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A Stronger “Sexual Afterglow” Helps Couples Bond for the Long Term

A Stronger “Sexual Afterglow” Helps Couples Bond for the Long Term

Sex is important for pair bonding, but most couples don’t have sex every day. So how do they stay bonded? The “afterglow” might explain.

Scientists describe the sexual afterglow as a period of satisfaction and bonding between partners following sex. New research suggests that this period might last for two days for some couples and could be linked to long-term relationship happiness.

The researchers looked at data studies involving 214 newlywed couples. Each night for two weeks, each partner made a diary entry describing sexual activity and feelings of sexual satisfaction for that day.

Participants also completed assessments of their marital satisfaction at the start of the study and four to six months later.

On average, the couples had sex on four of the fourteen days. The researchers noticed that participants felt more sexually satisfied the day of sex and up to two days after. This result was similar for both men and women and across age groups.

Marital satisfaction generally decreased after a few months. However, the couples that reported the strongest afterglows tended to be happier with their relationships over time.

The findings concur with past studies, making a stronger case for the sexual afterglow.

“This research is important because it joins other research suggesting that sex functions to keep couples bonded,” said lead author Andrea Meltzer of Florida State University in a press release.

The study was published online in March in the journal Psychological Science.



“A 48-hour sexual 'afterglow' helps to bond partners over time”

(Press release. March 20, 2017)

Medical News Today

Whiteman, Honor

“Sex may be key to a happy marriage, study finds”

(March 26, 2017)

Psychological Science

Meltzer, Andrea L., et al.

“Quantifying the Sexual Afterglow: The Lingering Benefits of Sex and Their Implications for Pair-Bonded Relationships”

(Abstract. First published online: March 16, 2017)