Sex, it has been found, has several benefits. It boosts immunity by increasing the body’s production of antibodies; it reduces stress; it helps build trust and closer bonds by increasing the level of the hormone oxytocin; and above all, it is pleasurable. So more sex should result in more happiness, right? Turns out, that’s not the case. More sex does not automatically make you happier. On the contrary, it makes many people feel worse.
According to a study published in The Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization and conducted by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the US, people who make a point of having more sex can end up feeling less enthusiastic and more tired.
A total of 64 adult married and heterosexual couples participated in the study. The couples had a minimum of sex once a month and a maximum of sex three times a week. Based on standard questionnaires that measure mood and energy, the couples were asked about the frequency of their sexual activity, how enjoyable they found it, and how happy they were generally. Thirty two randomly selected couples were asked to double the frequency of their sexual activity, while the other half were given no such instructions. The entire experiment lasted for 90 days. Every day, the subjects were made to fill an online questionnaire about the quality and amount of sex they had the previous day and their subsequent moods.
The researchers found that more sex wasn’t making them happier. The participants weren’t enjoying sex as much; they reported a decline in their well-being, especially in terms of energy and enthusiasm.
The researchers write in the journal: ‘Prior research observing a positive correlation between happiness and sexual frequency has not been able to determine whether increased frequency leads, causally, to an increase in happiness. We present results from the first experimental study to address the question of causality… We find that increased frequency does not lead to increased happiness, perhaps because it leads to a decline in wanting for, and enjoyment of, sex.’