More Sex May Not Lead To Increased Happiness, New Study Says, So Apparently Your Whole Life Has Been a Lie
You might think having more sex would make you happier, but you could be wrong. A new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that frequent sex does not lead to increased happiness necessarily. In fact, it actually led to a small decrease in happiness for some couples over the course of the study.
For the three-month experiment, researchers studied 64 heterosexual married couples between the ages of 35 and 65, who were then randomly assigned to one of two groups — the first group received no instructions regarding sexual frequency, while the second group was told to double their weekly sexual intercourse frequency.
After completing a survey at the beginning of the experiment to establish baselines, the couples then answered daily online surveys measuring things like health behaviors, happiness levels, and the occurrence, type, and enjoyableness of sex.
This is where things get weird: The couples instructed to have more sex reported having lower sexual desire as well as a decrease in sexual enjoyment, and a small decrease in happiness levels.
The good news? The researchers posited that it may not have been the actual act of having more sex that led to the decrease in sexual desire and enjoyment. Instead, they hypothesized that because the couples were 'instructed' to have more sex, their frame of mind surrounding the act changed, thus making it less 'sexy' and more of an obligation.
"Perhaps couples changed the story they told themselves about why they were having sex, from an activity voluntarily engaged in to one that was part of a research study. If we ran the study again, and could afford to do it, we would try to encourage subjects into initiating more sex in ways that put them in a sexy frame of mind, perhaps with baby-sitting, hotel rooms or Egyptian sheets, rather than directing them to do so," said George Loewenstein, the study's lead investigator and the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Even though the results were a little disheartening, the study's designers still believe that most couples have too little sex, and that increasing sexual frequency in the right ways can be beneficial. Research scientist Tamar Krishnamurti says that instead of focusing on increasing the frequency of sex, "couples may want to work on creating an environment that sparks their desire and makes the sex that they do have even more fun."
Cheers to that.