How does YOUR relationship stack up?
What makes for a good relationship? Is it being able to have a stimulating conversation? Is it about your mutual love for certain hobbies? Obviously, there are many components to a relationship that must be present to keep it afloat, but what about having sex? And specifically, how often?
A new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found just how often couples should have sex to keep the relationship healthy, and both partners happy. The research says that couples who have sex once a week have greater personal happiness, as well as happiness in the relationship.
The first drew data over a 23-year period and involved over 25,000 people. The study found that having sex more often is linked to higher levels of happiness, but only when the frequency reaches once a week. This only applied to people in relationships; there was no statistical relationship between happiness and sex among single people.
For the second study, Muise used 335 ethnically diverse individuals and had them participate in an online survey. The results confirmed those of the first study. But Muise wanted to take into account how much of an effect household income had on the participant's happiness.
She found that "the happiness difference between monthly sex and weekly sex was actually more dramatic than the happiness difference between earning $15,000 to $25,000 and earning $50,000 to $75,000. In other words, weekly sex paid off more in happiness than actually getting paid more."
The third study used data over a 14-year span and involved 2,400 married couples. Again, the study confirmed the findings from the first: sex was linked to higher levels of happiness in the relationship, but only when the couples had sex up to once a week.
So what does this mean for your relationship? Well, Muise says that this study is a great reminder to couples that they shouldn't feel pressured to adhere to a specific "sex frequency."
"In general it is important to maintain a sexual connection with a romantic partner, but it is also important to have realistic expectations for one's sex life, given that many couples are busy with work and responsibilities. Our research suggests that engaging in regular sex is associated with happiness, but it is not necessary, on average, for couples to aim to engage in sex as frequently as possible," she says.
Now, when your husband constantly prods you for sex, be sure to tell him that having it once a week is the best way to stay happy. I'm sure he'll love that.