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Research: An Active Sex Life Equals a Happy Work Life

In perhaps the ultimate argument for work-life balance, a recent study from the Oregon State University shows that an active sex life boosts both job satisfaction and engagement at work.
(Image Credit: Eric Silva/Flickr)

“We make jokes about people having a ‘spring in their step,’ but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it,” lead author Keith Leavitt, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Business, told Science Daily. “Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for.”

Researchers asked 159 married employees to complete two surveys each day over the course of two weeks. The findings, which were published in the Journal of Management, showed that:

(a) when employees engaged in sex at home, they reported increased positive affect at work the following day, independent of the effects of marital satisfaction;

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(b) sex at home increased both daily job satisfaction and daily job engagement as a function of increased positive affect;

and (c) daily work-to-family strain-based conflict significantly reduced the likelihood of engaging in sex at home that evening.

How It Works

The mood-elevating benefits of sex are the result of the neurotransmitter dopamine and the neuropeptide oxytocin, both of which are released as a result of intercourse. These chemicals fire up the reward centers in the brain and stimulate bonding, respectively.

“This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it’s important to make it a priority,” Leavitt said. “Just make time for it.”

Why This Research Is Important

Americans are having less sex these days. A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior showed that adults in the U.S. had sex nine fewer times per year in the 2010s than they did in the 1990s.

Researchers did not identify a conclusive reason for the decline, but said that it did not appear to be linked to longer working hours. But other social factors may contribute to the problem.

“The report highlighted several cultural changes in recent years that could have contributed to the decline,” writes Matthew Haag at The New York Times. “Americans have far more options these days for different kinds of pleasure — like browsing Facebook and social media, playing video games or watching Netflix.”

So, there’s another reason to put down your smartphone and unplug from technology now and then. Your sex life — and your career — might improve as a result.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s your take on this research? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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