Think back to the last time you and your partner had sex. What was the reason the two of you got it on? Chances are good you’ve never given this question much thought. After all, sex feels good – and is good for you – so it seems like a no-brainer.
It turns out this is a useful question to ask yourself. That’s because when it comes to how good sex is, and the benefits it has on your relationship, not all reasons are created equal, research has shown.
When people have positive reasons for getting it on with their partner, they feel more desire for him or her and are just plain happier with their sex lives and relationships.
Good reasons for sex
What are positive reasons for having sex, you ask? Well, they include the obvious – things like:
- feeling just plain aroused or horny
- desiring the physical pleasure of an orgasm.
- wanting to feel intimate with your sweetheart, show affection, express your love
- wanting to making your partner feel good.
Basically, it’s having sex for the positive things that will come out of it.
Bad reasons for sex
Next question: what are negative reasons for having sex? Well, when you're getting it on to prevent something unpleasant from happening – things like:
- not wanting to disappoint your partner
- avoiding a fight
Naturally, these reasons are not as good for a relationship as positive ones.
So what happens if the last time you had sex it was to avoid something bad happening? It turns out this is something you can work on and change, the study found.
Positive reason, better sex?
In the study, the researchers had 155 participants in relationships describe a time they had sex with their partner. They wrote down why they did it and how they felt. Some were told to choose sex they had for a positive reason, like feeling horny, sexy, loving. Meanwhile, others were asked to describe a time they had sex to avoid bad consequences. Then afterwards, everybody filled in questionnaires about their sex lives and relationships.
People asked to describe having sex for positive reasons actually felt more desire for their partners, the research confirmed. They also had better sex and were happier in their relationships.
Boost your sex life!
But it’s one thing to think about sex you’ve had in the past and another to change the way you’re doing it in the future – for the better. Next, the researchers wanted to see if their work could lead to real-life changes.
So they got hold of another 240 participants to try it out. They got half of the group to read all about the benefits of having sex for positive reasons. The following week they were told to go forth and put their newfound knowledge to the test by focusing on the positive in their sex lives.
Those who did were rewarded for their efforts. When the researchers checked in on them a week later, they had been able to change the way they were having sex and felt happier about their relationships as a result. That, and they were having better sex.
So what’s the take-home message from this research? Try to make it a point to focus on the positive reasons for getting it on with your partner. You might just find that the two of you have better sex as a result.
- Seeking Connection Versus Avoiding Disappointment: An Experimental Manipulation of Approach and Avoidance Sexual Goals and the Implications for Desire and Satisfaction
- Why Humans Have Sex
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