Entries in affection (11)

Wednesday
Dec142016

The Importance of Physical Affection for Relationship Satisfaction

Physical affection (e.g., hugging and kissing) is an important aspect of romantic relationships. Displays of physical affection are associated with relationship satisfaction,1 and in turn greater relationship satisfaction is associated with greater sexual satisfaction.2 Therefore, physical affection plays a large role in the emotional and sexual benefits derived from a romantic pairing. In addition, research has shown than a person’s satisfaction with the physical affection in their relationship is a strong predictor of love, liking, and overall satisfaction.3 Despite this connection, the ways in which we can express physical affection vary, and as such, more research is needed.

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Friday
Dec092016

More Than “Just” Sex: Affection Is One Reason Sex Is Linked To Greater Well-Being

In romantic relationships sex tends to be a source of pleasure and connection. But, even beyond the positive sensations and feelings associated with sex during the deed, research has shown that sexual activity also has numerous benefits not only for overall feelings of relationship satisfaction, but also for the personal well-being.  People who have more frequent sex are generally happier in their lives, and this association is comparable in strength to the association observed between making more money and feeling happier.1

Why does sex have these benefits for people’s happiness? The media often depict the physical or technical aspects of sex,2 such as experiencing physical pleasure or a release during orgasm, as central. This means that many of the suggestions in the popular media for improving couples’ sex lives focuses on incorporating sex toys or lingerie to increase arousal and pleasure. However, as relationship researchers, my colleagues and I suspected that the relational aspects of sex, such as affection, might play an important role in understanding why sex matters so much for your overall happiness.

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Thursday
Jan142016

First, Best, Worst, Forbidden, and Regretted: Kisses and Kissing

Chances are you had your first kiss when taking part in a kissing game -- you know those age-old games, like Spin-the-Bottle, Seven Minutes in Heaven, and Run-Chase-Kiss? These games tend to take place during the transition from childhood to adolescence (and maybe some office parties later in life, but let’s not get into that).

But what about your first “real” kiss in a truly romantic or sexual context? Most people remember their first kiss quite clearly. For many girls, that kiss can prompt changes in a sense of self as a sexual person.1 Other first kisses also are notable. The first kiss in a new relationship is an especially giddy event, the novelty of a new partner lasts for a while, and research suggests that we use that kissing experience to sort those with whom we have good genetic compatability.2 At some point, most romantic relationships pass from the rollercoaster phase characterized by passionate kisses into the steadier and affectionate phase of companionate love.3 How does kissing change during this transition?

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Friday
Aug222014

“Pillow Talk” Speaks A Lot About Your Relationship

We know that the frequency of sexual activity, the quality of communication during sex, and partners’ reasons for having sex can all influence relationship satisfaction. So while it’s good to embrace the throes of passion and be vocal about it, does what you say after sex matter? 

Intimate conversations that occur between romantic partners after sexual activity are commonly referred to as “pillow talk.” Pillow talk often involves disclosing positive sentiments such as validation and affection, but it can also be negative (e.g., arguing or bringing up complaints). Researcher Amanda Denes at the University of California, Santa Barbara aimed to address the broad question, “Is pillow talk merely obligatory chit-chat, or might it say something more about the relationships of those involved?

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Friday
May162014

To Spoon or Not to Spoon? After-Sex Affection Boosts Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction

What do you do after sex? If you don’t already, our new research suggests that you may want to spend a little extra time cuddling up with your partner. Across two studies, spending more time being affectionate with your partner after sex  -- above and beyond the time spent engaging in sex itself -- was linked to feeling more satisfied with your sex life and overall relationship.1

In the first study, involving 335 participants (138 men and 197 women, all of whom were in romantic relationships and 90% of whom were heterosexual), people who reported a longer duration of after-sex affection were more satisfied with their sex lives and in turn, happier with their overall relationships. Although people varied in how long they reported cuddling after sex, the average amount of time spent being affection after sex was 15 minutes. Interestingly, duration of after-sex affection was even more important for sexual and relationship satisfaction than duration of sex and foreplay!

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Wednesday
Jan092013

All You Need Is Love

When the Beatles proclaimed that “love is all you need,” little did they know these lyrics would be subjected to scientific scrutiny. Indeed, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, the classic song holds some truth for real relationships. Specifically, relationship success may depend not only on fighting less, but also on being more affectionate in contexts where positive, loving behavior is appropriate or expected. While relationships research has historically focused on alleviating negative communication patterns and distress, such as during conflict, a number of recent studies have explored the role of positive processes in promoting optimal relationship functioning.

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Thursday
Aug302012

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Show You the Ways

Recently, while procrastinating on Facebook, I stumbled across a post written by one of my good friends. She was raving about how her husband completed all of the tasks on her “honey-do” list. “I have the best husband ever!” she gushed. When I asked her about it later—specifically, why she was so ecstatic that he did some simple chores—she looked at me like I had fallen off the moon. “Duh,” she said. “It shows how much he loves me.” I couldn’t help but smile (you know, the kind of smile you give when you’re about to school someone), because my colleagues and I recently put this idea to the test. And what we found might surprise you.

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Friday
Jun292012

Is Long-Term Love Possible?

If you want to read about love and marriage you've got to buy two separate books. ~ Alan King

Popular wisdom suggests that intensely passionate love is a rare phenomenon in long-term partnerships. The assumption is that passion peaks in the early stages of a relationship and then fades over time. In a recent study, however, researchers found that intense love for a partner (even after 30 years or more together) may not be as rare as people assume.

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Thursday
Apr262012

My Partner Has Been Less Affectionate Lately - What Gives?

My boyfriend and are have been dating for about 2 years and we are in our early 20's. Most of our relationship is absolutely amazing - we are great friends, our communication is wonderful, and our sex life is incredible. But lately, my boyfriend has been avoiding kissing me and being affectionate/loving in general. We still have great sex, but he seems distant and whenever I ask him about it he makes up an excuse like "oh, my breath is bad right now" or something. Am I approaching it correctly by being open? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your question! I can think of a few potential explanations for the situation you describe. One part of your question that stands out to me is the length of your relationship.

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Friday
Apr062012

The Ins and Outs of Sexual Frequency

People have a lot of questions when they learn that I study sex and relationships. One of the most common questions people ask is how often couples typically have sex. This question generally comes from the person’s desire to learn if they are on par with other couples’ sexual frequency.

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Sunday
Jan012012

Can a Kiss Predict the Future?

According to the superstition, the person you kissed at midnight on New Year’s Eve is the one you’ll share your love and affection with in the upcoming year. An NYE kiss allegedly brings good luck for the future of your relationship with the person on the other end of your lips…but can a kiss really predict the future?

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