Wondering How To Improve Your Relationship? Focus On Intimacy (Not Sex)

If you're coupled up, chances are that you've wondered — and possibly worried — how different aspects of your relationship (such as sex, PDA, and communication) measure up to that of others. Totally natural, but according to the authors of the new tome The Normal Bar, we should be less concerned about what everyone's doing and more interested in whether or not what everyone's doing is actually making them happy — which is why they surveyed over 100,000 people (23,000 from the U.S.) on what really makes their relationships tick.
One of the book's authors, sociologist Pepper Schwartz, found in her studies that in heterosexual couples over the age of 18, 40% say that they have sex three or four times a week, but this is only part of the story. Rather than simply finding out which relationship behaviors are the most popular, the authors found out first how happy the couples reported themselves to be, and then studied the behaviors of those couples. Not so surprisingly, a couple's overall happiness is made up of many more factors than simply frequency of intercourse. For instance, kissing for affection, rather than only when getting jiggy, is correlated with higher happiness in the relationship. Additionally, the simple act of sleeping naked together (with or without sex) seems to increase a feeling of intimacy — interesting, huh?
If you're wondering how much satisfaction the actual deed provides to a couple's happiness, the answer is...not much, compared with other aspects of intimacy. Among the U.S. respondents to the survey, the happiest couples reported communication as the biggest key to their cheeriness, followed by friendship, affection, and then sex.
The lesson here? Rather than comparing ourselves and our sexin' schedules to others, we should turn that focus toward our significant other. Hold hands, catch up over burgers and beers, and maybe try sleeping sans PJs tonight…and hey, if you two end up so happy that it turns into more, so be it! (The Daily Mail)
Photo: Courtesy of Tom Ford

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