Cuddling keeps men happy, says study

Consumer Reports News: July 08, 2011 04:23 PM

The key to a long, happy relationship? Surprisingly, cuddling and caressing is more important to men than for women, according to a study published this week in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Researchers at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington surveyed 1,009 middle-aged and older couples from the U.S., Brazil, Germany, Japan, and Spain, who were together an average 25 years. The asked how many times during the past 4 weeks they engaged in sexual activity with their partner, how often they kissed, cuddled, and caressed, and their degree of happiness in their relationships and sex lives.

Men were most likely to be in a happy relationship if they kissed and cuddled a lot, and if their partner experienced orgasm. Men also said they were happier, and were more satisfied with their sex lives, the longer they had been together. Women who had been with their partner for more than 15 years also reported greater sexual satisfaction—though, paradoxically, those who had been in a relationship for 20 years or more were less happy with it. In both genders, sexual satisfaction was also associated with intimacy, frequent sex, and higher sexual functioning.

Japanese men reported more sexual satisfaction than American men, while Japanese and Brazilian women were more satisfied sexually than American women.

Bottom line: Taking time to cuddle and kiss might improve your relationship and your sex lives too, especially for men. We’ve previously reported that a satisfying sex life can promote good emotional and physical health. Moreover, sex itself may have direct health benefits. For example, orgasm or any loving touch may cause the body to release substances that ease pain, bolster immunity, or elevate mood long after the immediate pleasure passes. And research suggests people who have strong, intimate relationships tend to have fewer chronic diseases and to live longer.

Read our advice on how to maintain a healthy sex life and take our sex quiz.


Sexual Satisfaction and Relationship Happiness in Midlife and Older Couples in Five Countries [Archives of Sexual Behavior]

Ginger Skinner

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