More sex with your sig-o may actually reduce libido in some cases

Jul 25, 2015 at 6:30 a.m. ET
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It turns out "getting it on" and being “turned on” are not synonymous. According to a recent study performed by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, consciously trying to up the ante on your sex life may not necessarily be the key to a happier relationship.

Researchers recruited 64 couples to partake in the sex experiment; half of the participants were instructed to increase the number of times they would usually have sex during the week, while the other half were encouraged to continue going about their standard bedroom business. Three months into the experiment, those who were actively putting in the extra hours between the sheets had relatively low libidos compared to those engaging in sexual intercourse whenever the opportunity naturally presented itself.

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This begs the question: Should sex be something that should be penciled into your daily planner? Booty calls aside, between two committed partners, sex is a genuine act of intimacy and the last thing anyone wants lingering in the back of their mind at night is whether or not their partner is actually enjoying sex or is forcing arousal for a scientific experiment.

"Perhaps couples changed the story they told themselves about why they were having sex, from an activity voluntarily engaged in to one that was part of a research study," lead researcher George Loewenstein, Ph.D. told Shape.

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Obviously there is a vast difference between wanting to make time for sex in between two people's hectic schedules and engaging in sexual activity to challenge statistics. It's like anything else; once something becomes a mandatory task, it loses its genuine nature. I know I'm not the only one willing to admit that sometimes, you're just not in the romantic mood, and while sometimes a push in that direction from your partner is exactly what you need to get things going, completely forcing yourself to be intimate is the last thing to get you hot and heavy.

Despite the experiment's results, Lowenstein still believes couples can significantly benefit from frequently having sex. It may not be the most important aspect of a relationship, but physical intimacy should be a priority. It is human nature to crave a physical connection with your partner, therefore focusing on these desires ultimately benefits the relationship, and the individuals involved, in the long run.

SheKnows Expert and Sex and Relationship Coach Colette Davenport claims that she has seen firsthand the positive impact of getting busy in the bedroom. Based on her interactions with couples, increased sexual intimacy should still be seen as something that can strengthen a couple's bond. One couple told her they felt younger and more energized after agreeing to more sexy time and actually upping their sex frequency.

Most importantly, Davenport describes sex as a vehicle for self expression. "Regular sensual rendezvous in a relationship supports each person's growth and development, which directly impacts every area of their lives," says Davenport. "When people feel rooted in their relationship, they have the mental and emotional freedom to focus on other things, especially creative work."

A generally happy relationship stems from two people who are satisfied as a couple and as individuals and a physical connection between the two is a key component in a successful relationship. Dr. Loewenstein's study participants' sex drives probably dropped significantly because they lost sight of what sex with their partner meant to them. Forcing yourself to be intimate will not make you happy. Attempting to create a stronger bond with your partner through physical intimacy will.