-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Cuddling and caressing help
boost satisfaction in long-term relationships, according to a new
study of middle-aged and older couples.
The study also found that tenderness is more important to men
than to women, that men are more likely to report being happy in
their relationship, and that women are more likely to be satisfied
with their sexual relationship, said the researchers from the
Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.
The study included more than 1,000 couples from the United
States, Brazil, Germany, Japan and Spain who had been together for
an average of 25 years. The participants were 40- to 70-year-old
men and their female partners.
Men were more likely to be happy in a relationship if they were
in good health and if it was important to them that their partner
experienced orgasm during sex. Frequent cuddling and kissing also
predicted relationship happiness for men, but not for women.
Both women and men were happier the longer they had been
together and if they had higher levels of sexual functioning, the
Japanese men and women were significantly happier with their
relationships than Americans, who were happier than Brazilians and
Spaniards, according to Kinsey Institute director Julia Heiman and
Sexual satisfaction for both women and men was associated with
frequent kissing and cuddling, sexual caressing by a partner, high
sexual functioning, and frequent sex. For men, having had more sex
partners in their lifetime was a predictor of less sexual
satisfaction, the report indicated.
Sexual satisfaction for women increased over time. Those who had
been with their partner for less than 15 years were less likely to
be sexually satisfied, but satisfaction increased significantly
after 15 years.
"Possibly, women become more satisfied over time because their expectations change, or life changes with the children grown," Heiman said in a university news release. "On the other hand, those who weren't so happy sexually might not be married so long."
Japanese men reported 2.61 times more sexual satisfaction than
American men, while Japanese and Brazilian women were more
satisfied sexually than American women.
"We recognize that relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction may not be the same thing for all couples, and in all cultures," Heiman said. "Our next step is to understand how one person's health, physical affection and sexual experiences relate to the relationship happiness or sexual satisfaction of his or her partner. So, we hope for more couple-centered than individual-centered understanding on relationship functioning and satisfaction."
The study is published in the August issue of the
Archives of Sexual Behavior.
The American Psychological Association outlines
nine psychological tasks for a good marriage.
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