There is ample research that shows that the idea that more sex leads to happiness is bunk. But just how much sex do the happiest loving couples have? According to a new study in Social Psychological and Personality Science, the answer is once a week. What's more, researchers didn't see an increase in happiness correlating with greater frequency.
But why? One theory is that the pressure to have more sex can itself diminish pleasure. "For couples with busy lives, work responsibilities and children to care for, feeling the pressure to engage in sex as frequently as possible may be daunting and even stressful," the authors noted in their paper. "Perhaps the popular perception and previous research evidence suggesting that sex will continue to enhance well-being at higher frequencies is misguided."
Once a week may be just enough to satisfy both partners. "Once a week may also be the frequency that people feel is enough to maintain their intimate connection with their partner," says Amy Muise, the lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
The findings don't pertain to single people, though: A similar association wasn't found among those without steady partners, perhaps because the way people feel about having sex outside of the context of a relationship likely varies wildly.
And if you're looking for more happiness in your relationship, you might want to first look to your work life rather than sex life. "We know from past work that income is associated with greater happiness," Muise says. "The increase in well-being from having sex once a week compared to less than once a month was greater than making an extra $50,000 a year (a jump from about $25,000 to $75,000)."