We’ve all heard, “quality over quantity” and it seems that the famous phrase also applies to sex. Though there have been many studies about the link between sex and happiness, nothing had actually proved causation–that is, having more sex was the reason for increased happiness. In fact, one study from 2004 led economists to conclude that “increasing the frequency of intercourse from once a month to once a week increased happiness to the same extent as having an additional $50,000 in the bank” in an article in the New York Times.
But despite this study, and other similar ones, a direct link between sex and happiness was still up in the air. However, in new study in the August issue of The Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, researchers found that “Research has found a positive correlation between sexual frequency and happiness.” But–the study also claimed, “The manipulation [of couples in the study to increase their frequency of sex] did increase frequency, but decreased happiness and sexual enjoyment.”
The conditions were fairly straightforward: “Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and elsewhere recruited 64 adult couples, all married and heterosexual, and asked the volunteers how often they had sex, how enjoyable it was and how happy they were in general, based on standard questionnaires that measure mood and energy. Half the couples, picked randomly, were assigned to go about their lives as usual; the rest were told to double the frequency of sexual relations.” Simple, right? But the results were surprising to many people.
In a nutshell, this new study found that sex can increase happiness–but only to a point. Too much sex, like nearly anything else, can start to be a bad thing. “We find that increased frequency does not lead to increased happiness, perhaps because it leads to a decline in wanting for, and enjoyment of, sex.”
‘‘It seems that if you’re having sex for a reason other than because you like and want sex, you may undermine the quality of that sex and your resulting mood…concentrate on quality rather than quantity if you wish to be happy.”