relationship research

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3. How Often You Have Sex May Matter More Than You've Been Told

Ask a couples therapist how often you and your partner should be getting busy and they'll likely tell you as often as makes you happy. We don't disagree, but in the spirit of interesting scientific findings, here's this: The more frequently partners had sex, the more positive their implicit, or gut-level, feelings about the relationship were, according to a new study in Psychological Science. To put "implicit feelings" into real-world terms, it's the difference between automatically smiling when you see your partner walk through the door after work and smiling after you remind yourself that they offered to make dinner tonight. The first one happens without you even realizing it; the second requires some effort. That's the crucial difference, says Lindsey Hicks lead author of the study and a doctoral student in social psychology at Florida State University. "When you're tired and don't have the energy to think about how you feel about your partner, the implicit attitude you have toward them is the one that will come out and influence the way you treat them," she says. This is an early study, and the researchers aren't suggesting that we should all stop everything and have sex as often as possible, but more positive implicit feelings are just another good reason to spend more time in the bedroom.