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Janet Taylor, MD Sex
Having sex makes us happy but thinking we are having more sex than others makes us even happier.
A new research study finds that people are happier when they perceive they are having more sex than their peers.
As has been well-documented with income, the happiness linked with having more sex can rise or fall depending on how individuals believe they measure up to their peers, said Dr. Tim Wadsworth, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder.
His paper is found in the journal Social Indicators Research.
Wadsworth statistically analyzed national survey data and discovered people reported steadily higher levels of happiness as they reported steadily higher sexual frequency.
But he also found that even after controlling for their own sexual frequency, people who believed they were having less sex than their peers were unhappier than those who believed they were having as much or more than their peers.
“There’s an overall increase in sense of well-being that comes with engaging in sex more frequently, but there’s also this relative aspect to it,” he said.
“Having more sex makes us happy, but thinking that we are having more sex than other people makes us even happier.”
Wadsworth analyzed data from the General Social Survey — a survey of American perceptions since 1972. All respondents in all years are asked whether they are “very happy, pretty happy or not too happy.”
The survey has included questions about sexual frequency since 1989. Wadsworth’s sample included 15,386 people who were surveyed between 1993 and 2006.
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