Many psychologists believe that our personalities consist of five underlying traits: openness to experience (your willingness to try new things), conscientiousness (how detail oriented and organized you are), extraversion (how outgoing and sociable you are), agreeableness (how much care and concern you have for other people), and neuroticism (how well you deal with stress and how emotionally stable you are). Scientists have studied how each of these traits is related to people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors (and you can read all about that here), but some new research suggests that one of these traits in particular might be especially important when it comes to our sex lives: conscientiousness.
At first glance, conscientiousness—which is characterized by planning, organization, and attention to detail—might not sound like a particularly sexy trait; however, several studies have found that people who are more conscientious have better sex lives in multiple ways. I discuss this research in a recent column over at TONIC, but the short version is that detail-oriented people tend to be more sexually satisfied and are less likely to develop sexual problems.
Why is that? It makes sense when you think about it: if you’re focused on the details, maybe you put a little extra effort into sex in ways that make it more satisfying for everyone. For example, someone high in conscientiousness might do more things to set the mood (think things like playing sexy music, lighting candles, etc.). Or maybe they’re quicker to pick up on the things that drive their partner wild and they make more of an effort to repeat them whenever they have sex.
All of that attention to detail might explain why conscientious people report more positive experiences when it comes to acting on their sexual fantasies, which is something I found in the process of studying more than 4,000 people’s fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want. However, it’s worth noting that conscientious people’s fantasies were also more grounded in reality, so that might be another reason why their fantasies turned out better—there wasn’t as big of a gap between fantasy and reality for them.
To learn more about why being a “details person” might be good for your sex life, check out the full article over at TONIC.
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