There may be some truth to those old jokes about sex after marriage. At least, according to the findings from a 2011 Australian study, which found that more than half of husbands and nearly as many wives were unhappy with their sex lives — mostly because they weren’t having enough of it.
Even if you’re not down to do the deed every single night, there are plenty of physical and emotional benefits to having more sex with your spouse. Here are five:
1. Sexually satisfied spouses have more satisfying marriages.
Sexually satisfied spouses feel more fulfilled in their marriages, according to a 2013 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The study tracked 1,000 married Americans and found that spouses who weren’t having as much sex as they desired had more fights, more thoughts about ending their marriage and less positive communications. What’s more, their spouses reported similar thoughts and negative feelings. Similarly, another 2014 study published in the Journals of Gerontology found that sexual activity was a key factor in whether couples remained satisfied with their marriages later in life.
2. Sex can make you look and feel younger.
Frequent sex is a “crucial factor” in preserving youth, as British clinical psychologist Dr. David Weeks explained in a 2013 lecture for the British Psychological Society. Back in 1999, after concluding a 10-year study of thousands of middle-aged men and women, Weeks determined that having sex a total of three times a week could shave up to ten years off a person’s appearance. He also found that sex with a long-term partner is most beneficial in helping you look and feel younger.
3. Sex decreases couples’ stress and anxiety, particularly for neurotic people.
An Israeli study from 2012 found that sex among cohabiting couples decreased stress levels, and a 2006 study from Scotland’s University of Paisley found that people who recently had intercourse coped better with stressful situations. Married people with neurotic tendencies particularly benefit from time in the bedroom: According to a 2010 study published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal, which tracked 72 newlywed American couples over the first four years of their marriages, frequent sex substantially increases marital happiness among neurotic people. This is a big deal, as the study authors note that neuroticism is more likely to cause marital problems than any other personality trait.
4. Sex boosts your sense of personal well-being.
Your all-around happiness is correlated with the amount of sex you have, according to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder. By examining decades of data from the national General Social Survey, researchers found that people who engaged more frequently in sex were more likely to report higher levels of personal well-being.
5. Having sex even when one spouse isn’t totally in the mood boosts intimacy and libido.
Being generous in your sex life will improve your relationship and your sex drive, according to a 2012 University of Toronto study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. The study tracked sexual desire in long-term couples and found that the happiest ones expressed strong “sexual communal desire,” or the desire to have sex for your partner’s satisfaction as opposed to solely your own. This generosity has its own reward: Study author Amy Muise told the Wall Street Journal that when partners have sex “to enhance intimacy and feel closer to their partner,” they end up feeling increased sexual desire themselves. Everybody wins!
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