Who’d have known? The results of a study published in Emotion suggest that sex on a given day predicted an enhanced mood and improved meaning of life for the participants the following day.

The research was published by a team of researchers at the George Mason University, exploring the relationship between sex and wellbeing. It illustrated that there is a correlation between sex and positive mental health.

152 students were asked to keep a diary for three weeks, documenting their mood, how meaningful their life felt, and any sexual contact they had (including what the quality of the sex was). Sexual activity was defined as anything from passionate kissing to intercourse, and not surprisingly, most people reported feeling more positive, happier and like their life had more meaning after they had had sex.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that while the quality of the sex was important, the level of intimacy wasn’t. This means that those who had gratifying but non-intimate sex also reported feeling great the next day.

Todd Kashan, the lead author of the study said that it is probably down to our natural desire to belong, and that sex can translate as a sign of acceptance and inclusion.

“There is something profound about someone else giving you access to their body and accepting access to yours,” he said. He described sex as a remedy for loneliness and isolation, a ‘therapy without therapists’.

The study is limited in its sample size, and only examines the mood and sexual activity of students, which is likely to differ from those of people who are older, however it does provide a snapshot into the relationship between sex and wellness.

The authors of the study said: “To understand the full scope of human flourishing, research on wellbeing needs to incorporate more rigorous scientific inquiries of sexual behaviour.”