The More or the Better? How Sex Contributes to Life Satisfaction

Abstract

Much cross-sectional research documented associations between sexuality and life satisfaction, but very little longitudinal research on the topic has considered whether changes in sexuality and life satisfaction unfold together over time. Using data from 5582 individuals in partnerships surveyed across 5786 intimate relationships (providing 18,712 observations for analysis) during five waves of the German Family Panel (pairfam), this study examined whether intraindividual changes in sexual frequency and satisfaction were associated with corresponding intraindividual changes in life satisfaction. Fixed effects regression modeling results showed that individuals reported a greater increase (decrease) in life satisfaction when they also experienced a more substantial increase (decrease) in sexual frequency and satisfaction. This finding was consistent for men and women. This study contributes to the literature by documenting that naturally occurring increases in sexual frequency and satisfaction over time predicted corresponding increases in life satisfaction.

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Acknowledgments

This study used data from the German Family Panel pairfam, coordinated by Josef Brüderl, Karsten Hank, Johannes Huinink, Bernhard Nauck, Franz Neyer, and Sabine Walper. Pairfam is funded as a long-term project by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

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Correspondence to Claudia Schmiedeberg.

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Compliance with ethical standards for German social research and data protection laws was secured throughout the study. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Schmiedeberg, C., Huyer-May, B., Castiglioni, L. et al. The More or the Better? How Sex Contributes to Life Satisfaction. Arch Sex Behav 46, 465–473 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0843-y

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Keywords

  • Life satisfaction
  • Sexual frequency
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Fixed effect regression analysis