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s*x is required for human reproduction and to help maintain the population, but new research suggests there may be another equally important need for s*x: To bond couples. The study found that while s*x may only occur for a few minutes every couple of days, the “afterglow” from s*x can last up to 48 hours. This afterglow may . a crucial role in bonding couples, increasing relationship satisfaction, and ensuring that a relationship will last.

The study, now published online in Psychological Science, found that couples can experience a s*xual “afterglow” that lasts for up to two days, and this afterglow, not the s*x itself, is linked to higher relationship satisfaction among couples who are more sexually active. This finding helps to reinforce a study published in February that suggested it was the time spent cuddling after s*x, not the pleasure of the climax, that made sexually active couples happier than those who made love less frequently.

“Our research shows that s*xual satisfaction remains elevated 48 hours after s*x,” says lead study author Andrea Meltzer, in a recent statement. “And people with a stronger s*xual afterglow — that is, people who report a higher level of s*xual satisfaction 48 hours after s*x — report higher levels of relationship satisfaction several months later.”

For the new study, the team examined past data on newlywed couples and their s*x lives. The team looked at both frequency of s*x and lingering relationship satisfaction, and found time and again that a single act of s*x on any given day was linked to lingering s*xual satisfaction for the next two days. What’s more, this association remained regardless of individuals’ age, gender, personality traits, length of relationship and how often the couple had s*x on average.

In addition, this “s*x afterglow” also seemed to have important long-term results. The study showed that participants who reported high levels of s*xual afterglow reported higher initial marital satisfaction, and had less steep declines in satisfaction in the first few months of their new marriage.

“This research is important because it joins other research suggesting that s*x functions to keep couples pair bonded,” added Meltzer.

While this study, along with others, highlights the social and mental health importance of an active s*x life, other research suggests that Americans are having less s*x than ever before. The research studied the frequency that Americans reported having s*x from 1989 to 2014, and reported steady declines, finding that although all Americans are having less s*x, this trend was particularly worrisome among the younger Millennial generation and among married couples. Traditionally, younger generations and married couples were more sexually active than other populations, but as shown by this recent study, this is no longer the case.

.: Medical Daily

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