- Most Australians (88%) are happy in their marriages – ranking higher than the Brits (83%) and Americans (82%) in a new study tracking the quality of couples’ relationships
- But, just over a third (36%) of Aussies are happy with their sex lives, compared to more than half (54%) of Americans – despite having more of it
- Aussies value happiness in their partner way above good looks (67% v 43%) along with emotional stability (53%), showing that positive energy is a highly-desirable trait
A new international study, based on surveys with over 5,000 couples in Australia, America and the UK, reveals the majority of Aussies (88%) are in happy relationships, yet we’re less happy with our sex lives than other countries, despite indulging in more action between the sheets.
For Aussies, frequency doesn’t necessarily mean sexual fulfilment. The research from eharmony’s Happiness Index found over three-quarters (77%) of married Australian couples are having sex once a week, compared to 70% of Americans and half (51%) of Brits. Yet, just over a third of Aussies (36%) are content with their sex lives, compared to over half of Americans (54%) and a third of of Brits (33%).
Aussies remain relatively tight-lipped when it comes to discussing matters between the sheets, with only 24% of Australian married couples comfortable talking openly about their sex life. The UK reported similar stats with a quarter (25%) discussing sex in their relationships, whereas Americans (37%) are far more willing to discuss these potentially sensitive issues.
Marriage remains relatively important to Aussies, with 71% of those surveyed having tied the knot compared to 78% of Americans and just 55% of Brits.
In addition, 45% of Aussies believe that being married helps them navigate choppy waters and challenges, possibly because such couples are assured of a formal commitment to working things through. However, 21% of Aussies still don’t disclose their mental health issues to their life partner, possibly because they’re embarrassed or ashamed.
The Happiness Index also explored what people really value in a partner. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t physical attractiveness that led the way in this arena.
In fact, having a happy partner (67%) is considered far more important than having an attractive partner (53%), though both traits obviously carry significance. Next on the priority list were emotional stability (53%) and intelligence (52%). See table 1
The best ways to show love are also consistent across continents. These include words of appreciation (71%), acts of service (71%) and physical touch (67%). See table 2
Relationship expert at eharmony, Megan Luscombe, adds:
“We’re loving that the Happiness Index reflects what eharmony is all about – matching singles according to shared core values and personality traits. You can deduce from the data that happy relationships are built on a big dollop of compatibility.
“To see that Aussies are the happiest in their marriages is also very encouraging, and it’s significant that the things people really value in a partner are being around someone cheerful, emotionally stable and intelligent. Good looks are not the number one thing that people appreciate in their partner. This demonstrates that desirability goes way beyond how we look. It’s about our substance and positive energy. And let’s not forget, looks fade but laughs (hopefully) last a lifetime.
“A few concerns came up in the research, particularly the lack of communication between couples when it comes to mental health and sex. These matters are extremely important and should be talked about. We need to put aside embarrassment and shame and have the courage to be authentic about who we are and how our needs can be met.”
“Futhermore, it’s very positive to see that the best way to demonstrate love is to show words of appreciation for your partner. Sure, we are familiar with saying ‘I love you’ but ‘I appreciate you’ is powerful too!”
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