This is how the tube makes Londoners happier than sex

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Megan Murray
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It’s true; the London underground has the potential to influence our happiness levels more than our sexual partners.

What would make you happier: time between the sheets in the throes of passion or a blissfully short commute to work?

Although this may sound like a bizarre game of ‘would you rather’, with seemingly unrelated subjects, this comparison has actually been receiving a lot of air time recently.

Time Out magazine have undertaken the mother of all surveys to understand what makes city dwellers around the world tick, and when it comes to Londoners it seems there’s nothing (and we mean nothing) that puts a bigger smile on our faces than a leisurely commute.

The survey explores what city life looks like for people living all over the world. Looking at a range of sectors from food, drink, culture, money, dating and community, it quantifies the quality of life in Tel Aviv to Mexico City and far beyond.

As part of the survey, over 3,000 Londoners were asked to comment on their happiness levels to create a picture of what’s keeping us sweet in the capital. And overall, we’re not as miserable a bunch as our reputation would suggest.

84.6% of participants said they’d felt happy in the last 24 hours, and the reasons for which were varied and plentiful.

One of the activities putting a spring in Londoner’s steps probably won’t surprise you. Those that revealed they’d had sex recently tended to have a happiness score of 2.2% on average higher than those that hadn’t.

It’s no secret that sex has some great side-effects. Not only does it release those famous feel-good hormones, it’s even good for our digestive systems and the benefits of the sex ‘afterglow’ can last up to 48 hours.

But if we had to choose between being in the arms of a lover or spending less time in the armpit of a stranger, a pleasant tube journey wins every time. 

Hello underground, our old friend

The research shows that although those who were sexually active reported boosted happiness levels, those that have a commute of between 15 to 30 minutes have the highest happiness levels of all.

London’s underground system is famous for being crowded, stuffy and pretty darn rude, with a well-known zero eye contact policy. Time Out reports that an average commute is 39 minutes, which even sounds pretty generous to us, considering housing prices are forcing more and more people to live further afield with commutes racking up to over an hour long.

According to the survey, though, anything under 30 minutes is considered a reasonable amount of time to travel to work, with 15 minutes being the optimum. So if you’re lucky enough to have a commute to work that falls somewhere in between these times, chances are it has a positive effect on your mood.

But it’s not just avoiding rush hour that makes a Londoner’s day. Clubbing, eating brunch (of course) and seeing live music or theatre are all also up there for this cultured bunch.

So if your commute is the eyesore of your day, we recommend you throw yourself head first into this feel-good list. 

Why not start by checking out our best bottomless brunches in the capital? Because the only thing better than avocado on toast, is avocado on toast with a side of prosecco, obviously. 

Images: iStock / Anna Dziubinska


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.