More Sex, More Happiness? Maybe Less, Study Suggests

bed sheetsIf you’re not having as much sex as you’d like, you might think more sex would make you happier. Both anecdotal data and scientific research have long suggested that people who have more sex tend to be happier, so it makes sense to conclude that more sex might be a cure for the blues.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, though, more sex won’t make you happier, and a concerted effort to have more sex might even make you a bit less happy.

Why Sex Isn’t the Key to Happiness

Researchers recruited 128 married heterosexual couples ranging in age from 35 to 65. Researchers instructed participants to either have the same amount of sex they usually have, or to double the frequency of their sexual interactions. Each participant also took online surveys about their happiness for three months. Couples who had more sex than usual were not happier than those who stuck with their normal routines. In fact, couples who tried to have more sex actually showed a small dip in happiness.

The study’s authors believe their results show that happy people are more likely to have sex, not that sex causes happiness. The fact happiness dipped when couples attempted to have more sex doesn’t mean sex makes couples unhappy, though. Instead, a host of factors—including pressure to keep up—may have played a role. Survey results point strongly toward decreased sexual desire when couples tried to have more sex. Participants wanted sex less because they were having it more, making each sexual interaction less thrilling.

Researchers suggest that, if couples had been assigned to tasks that made sex more romantic or more pleasurable, the study’s results might have been different.


More sex doesn’t lead to increased happiness. (2015, May 8). Retrieved from

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  • leeann

    May 13th, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    I happen to think that this summons it all up just perfectly. When you are already happy, then having sex with a partner whom you love and care about is only going to make you even happier

    If you are not happy, then trying to get sex to fulfill that for you is going to be way off the mark. That will never make you happy overall. Maybe for a little bit, but not that lasting happiness that most of us are seeking.

  • Rod

    May 15th, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    Unfortunately I suspect that there are many couples who even though things are not quite right between them they always think that having more sex will be what will hold them together. They are probably right for a while, but after the feeling of sex wears off then what is left? Nothing but a longing to get away from that person and to actually find someone to have a meaningful life with. Sex can be great, yes, but only when it is with the right person.

  • JR

    May 16th, 2015 at 4:03 PM

    It is one of those things where if you try too hard then it just won’t be as special.

    Just let it happen naturally, and when the right person comes along then it won’t feel like work anymore.

  • Carolee

    May 21st, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    Sex: nothing can bring the two of you closer together and there is nothing that can drive you apart any faster

  • Sam

    May 25th, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    I wouldn’t say that sex can make everything better but I think that you will find that the couples who do maintain a healthy sex life are the ones who overall have a better relationship with each other. There is that connection that you can have with a sexual partner who means that much to you that is fulfilling and cannot be broken. Without that attachment and commitment then things can fall apart more easily.

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