Washington: People are generally happy when they have more sex, but thinking that they are having more sex than other people makes them even happier.
That`s the finding of Tim Wadsworth, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder, who studied how sexual frequency corresponds with happiness.
Using national survey data and statistical analyses, Wadsworth found that 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.
Wadsworth analyzed data from the General Social Survey, which has been taking the "pulse of America" since 1972. All respondents in all years are asked whether they are "very happy, pretty happy or not too happy."
After controlling for many other factors, including income, education, marital status, health, age, race and other characteristics, respondents who reported having sex at least two to three times a month were 33 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness than those who reported having no sex during the previous 12 months.
The happiness effect appears to rise with frequency. Compared to those who had no sex in the previous year, those reporting a once-weekly frequency were 44 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness. Those reporting having sex two to three times a week are 55 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness.
Wadsworth noted that the data do not necessarily prove that social comparisons cause the effects he observed.
His paper on the study was published in the February edition of Social Indicators Research.