Connecting the Dots Between Sex and Happiness



For a lot of us, the feeling of sex is incredible. Apart from the obvious physical sensations, the emotional and mental stimulation it can provide is sometimes immeasurable – euphoric, even.

Recently, researchers from the University of Toronto and Switzerland’s Université de Fribourg put their heads together to figure out sex’s connection with emotional happiness.

Through a series of four studies, researchers had American and Swiss couples document how often they had sex. What’s more, these couples were asked to keep track of how much kissing, hugging, cuddling and caressing they did. This information was soon matched up with how couples rated their life satisfaction and their breadth of positive feelings.

Once all of this data was combined, a number of interesting determinations were reached. For one, sexually active couples felt a prolonged sense (24 hours) of affection after a session between the sheets. Secondly, when researchers caught up with couples six months later, they found that couples that had sex often during the study period still had a heightened level of relationship satisfaction.

In all, researchers realized that sex motivates further affection, which subsequently equates to longstanding happiness.

“We’ve shown that sex promotes something very relational and affectionate. People feel more intimacy,” said the study’s lead author, Anik Debrot, during an interview with Chatelaine. “They feel closer, more understood and more cared for by their partner from the affection during sex. It would be interesting to see if sex could buffer the fact that some people are not able to express affection in other ways.”

-Adam Grant