We've got your update on this week's most outrageous sex studies. Find out if the key to happiness is having lots of sex—the truth may surprise you. And see if your generation is up to par—in terms of sexual partners—with older or younger ones. Spoiler alert: your dad may have more notches in his belt than you'll ever have in your lifetime. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's start with the first study.
Self-help books, television shows—even your friends have one thing in common: they’ve told you the key to happiness is sex—and lots of it. But researchers from Carnegie Mellon University say that’s just not true.
In the study, scientists enlisted 128 35- to 65-year-old heterosexual married couples. First, the couples answered questions to establish baselines figures on their level of happiness and sexual frequency. Then, half of these couples were asked to double their weekly intercourse frequency, the other half didn’t receive any instruction. Daily, during this three-month experimental period, the couples answered questions online to measure their health behaviors, happiness levels, and the occurrence, type and enjoyment of sex. The exit survey analyzed whether their baseline levels changed over time.
Interestingly enough, the couples that upped their frequency of sex weren’t any happier. In fact, their happiness decreased—as did their sexual desire and enjoyment, likely because they were being told to have sex, rather than initiating it on their own, researchers say.
"Instead of focusing on increasing sexual frequency to the levels they experienced at the beginning of a relationship, couples may want to work on creating an environment that sparks their desire and makes the sex that they do have even more fun," said Tamar Krishnamurti, a research scientist in CMU's Department of Engineering and Public Policy, in a press release.