Just how important is sex to a marriage’s success?

Economist: Ms Hicks and her colleagues found that although the frequency with which couples have sex does not have much correlation with how satisfied they claim to be with their partner, it correlates well with their automatic attitudes towards one another. Those who said they had sex with their spouse two or more times a week reacted more quickly to positive words and more slowly to negative ones after seeing an image of said spouse. The opposite was true for those who had sex once a week or less. None of these effects emerged after people saw an image of themselves, or during the initial control.

Ms Hicks’s result does not mean the no-sex brigade are lying when they claim it does not signify. They may genuinely believe what they say. But it does suggest they are fooling themselves. And that is not a matter of mere prurience. If things do start to go wrong in a relationship, and the participants want to patch matters up, then understanding where the real problem lies is important. This is only a single study, of course. But if it is successfully replicated, marriage-guidance counsellors the world over might want to take note.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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