The purpose of sex goes beyond reproduction and pleasure: it also promotes bonding between partners through a sexual ‘afterglow’ that lasts for two days, suggests a new study published in the journal Psychological Science.
Following sex, partners experience an ‘afterglow’ that extends for a period of 48 hours, thereby boosting the quality of their relationship over the long term. Or so says a new study focusing on newlyweds. This afterglow is the sexual satisfaction that lingers for two days after sexual relations.
A higher sexual satisfaction reported by the participants 2 days after sex, translated into a stronger afterglow, is linked with a higher level of relationship satisfaction that remains months later, says lead author of the paper, psychological scientist Andrea Meltzer from Florida State University.
Meltzer and her team began their study with the hypothesis that sex would promote pair bonding, and that it might lead to sexual satisfaction being enhanced on a short-term basis, resulting in a boosted relationship satisfaction over the long term as the partners would feel bonded in between the sexual experiences. The results generated from the research confirm the theories of the team.
On average, the participants reported having sex on 4 of the 14 days during which they had to record and rate their satisfaction level. According to the findings, having sex on one day was associated with sexual satisfaction that lasted for a while: on the same day, and two days later. A single act of sex is, thus, linked with elevated sexual satisfaction for 48 hours after.
This link remained, regardless of gender, age, sexual frequency, personality traits, among other variables.
Furthermore, partners reporting high levels of sexual afterglow appeared to have greater marital satisfaction than those reporting lower levels thereof. While marital satisfaction declined with time for all the participants, that of the former group decreased to a lesser extent than that of the latter group.
Meltzer and her colleagues add that their findings support two other studies, thereby making the case for sexual afterglow. The authors conclude that long-term relationship quality is linked with the results of sexual satisfaction that remain after sex; as Meltzer says, another function of sex is to boost pair bonding.