What makes you happy?

Are you happy? Not just *should* be happy. ARE you happy?

A study was published this week looking at sex and happiness. Turns out, you only need sex once a week to be happy. More sex? Doesn’t make you happier. This held up for men, women, old, young… Everyone across the board. But here is the real kicker: you have to be in a romantic relationship to have the benefit. The length of the relationship did not change the results, so being married for fifty years or dating for six months made no difference in the findings. 

For single people? There was no relationship between sex and happiness. So if you are single, don’t even bother from a happiness standpoint. Which is actually an interesting observation. Perhaps it is not sex we are after so much as the relationship.

Every day at the clinic I find myself talking to someone about sex and libido. There is this myth that has been perpetuated that healthy relationships require sex 3-4 times a week. More is better. I have tried to fight this, preaching that like so many other things in life, quality rather than quantity is the key to sex. Without data to support what I am saying, though, I consistantly get looks of disbelief in return.

But just once a week? 

That surprised even me. 

Is sex a tool for happiness, though? Is that how we should think about it? Is it sex that creates happiness by maintaining intimacy or is that happiness more a symptom of the things in place in a relationship that allow sex to happen at least once a week? 



102 thoughts on “Mossy

  1. This made me smile. You do have an interesting job. When you have kids, hold down a demanding job, run a busy home and try to pursue a creative life dream its hard to replicate ‘Shades of Grey’ 3-4 times a week. I think its about the relationship. Some nights I would quite happily settle for a good book, a bath and some nice floral cotton pyjamas. Great thought provoking post 🙂

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  2. “Is it sex that creates happiness by maintaining intimacy or is that happiness more a symptom of the things in place in a relationship that allow sex to happen at least once a week?” I think it’s both – it maintains the physical bond that also connects physiological chemical-wise. It’s part of the “whole package” of being satisfied, meaning it’s only one of the ingredients for a meaningful relationship. Interesting post Victo ~

    Liked by 6 people

  3. One of the most famous lines in all the Carry On films is – “Matron, I was once a weak man,” says Kenneth Williams in Carry On Doctor. “Once a week’s enough for any man,” replies Matron Hattie Jacques as she bears down on him. *laughs a lot*.

    I think it is a hefty slice of the affection and care that comes with the sex, as much as the act itself. Being found attractive on a repeated basis is good news too I’d say. *nods*

    – sonmi the soft siren upon the Cloud

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  4. It’s so very subjective, I think. I’ve never equated the two. I’m remembering how ridiculously happy I was in the months after the kids were born…when nursing, eating, sleeping, surviving were the only needs that seemed to matter. The relationship survived to see other highs and lows. I guess we were lucky. 💕

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  5. Well, to me, sex is very important, but not key in happiness. I am very happy right now and haven’t even tried to get any for quite some time. In a relationship, sexual compatibility is a must, for me, that would be at least once weekly, but hopefully a lot more.

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  6. I am sure that sex can be a big part of being happy. But as you age, it seems to lessen its importance as an necessary act, or sex becomes an impossibility due to physical restrictions. Then you learn to find happiness in other things. I believe happiness comes from with in and not from someone else.

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    • There is certainly not enough discussion about it, especially in the premarital stage. Media portrayal does not help. I remember most of what I understood about sex in high school and college was gleaned from Cosmopolitan…. But then, that was before the internet, too…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sex, the release of endorphins… not really romantic, but I think it is effective. I like the correlation that you need the relationship to get the release. I always thought it was a physical thing. They say all sex is really in the brain. I suppose that accounts for the happiness factor. It is not really a physical but an emotional response. You always have the best thought provoking subjects. 😉

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  8. Sex, intimacy, happiness. I suppose they’re a related but this is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg? We should probably think about why we were attracted to someone in the first place, not physical but real attraction. I would hope it was because someone made us happy, which led to intimacy which led to sex at least once a week..:)
    We can probably discuss this topic forever since there are lots of tentacles to play with here..:)

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  9. What an interesting post. I think that the intimacy and connection are vital to sex and thus happiness. The quality comes from the depth of feeling and intimacy. And ultimately, real love, is the reflection and affirmation, of and from, everything that is good in the other person. And this can can not only produce great sex but also a kind bliss.

