Countering a common perception that more sex can improve relationships, a study has found that couples are at their happiest when they hop into bed just once a week.
“Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week,” said lead researcher Amy Muise University of Toronto-Mississauga in Ontario, Canada.
“Our findings suggest that it’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, but you don’t need to have sex every day as long as you’re maintaining that connection,” Muise noted.
Some previous studies and self-help books, have claimed that more sex equals more happiness.
But this study, based on surveys of more than 30,000 Americans collected over four decades, is the first to find that association is not there after couples report having sex more than once a week on average.
The findings appeared in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
These findings were specific to people in romantic relationships and in fact, there was no association between sexual frequency and wellbeing for single people, Muise noted.
It’s possible that for single people, the link between sex and happiness is dependent on a number of factors such as the relationship context in which the sex occurs and how comfortable people are with sex outside of relationship.
The findings are most representative of married heterosexual couples or those in established relationships.
Despite common stereotypes that men want more sex and older people have less sex, there was no difference in the findings based on gender, age or length of relationship.
“Our findings were consistent for men and women, younger and older people, and couples who had been married for a few years or decades,” Muise said.
The study findings do not necessarily mean that couples should engage in more or less sex to reach the weekly average, but partners should discuss whether their sexual needs are being met, Muise said.
“It’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner without putting too much pressure on engaging in sex as frequently as possible,” she said.