SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — When it comes to sex and happiness, it’s about quality, not quantity, according to a new study. In fact, too much sex can actually make you less happy.
Researchers at Carenegie Mellon University wanted to see if there was a “positive correlation between sexual frequency and happiness.”
What they found was that happy people are happy by nature — whether they are having frequent sex, or not. In fact, the study found for some couples frequent intercourse actually decreased happiness and lowered their sexual desire and enjoyment.
The study was published in this month’s Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
The researchers recruited 64 married, heterosexual couples and told half of them to double the frequency of sexual intercourse for 90 days. The other group went about their lives as usual.
In their daily journals, the group that increased the frequency of sex reported a decrease in happiness and sexual pleasure. Both men and women said the “additional intercourse wasn’t much fun.”
Lead researcher George Loewenstein told the New York Times, “It seems that if you’re having sex for a reason other than because you like and want sex,” you may undermine the quality of that sex and your resulting mood.
Loewenstein said it’s the pleasure of the act that raises moods, not how often it happens.
Tamar Krishnamurti helped design the study. She said the findings could actually help couples understand how to stay happy over time, as their desire to have sex naturally starts to wane.
“Instead of focusing on increasing sexual frequency to the levels they experienced at the beginning of a relationship, couples may want to work on creating an environment that sparks their desire and makes the sex that they do have even more fun,” said Krishnamurti.
CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.