It's pretty clear that having sex is good for you. For one thing, people who do it more often tend to feel happier, research has shown.
But how much sex is enough sex? Though popular culture has us believe that the more we get the better, maybe it's silly to aim for as much sex as possible with our partners. That's what a team of Canadian researchers led by sex and relationship expert Dr Amy Muise got to thinking. They reasoned it could even be pretty stressful, not to mention downright unrealistic, for people to think they need to be having intercourse all the time.
So they went about investigating the link between how often people have sex and how happy they are. Dr Muise and her team pooled data on intercourse and well-being from over 30,000 people in three different studies.
How much is enough?
Not surprisingly, if you're in a relationship, the more sex you have, the happier you'll probably be, the results confirmed. But there's a limit to how much sex really makes a difference. Once a week seems to do the trick – beyond that, there's no real link between lots of sex and happiness, the study found.
But what about people who aren’t in a romantic relationship? Surprisingly, for singles there doesn't seem to be a connection between how often they have sex and their levels of happiness, the researchers also found.
So what is it about having regular sex when you're in a relationship (but not when you're single) that's related to being so darned happy? One reason is that weekly sex has a lot to do with feeling satisfied with a relationship, the research showed. Being in a good relationship, in turn, can make for a pretty happy life. What seems to matter is having enough sex to feel intimacy on a regular basis with your partner.
And since intimacy doesn't just increase immediately after a romp between the sheets and then disappear the next day, it might not be necessary to have sex any more often than once a week for it to have a positive effect on well-being.
Source: Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better, 2015, Amy Muise, Ulrich Schimmack, Emily A. Impett