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  10. Skin to skin… orgasms are wonderful and I’m not interested in doing without. But I can give myself orgasms. What I can’t do is get full body contact with myself, as I can with my husband. If I had to do without that, it would be a very sad world for me.

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  11. It’s all in the mind, in my view. I wonder if physical closeness automatically triggers endorphin release or if it’s just an ingrained response. Ditto for sex, which could be a very recently learned response; few species enjoy it as much as humans which argues for sex-based happiness a very recently developed conditioned reflex. What do you think? Am I Vulcan??? 😀

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  12. Pingback: Sex and happiness? | hbhatnagar

  13. I know one thing for sure: zero sex is better than sex with the wrong person. With the right person who loves and respects me, who I feel safe with, sex is wonderful. And once a week is fine with me. More if I’m on vacation of holidays 😉

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  14. Interesting…so, being newly single, I can now happily be asexual. Strangely, I’m okay with that. I blame med school for completely destroying my libido.

    ( – new blog address 🙂 )

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  15. Well, it depends on a lot of other things. Love, understanding, common feelings and opinions, compatibility matters more. But good sex with an otherwise also compatible person you love is magic. You can have good sex without love, as I and the heroine of my book found out, but you can probably only have great sex with a person you love.
    I spent most of my life thinking sex was not important. I found out later I just married the wrong man for sex. we were compatible in almost everything else. We are divorced, but still friends. I discovered joy of great sex quite late.but I have an American workaholic partner, and you cannot make love if one of you is in AMerica and one in Europe. Does not prevent me being happy. But when we are together for a week, once a week would not be enough. Research can be wrong, and even if it is right, there are always exceptions. My book is all about that stuff. 🙂

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  16. Oxytocin, the chemical that is released during sex and bonds us to one another, temporarily, unless one is a psychopath, then they don’t bond, but the other one does. This is not love or happiness, it’s oxytocin. Ultimate, unconditional happiness is loving yourself regardless of how much sex you get. We live in a hyper-sexualized society that attaches happiness to everything outside of ourselves. Why? Because it makes us buy ‘stuff.’ Sexual desires are dynamic, they change throughout life. More for women I think. The way society views older women vs men also contributes, but only if you live from the outside in. How we love and see ourselves ultimately determines the people we attract into our lives and how much we enjoy sex, but no, sex is not happiness, it’s a sharing of happiness with the right person, hopefully. I’d be happy with an oxytocin pill. Maybe you could come up with that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you bring up oxytocin! It is a complex hormone with variable effects in men and women, especially during sex but it does promote bonding in both sexes. Is bonding what makes us happy? It would seem that sex for the sake of sex outside of a relationship does not, so probably. They do sell oxytocin nasal sprays but the effects of that hormone are far reaching and affect many other aspects of our lives, including how we remember relationships with others, like our mothers, which would make me very cautious about using it. 🙂 It has given me an idea for another post! Woohoo!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Well, I can’t say the thought of sex doesn’t pull into the station often. However, having a ticket to ride depends on how tired we are. I doubt we keep track of how often, but that might be because we never bother to track the scheduled stops. Just as long as my wife doesn’t see me as a bullet train.

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  18. I am going through the menopause and it is all or nothing. Nothing much at the moment… The romance is way more important than just the sex. Talking to each other across a restaurant table, laughing when you say the same thing in stereo and occasionally dancing in the kitchen.

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  19. The chicken or the egg?
    Most of these surveys (And let’s look at the sample size) use straightforward regression analysis. A high R Square just means the two variables are strongly related. Doesn’t tell which is Ym which is X. That’s for the researcher to make a hypothesis.
    So maybe it’s the other way round happy people “do it” once a week. And that may be enough.

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  20. Sex is many things. It depends per person and there is no single measure that can fully explain its role in relationships. From sacred and intimate to fun snack, hobby or profession it is what people make it to be.

    My Christian upbringing used to confuse me. Nowadays I know enough. It is a matter of trust, mutual trust and mutual appreciation. When people love each other it is more than a physical activity…

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