IT’S SAFE TO SAY that there are as many different sexual preferences and appetites in the world as there are people; I mean, just look at how our tastes differ in pretty much everything else in the world. That being said, sex is usually thought of as a pretty natural function — and an enjoyable one at that — so one would assume most people are fine with adding a little more of it to their lives. That may be true sometimes, but some research has found that it certainly isn’t true all the time.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University gathered up some willing subjects between the ages of 35 and 65 who were in heterosexual relationships at the time. They first asked the couples how much sex they were currently having, and then asked them to double that amount for the entire duration of the study, which lasted 90 days.
What the researchers were planning to find was that — ta-da! — more sex equaled more happiness. The opposite was actually true. Not only were they not more happy living lives in a permanent post-coital glow, but they were actually less happy. Why, exactly? Well, it seems that a sense of duty being the main reason to have sex doesn’t make for a particularly enjoyable time.
The thing to take from this study is that it doesn’t necessarily mean that more sex can’t make people happier, because surely it can. It’s that sense of obligation that quickly putting out the flame that’s the moral of this lesson. Sure, most of us probably won’t ever be asked to have more sex by scientists in white lab coats. But it is a good thing to keep in mind for keeping sex fresh and enjoyable in our relationships. TL;DR: You’ve gotta do it because you want to.
The study’s lead investigator did mention that if they did the study again, they would do it a little differently.
“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.”
Baby-sitting and Egyptian cotton? Oooh, baby. That’ll really get those middle-aged heterosexual pulses racing, right?