Sex apparently is like income: People are generally happy when they keep pace with the Joneses and they’re even happier if they get a bit more.
That’s one finding of Tim Wadsworth, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder, who recently published the results of a study of how sexual frequency corresponds with happiness.
Using national survey data and statistical analyses, Wadsworth found that people reported steadily higher levels of happiness as they reported steadily higher sexual frequency. But he also found that even after controlling for their own sexual frequency, people who believed they were having less sex than their peers were unhappier than those who believed they were having as much or more than their peers.
“There’s an overall increase in sense of well-being that comes with engaging in sex more frequently, but there’s also this relative aspect to it,” he said. “Having more sex makes us happy, but thinking that we are having more sex than other people makes us even happier.”
Wadsworth analyzed data from the General Social Survey, which has been taking the “pulse of America” since 1972. All respondents in all years are asked whether they are “very happy, pretty happy or not too happy.”
The survey has included questions about sexual frequency since 1989. Wadsworth’s sample included 15,386 people who were surveyed between 1993 and 2006.
After controlling for many other factors, including income, education, marital status, health, age, race and other characteristics, respondents who reported having sex at least two to three times a month were 33 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness than those who reported having no sex during the previous 12 months.
The happiness effect appears to rise with frequency. Compared to those who had no sex in the previous year, those reporting a once-weekly frequency were 44 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness. Those reporting having sex two to three times a week are 55 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness.
But while personal income can be inferred by a neighbor’s flashy new car or home renovation, sex is a more cloistered activity. So how do, say, men or women in their 20s know how frequently their peers have sex?
Full story at sciencedaily.com
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