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How much sex a couple has, and how often, has long been connected to their overall levels of happiness in the relationship.
Couples that enjoy intimacy more frequently are generally known to be more sexually satisfied and positive about their partnership.
Now researchers are examining whether a person’s motivation for having sex can impact the health of a relationship, in both positive and negative ways.
Two studies were conducted through the University of Toronto, with the results appearing in this month’s Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Some motives for intimacy concern psychologists, like having sex to prevent a partner from becoming disappointed or upset. These were classified in the study as “avoidance motives.”
“Approach motives” are those seen as more positive, such as wanting to have sex in order to grow closer to a partner.
“Partners that have sex for motives that
are positive have greater satisfaction.”
To understand the different effects, researchers interviewed 108 straight couples every day for two weeks. On days when the couples reported having sex, each partner was asked to answer 26 questions related to their personal motivations.
These motives were further broken down as either self-focused or partner-focused.
The partners that had sex for motives that were determined to be positive were found to have greater satisfaction sexually and a better view of the relationship. Similarly, those who engaged in sex under more negative reasoning were found to have less satisfaction.
The results held true among both genders.
In the second study, the same researchers asked 44 cohabiting couples about their sexual motivations, following up four months later to see the impact on a more long-term scale.
Even the couples that were found to have considerable amounts of sex for negative reasons saw lower levels of satisfaction.
Those couples who had sex for largely positive reasons again reported improved satisfaction when surveyed months later.
Source: wsj.com. Photo source: vividmagazine.in.