It shouldn't come as a shock to any of us that researchers have long ago linked having sex with feeling pleased with ourselves and the world around us. There are countless surveys that seem to show that sex equals happiness. Although, conclusions were drawn and these studies didn't necessarily show that more sex causes greater levels of happiness. In order to actually establish a causation, scientists turned to real couples and asked some to up their sex frequency levels.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (and other places) used 64 adult, married, heterosexual couples. They asked them questions about their sexual frequency and happiness levels in a general questionnaire. Then, at random, half the couples were told to carry on as usual while the other half were directed to double their sexual frequency. If they were having sex once a month, it was time for twice. You get the picture.
The couples were asked to fill out a daily online questionnaire for the 90 days the experiment lasted. They were asked about the amount and quality of the previous days' sex and how they were feeling.
The results are interesting. In the couples with increased frequency of intercourse, their overall sense of well being decreased. The quality of the sex decreased too. Both men and women reported that the extra sex they were having was just not fun. The researchers were shocked but one of the study leads, George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon, says they shouldn't have been surprised at all. He believes that your mood and the quality of your encounter is undermined if you are "having sex for a reason other than because you like and want sex."
What does this mean for you? Don't focus so much on quantity. The underlying point that gets missed in some of the studies that look at happiness and sexual frequency is the pleasurability of the sex. People who like the sex they are having with each other will do it more often and it is that pleasure that leads to their happiness, not the frequency. Make each pairing as blissful as possible. That's how you up your mood. And that happiness may be enough to make you do it more often. But it has to start there. From a place of satisfaction and not from trying to hit some magic number you read in a magazine (or in a report on a sex study). Listen to your body and your relationship, you'll know what's right or you.
h/t: New York Times