Ideally you and your partner will be having sex whenever you both mutually want it. But as anyone who’s been in a relationship past the googly-eyed phase knows, sometimes life gets in the way of having everything you want exactly when you want it. So it can be nice to have a little direction on how often you should be making an effort to be romantic. And now scientists have an answer for you.
While scheduling sex can seem like the ultimate sign you’ve given up on romance, sex is important! As Dr. Phil famously said (What? Admit it — we all watched him back in his Oprah days!), when you’re having sex, it’s just one part of the relationship; when you’re not having it, it’s 90 percent of the relationship. Which is why, according to a new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, you should be having sex once a week.
After combing through data from thousands of couples, the researchers found that those who had sex at least once a week were the happiest. But surprisingly, having sex more than once a week did not increase happiness. When it comes to nooky, more isn’t always better: Super-frequent sexers weren’t sadder than other couples, but the additional sexy-times didn’t add up to additional happiness.
“Our findings suggest that it’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, but you don’t need to have sex every day, as long as you’re maintaining that connection,” says Amy Muise, Ph.D., the lead author and a social psychologist at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She adds that having a good relationship outside the bedroom plays a large role in sexual satisfaction.
More: There is no perfect time of day to have sex — so don’t wait for it
In case you’re curious as to how much sex everyone else is having and how you stack up, the average is about once a week, according to the study. And you can forget all the stereotypes you’ve heard about men wanting more sex than women or older people having less sex. Muise says there was no difference in the findings based on gender, age or length of the relationship.
So there you have it: Science says to have sex once a week for optimum happiness. Go pencil it in your calendar now. (Or, you know, do what works best for you and your partner!)
Who says science isn’t sexy?