Sex & Relationships

Why long-term couples still have sex together

Not only is it important that you have sex, but a new study shows that your frame of mind whilst doing it plays a huge part in your overall happiness.
A happy couple intimate in bed How and why you have sex plays a big part in the happiness of your relationship (Photo iStock).

Why do you have sex with your partner? Can you answer that personal boundary-pushing question without blushing from your toes to the tips of your ears? Or without stammering out something about the sacred beauty of two bodies becoming one?

I know why I pursue intimate relations with my immortal beloved, but unfortunately ‘because it’s Saturday’ isn’t a reason cited in a recent investigation into what compels longtime lovers to make love again and again.

Two recent studies from the University of Toronto establish two primary motivations for why people in long-term relationships have sex. Those motivations were classified into the broad categories “approach” and “avoidance”, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

The approach motive includes positive aims, for example, the desire to increase intimacy with a partner, and/or to simply feel closer to a partner. The avoidance motive includes more negative aims, for example, an interest in avoiding conflict and/or to avoid feeling guilty for not having sex.

The reasons behind your boudoir activities aren’t insignificant. In fact, the study suggests that the mindset you have toward the sexual activity affects your enjoyment of the act itself.

Those couples that reported they had sex because they wanted to increase intimacy were more satisfied with their sex lives. Not surprisingly, those that had sex out of guilt or to avoid conflict reported less satisfaction.


It’s not just sex that feels better when it’s approached with a positive goal in mind — relationship satisfaction increased too.

But that doesn’t mean indulging in a little duty sex is a bad thing. The studies support the overall idea that sex is good for a relationship, period. People who have sex are generally happier than those who don’t. If you want to enjoy sex more and enjoy your relationship more, however, it may be wise to reduce the number of ‘fine, but make it quick’ exchanges and increase the number of ‘I love you, baby’ clinches.


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