Fascinating new research says that more sex does not lead to a better relationship. However more frequent sex does lead us to feel more trusting of our partners. This then leads to your satisfaction with your partner staying higher over time.
Researchers from Florida State University have used unique methods to delve into the unconscious minds and emotions of over two hundred newlywed couples to see how their reported sexual frequency related to their feelings towards their partners.
Like almost every study conducted, these guys found that there was no systematic relationship between frequency of sex and a couples’ overall level of relationship satisfaction. That’s right – more banging does not equal better relationship. Wonder what the results would show when respondents were asked about quality of sex or frequency of orgasm…
Then the researchers got clever and used all of these association techniques to get to the true feelings of each respondent towards their partner. Using a word association game they tested response times of respondents. Each partner was shown a word that they had to categorise either being negative or positive. They were then (very) briefly shown a photo of their partner and asked to relate each. They found that when couples had more sex they responded to the positive words faster than when they had less sex. This is was the opposite for negative words. This was interpreted by the authors as meaning they have a more positive “gut feel” about their partner, almost like a stronger positive instinct about their partner.
It is like sexual activity is connecting couples on a deeper level. This then leads to closer bonds and happiness in the long term.
Where does this leave casual sexual relationships of “f*ck buddies?” To be fair, it leaves then in a nasty spot because it seems we are wired to become connected to those who we have sex with on an ongoing basis. Therefore based on this evidence, any ongoing casual relationships are likely to lead to a deeper connection between the two people.
I would like to have seen the gender break down on this study to see if the frequency of sex affected the genders differently. Previous research shows that oxytocins (the “bonding hormone typically released post sex) work more strongly in women than men for under 40s. However this gap shrinks o the point where for the 40 and above age group, the bonding effects of oxytocin is the same for both genders.