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Humankind is by nature competitive – and that includes having sex. Research shows that we’re at our happiest when we think we’re getting more sex than our friends and neighbours.
The study, by the University of Colorado, looked at how sexual frequency correlates to happiness and showed that when we believe we’re having more sex than our peers, we’re happier but our happiness levels drop when we think we’re falling behind what others are doing.
The Colorado research, entitled Sex and the Pursuit of Happiness: How Other People’s Sex Lives are Related to Our Sense of Well-being, concluded that the more sex we have, the happier we are but we’re ecstatic when we believe we’re getting more than our peers.
The study, published in Social Indicators Research, analysed data and statistics from the US General Social Survey, which quizzes participants on how often they have sex. The data analysed for the Colorado research looked at the answers from people who had taken part in the survey between 1993 and 2006.
The happiness levels of participants appeared to rise with the frequency of their sexual activity – for example, those who said they had sex at least 2-3 times a month were 33% more likely to claim higher levels of happiness than those who hadn’t had sex at all in the previous year.
Those who had sex at least once a week were 44% more likely to be happier than those who’d gone without in the last year. And the ones having sex 2-3 times a year were a whopping 55% happier than those who’d had no sex in a year.
The study’s authors concluded that people take their cues on what is normal frequency for sexual activity from mass media such as magazines and newspapers, television and movies, and so while they might not know for definite exactly how often their peers are indulging in sex, they can make assumptions from the information they glean from the media and that impacts on their happiness levels.