A huge study of nearly 39,000 married or cohabiting heterosexual couples, to be published in the Journal of Sex Research later this month, reveals how satisfied couples are staying satisfied—in bed and out. Though the study hasn’t been released just yet, here’s a brief look at the main takeaways, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
In the study, researchers from four universities (Chapman University, California State University, Sonoma State University, and Kinsey Institute at Indiana University) posted a survey on MSNBC.com for two weeks in 2006. Of the 39,000 respondents, the average age ranged from 40-46, and the couples had been with their partner for a minimum of three years. Researchers asked respondents to rate their sexual satisfaction in the first six months of their relationship and their current level of sexual satisfaction on a scale of one to seven.
Reasonably enough, 83 percent of respondents said they were satisfied in the first six months, but only about half (43 percent of men, 55 percent of women) were currently satisfied; the rest said they were neutral (16 percent of men, 18 percent of women) or dissatisfied (41 percent of men, 27 percent of women).
For the satisfied bunch, here are the habits they all have in common:
- For men, the strongest predictors of satisfaction, in order, are: mood setting, sexual variety, and communication. For women, it’s how frequently they orgasm, mood setting, and communication. (Read: The Conversation That'll Lead to the Best Sex of Your Lives).
- Seventy-nine percent of satisfied men and 81 percent of satisfied women have sex one or more times per week (only 17 percent of dissatisfied men and 23 percent of dissatisfied women have sex that often); however, researchers are unsure which is the cause and effect. “It’s a chicken and egg thing,” lead study author David Frederick told the WSJ. “Couples who are more satisfied are driven to have sex more often, which gives them more satisfaction and leads to more frequency.”
- Sixty-three percent of satisfied men and 55 percent of satisfied women admitted to making a “date night” with their partner to ensure they had sex.
- Seventy-five percent of satisfied men and 74 percent of satisfied women said “I love you” during their last sexual encounter.