Stop the presses.
Apparently, a study once discovered that the boost in happiness humans get from having sex once a week instead of once a month is comparable to the happiness boost you'd get from earning an additional $50,000 a year.
BUT I BEG TO DIFFER.
That said, sex is pretty awesome, and it's no secret having it on the regular does have awesome benefits for your health and happiness.
However, new studies found that those health and happiness benefits may not actually be from the sex itself. Plot twist!
Swedish researchers conducted several studies and found the main reason sex contributes to greater long-term happiness is actually because of all the CUDDLING and AFFECTION that comes with intercourse — not just the orgasm itself.
In one study, researchers surveyed two groups of people, all of whom were in a romantic relationship.
Each group was asked a series of questions on their sex lives and how much affectionate touch (cuddling, hugging, kissing, etc.) was involved beyond having actual sex. They were also asked to rate their overall happiness in life and how often they experienced positive emotions, like joy and contentment.
Basically, more sex did correlate to greater life satisfaction for those surveyed. But when researchers examined the amount of affection those couples reported, the correlation between sex and happiness changed for some participants.
In a different study, researchers spoke with about 106 couples, most of whom were married with kids, and asked them to keep journals of their sexual activity and to include what researchers described as "moments of love and security" and "affectionate or thoughtful sign from my partner."
Overwhelmingly, these results also revealed that even though more sex was associated with greater happiness, this was only true if sex was associated with cuddles and other forms of love and affection.
Even though more sex was associated with greater happiness, this was only true if sex was associated with cuddles and other forms of love and affection.
Dr. Anik Debrot, lead author of the study, explained,
When engaging in sex, people not only seek an intimate connection, but indeed experience more affection, both when having sex and in the next several hours. Hence sex seems not only beneficial because of its physiological or hedonic effects, but because it promotes a stronger and more positive connection with the partner.
This totally makes sense. I mean, why do you think things like onesies and the snuggies were even invented? PROBABLY BECAUSE SCIENCE SAYS WE LIKE SOFT THINGS TO SWADDLE US.
But anyway, I digress.
Long story short: Next time your boo-bear doesn't want to cuddle, gently let him know cuddling is ultimately better for his health than sex is, and see if he takes the bait.
Citations: It's all the cuddling - scientists explore why people who have sex more are happier (The British Psychology Society), Surprising Reason More Sex May Be Key To Happiness: Cuddling And Affection Increase Couples' Wellbeing (Medical Daily)