According to the study, nearly all men whose most recent sexual event occurred with a relationship partner indicated being in love with the partner at the time they had sex.
“We found it particularly interesting that the vast majority of men reported sex with someone they felt `matched’ with in terms of love, meaning that most people who were in love had sex with the person they loved,” explained Debby Herbenick of the Indiana University’s school of public health.
Men in love with their partners were significantly more likely to endorse the experience as being extremely or quite a bit pleasurable, compared to sexual events in which the participant was not in love.
The study, that also focused on same sex couples, found that experiences of love are far more similar than different regardless of sexual orientation.
“This is the first time a study has described sexual behaviours engaged in by those men who report being in love, or not, during a given sexual event with a same-sex partner,” added Joshua G. Rosenberger, professor at Virginia-based George Mason University’s college of health and human services.
The study collected data from an Internet-based survey of almost 25,000 gay and bisexual men residing in the US.
“Very few people had sex with someone they loved if that person didn’t love them back. This ‘matching’ aspect of love has not been well explored in previous research, regardless of sexual orientation,” Rosenberger added.
The findings were published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour.