Women, Sex, and Happiness

A new study funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia is the most recent to draw a connection between sex and happiness. There have been numerous scientific studies and polls on women, sex and happiness in recent years.

A study at Dartmouth College found women retrospectively rated sex as the activity that produced the single largest amount of happiness. The Dartmouth study also found that sex has a stronger effect on happiness in highly educated people and in people who had only one sexual partner the previous year. 

In a 2009 Time.com article, the authors report that women tend to link sex with love and emotional bonding. However, love was not the first--or even the second--on their list of reasons to have sex. Here, the most common reasons women have sex:

1.       Sexual attraction

2.       Desire for physical pleasure

3.       To express affection

4.       To express love

5.       Because they are sexually aroused and want release

A less scientific, but nonetheless telling, poll by WomenOntheWeb.com in May of 2009 asked readers to indicate how important sexual fulfillment is to their overall happiness. The results may surprise you.

Most important factor  8%
Not the most important factor but up there on the list  47%
Low on the list but important  21%
Last thing I need to be happy  21%


Here is some good news for older women. A study of 70-year-olds found that the number of women having sex, and saying it is good sex, is increasing. Older women are indicating that they are satisfied with their sex lives and an increasing number report having orgasms. Fewer older women are reporting low sexual satisfaction or lack of orgasm.

So what should women conclude from these findings? Sex and happiness are highly subjective and can vary from woman to woman and over the course of an individual woman's life. However, sexual health is important at any age. Women should discuss any problems or concerns they have with their physician.