Over the years, science has repeatedly confirmed what we've pretty much always suspected about sex: It's good. So good, in fact, that past studies have found doing it the right way can result in happier relationships, improved memory, and decreased stress levels. But one specific behavior might be key to reaping these benefits, according to new research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and it's so simple that we really, really hope you're already doing it: being affectionate with your partner before, during, and after sex.
For the March 2017 study, University of Toronto researchers conducted a series of experiments in which hundreds of American and Swiss couples were asked about their sex lives, their levels of life satisfaction, and their "affectionate touching frequency" (read: cuddling) in their relationships.
After comparing the results, researchers determined that affection played a key role in the link between sex and overall well-being. Couples who had sex more frequently tended to report higher relationship satisfaction (even six months later!), but couples who had more sex and were more affectionate were even more likely to report greater senses of satisfaction and well-being.
The moral of the story? Cuddling with your partner just might be the secret to a better relationship and greater life satisfaction overall. But because this study is based on self-reported data (and other outside factors were most certainly at play), more research needs to be done to determine exactly where cuddling fits into the "sex and well-being" puzzle.
But if this study does support the idea that showing your partner a little extra lovin' is key for a happy relationship, it's worth a shot, right?
[h/t Science of Us]