God bless: Strongly religious people have a more satisfying love life

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New study also shows that highly educated people have sex less frequently, are more likely to be dissatisfied in the romance department.

EXETER, United Kingdom — People who go to church are more likely to have a very satisfying sex life, a new study reveals. Researchers in the United Kingdom found that strongly religious individuals are typically more content with their bedroom activities than those who are not religious or engage in casual sex.

A team from the University of Exeter adds that there really is some truth in the saying “quality over quantity.” While religious people in the study typically had less sex than others, the sex they are having is leaving them more fulfilled than those engaging in casual encounters with multiple people.

According to the results of the third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, men and women with a higher approval of casual sex or sex without love reported having less sexual satisfaction.

“The relationship between sex frequency and sexual satisfaction is neither simple nor straightforward; across all relationship types, too little or too much sex is associated with lower sexual satisfaction, suggesting that an optimum exists in terms of frequency related to higher satisfaction levels,” says Dr. Nitzan Peri-Rotem in a university release.

“As religious individuals are less likely to engage in casual sex and are more likely to limit sexual activity to a relationship based on love this can lead to lower expectations of sexual activity outside a formal union, as well as increased satisfaction from sex life in general. However, it is possible that religious sentiments about the sanctity of marital sex, as well as disapproval of sex outside marriage, matter more for women’s than for men’s sexual satisfaction,” adds Dr. Vegard Skirbekk from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Columbia University.

Even religious men still want more sex

While the survey found that religious married women reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction than their single peers, married men did not share that same satisfaction.

Single religious men said they had a very satisfying love life, but the relationship disappeared after researchers factored in their attitudes about casual sex and sex without love, or when the team only examined sexually active respondents.

Overall, 11 percent of men and 16 percent of women said their religious beliefs were very important to them. More than two in three people told researchers they rarely or never attend religious services. Half of the poll were married, and another 17 percent were living with a romantic partner. One in five respondents did not have a significant other.

Results also show that men were more likely to say they had sex multiple times over the past month — on average, 4.4 times compared to 4.0 for women. Men were also nearly twice as likely to say they’ve had over 10 sex partners in their lifetime.

Regardless of how many times they get it on, one in four people said they strongly agree with the statement “I feel satisfied with my sex life.” Conversely, 14 percent of women and 17 percent of men are not happy with the state of their bedroom activities.

Being highly educated can ruin your sex life?

The study authors also discovered a link between educational achievement and how much sex people have. According to the survey, highly educated individuals had sex less frequently than others. They also reported having more dissatisfaction with their sex life than those with less academic success.

“Our research suggests that changes in sexual behavior need to be understood in a context of changes in religious norms and beliefs and other societal level trends. The postponement of union formation is related to less frequent sex, while also increasing the exposure to casual sex among those with weaker religious orientation,” Dr. Peri-Rotem explains.

“For women, it is found that having no sexual partners, as well as having ten or more lifetime sexual partners is associated with lower satisfaction from sex life. Among men on the other hand, no relationship is found between the number of lifetime sexual partners and sexual satisfaction.”

“However, disapproval of sex without love and of casual sex is linked with higher satisfaction from sex life among both men and women. While sexual satisfaction initially increases with sex frequency, it declines again at a higher number of sex occasions. Therefore, having ‘too much’ sex may lead to lower level of satisfaction from sex life,” the researcher concludes.

The study is published in The Journal of Sex Research.

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