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Communication is consistently named as the most important factor in strong relationships

Couples who communicate well and have sex more frequently are more satisfied, one of the biggest studies into long-term relationships has found.

The study, which will be published in The Journal of Sex Research later this month, surveyed almost 40,000 married and/or co-habiting couples in 2006 to determine sexual satisfaction and happiness. 

Current sexual satisfaction was rated on a scale of one to seven, as well as in the first six months of the relationship. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that an overwhelming majority (83 per cent) of respondents recalled being sexually satisfied in the first six months, but this dropped down to around half for couples who were talking about their current sexual satisfaction. 

A total of 79 per cent of men and 81 per cent of women who were satisfied told researchers they had sex one or more times per week. 

Knowing which came first – sexual satisfaction or sexual frequency – was described as a "chicken and egg" thing by David Frederick, lead author on the study and assistant professor in health psychology at Chapman University.

There were some interesting disparities in gender when it came to predictors of satisfaction. For women, the strongest predictors were how frequently they achieved orgasm, mood setting and communication. For men, it was mood setting, sexual variety and communication. 

Communication is consistently named as the most important factor in strong relationships. Earlier in February 2016, Professor Jacqui Gabb told The Independent that both verbal and non-verbal communication was essential to long-lasting love.