While it may seem natural to compare how often you're having sex with the frequency of other couple's time in the sack, new research published in the Journal of Research and Personality suggests that you're better off looking inward. The study authors say that how often you get busy, and how satisfied you are with your sex life, actually comes down to the individual personality traits of you and your partner.
Researchers from Florida State University gave psychological examinations to 278 newlywed heterosexual couples (who were married for less than six months) to assess the personalities of both the husband and wife based on the "Big Five" personality traits—openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Researchers also asked each couple to keep a 14-day journal documenting how often they had sex and their satisfaction with that sex each time. (Hop into bed more often to reap these 10 Health Benefits of Having Sex.)
The conclusion? It's the ladies who wore the pants (or well, you know what we mean) when it came to how often the newlyweds had sex, which was, on average, three of four times during the 14-day period. While there was no link between husbands' personalities and how frequently the couples got busy, the couples did report having sex more often if the wives had higher levels of "agreeableness" and "openness". Come again?
In psychologist-speak "openness" refers to "openness to experience" and includes traits like having wide interests, and being imaginative, creative, and curious. As you can probably assume, "agreeableness" measures a person's ability to get along with others. Those who score high on an agreeableness scale are cooperative, warm, and trusting while those who score low are cold, short-tempered, and antagonistic. (Science has also revealed which personality traits can lead to real happiness.)
Both husbands and wives with low levels of neuroticism were more satisfied with sex, which makes sense because those who are low on a neuroticism spectrum are relatively poised, calm, and secure, and experience less anxiety. These all seem like characteristics that would totally translate to being happier in bed, right? Surprisingly, though, men who rated higher for openness were less satisfied with sex, while women who rated high for openness were more satisfied...[scratches head].
Perhaps most intriguing of all, the researchers found that "partner personality was unrelated to one's own satisfaction with sex"—so, apparently whether or not you enjoy your time between the sheets doesn't hinge on how anxious, warm, or cooperative your partner is, but it's your own personality that is the deciding factor.
The jury is still out on whether these results would hold up among couples who are not married or who have been together longer because we're talking about newlyweds here—they don't call it the honeymoon phase for nothing. But if you take one thing away from these findings, it's that as long as you and your partner are happy with your time between the sheets, who the heck cares how often other "happy" couples are doing it? Do you.