The big five personality traits give us so many clues as to why we do what we do, and give us insight into the reasons people behave certain ways. They've been used as a way to help one determine what career is best for them, as a way to combat depression, help map the way we think, feel, and behave, and how often we have sex and how satisfied we are with our sex lives.
In a study from Andrea L. Meltzer and James K. McNulty of Florida State University, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, researchers looked at whether there was a link between couples' personalities and the frequency of sex after marriage.
The big five personality traits are:
1. Extroversion: People who are high in extroversion are outgoing and tend to gain energy in social situations. They might be more open to sex with more than one partner.
2. Agreeableness: People high in agreeableness are trusting, kind, and tend to be very cooperative. Agreeable people are very affectionate and enjoy touching, kissing — not just as foreplay but any time. They enjoy physicality.
3. Openness: Individuals who score high in openness have imagination, insight, are interested in all different kinds of things, adventurous and creative notions. It's easy to see how this personality trait would be great to have, especially in terms of sexual enjoyment for both themselves and their partners.
4. Conscientiousness: This trait is one of the best to have for life, especially where employment is concerned. These people are thoughtful, have good impulse control, are great with goal directed behaviors, and are organized and mindful of details. They might not be the most spontaneous (sexually speaking), but they'll make sure that their partner has a good time.
5. Neuroticism: This trait is a tough one, as those people who are are high in neuroticism suffer from mood swings, anxiety, irritability, sadness and are generallly emotional unstable.
The researchers found that certain personality traits among the wives — specifically, agreeableness and openness — were strong predictors of sexual frequency within a marriage. However, the husband's big five personality traits didn't predict couples' sexual frequency.
For the study, researchers collected data from 278 newlywed heterosexual couples who were still in the honeymoon stage and had been married less than six months at the time. Besides taking a psychological test that looked at the personalities of both spouses, each couple kept a 14-day journal documenting their married life, including how often they had sex. The researchers found that the couples had sex an average of three to four times over the 14-day period.
The personality of the participant's partner didn't affect their sexual satisfaction, but their own personality traits did. Both husbands and wives whose personalities were low in neuroticism (meaning they were less likely to become stressed or anxious) tended to be more satisfied with the sex they had. And husbands who were low in openness also tended to be more satisfied.
Meltzer and McNulty wrote, "It is women's rather than men's personality that predicts the probability of sex in relationships." The researchers noted that previous research indicates that men are more likely to initiate sex, but women have been described as the gatekeepers of sexual activity.