Jealousy can be a painful and even fatal emotion, but according to one new study, it may also help spice things up in the bedroom. According to research published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, when heterosexual men are jealous of their partner’s male friends, couples have more sex.
Couples Have More Sex When Women Have Male Friends
It’s notoriously difficult to find out how frequently people have sex, but research suggests that many couples have much less sex than cultural norms tell them they should have. One study of more than 20,000 found that only 26% of couples have sex once per week. To explore how jealousy might affect sexual frequency, researchers relied on self-reported survey data from 393 heterosexual men in long-term relationships. The average couple had been together for 36 months. Researchers asked questions about the men’s partner’s social lives, the men’s experience of jealousy, and the frequency with which the couple had sex.
Survey results revealed that couples had more sex when the woman had more male coworkers and friends, but only when the man believed his partner was attractive to these potential male rivals. This jealousy, researchers believe, encourages men to initiate more sex with their partners.
Perceived Sexual Rivals Inspire Jealousy
The study’s authors didn’t investigate why men were more likely to have sex with their partners when those partners evoked feelings of jealousy. They speculate this may be due to what evolutionary psychologists term “sperm competition” that occurs when sperm from two or more males “compete” to impregnate a female. This phenomenon is not uncommon among nonhuman males. The researchers argue that men who perceive their partners’ male coworkers or friends as sexual rivals may be more likely to initiate sex so that their partners are not impregnated by another man. However, the study did not test fertility, pregnancy, or sperm competition.
The study also did not evaluate the role women played in the initiation of sex, so we don’t know what their role may be in this phenomenon. They study’s authors suggest that further research is necessary to validate their findings and to explore potential causes.
- Montgomery, H. (n.d.). How often do ‘normal’ couples have sex? Retrieved from http://www.everydayfamily.com/how-often-do-normal-couples-have-sex/
- Pham, M. N., Shackelford, T. K., Holden, C. J., Zeigler-Hill, V., Hummel, A., & Memmering, S. L. (2014). Partner attractiveness moderates the relationship between number of sexual rivals and in-pair copulation frequency in humans. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 128(3), 328-331. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036602
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