The recipe for great sex: Scientists reveal the three key elements

The recipe for great sex: Scientists reveal the three key elements for a passionate romp – and say it’s NOT always about The Big O

  • US-based scientists interviewed 78 people aged between 18 and 69 years old 
  • Emotional connection trumped all factors in the quest to understand ‘great sex’ 

It’s no secret that sex can become a little stale over time, with many turning to porn  as a source of pleasure.

But a new study has now unveiled three key ingredients for a passionate romp, and it turns out the ‘Big O’ isn’t always the answer.

Two American scientists at the Missouri State University conducted almost 80 interviews of people aged between 18 and 69 years old. 

When asked what ruffles their feathers, an emotional connection trumped all other factors, with 52 participants claiming they needed it for great sex.

You may be surprised to know that 20 people didn’t need orgasms at all, while 49 acknowledged that it was a top priority. 

Emotional connection trumped all factors in the scientific quest to understand ‘great sex’


1. Emotional connection 

Emotional intimacy trumped all other factors in the study, with 52 participants highlighting its importance. Some women even said that emotional connections were required to have an orgasm.

2. Orgasms

Forty-nine participants said that orgasms were most important for great sex. But a number of women discounted their personal experience of orgasms based on a previous absence in sexual encounters.

3. Chemistry 

The hard-to-define phenomenon that describe a ‘spark’ of intimacy between two people. Thirty-six participants rated this highly, often suggesting it is difficult to manufacture but easy to identify.

‘There was a lot of diversity in responses,’ Dr Alicia Walker told PsyPost. 

‘The sex that’s great for you may be mediocre or even bad for your partner. And so often we’re not having these conversations with one another, but we should be. 

‘The more we talk openly about our sexual needs and expectations the greater likelihood our experiences meet our expectations.’ 

Scientists recruited 78 participants on Facebook, Twitter, YikYak and even Craigslist, with data gathered between 2016 and 2018. 

The concept of ‘sexual satisfaction’ was at the centre of their study, with the pair aiming to understand what part of sex provides a subjective feeling of happiness.

Alongside emotional connection and orgasms, chemistry ranked in the top three for essential ingredients, as 36 interviewees acknowledged its importance.

This hard-to-define phenomenon was said to be largely beyond the scope of personal control and impossible to manufacture, but a priority in the bedroom.

On the flipside, 16 people said they didn’t require any emotional connection at all to get it on while just eight prioritised feelings of love.

This sentiment for love was expressed equally among both men and women with four on either side sharing their need for it, but gender similarities were not seen in all cases.

For instance, a number of women discounted personal experiences of orgasms based on their absence in previous sexual encounters.

You may be surprised to know that 20 people didn’t need orgasms at all for good sex

Other women also said that an emotional connection was required to have an orgasm, with both components equally weighted.  

Dr Walker continued: ‘Most participants listed orgasms, an emotional component, and chemistry and connection as characteristics of great sex. 

‘Both men and women listed orgasm as a necessary aspect of great sex, although gendered differences in the importance of partner orgasm existed with men reporting more concern for their partner’s orgasm than women.

‘Participants also felt that both parties should orgasm during sex, suggesting a desire for orgasm equality. 

‘This study contributes to the scant existing literature on people’s perceptions of what makes sex great and the sociology of pleasure. We call for theory development on sexual pleasure.’

READ MORE: Beware of the CHEATWAVE: Sunny weather ‘triggers massive spike in cheating’ – and an expert claims 

Loved-up Brits were today told to be wary of an unexpected consequence of the Caribbean-esque temperatures this weekend.

Sweltering weather triggers a phenomenon nicknamed the ‘cheatwave’, according to one expert who claims that sunny spells are likely to make people far hornier than usual.

When Britain faced its hottest day of the year on June 10, as the mercury hit 30°C, sign-ups to the nation’s leading marital affairs site spiked by 64 per cent.

The same thing also happened this time last year. Jessica Leoni, at, says hot weather is directly to blame.

On Britain’s hottest day of the year signups to a leading UK marital affairs website soared