It doesn't take a scientist to know that you feel happier after sex — but it does take a scientist to know why.
A new study reveals that the affection (aka kissing, hugging and cuddling) we show to one another during sex leads to greater happiness and overall satisfaction with life.
The study, published in the Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, shows that the quality of the bond is just as important as the quality of the physical mechanics and physical aspects of sex.
“People feel more positive emotions after having sex, and this is the case because they feel more affection from and for their partner when they have sex,” the study's lead author, Anik Debrot told TODAY.
Debrot, a research and teaching fellow at the Cognition and Affect Regulation Laboratory at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and her colleagues ran four experiments to see if they could determine what exactly contributes to someone's feelings of well being during sex.
In one experiment, the researchers surveyed over 335 men and women about their sexual frequency, affectionate touch frequency and their overall satisfaction with life.
The experiment found that while people who had more sex tended to be more satisfied overall, once researchers factored in affectionate touch, the sex-effect was greatly diminished.
The study also found that instead of a post-sex "high," the buzz acted as a long-acting relationship boost.
“People that felt more positive emotions, like joy and optimism, after having sex with their partner showed more relationship satisfaction after a 6- month period," Debrot said. "This shows that what is good for you is good for your relationship.”
Debrot also added that having sex once a week might be the perfect frequency for happiness.
“A previous study showed that people report more well being the more they have sex, up to once a week,” Debrot said. “If they have sex more often, they do not report less well-being, but neither does it increase their well-being compared to once a week.”
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