Lead author Andrea Meltzer, of Florida State University, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Psychological Science.
A number of studies have shown that sex contributes to short-term bonding between partners, but the researchers note that the majority of couples do not engage in sexual activity every day.
According to the International Society of Sexual Medicine, only 21 percent of married men and 24 percent of married women have sex on 4 or more days each week.
So what bonds partners in between sexual activity?
Meltzer and colleagues speculated that sex produces an afterglow, or a period of sexual satisfaction, that enhances partner bonding in the periods between sexual activity, and that this boosts relationship satisfaction in the long term.
The researchers tested this theory by analyzing the data of two studies, which included a total of 214 newlywed couples.
As part of the studies, the couples were required to complete a daily diary for 14 days. Each day, spouses were asked to report whether they had engaged in sexual activity with their partner, as well as how satisfied they were with their sex life.
Five years ago, I posted a blog entry that described a small pilot study showing that after 12 weeks of yoga, men age 24 to 60 rated their sexual functioning “significantly improved.” I gingerly suggested that yoga might improve sexual function and satisfaction for both men and women.
Back then, the evidence was thin; just that one report. However, I felt confident of my assertion. Many studies have already established that yoga reduces stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol, improves well-being, helps control Type-2 diabetes, promotes deep relaxation, and aids in weight control — all of which improve sexual function.
Recently, Korean researchers showed that yoga also improves sexual function for women. The researchers recruited 41 women, ages 30 to 60, who had been diagnosed with “metabolic syndrome,” a set of strong risk factors for diabetes and heart disease including high cholesterol, high triglycerides (blood fats), high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abdominal obesity (pot belly). Previous research has shown that as the severity of metabolic syndrome increases, so does the risk of diabetes and heart disease — as well as sexual impairment.