Proof that “a little of what you fancy does you good” has been enshrined in a new survey from the US. In an example of research that you might have wondered about but figured would never happen, it turns out that sex the night before work is energising and boosts productivity.
The findings from the survey, that relied on a 2-week daily diary study of married, employed adults: From the bedroom to the office: Workplace spillover effects of sexual activity at home, showed that those who prioritised sex at home unknowingly gave themselves a next-day advantage at work, where they were more likely to find their tasks interesting and immersive and their working lives more enjoyable.
Researchers asked participants to keep a daily diary for two weeks and found that the positive effect of sex lingered for at least 24 hours post-coitus and was equally strong for men and women – even taking into account marital satisfaction and sleep quality, which are two common predictors of daily mood.
In contrast, when participants allowed the stress of their working lives to impact on their personal lives, they were less likely to have sex and consequently less likely to find work engaging.
“We make jokes about people having a ‘spring in their step’, but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it,” says Keith Leavitt, associate professor in Oregon State University’s College of Business, and lead researcher of the study.
“Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organisations they work for,” he told People Management magazine.
One place where sex is high on the agenda is Sweden, where a municipal council is considering offering its workers a paid one-hour break each week to go home and have sex. Behind the idea is the feeling that couples aren’t spending enough time together says Per-Erik Muskos, a 42-year-old city councillor for Overtornea where the motion has been tabled.
“There are studies that show sex is healthy,” Muskos, a 42-year-old city councillor for the northern town of Overtornea, told AFP. It may also go some way to stemming Sweden’s declining fertility rate over the past few decades. In Overtornea, the population has dropped from 5,229 in 2005 to 4,711 in 2015.
Sweden is not an isolated case. A “catastrophically low” birth rate in Spain has combined with an exodus of large numbers of young people unable to find work in a country where youth unemployment hovers at a staggering 42 per cent. The birth rate for women aged 18 to 49 years is 1.3 children, which is well below the European Union average of 1.58. In 2016, there were more deaths than births for the first time ever.
Little surprise then that drastic measures are now in order with Spain appointing its first “sex tsar”. The job of encouraging Spain’s population back under the covers has fallen to Galician senator and demographics expert Edelmira Barreira whose first task may be to look at the work culture.
Rafael Puyol, of the IE Business School in Madrid, said people are often too tired after a full day at work and blamed long working hours and late nights for the decrease.
Other countries looking at ways to raise the birth rate include Russia where couples are given the day off every September 12th in order to procreate. The Day of Conception has become a Russian holiday, originally made popular by the region of Ulyanovsk, birthplace of Vladimir Lenin. Couples who go on to conceive and give birth on June 12th win a prize from the regional government. The incentive is not inconsiderable: in 2011, the reward was a Jeep and in 2012, the winning pair were presented with an apartment.
Returning to the research, it may simply be that having more sex makes people happier. Numerous studies show that happy individuals are successful across multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance and health. So perhaps the real secret is to find what makes you happy and stick to it, sex or no sex.