You may have noticed that after (good) sex, you have a certain glow: You’re radiating affection for your partner and the world, and the next day, your coworkers and friends are mystified as to why you’re so cheerful. A new study published in the journal Psychological Science has quantified this feeling, which researchers call the “sexual afterglow,” revealing that this afterglow lasts for up to 48 hours after sex and is linked to how happy you are in your relationship.
It’s long been understood by researchers and sex-havers alike that sex can bond partners as the hormone oxytocin is released and promotes intimacy. But since most people in relationships aren’t having sex every single day, psychological scientist Andrea Meltzer and her research team were curious about how long postcoital satisfaction lasts and what kind of connection it has with relationship satisfaction.
The researchers looked at data from two different studies, the first with 96 newlywed couples and the second with 118 newlywed couples. All of these participants had kept track of their daily sexual activity, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction over a 14-day period; they had also reported how happy they were in their marriages both during this period and then at a check-in four to six months after.
The average couple had sex four days out of the 14 (although the range in sexual activity was wide). No matter participants’ genders, ages, relationship lengths, personality traits, sexual frequency, or anything else, they reported heightened sexual satisfaction for a full two days after having sex. And participants who experienced more intense sexual afterglow were happier in their marriages both at the beginning of these studies and four to six months on — bolstering the researchers’ hypothesis that sex continues to boosts pair-bonding in between sessions and is correlated with relationship happiness over time. And unlike other sources of ~glow~ (spray tans, facials, unicorn liquid eye shadow), sex with your partner is free, so enjoy it and the 48 hours after.