Cuddling counts: Sexuality plays an important role in lasting relationships

In order for a relationship to stand the test of time, it’s important to keep a bit of romance alive. This notion was recently confirmed by a study conducted at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University. Researchers set out to determine how sexuality and other important areas of a romantic relationship affect long-term commitments. They surveyed more than 1,000 couples from the U.S., Germany, Spain, Brazil and Japan who were between 40 and 70 years old and had been living together or married for at least one year.

“You hear repeated research and commentary about divorce, but it’s important to note that though divorce rates are high in the U.S., couples tend to stay married – more than 50 percent of U.S. couples remain in their first marriage, and that number goes up to 90 percent in Spain,” said lead author Julia Heiman, director of The Kinsey Institute. “We know from other research that being in a long-term relationship has some value to health. Perhaps we can learn more about what makes relationships both sustainable and happy.”

Tenderness between lovers was found to be a key component of romantic happiness for both sexes, but male respondents placed more value on things like cuddling than their female counterparts, on average. The study revealed those who reported cuddling and caressing their lovers frequently were also more likely to be sexually satisfied.

The study found a higher rate of sexual satisfaction among women who had been in relationships for at least 15 years than those who had been with their husbands for a shorter period of time.

“Possibly women become more satisfied over time because their expectations change, or life changes with the children grown,” Heiman explained. “On the other hand, those who weren’t so happy sexually might not be married so long.”

The results show sexual satisfaction is likely a key component of a lasting and fulfilling relationship. Couples can keep their love lives interesting by incorporating toys and experimenting with different positions. Personal lubricants and pleasure condoms can add a unique flavor to bedroom play as well.

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