Image Source / iStock

A 2016 study has found the time in your relationship for a Goldilocks zone of sex.

No, this isn't some fantasy involving bears, or oatmeal porridge.

The study from the Archives of Sexual Behaviour looked at the sex lives of 2814 straight people in relationships.

It found that the sexual 'sweet spot' for sex in a relationship was between six and 12 months in.

We found a significant and positive development in the first year of the relationship.

That is, participants reported higher satisfaction with their sex life in the second half of the first year of their relationship than in the first 6 months.

However, after the first year, sexual satisfaction declined steadily over time.

It was in this period that both members of the couple reported being sexually satisfied, and follows on from initial awkwardness when you're still learning 'the ropes' of one another's sexual proclivities.

Yet the study also suggested that the early stage could be due to:

The increase in sexual satisfaction in the beginning of a relationship could be due to a learning process,

Speaking to Cosmopolitan, clinical psychologist Megan Fleming suggested the outer limit of the sweet spot was 18 months.

Fleming argued that while this was something of a 'peak', the fact that it comes to an end is both natural and important - it leads to greater intimacy.

Explaining why the sexual enjoyment declined after this sweet spot, the study had these suggestions:

For the subsequent decline, we see two possible explanations: On the one hand, changes in sexual desire could lead to a mismatch between the man and the woman, as the diverging patterns of male and female sexual desire over the course of the relationship are well documented in the literature.

They also offered this theory:

On the other hand, as sexual satisfaction is linked to passion, its development may follow the pattern delineated for passion... i.e., high levels in the beginning of a relationship followed by a decline for both sexes.

Of course, the 'sweet spot' is by no means a guarantee either.

The study also found more proof of the maxim that communication is key to intimacy.

Relationship quality, measured by negative communication styles and intimacy in couple communication, was found to play a significant role in sexual satisfaction. In line with our expectations, a rise of intimacy in communication had a significant positive influence, and a worsening of the conflict style a significant negative influence in both models.

The same study also found that getting married did not bring about a change either way in a couple's sexual enjoyment, up or down.

Read the full study here.

HT Cosmopolitan

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)