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Kinsey study reveals surprising truths

Cuddling isn't just for the ladies.

A new study from the Kinsey Institute turns some commonly held gender stereotypes about sex and relationships on their head.

A survey of 1,0009 heterosexual middle-aged or older people in long-term relationships reviewed their levels of happiness in their relationships and sex lives. The results, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, saw that men who hugged and kissed their partners regularly were about three times as happy in their relationships as men who didn’t cuddle as often.

Women’s happiness was not as dependent on such demonstrations of love; nevertheless, both men and women who frequently cuddled were more sexually satisfied than those who didn’t. Women also said they were more sexually satisfied after spending 15 years with their partner.

The study also found that “in a reversal of stereotype, men were more likely than women to report being happy in their relationships, while women were more likely to report being satisfied with sex.”

Couples from the U.S., Japan, Brazil, Spain and Germany were surveyed, and the results said that Japanese couples were the happiest, while Americans were second-happiest. Japanese men and women were also more sexually satisfied.

For women, the duration of a relationship as well having a good state of sexual health were strong predictors of general satisfaction. For men, “longer relationships, good physical health … good sexual functioning and wives’ sexual satisfaction” all played a part in their happiness.

"This study on heterosexual couples provides a basis for future research on sex and gender, such as how same-sex couples may or may not show similarities and differences in relationship and sexual satisfaction," said lead author Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

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