Written by Tunde Ajaja - Nigeria.
Sexual intercourse is no doubt one of the key obligations in marriage. It is a pleasurable act that both men and women enjoy.
Apart from the enjoyment, excitement and mind-blowing ecstasy that come with it, sex has also been said to be of great benefits to the body.
Some people, under the guise of the pleasure and benefits, have made it a daily affair; turning it to 'food' that must be taken every day and anytime opportunity presents itself.
But, despite the numerous benefits of sex, especially in marriage, a study has shown that having too much of it could make people miserable. It does appear that the common saying that too much of everything is bad is also applicable to sex, regardless of how exciting it could be.
The study explained that too much sex could lead to a reduced sexual drive and pleasure derivable from it and that any attempt to continue with it could make such person(s) miserable.
The researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the United States found that the connection between sex and happiness is not as direct as it seems.
In the course of the study, reviewed by Mail Online, 128 married persons between the age of 35 and 65 were divided into two groups. The first group was instructed to have more sex and double the number of times they have sexual intercourse weekly, while the second group received no instruction on how much sex they should have. Thus, they were allowed to initiate it on their own.
While the observation lasted, the participants in the two groups were also questioned on their happiness levels, the frequency of their intercourse, their health behaviours and how much they enjoyed sex.
At the end of the study, it was found that those who were told to double their sexual activity reported lower sexual drive and a reduction in their sexual enjoyment while those who were allowed to have it at their own will sustained their sexual drive and they enjoyed it better.
The researchers explained that having more sex could lead to a decreased sexual drive and happiness, noting that sex is more of quality than quantity. In other words, those who were under instruction kept doing it until they got tired of it and even lost the pleasure or enjoyment that comes with sex.
"We found that having more sex does not make couples happier, in part because increased frequency leads to a decline in the desire for and enjoyment of sex. Being happy in the first place, for example, might lead someone to have more sex, or being healthy might result in being both happier and having more sex," the researchers added.
The study's lead author, George Loewenstein, noted that there could be a difference if the participants were encouraged to initiate more sex on their own rather than instructing them to do it. She however pointed out that most couples seem not to be having enough sex, but advised that doing it in a more creative way would certainly be beneficial.
Meanwhile, a research scientist, Tamar Krishnamurti, who also participated in the study, stated that the more people have sex, the lesser their desire to have more and the lesser the enjoyment they derive.
'Instead of focusing on increasing sexual frequency to the levels couples experienced at the beginning of the relationship, couples may want to work on creating an environment that sparks their desire and makes the sex that they do have even more fun," she added.
It is also worthy of note that couples would still derive same benefits from sex regardless of the number of times they do it, save for men who have been advised to do more of it to reduce the likelihood of having prostate cancer because orgasms flushes out cancerous cells from the system.
In another development, some scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, United States, found that men who do exercise last longer in bed than those who do not. Even though sex is itself a form of exercise, the study notes that men who are fit and active have better sexual function and that the more strenuous the exercise is, the better.
Commenting on the study, a psychologist, Prof. Toba Elegbeleye, said the enjoyment a person derives from sex tends to reduce due to the frequency. He said, "If you copulate with the same individual regularly for a long time, there is every possibility that there will be a form of depreciation in the enjoyment to an extent that the frequency of regulating sex will continue to regulate itself, and that is why some people cheat."