While research has shown a positive correlation between happiness and sexual frequency it has not been clear that there is a causal connection between increased frequency and increased happiness, so researchers at Carnegie Mellon University decided to try to find out – and it seems there is no link.
“We recruited couples and randomly assigned half to double their frequency of intercourse. 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,” the authors write in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
On these measure, the couples instructed to increase sexual frequency recorded a small decrease, in happiness and reported lower sexual desire and a decrease in enjoyment.
“Perhaps couples changed the story they told themselves about why they were having sex, from an activity voluntarily engaged in to one that was part of a research study,” says lead author George Loewenstein.
“If we ran the study again, and could afford to do it, we would try to encourage subjects into initiating more sex in ways that put them in a sexy frame of mind, perhaps with baby-sitting, hotel rooms or Egyptian sheets, rather than directing them to do so.”
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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