Entries in relationship satisfaction (19)

Wednesday
May032017

More Sex and Happy Relationships: It’s Automatic

When relationship partners have more sex, their relationship satisfaction is higher. Seems obvious, right? Maybe not. Previous research on sexual frequency and relationship quality has not been able to conclusively link these variables. There may be a few reasons for this. For example, quantity of sex may not consistently align with quality. You could have lots of really bad sex or have really amazing sex, but less often. It is also hard to tell what frequency really means, because those numbers may hold different meaning to different people based on expectations. That is, if a couple has sex twice a week, one partner may see that as more than they hoped for, while the other considers it inadequate.

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Tuesday
Jul012014

The Top 8 Reasons Why Relfies Are Good For You & Your Relationships

It isn’t every day that you get to invent a cool new word. But that is exactly what we at Science Of Relationships did by coining the term “relfie” in an article about how people present their relationships on Facebook.

As something new and cool related to the Internet, Jezebel.com wrote about our new invention. Jezebel doesn't hate it (“Relfie isn't hate-worthy”), but do think it is redundant with a selfie.

As the originators of the term, we politely disagree. 

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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
Jan222014

Communication Strategies In Relationships: What Are They, and Which Is Best?

Communication is an important part of romantic relationships, especially when navigating conflict or when trying to change a partner’s behavior. Although dealing with these issues can sometimes be distressing, it can also serve as an opportunity for you and your partner to learn about each other and improve your relationship.1 Indeed, by the end of this article, I hope it is clear that what matters most is not the presence of conflict itself, but rather how you and your partner handle the conflict (i.e., the communication strategies you use). 

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Monday
Dec092013

Getting Married? Love Science? Here are Our Ten Research-Based Wedding Vows

I study romantic relationships. I’m also engaged. So, of course, I’ve given a tremendous amount of thought as to what it really means for my partner and I to marry one another. Researchers have found that weddings are deeply significant life events, but we don’t really know why they’re so meaningful. Marriage may simply be about celebrating a milestone: recognizing the relationship that a couple has built together and the love that they share for each other. But weddings are also very future-oriented, as the couple publicly promises to maintain their relationship for life. I suspect that it’s really these vows – the solemn promises that the newlyweds make to each other in front of their closest friends and family – that are at the crux of why weddings have such an emotional impact.

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Friday
Aug162013

Getting It On vs. Getting It Over With: How Reasons for Having Sex Impact Relationships (Part 2)

In a recent article, I discussed my research using fictional scenarios to show that perceptions of why someone is having sex with their partner influences how people rate that person’s sexual desire and satisfaction. In that study, people who were perceived as having sex for approach goals, such as to enhance intimacy or to feel closer to a partner, as opposed to avoidance goals, such as to avoid conflict or a partner’s disappointment, were perceived as feeling more sexual desire for their partner and being more satisfied with their sex lives and relationships. In our next study, we wanted to consider people’s actual goals for sex and how having sex for different reasons is associated with a person’s sexual and relationship quality. So, how do a person’s own reasons for having sex influence their own feelings of desire and satisfaction? 

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Friday
Aug092013

Getting It On vs. Getting It Over With: How Reasons for Having Sex Impact Relationships (Part 1)

Sex plays an important role in overall relationship happiness.1 But, is simply having sex enough to maintain a happy relationship? In a recent study, my colleagues and I looked at the reasons people say they have sex with their partners and how these reasons affect their feelings of desire and happiness with their sex lives and overall relationships.2 

We considered two broad categories of reasons why people have sex with their romantic partners:

  1. Approach goals: A person having sex for these reasons is focused on pursuing positive outcomes in their relationship, such as enhancing intimacy or feeling closer to a partner.
  2. Avoidance goals: A person having sex for these reasons is focused on averting negative outcomes in their relationship, such as conflict or disappointing a partner.

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Sunday
Jun302013

What is Your and Your Partner's Sleep Style?

Wednesday
Jun192013

When Three (or More) is NOT a Crowd

What do you know about polyamory? Can polyamory or open relationships really work?

