Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sex and Neuroses

From the Seattle Times on how to improve marriage to a neurotic partner:

Frequent sex could ease tensions in relationships where at least one partner is neurotic, a new study suggests.

Surveys of 72 newlywed couples in Ohio over the first four years of marriage showed that those who experience neuroticism or whose spouse is neurotic reported higher marital satisfaction when they had sex more often.

Neuroticism, according to the study published online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science in October, is a personality trait that includes frequent negative feelings.

Those negative feelings often put strain on a relationship, said Michelle Russell, a co-author of the study, which was done by the University of Tennessee department of psychology.

The report, part of a larger multi-university study examining a variety of questions about newlyweds, also looked at other variables, such as problem-solving skills and stress levels of neurotic couples.

Researchers were unable, however, to find correlations between satisfaction and those other variables, said Russell, a psychology doctoral student at the university.

One theory for why the correlation between sex and marital satisfaction between these couples was so strong is that sex is improving their moods, she said.

Because many people seek comfort and relaxation in sex, the findings of the study are not surprising, said David Yarian, a licensed clinical psychiatrist and certified sex therapist in Nashville, Tenn.

Still, he warned, it's important not to oversimplify the role of sex in the marital satisfaction of these couples.

Read the full article here.

AC

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