More Than Just Sex

Anik Debrot, Nathalie Meuwly, Amy Muise, Emily A. Impett, Dominik Schoebi
  • Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, January 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0146167216684124

What is it about?

Sexual activity is beneficial for the personal well-being; this has been shown in numerous studies across different countries in people of a broad age range. Nevertheless, little is known about why this is the case. Knowing the importance of affectionate interactions for well-being, we tested the prediction that the experience of affection would explain the association between sex and well-being. Our four studies confirmed this hypothesis: not only when assessing the global sexual frequency and well-being did global affection in the couple explained this association (studies 1 and 2), but also in daily life, sexual activity was associated with higher positive emotions, and this was explained by the fact that sex leads to more affection. This shows the importance of the emotional or affectionate connection experienced with the partner in understanding why sexual activity is good for you.

Why is it important?

Until recently, sexuality research has mainly focused on the negative aspects of sexuality (e.g. STD, sexual dysfunctions, etc.). However, it is known that a frequent and satisfying sexual life is not only very important for a satisfying romantic relationship, but also for the personal well-being. On the other hand, in the public media, mostly the physical and technical aspects of sexuality are depicted, giving a biased image of what a pleasant sex life should be (for example implying that you should have a perfect body, or master several technics to be sexually fulfilled). Our research shows not only the benefits of sexual activity (it is to our knowledge the first study demonstrating that sexual activity promotes increases of positive emotions), but it indicates that the shared affection with the partner, and thus a relational aspect, is central in understanding the benefits of sex.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Anik Debrot

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