This is a timely question, as there has been a surge of interest lately on this topic. In fact, according to a recent study, between 4-5% of Americans report being in a consensual, non-monogamous relationship—this is when both partners agree that they and/or their intimate partner(s) can have other sexual or romantic partners as well.1 Consensual non-monogamy describes many types of relationships, such as swinging (recreational sex with others) and polyamorous relationships, where the partners consent to each other having intimate, loving relationships with others (more intimate than just an “open” relationship). Researchers (including me) are starting to explore how theories we have about intimate relationships extend to our understanding of relationships that include more than two people. There is not a lot of work yet on non-monogamy, but we can look to a paper that Dr. Terri Conley and colleagues recently wrote challenging assumptions about the benefits of monogamy.2

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Wednesday
Apr172013

Four Steps to a Happy Relationship, According to Ethiopian Men

Michelle Kaufman is a researcher who focuses on sexual behavior in the developing world. She globe trots regularly, engaging in ethnographic work all along the way in order to inform both the quantitative and qualitative research she conducts. Recently, Michelle visited Ethiopia and attempted to find out the secrets to a good relationship.

On a recent trip to Ethiopia, I asked the same question of many men, some single and dating, some young and newly married, and some older men in committed relationships for many years: What makes a relationship successful?

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Tuesday
Jan152013

Are There Benefits to Making Sexual Changes for your Partner?

Over the course of a romantic relationship, there are bound to be times when your sexual interests diverge from your partner’s interests. Perhaps you enjoy having sex at night, but your partner prefers morning sex. Maybe you desire sex about once or twice a week, but your partner would like to have sex once or twice a day. Or maybe you fantasize about being tied to the bedpost, but bondage is not one of your partner’s sexual fantasies. Although a satisfying sex life is an important part of overall relationship happiness,1,2 sex can also be one of the most challenging issues to negotiate in a romantic relationship.2 Romantic partners may disagree on when to have sex, how often to have it, and what those sexual activities involve. If romantic partners have differing sexual interests, what can they do?

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Thursday
Sep272012

“We Can Still Be Friends”: Six Ways You Can Stay Friends After a Breakup

Unlike Jerry and Elaine in the classic TV sitcom Seinfeld, or Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother, it isn’t easy for ex-romantic partners to remain friends. Think about it…how many of your exes are still friends of yours? Half of them? 25%? If you’re like me, the answer is more likely zero, nil, nada, zilch.

Even if your ex assured you that “it’s not you, it’s me,” breakups are still upsetting. Because of this, it may not surprise you that about 60% of ex-partners do not have contact with one another post-breakup. However, some exes do keep in touch and even become friends after the breakup. In fact, there are several situations in which post-dissolution friendships are more likely.

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Monday
Jul092012

"Seven Days of Sex": Will It Save Your Marriage?

“Can sex restore marital harmony?” Couples are putting this hypothesis to the test on Lifetime’s new television series 7 Days of Sex (watch it here). Even though the results of everyday coitus seem highly effective on TV, what does science say? Can sex really save a marriage?

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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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Friday
May112012

The Importance of What Happens After Sex

Popular media portrays a range of after sex activities – some partners cuddle, drift off to sleep, spend hours talking, smoke a cigarette, or, in some cases, rush out the door after sex. But, what do we really know about after sex behaviors? As we have discussed in previous articles, researchers have studied when, how often, and with whom people have sex. In comparison, we know much less about what people do after sex. This is unfortunate, because post-coital sexual activities, or the activities that occur during the time after sex (while partners are awake together), could be important for relationship commitment and satisfaction.

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Tuesday
Apr242012

Fact Checking Cohabitation and Marriage

Recently, people in the mainstream media have been talking about how cohabitation (living with a partner out of wedlock) impacts marriage, beginning with a New York Times article, continuing on Slate.com (here and here) and The Daily Beast. The question at hand concerns the so-called “cohabitation effect,” or the idea that the mere act of living together causes less marriage satisfaction later on and increases the likelihood that those marriages will end in divorce.

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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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Friday
Mar302012

Are We Facebook "Official"?

In the movie The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg deems the relationship status section of users’ Info the finishing touch on his new website, “the Facebook.” Assuming the movie was depicted accurately, this last minute addition may have changed the face of what it means to be “in a relationship.” Today this means that your relationship status is no longer a private agreement between you and your partner, but rather a public display broadcasted to all of your “friends.” “Facebook official” is a popular term used to describe the process of changing your relationship status on Facebook to reflect that you are now “in a relationship.” For some, this denotes the official beginning of a new relationship. After all, nothing’s official until it’s on Facebook, right?  

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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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