People, who have entered the matrimonial bond, tend to have more frequent action in the bedroom, but does this leads to better relationships? It depends on how you ask. Newlywed couples who have a lot of sex don’t report being any more satisfied with their relationships than those who have sex less often, but their automatic behavioral responses tell a different story, according to the Florida State University research. ‘We found that
the frequency with which couples have sex has no influence on whether or not they report being happy with their relationship, but their sexual frequency does influence their more spontaneous, automatic, gut-level feelings about their partners,’ says lead author Lindsey L. Hicks.
Hicks added that this is important in light of research demonstrating that these automatic attitudes ultimately predict whether couples end up becoming dissatisfied with their relationship. From an evolutionary standpoint, frequent sex confers several benefits, improving chances of conception and helping bond partners together in relationships that facilitate child-rearing. But when researchers explicitly ask couples about their relationship satisfaction, they typically don’t find any association between satisfaction and frequency of sex. (Read: Couples having more sex not necessarily happier)
‘Our findings suggest that we’re capturing different types of evaluations when we measure explicit and automatic evaluations of a partner or relationship,’ says Hicks. ‘Deep down, some people feel unhappy with their partner but they don’t readily admit it to us, or perhaps even themselves.’ The researchers note that participants’ reports of how often they remember having sex may not be the most precise measure of sexual frequency. And it remains to be seen whether the findings are applicable to all couples or specific to newly married couples like those they studied.
Taken together, the findings drive home the point that asking someone about their feelings or attitudes isn’t the only way to measure how they feel. ‘These studies illustrate that some of our experiences, which can be either positive or negative, affect our relationship evaluations whether we know it or not,’ Hicks concludes. The study is published in Psychological Science.