Researchers from George Mason University looked at the factors that affect your mood and sense of meaning in life, and found that sex was a key factor.
In their study, published in Emotion , the researchers, led by Todd Kashdan, wrote: “In theoretical models of well-being, sex is rarely discussed and in many seminal articles, ignored.”
The researchers asked 152 students to keep a diary for three weeks, documenting their mood, how meaningful their life felt, and any sex they had – including how pleasurable and intimate it had been.
An analysis of the diaries revealed that having sex on one day was associated with a more positive mood the following day.
It also led to a greater feeling that life is meaningful.
This was the case for both male and female participants.
The researchers explained: “Meaning in life often arises when an individual feels their basic need for belonging is met with someone.”
Delving deeper into the results, the researchers found that greater sexual pleasure, but not greater intimacy, was linked to a better mood the next day.
They added: “Often hedonic pleasures and motives are as important to cultivating a good life as deep, meaningful or virtuous activity.”