Does sex counteract being neurotic?

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A robust literature indicates that neuroticism has numerous negative implications for romantic relationships. But are there factors that can protect intimates from such implications? Given that negative affect accounts for part of the association between neuroticism and relationship distress, and given that the positive affect associated with sex may negate that negative affect, the authors predicted that sexual frequency would moderate the association between neuroticism and relationship satisfaction. A total of 72 newlywed couples reported their marital satisfaction and sexual frequency up to seven times over the first 4 years of marriage. Consistent with predictions, a lagged multilevel analysis revealed that although neuroticism was negatively associated with marital satisfaction on average, it was unrelated to marital satisfaction when couples had engaged in relatively frequent sex over the past 6 months. These findings join others in highlighting the importance of attending to the broader context of the relationship to developing a complete understanding of relationships.

Source: “Frequent Sex Protects Intimates From the Negative Implications of Their Neuroticism” from Social Psychological and Personality Science

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