The association between happiness and sex once a week held true for men and women, regardless of age or the length of their relationship, researchers reported. Photo by @erics/Shutterstock
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Sex makes most people happy, however endless sex may not be necessary to keep a relationship happy. Once a week is enough for most couples, according to three studies conducted over the last four decades.
As important as sex is to a relationship, new research contradicts previous studies claiming more sex leads to more happiness. Although the study does not establish a causal relationship -- that couples are more happy because they have sex or that happiness leads couples to have more sex -- but focuses instead that a connection exists between the two.
Researchers at the University of Toronto-Mississauga conducted three surveys of adults in the United States, finding the once-a-week number held true for men and women, regardless of age or length of relationship.
"Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week," said Amy Muise, a social psychologist at University of Toronto-Mississauga, in a press release. "Our findings suggest that it's important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, but you don't need to have sex everyday as long as you're maintaining that connection."
The first study analyzed responses from 11,285 men and 14,225 women who took the General Social Survey between 1989 and 2012. Their responses showed happiness tended to increase the more couples had sex, however happiness leveled off after averaging once a week.
The second study reinforced the often debated theory that money does not bring happiness. Based on responses from 138 men and 197 women, the difference in happiness between people having sex less than once a month compared to those doing it once a week was greater than the difference in happiness between people making $25,000 and $75,000 a year.
The third study, reviewing data collected three times during 14 years from 2,400 married couples did not show a strong link between sex and life satisfaction, but the couples were happier the more they had sex as it increased to once a week before leveling off.
Muise said levels of happiness as they relate to sex are specific to people, and the key is for partners to communicate about their needs, desires and satisfaction with life.
"People often think that more money and more sex equal more happiness, but this is only true up to a point," Muise said. "It's important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner without putting too much pressure on engaging in sex as frequently as possible."
The study is published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science.