The more sex you have, the more money you make

For the Greeks, more wealth means more sex. (Wikimedia Commons)
For the Greeks, more wealth means more sex. (Wikimedia Commons)

If it sometimes appears that some people are just lucky -- have lots of sex, and a well-paying job, too -- you might be on to something, according to a new study from the Institute for the Study of Labor at the University of Bonn.

Previous research has found that happiness -- no surprise -- tends to increase with the frequency of sexual activity. There's been little study of how the libido relates to wages, though. This new data comes exclusively from the Greek population in 2008, so take that for what you will. But assuming the Hellenes are at all reflective of humanity writ large, results suggest that wages and sexual activity rise together.

The researchers controlled for urban and rural residence, various personality traits, gender, education and belief in God (which tends to be negatively correlated with sexual activity). They found that, for Greeks between the ages of 26 and 50, one standard deviation of increase in sexual activity corresponded with a 5.4 percent increase in wages. Married men having no sex receive lower wages by 1.3 percent, and there's no difference in the wage returns for sex for gay and straight people.

Now, that doesn't mean that having more sex will automatically make you earn more. The authors write that high levels of sexual activity are likely an indicator of good health, which also tends to correlate with higher earnings.  It's also possible that causality runs the other way: Earning more makes you more sexually attractive. Either way, a Marginal Revolution commenter summed up the situation well: "It has always been apparent that sex is good: Now we have statistical confirmation! That’s great."

Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.

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