Couples who regularly have sex tend to be happier, and now a new study suggests one reason why: affection.
The study of couples in committed relationships found what many others had shown before: Couples who had sex more often were typically happier and more content with their lives.
However, much of that link seemed to be explained not by sex itself, but by couples’ general levels of affection — whether that meant cuddling or whispering sweet-nothings to each other.
It all suggests that the “relational aspects of sexuality — and more specifically, the sharing of affection — are central in understanding why sex does good,” says lead researcher Anik Debrot.
That might be good news for people who worry about things like sexual performance or having a “perfect body,” according to Debrot.
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Instead, they could “remember that sex is a great way to share an intimate and affectionate moment with your partner,” says Debrot, a research fellow at the University of Lausanne’s Institute of Psychology, in Switzerland.
She was based at the University of Toronto at the time of the study.
The findings are based on four studies of couples in the United States and Switzerland. In each, couples were asked how often they had sex, and how often they shared affectionate “moments” or “touches.” Two studies asked participants about their typical habits, while the other two tracked them over a specific time period.
Overall, the studies found, couples who were more sexually active tended to report greater satisfaction with life. They also had more