Sex is everywhere. It’s on the telly, it’s in our literature, it's on the walls of our art galleries and it's on our brains for a large part of each day. If we’re not having it, we’re thinking about how we can get it and if we are having it we are wondering if we are having enough of it.
Second to ‘What is the meaning of life?’ the question: ‘How much sex should I be having?’ is the biggest unanswered philosophical conundrum of all time (unconfirmed).
This week, a study has been published that finally answers the question.
Apparently, according to researchers, the happiest couples have sex just once a week.
In the first study to take this approach to sex and happiness, researchers at Canada’s University of Toronto-Mississauga analysed the sex lives of 30,000 married couples over three decades.
They found that, on average, people had sex just once a week.
Additionally, they learned that those who were happiest in their relationships had sex once a week, and that making love more frequently than that brought no greater closeness or satisfaction.
The scientists decided to conduct the study after feeling that we are all told that more sex leads to greater happiness. They wanted to answer the question “Is it true that one can never have enough?”
In one study, scientists studied survey responses from 25,000 Americans between the years of 1989 to 2012, about sexual frequency and happiness, and came to the same conclusion – which applied to all ages, genders and relationship lengths – that happiness peaks when couples have sex once a week and plateaus thereafter.
The study comes hot on the heels of another, published earlier this year by Carnegie Mellon University, which found that, after asking couples to double their rate of copulation, people reported feeling less in the mood and less energetic and, that the quality of the sex they were engaging in was lower.
Researchers concluded that quality beats quantity every time when it comes to putting time in between the sheets.
The latest study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, concluded that: “Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week.”
“Therefore, is not necessary, on average, for couples to aim to engage in sex as frequently as possible,” says lead researcher Amy Muise.
“I think the take-home message is that in general it is important to maintain a sexual connection with a romantic partner, but it is also important to have realistic expectations for one's sex life, given that many couples are busy with work and family responsibilities,” she tells The Guardian.
Although the results are certainly interesting, researchers could not explain exactly why getting jiggy more than once a week did not increase happiness. Additionally, the study did not assess the correlation between sex and happiness for single people.
But, interestingly, Muise and her colleagues also revealed that regular sex brought people more happiness than a higher salary did.
“People often think that more money and more sex equal more happiness, but this is only true up to a point,” she says.
Well, if you're like many people and struggle with the daily juggle of work, endless cleaning, a dwindling social life and trying to squeeze in as much sex as possible, then you can now breathe a sigh of relief.