The Couple That Laughs Together Has Better Sex
Couples who laugh together at jokes about themselves and others are happier in their relationship and sex lives, a new study has found.
All people enjoy humor at the expense of others and themselves to varying degrees. Someone might love being the centre of attention and intentionally provoke people to laugh at their expense, but prefer not to laugh at others; others might see teasing as a sign of appreciation, and use it to show appreciation to others. Still others might not enjoy being teased, but enjoy making others the butt of jokes.
“All of these characteristics are normal, up to a certain point — including being afraid of being laughed at,” says study author René Proyer, a professor of psychology at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.
Plenty of research has suggested a shared sense of humor can strengthen a relationship. This study shows the more similar partners are in whom they tease and laugh over and to what degree, the happier they are in their relationships and sex lives.
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Interestingly, being able to take a joke at your own expense was seen to have even bigger benefits. “Women [who enjoyed provoking others to laugh at their expense] reported more often that they tended to be satisfied with their relationship and felt more attracted to their partner. They and their partners also tended to be equally satisfied with their sex life,” says study author Kay Brauer.
People who are afraid of being laughed at, on the other hand, are less content and more distrusting in their relationship, which seemed to take a toll on their sex lives; men, especially, reported feeling dissatisfied with their sex lives when their partner feared being laughed at. It makes sense, intuitively; there’s a lot that’s funny about sex, and if you’re worried about being laughed at, it might be difficult to be fully in the moment, or try something new.
The exception to the finding that similarity in humor increases relationship satisfaction was among couples in which both partners like to ridicule others; these couples tended to argue more. “That is hardly surprising, considering that these people often go too far and make derisive comments which can then lead to an argument,” Brauer says.
Ultimately, this small-scale study of heterosexual couples proves nothing, really, that most people with common sense don’t already know. But it may help us think twice about what we and our partners laugh at — and whether it’s just amusing us, or bringing us closer together, or both.
Liesl Goecker is The Swaddle's managing editor.