What would happen if you would have sex every day? Would you be happier? Research shows the opposite. Or could it be positive anyhow?
We only have sex a couple of times per month on average
Research shows that married couples on average have sex a couple of times per month to several times per week. That is about the same for hetero as for gay couples. Lesbian couples have sex less frequent, but when they do they have sex longer, so the amount of sex is comparable.
Only a few couples in long term relationships have sex on a daily basis. Question is, what would happen if people who don’t have sex every day (almost everybody), would do it much more frequent? Would these people become happier?
Research show: people become less happy when they have sex more frequent
In recent research people that usually have sex 5 to 6 times per month to double their frequency for three months in a row. Another group was asked to keep their frequency the same. It turned out that those that doubled their frequency became less happy in comparison to the group who didn’t change their sex habbits.
Those persons that went from 5 to 6 times to 10 to 12 times a month, started to see it as a chore. It wasn’t something they did naturally and spontaneous, but more something they had to do. The conclusion of this research was not so much that having sex more often makes people unhappier, but having sex while you don’t feel like it doesn’t improve your relationship. This matches other studies, for example among couples who undergo fertility therapy. When couples are busy conceiving a child, the lust will eventually go away.
Many so called self help guides and even some religious leaders sometimes advice couples to have sex more frequently to improve their relationship. The thought behind it is that increased intimacy will lead to a happier relationship. This research makes an end to this believe. But is that right?
There have been many experiments, often not scientific, in which people have been asked to have sex on a daily basis. Also there have been a couple of journalists that had sex on the daily as a a matter of experiment, to write about it afterwards. In many of those articles, the emphasis is on the short term effect. Often you will see that partners are forced to communicate more on the subject of sex and another positive effect is that they become more aware of their sexuality.
In 2014 a few Dutch couples joined in on an experiment called ‘Every day sex, a national sexperiment’ of KRO (a Dutch national television broadcast company). During one month these couples had to have seks every day and report their findings in a movie. The conclusion was that this sexperiment was more an exercise willpower then in intimacy.
American Charla Muller gave her husband a peculiar gift for his fortieth birthday: every day sex for one year long. In 208 she wrote a book about it: ‘365 Nights. A Memoir of Intimacy’. Muller received a great deal of criticism, because the gift she so often cites in the book was all about his pleasure and not so much that of her own. After that year, that the husband called very satisfying, the Mullers only had sex 3 to 4 times a week, which was still double than before. And it is way above the average.
The video below, coming from Buzzfeed, shows that couples that tried it, wanted to get rid of it after one month. It all seemed great, having sex more frequent. But in practice, having sex more often, didn’t necessarily make them happier.
Sex on the daily is not something desirable. It is not an ‘example of how it should be’. Earlier we saw that there is not a clear link between frequency and happiness in a relationship. Dutch sexologist Gertjan van Zessen says in Dutch newspaper Trouw in a response to the Dutch television program of KRO: “I think that a lot of sex is a sign of unhappiness for a large group of people. It often shows inner dissatisfaction. Couples who have a nice sex life, don’t do it every day. It’s like fancy cooking: you can do it every day, but at a certain point in time you start wondering: why should I?”.
Still, a lot of couples that have joined one of these experiments, often say it did improve their sex life. This often has to do with changing their circumstances. They talk more frequently about sex, buy sex toys, scented candles and massage oil, go to sex fairs, buy sexy lingerie, have more attention for each other (and less for things that might distract them like social media or TV) and they tell each other what they find attractive about one and other. Quality is more important then quantity and quality can be improved by joining an experiment. More sex might not make you happier if sex becomes a chore, but it will if you really enjoy it.