A recent study claims that people who meticulously scheduled their leisurely time—as opposed to blocking out periods for spontaneous adventures—tend to enjoy it less. But now, a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that there’s at least one activity that’s worth putting into your iCal calendar: sex with your partner.
Julia Velten, a mental health researcher at Germany’s Ruhr University Bochum, and her colleagues surveyed 964 heterosexual couples about the quality of their sex lives. They compared their answered with what contemporary psychologists consider to the five basic dimensions of personality: extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.
You might think that people who fall under the umbrella of “extraversion” or “openness” would enjoy the best sex lives. But while those qualities certainly come in handy for shorter romances, the researchers revealed that the “Big Five” personality trait that experienced the most sexual satisfaction in long-term relationships was actually “conscientiousness.”
It’s easy to see how being conscientious can be beneficial to your sex life, especially since heterosexual women with conscientious partners proved to be more satisfied, probably because the men were more dedicated to pleasing them in bed. And recent studies have also found that men who are emotionally intelligent and attuned to the needs of others have sex more frequently and enjoy it more than those who feel they need to be assertive or aggressive in the bedroom to prove their manhood.
But what’s more interesting is that one of the major characteristics of conscientious personality types—their need to be organized and schedule plans ahead of time—was actually beneficial to the sex lives of couples who have been together for a while and might be experiencing some common issues.
“Conscientious individuals are characterized as careful, thorough, dutiful, and having the desire to do a task well,” the paper reads. “A post hoc explanation for this unexpected finding is that high conscientiousness can be especially beneficial when it comes to putting effort into a satisfying sexual life or to postpone one’s own needs and interests to focus on resolving a sexual problem within the context of committed, long-term relationship.”
So, as much as movies may constantly portray sex solely in the context of spontaneous, steamy sessions, it would appear that, in real life, there’s a benefit to carving out time to discuss any issues you might have in the bedroom and work on resolving them. After all, people are busy, Netlfix is killing our sex lives, and if your attitude to sex is to just let it happen whenever it happens, you might find that you and your partner can go for long stretches of time, even years, without being intimate at all.
“Men who are thorough and dutiful may feel the need to satisfy their partner sexually, which may in turn lead to better sexual function of their partners. Research has shown that spontaneous, passionate sexual desire is not the most common reason to engage in sexual activity, especially for women in long-term relationships. Therefore, conscientious individuals might have the tendency ‘not to let it slip’ and to continue working on the sexual relationships with their partners.”
The study also has some good news for people who are worried their sex lives with grow stale in long-term relationships. There’s already evidence that proves people over 65 are having great sex. But the results of this paper also indicate that, provided you schedule time to work out your issues instead of just sweeping them under the rug, you can enjoy sex with your partner for decades.
“When controlling for other variables such as relationship satisfaction, couples who have been married for 50 years can have satisfying sex lives,” the paper reads.
For more on the science of sex, check out The Surprising Added Benefit of Having Sex.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!