Does more sex make us happier?
Shutterstock/Yuri Arcurs

Does more sex make us happier?

More sex makes us happier, but only if we think we’re getting it more often than our friends, a US study says. Humans are social creatures and when it comes to many things, including our sex lives, we can’t help comparing ourselves to others.

Getting it on, a roll in the hay, whatever you want to call it, sex makes us happy, and the more often we have it, the happier we are. But the relationship between sex and happiness isn’t quite that simple, this study of over 15,000 Americans found.

In the study, researchers analysed data over a period of eight years. Participants were asked how often they’d had sex over the past year, and how happy they were in life.

Just over 20 percent of Americans were having sex two or three times a week, and a further 19 percent were shagging on a weekly basis. Eighteen percent said they hadn’t had any sex in the past year.

Relative happiness

But happiness wasn’t just related to how much sex people were or weren’t having. Instead, how happy they were also had to do with how much sex others were having. The more people did it compared to other people in society, the happier they were.

So someone who’s having sex twice or three times a week may be pretty satisfied with life if they think their friends and colleagues don’t have active sex lives. On the other hand, if they think others are getting between the covers on a daily basis they’ll probably say they’re less happy.

Social creatures

Do you know how often your friends are having sex? How do people find out about others’ sex lives in society? Of course among some groups of friends, no topic is off limits. But beyond close friends and social networks, information about sex is readily available in the media. For example male and female magazines often present the results of ‘sex surveys’ where they ask anonymous readers all about their sex lives. In this way, people build up a general idea of what others are doing in bed.

Why are we so curious about other people’s sex lives? Humans are social creatures, the study’s author says, which means that we can’t help but think of ourselves in comparison to others. The problem, he goes on to explain, is that for most people, the comparisons don’t work in our favour – we’re more likely to think we’re doing worse, and not better, than others.

This article was first published on May 15, 2013. 

Person in the picture is a model. 
Do you think more sex = happier? What's more important, quantity or quality? Tell us here or on Facebook.

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