It’s not luxury lingerie or sex toys.
One of the largest studies to date on sexual satisfaction in relationships has found that talking in bed and specifically saying “I love you” is the secret to a fulfilling sex life.
Researchers from Chapman University in America analysed 39,000 married or cohabiting heterosexual men and women in the U.S. who had been with their partner for at least three years.
They found that sexually satisfied men and women engaged in more intimate behaviours, such as cuddling, gentle and deep kissing and laughing together during sexual activity.
The most satisfied couples were also found to communicate effectively – an cited example was saying “I love you” - during sex or sending a teasing text earlier in the day.
Setting a romantic or sexual mood with candles or music, was also a contributing factor to overall satisfaction in bed.
“We looked at common romantic and sexual behaviours that are rarely assessed in the literature but are likely important contributors to sexual satisfaction,” said Dr. Frederick in a report published in The Journal of Sex Research.
“For example, while sexual variety is deemed important for sexual satisfaction, evidence on the effectiveness of specific forms of variety – such as showering together or wearing lingerie or use of sex toys – is lacking.”
About half of satisfied men (49%) and women (45%) reported their last sexual encounter lasted more than 30 minutes.
Most of the satisfied men and women reported feeling the same or more emotional closeness during sex now than in the first six months of their relationship (69% of men and 72% of women). Less than half of dissatisfied men and women, however, felt this way.
Dr. Janet Lever, a co-author on the study, says: “It was encouraging to learn that more than one-third of couples kept passion alive, even after a decade or two together. That won’t happen on auto pilot; these couples made a conscious effort to ward off routinization of sex.”
Image: Film stills from Crazy, Stupid, Love and By the Sea