These days, science-backed ways to hack your happiness are about as numerous as varieties of leggings: Experts and research suggest carving out 10 minutes for a downward dog, hanging out with other joyful people, and basking in the outdoors, just to name a few. And if you’ve wondered about the mood-boosting benefits of one particular between-the-sheets act, here are the dirty details: According to a small study published in the journal Emotion, a shag sesh might keep you upbeat long after the romp is over.
To see if sexual encounters could actually lead to an increased sense of well-being, Todd Kashdan, PhD, and a group of researchers at George Mason University recruited 152 college students aged 18 to 20—64 percent of whom were dating, living together in a relationship, or married, reports Psychology Today—and asked them to journal each night before going to sleep. In each entry, participants answered the question, “How meaningful did you feel your life was today?,” along with other queries designed to assess their overall mind-set. And, of course, they were asked whether they’d had sex that day.
The log revealed that getting it on correlated with an overall feeling of well-being the following day. And the participants who said they experienced higher degrees of sexual pleasure and intimacy also reported having better moods. Plus, the researchers found that the relationship to be unilateral, meaning the romps were responsible for the next day’s contentment because the reverse wasn’t true: Experiencing well-being one day did not lead to sex, pleasure, or intimacy on the following.
Keep in mind, the study was conducted on a small sample that offered a limited age range, so the results are hardly infallible or reflective of people at all stages of life (although some might say the act just gets better with age). At the very least, though, let the info inspire you to spend a little more time, you know, doing it. In the name of good health, of course.
Here are 25 ways to dial up your happiness meter by living your best (sex) life.
If you’re looking for places to take your S.O. before the action begins, these are the best nights to plan a date beneath the stars. And here’s what your perfect night out looks like, according to your horoscope.
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