Here's How Sex Could Help Improve Relationship Quality in the Long Run

Mar 21, 2017 12:40 PM EDT

A new study from Florida State University revealed that having sex with your partner may provide a short-term boost of sexual satisfaction that could sustain the bond of the couple in between sexual experiences and enhance their relationship satisfaction in the long run.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, showed that the lingering effects of sexual satisfaction could strengthen relationship quality over time.

"Our research shows that sexual satisfaction remains elevated 48 hours after sex," said Andrea Meltzer, a psychological scientist at Florida State University and lead author of the study, in a press release.

"And people with a stronger sexual afterglow -- that is, people who report a higher level of sexual satisfaction 48 hours after sex -- report higher levels of relationship satisfaction several months later," Meltzer added.

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For the study, the researchers analyzed data from two independent longitudinal studies, one with 96 newlywed couples and one with 118 newlywed couples.

The couples were asked to complete a 14-day daily diary. Additionally, the researchers asked each participant if they had sex with their partners that day. The participants were also asked to rate how satisfied they were with their sex life, partner, relationship and marriage.

At the beginning of the study, the couples completed three measures of marriage quality, which they completed again at a follow-up session four to six months later.

The researchers found that couples in the study have sex four out of the 14 days on average. Couples who have sex on a given day reported a higher level of sexual satisfaction in the same day.

Interestingly, the feeling of sexual satisfaction appears to last 48 hours after a single act of sex. The marital satisfaction of all the couples declined beween the beginning of the study and the four- to six-month follow-up. However, those who reported higher levels of sexual afterglow showed less steep declines in their marital satisfaction.

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