makes you happy, there’s no need to try to change it.