Does more sex make couples happier? Or do happier couples have more sex? It’s a classic chicken and egg debate—and one that’s hard to study scientifically. But a group of researchers in Ontario fearlessly waded into heaps of data to consider this question. They looked over survey responses from 25,000 people in the General Social Survey and 2,400 couples in the National Survey of Families and Households to learn how often people had sex, how satisfied they were with their relationships, and how happy they were overall.
How often you have sex matters, up to a point
In both studies, people in relationships who had sex less than once a week reported lower average happiness. It wasn’t a big difference (about a 10% change in the average level of happiness), but it was more than you’d expect to see by chance.
Here’s the kicker: people who had sex more than once a week weren’t any happier than people having a weekly romp. So maybe sex is like money…having too little may make you unhappy, but having lots doesn’t make you any happier.
But sex isn’t the most important key to happiness
This study found that weekly sex wasn’t the most important factor for happiness. Relationship satisfaction had a much bigger effect on couples’ happiness than frequency of sex did. So if you’re in a relationship and on a happiness-boosting campaign, working on your emotional connection with your partner might be the secret formula—and it could lead to better sex, too.