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What Is It About Sex That Makes People Feel Happy?

What is it about sex that makes people feel happy?

What is it about sex that makes people feel happy?

It’s not necessarily just the physical feelings and sense of release, according to new research. Affectionate touching – kissing, hugging, and cuddling, for example – also contributes to overall well-being.

The study, published in March 2017 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, involved several separate research projects.

In one, a group of 106 Swiss couples kept a ten-day diary noting when they had sex, when and how they showed affection, and their mood. Couples who had more sex during that time period tended to be happier with their relationships six months later. They also felt more affectionate during the hours after sex.

Another project involved a survey of 335 Americans, who answered questions about their sexual frequency, affectionate touch, and satisfaction with life. A similar survey included 74 people in the San Francisco area. Taken together, the results showed that people who had more sex tended to be happier. But affection contributed much to the respondents’ well-being.

“Our research suggests the important role of nonverbal intimate exchanges—sex and affectionate touch—to maintain well-being,” the authors wrote.

They added that such exchanges could be even more important now, as technology plays a bigger role in communication. (For more perspectives on technology and sexuality, please click here.)


Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Debrot, Anik

“More Than Just Sex: Affection Mediates the Association Between Sexual Activity and Well-Being”

(Abstract. First published: March 1, 2017)

Baer, Drake

“Why Frequent Sex Makes for Happier Humans”

(February 27, 2017)

Carroll, Linda

“It's the cuddling, not the sex, that makes you happier”

(March 3, 2017)