If a person is happy with the sexual aspect of their relationship, they are more likely to feel content with their partner, a new study suggests.
The study found that when a couple's sexual relationship improved, they were more likely to see an improvement in their feelings of love, commitment and satisfaction with the relationship.
A decrease in contentment with the sexual relationship was accompanied by less satisfaction about other aspects of the relationship.
Interviewing young adults
Dr Sprecher of Illinois State University in Normal surveyed 101 unmarried Midwest university couples of an average age of 20 years or younger who had been together for an average of 19 months.
In 1988 the couples completed a questionnaire assessing how satisfied they were with the sexual aspect of their relationship and about the relationship itself, and how much they loved and felt committed to their partners.
The couples completed questionnaires every year after that for four years. By the end of the study, just over half of the couples were no longer together.
Sexual satisfaction sustains relationship
Sprecher found that couples who reported more sexual satisfaction in their relationship at the beginning of the study were more likely to be together one year later than couples who reported feeling less sexual satisfaction at the outset.
The link between sexual and emotional feelings appeared in both sexes, but the relationship was stronger in men than in women, according to the report published in The Journal of Sex Research.
Good relationship = good sex or vice versa?
But does sexual satisfaction influence the quality of the relationship, or vice versa?
According to Sprecher, the results did not suggest that one has a stronger influence over the other, but the two are likely to exert a reciprocal influence.
Sprecher said that most studies that follow dating couples over time would likely see a similar break-up rate, but studies that include older dating couples may show different results.
As couples age, the association between sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction may decrease as other sources of satisfaction increase in importance, Sprecher said. – (Health24)