Want good sex in the long run? Set your “sexpectations” sensibly and recognize the value of hard work in the bedroom, advises a new study.

University of Toronto researchers claim that people hold one of two general “sexpectations” about what it takes to have a long-lasting, happy sex life: either that good sex takes continued effort, or that soulmates will simply achieve it naturally for as long as they both shall live.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that these sexpectations will either buoy relationships or impair them.

Study head Jessica Maxwell said people who “believe in sexual destiny are using their sex life as a barometer for how well their relationship is doing, and they believe the problems in the bedroom equal problems in the relationship as a whole… whereas people who believe in sexual growth not only believe they can work on their sexual problems, but they are not letting it affect their relationship satisfaction.”

Researchers questioned 1,900 people from both heterosexual and same sex couples and discovered that after the first few years (wherein sexual satisfaction is typically recorded as high) the belief that a happy sex life takes work started to show benefits.

The researchers showed study participants fake magazine articles that either upheld ideas of sexual destiny philosophies or the view that sexual relationships require considerable effort.

While the research found that women were more likely to consume stories from the former category, it also found that they were more likely than men to believe that sex in long-term relationships requires work.

“[This] could be because there is some evidence that sexual satisfaction takes more work for women, so they rate higher on the sexual growth scale,” said Maxwell.

The study also found that having reasonable sexpectations is not a hard and fast rule when it comes to maintaining a successful long-term sexual relationship, however. Researchers suggest that some sexual-destiny believers are open to the idea of making changes in their sex lives if it will please a partner they believe to be their soul-mate.

h/t The Independent