Many couples know that sex is an important aspect of their relationship. However, most would be surprised to learn how being intimate with your partner and showing affection can have a dramatic impact on both of your lives.
A new study was conducted by Anik Debrot and colleagues and illustrates the role of sex itself and the emotions that accompany sexuality between partners.
Up Next: 5 Ways To Spice Up Foreplay
"The authors believed that the key ingredient in the sex-happiness relationship is positive affect, or being on an emotional high," Susan Krauss Whitbourne wrote in an article on Psychology Today.
Of the many tests conducted, the most telling study involved a group of heterosexual participants with an average age of 25 and who have been in a relationship for 4 years. Most couples were married.
To collect data from participants, the researchers gave them all smartphones to record their responses. The study lasted two weeks and involved the participants completing an assessment after being prompted by a notification on their phones.
The participants were asked to simply answer whether they'd had sex since their last report. They were also asked if they engaged in a "moment of love and affection" with their partner.
The study showed that people rated their positive effect in their relationships higher when they had sex in the previous 24 hours. "The impact of sex on happiness was accounted for, in large part, by increases in affection linked to prior sexual activity."
The authors of the study offered this note in regards to their findings:
"Hence, sex seems not only beneficial because of its physiological or hedonic effects, but because it promotes a stronger and more positive connection with the partner...When one person draws emotional benefits from sex, their partner's relationship satisfaction is also promoted over time."
Another interesting conclusion from one of the studies was that affection can help couples maintain a strong relationship even as they grow older and are having babies.
"People may decrease their sexual activity as they get older due to physical changes, and couples recently having children may similarly have sex less often. As long as these sexless couples maintain their affection toward each other, they can offset the potentially negative effects of lowered sexual activity."
It's also true on the flip side, so if a couple is wanting to rekindle the flames, working on more affection will likely lead to more sex.
"Conversely, if couples feel they're drifting apart and therefore having sex less often, if they work on their physical affection toward each other, their sexual relationship may become reestablished as well."