Couples who constantly “Netflix and chill” aren’t necessarily happier. In fact, having sex once a week is just about perfect. That’s the takeaway from a new study, based on surveys of more than 30,000 Americans gathered over 40 years, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
After previous research found more wealth wasn’t actually associated with greater happiness, lead author Amy Muise began to wonder if the same was true for sex, “an aspect of life that is thought to be associated with greater happiness,” she says, per Time.
However, researchers found that while couples who have sex once a week are happier than those who have sex less often, “having sex more frequently than once a week was not associated with greater well-being.” The findings held regardless of gender, age, or the length of a relationship.
The study found couples who had sex less than once a month and those who knocked boots once a week reported a difference in life satisfaction that was even greater than that reported by couples who earn $15,000 to $25,000 annually and those who earn $50,000 to $75,000, according to a release.
Muise isn’t sure why having sex once a week seems to be ideal, but it may “be the frequency that people feel is enough to maintain their intimate connection,” she says. The “big problem” one researcher not involved found with the study is that it identifies correlation, not causation.
“People are basically having as much sex as they want, and for some reason … [those who do it] about once a week seem to be happier,” George Loewenstein tells the Guardian (see his sex research here). As for single people, Muise says researchers found no link between sexual frequency and happiness among that group. (It turns out men and women want sex at different times of the day.)