It’s not always smooth sailing when it comes time to get it on. Movies and TV shows might give us mile-high expectations when it comes to having a perfect time in the bedroom, and yet we know our sex lives don’t always play out like an episode of Bridgerton or Sex and the City. However, according to new research, it turns out your mindset might inform your sex life more than you thought when it comes to your sexual expectations.
Psychologist Jessica Maxwell, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, compared two different mindsets to see how they inform people’s sex lives. First, there was the sexual growth mindset, which is the belief that being satisfied in bed takes time and work. This is the opposite of the sexual destiny mindset, which is pretty much what it sounds like — it’s the belief that partners are naturally compatible, which means that if they’re not, the relationship is destined not to work.
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Maxwell and her colleagues did six studies and found that people’s sexual mindsets influenced their sexual satisfaction and their overall relationship quality. When couples couldn’t agree about their sex lives, she found that the sexual destiny mindsets came into play. “They’re letting what happens in the bedroom bleed over to affect their overall judgments about the relationship,” she told BBC’s Lovelife. Couples with sexual growth mindsets were reported to have happier relationships overall.
The study participants were asked to complete a diary over three weeks in order to track and assess changes to their mindsets and the overall quality of their sex lives. Maxwell said that they found there were benefits to the growth mindset and the belief that sex takes work.
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Maxwell also looked at how the mindsets impacted couples who chose to have children, and found that those with the growth mindset predicted greater satisfaction for both the individual and their partner while high destiny beliefs were tied to less satisfaction.
So if you’re hoping your partner is in it for the long haul, it may be worth talking about what their mindset is when it comes to sex — you’ll likely have an easier time if they’re open to learning and growing instead of throwing in the towel by believing that sex doesn’t take work.
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