In what should come as a surprise to virtually no one, science has confirmed – once again – the link between a fulfilling sex life and happiness. A series of scientific studies have shown a strong positive link between those who have frequent sex and the happiness/well being they feel in their lives and their relationships.
The details are a little more complicated. A study by Anik Duborc tried to figure out the reasons for the positive association between sex and well being. The result was a little surprising – the well being and happiness seemed to be linked to the cuddling and feeling of intimacy that accompanies sex, as opposed to the sexual act itself. At the very least, the researchers found, the cuddling and closeness were at least as important as the sexual act.
I suppose this makes sense. I’ve long believed that humans crave touch and connection even more than we crave sex. As social creatures in a digital age we miss physical closeness and seek it out. Sex is a great way to get this, but it is the both sex and the closeness we want – to more-or-less the same degree.
This idea that sex and intimacy are equally important really appeals to me. I will admit to (infrequently) having had sex with women in the past who I didn’t feel particularly close to. It was fun and felt great at the time, but I wouldn’t say it had any enduring effect on my happiness. But when I’ve had sex with women I feel a closeness and a connection with… the afterglow will last for weeks.
I’m at one of those stages of life where a number of close friends are getting divorced. They reach a point where their kids are getting a little more independent and not needing their attention 24/7. As they look to their partner, they realize that the connection and the intimacy has been lost. I can think of three friends in particular – in only the last month – who have found new partners. Each of them said what they liked about the new relationships they are entering into was (i) sex was exciting again; and (ii) it felt good to be touched in a way that made me feel wanted.
This idea of touching and being touched in a way that makes you feel wanted, desirable and intimate is really important I believe. While sex and orgasms are fantastic, so is the feeling of closeness we get as we achieve them.