Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Sex?

Here's what science has to say.
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Ali Drucker
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Here's what science has to say.
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The age-old adage is pretty clear: the more sex you have, the happier you'll be. And for good reason—practicing the horizontal mambo releases all kinds of pleasure-enhancing chemicals in your brain like dopamine and serotonin. So logic might dictate, widen your bone zone, and your happiness levels should go through the roof, right?

Wrong. Aside from the obvious chafed skin and diminished energy that might accompany too much sex, research on the topic yields some surprising data. Psychology Today reports on a bizarre 2015 study that literally forced couples to have more sex in order to assess whether quantity really matters. Before you get jealous, the results weren't nearly as pleasurable as you might think. 

The couples, ages 35-65, were divided into an experimental and control group, with the control group carrying on business as usual, and the experimental group doubling their bedroom behaviors. All participants then reported their happiness through an online survey. Turns out, those getting double the nookie actually got less and less happy as time wore on. 

"Surprisingly, no. In fact, increasing sexual frequency had the opposite effect. The researchers found a weak inverse relation: the group of individuals asked to double their sexual frequency were less happy than those who did not change their sexual habits.

But the reason for that isn't, say, soreness and exhaustion. "When trying to understand their findings, the researchers determined that instructions to have more sex change why people have sex," Psychology Todayreports. "In other words, the instructions moved sex from a voluntary and spontaneous experience to one done as a duty or obligation. People weren’t having sex because they wanted to, but because they were supposed to."

Making sex a mandatory box to check (heh) took all the fun out of it, suggesting we don't have sex to make us happy, we have sex because we are happy. Well, there goes my coping mechanism.

Photos by Getty