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Happiness Influenced by One's Own, Others' Sexual Activity

Happiness linked to sexual frequency; inversely linked to others' sexual frequency

THURSDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Happiness is positively associated with an individual's sexual frequency and negatively associated with the sexual frequency of others, according to a study published in the February issue of Social Indicators Research.

Noting that characteristics such as income, marriage, friendship, and sex are suggested to influence self-reported happiness, and that part of the effect of income is relative, Tim Wadsworth, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado at Boulder, extended the focus of the role of relative comparisons to sex. Data were obtained from 15,386 respondents to the Global Sex Survey from 1993 to 2006 and used to assess the impact of sexual activity, reference group sexual activity, and other factors affecting self-reported happiness.

Wadsworth reports that happiness was positively associated with sexual activity. In addition, there was a negative association identified between the frequency of sexual activity in the reference group and respondent happiness.

"More important than further specifying the relationship between sex and happiness, the current findings contribute to the growing body of literature that views social comparison as fundamental to our understanding of the causes and correlates of happiness," Wadsworth writes. "The finding that happiness is shaped by both our own sexual behavior as well as that of our reference groups calls to question the degree to which the influence of other well established correlates of happiness (e.g., health, marital status, labor market participation) are also influenced by the process of comparison."

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