Depressing New Study Says Neurotic People Have Less Sex
For people in a relationship, there are two extremes of the sexual frequency spectrum: on one end, there are those couples who seem to spend more time having sex than not having sex; on the other end, there are couples who probably haven’t touched each other in years. There are also plenty of theories as to why some people in relationships don’t get it on often: they’re unhappy, they’re cheating, they’re bored, their relationship is falling apart, or maybe they’re just busy—who knows? According to a new study, a couple’s sexual frequency actually has a lot to do with their personalities—at least for newlyweds.
The study, which is aptly titled “Who is Having More and Better Sex?” was led by Andrea L. Meltzer and James K. McNulty, two psychologists from Florida State University. Meltzer and McNulty surveyed 278 couples—all heterosexual newlyweds—on their personalities and sexual frequency. Each participant’s personality traits were determined by the Big 5 personality model, which measures five traits: conscientiousness (how considerate you are), agreeableness (how much of a people-pleaser you are), openness (how down you are to try new things), neuroticism (how anxious you are), and extraversion (how outgoing you are).
In order to determine which couples have the most—and the best—sex, they asked participants to keep daily diaries tracking their sexual frequency, where they would report whether or not they had sex each day and rate their sexual satisfaction on a seven-point scale.
The study had a few drawbacks: it was only limited to straight couples, meaning these findings don’t necessarily apply to LGBTQ couples, and all the people surveyed were newlyweds, meaning they weren’t sick of each other yet. Regardless, Meltzer and McNulty found that more than anything else, the wife’s personality determined how often the couple would bone: wives who were determined to be more agreeable and open to new experiences by the Big 5 were also more likely to have sex often. Men’s personality traits had nearly no effect on sexual frequency.
But when it comes to sexual satisfaction, personality is a huge deal—and in some cases, the same personality traits had different effects. Women’s openness correlated with higher sexual frequency and satisfaction, but men’s openness somehow correlated with less sexual satisfaction. Meanwhile, neuroticism in both genders correlated with less sexual satisfaction. Most importantly, each of these traits determined the individual’s sexual satisfaction, not their partner’s. Moral of the story: if you want to have better sex, you better focus on your personality.
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