Monday is International Day of Happiness, and that got us thinking about what provides happiness.
If you ask a teenage boy what would make him happy, the answer (assuming it’s not his mother doing the asking) would likely be “Having sex and lots of it.”
If you ask the same question of his grandmother, the answer is probably the same. Yes, older people have sex.
But both sonny-boy and Grammy would be wrong if they thought antics in the bedroom were the path to greater fulfillment. Research has tackled the sizzling issue of whether the key to happiness can be found in your sex life, and the short answer is not really.
While you may think so, having a lot of sex will not make you any happier. The sweet spot for couples is having sex about once a week, according to recent studies. More often than that, and it may become a case of familiarity breeding contempt, or at least losing intensity and weakening desire. For one study by Carnegie Mellon University, 128 couples were asked to start having 40 percent more sex than usual. Instead of more sex making them happier, their moods actually declined.
If you are keeping score ― and who isn’t? ― the average adult has sex two or three times a month, according to the Happify graphic below.
Want to feel even better? The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior ― regarded as one of the most comprehensive studies in almost two decades ― found that 61 percent of singles and 18 percent of married couples haven’t had sex in the past year.
And why do we even want to compare our sex lives to others’?
“People are often curious about others’ sex lives,” Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, said in a statement when the NSSHB was released. “They want to know how often men and women in different age groups have sex, the types of sex they engage in, and whether they are enjoying it or experiencing sexual difficulties.”
All of which leads to this: If it’s happiness you are seeking, maybe the bedroom is the wrong place to be looking for it. That, or perhaps you could volunteer for more research?