Study shows long-term couples more satisfied with relationships and sex lives

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Image: Ian MacKenzie.

A recently-published international study shows that in long-term couples, men are more satisfied with their relationships, and women are more satisfied with their sex lives.

The study, which also says that men enjoy cuddling (i.e. hugging and kissing) more than women, was published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour by the Kinsey Institute in Indiana University Bloomington. More formally known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, the organization is also known for reporting in the 1940s that young adults were having sex. The report observed more than 1,000 couples from the US, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Brazil. All of the survey participants were aged 40 to 70, and all of the couples had been together for at least a year. The average duration of the relationship was 25 years.

Japanese men were more likely to be satisfied with their sex lives than American men, and Japanese and Brazilian women were more likely to be satisfied with their sex lives than American women, though the study did not control for other factors such as age.

Women in relationships lasting at least 15 years were more likely to be happy with their sex lives than women in relationships lasting less than 15 years. According to the report's author Julia Heiman, "It's possible that women became more satisfied over time because their expectations change, or life changes when their children grow up."

Men who reported regular hugging and kissing in their relationships were three times as happy as those without cuddling.

Jennifer Bass, communications director at the Kinsey Institute, says that "this study makes it clear our assumptions aren't always borne out by research," referring to common beliefs that men prefer sex while women prefer cuddling.