It is Carnegie Mellon professor George Loewenstein’s firm belief that, generally, married couples would be happier if they had more sex.
But a study that he published this month in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization found just the opposite.
The way the study was carried out could have biased the results:
For three months, half of the 64 married couples who participated in the study were told to double their current level of sexual activity, and half were given no instruction on changing their sexual frequency.
Those who increased their frequency had a slightly lower happiness level than couples whose sexual frequency remained unchanged. “They were, if anything, less happy,” said Mr. Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology. “They ended up wanting sex less and enjoying the sex that they did have less.”
The sample size seems a little small, and it would seem to me they should have divided their subjects into three groups and told one of the groups to reduce their sexual frequency by half.
Another thing that could be an issue is perhaps “double” is too much to see the benefits Loewenstein expected. Perhaps breaking the subjects into nine groups and have four increase by 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% and four groups decrease by 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%.
Loewenstein himself offers some other rationalizations for why he didn’t see the expected results.
I have to give Loewenstein credit for publishing his study results which contradict his expectations.