How Important Is Sex In Long-Term Relationships? It's Not What Happy Couples Prioritize, New Study Finds

For many people, finding love that actually sticks is the goal of a relationship. But maintaining long-term relationships are hard work, and unfortunately, “happily ever after” isn’t the end game for a lot of couples. While the internet is filled with all kinds of love advice that will tell you the keys to having a successful relationship, according to Dr. Meg John Barker and Professor Jacqui Gabb, many of that advice isn’t based on real-life experience. Because of that, they carried out a research study of over 5,000 people in long-term relationships to find out what really makes a relationship last.

As part of an in-depth series on long-term relationships being published in the Daily Mail UK, Barker and Gabb wanted to know what people prioritized in their relationships. While sex is a common concern among couples, the study found sex was nowhere in the top ten. Meaning, having a crazy sex life while you’re in a long-term relationship isn’t that important in keeping you happy and in love. In fact, as the researchers found, couples who are happy in their relationship are still happy even when they’re having less sex or no sex at all. Though spicing up your sex life when you're in an LTR couldn’t hurt anything.

The 2015 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in Britain found that the frequency of sex among couples has actually gone down over the years. The number of times people have sex per month has decreased from five in the early nineties to about three per month. That means, people are having sex an average of less than once a week.

According to Barker and Gabb’s study, having sex less had no link to relationship dissatisfaction. While sex is a crucial part of a relationship for some, for others, it was something they could take or leave. Problems only occur when partners differentiate on how much sex they should be having as a couple.

So, sex may not be THAT important, but what is? Barker and Gabb posed the question, “What do you like best about your relationship?” Here are the top 10 answers from their study:

1. Laughing Together

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2. Sharing Values And Interests

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3. Being Best Friends

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4. Being Cared For And Feeling Supported

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5. Feeling Safe And Secure

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6. Being Happy

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7. Trust

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8. Sharing A Close Relationship

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9. Talking And Listening

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10. Being In Love And/Or Being Loved

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