Those of us who are happily married hope to maintain that state of wedded bliss forever. What's the best predictor of future marital happiness? One researcher says it's pretty much the same thing that predicts marital happiness at any stage: frequency of sex.
The researcher, Adrienne Jackson of Florida A&M, looked at the General Social Survey, a national poll of people 18 or older that asks about sexual activity as well as marital and general happiness. Her results were presented at a meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.
She found that the more often older married couples engaged in sexual activity, the happier they were with both their marriages and their lives. Her data was based on survey responses of 238 married people who were 65 or older.
Only 40 percent of those who reported no sexual activity in the last 12 months said they were very happy with life in general, compared to 60 percent of those who engaged in sexual activity more than once a month.
About 59 percent of those who reported no sexual activity in the last 12 months said they were very happy with their marriage compared to 80 percent of those who reported sexual activity more than once a month.
Of course, there are many physical and emotional barriers to sexual activity as we age but this study indicates that overcoming those barriers could be a key to happiness. It's worth trying a little harder.