Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness never dropped 1,000 baht for a happy ending in Thailand. Where ever we are, whether we are chasing after sex or money, the pursuit of happiness is a full time job for most men. Having all three is the trifecta we all hope comes in. Scoring any one of the three is something we’ll all settle for. The happiness that having money or sex – preferably lots of either – brings us can not be denied. But then they say money can’t buy happiness. No probelmo. Money can buy sex. In fact, money and sex often seem to go hand in hand. Especially when those hands are in Thailand.

Sex is a goal for many gay visitors to Thailand. The equation works well because money is the goal for many Thais. And since they are willing to trade sex for money, both sides get what they want. Both sides are happy. It seems like a win-win proposition. But does one side come out ahead? Which makes you happier, sex or money?

Yup. Smells like science to me.

According to a recent study, there’s no question of which rates higher on the happiness meter. Sex is the clear winner. In fact, researchers found that an increase in having sex from once a month to once a week is equivalent to the amount of happiness generated by getting an additional $50,000 in income for the average American.

And your most recent trip to Thailand just started sounding like a bargain.

Money = sex = lots of happiness.

Economics professors Andrew J. Oswald and David G. Blanchflower were responsible for the study which surveyed 16,000 Americans. They questioned participants in the study on those things that brought them the highest degree of happiness. Then, using a financial generating computer algorithm, the researchers converted the happiness levels into dollars. They discovered that money, in and of itself, did little to raise people’s happiness levels. Sex, however, always puts a smile on people’s faces. Which, to some degree explains the grumpy demeanor of the cheap bastard sexpats of Pattaya. Happiness there is available on every street corner. But the skinflints are too concerned over spending an extra 100 baht to bring a little sunshine into their lives.

Not surprisingly, Oswald and Blanchflower’s study showed that not only did sex rate highest in customer satisfaction, but that the lack of having regular sex results in depression and psychological problems. Those with a low orgasm count are more argumentative, more stressed, often have feelings of worthlessness, and have lower self esteem. And, inevitably, it is associated with increased risk of divorce and relationship dissolution.

News Flash: Sex Makes You Happy.

Sex is as important to those in a relationship as it is to those who are blessedly single. The research found that relationships that survive the long-haul require a regular routine of some form of physical intimacy and affection. And, once again, gay guys come out on top. Even when they are a bottom. There’s a reason homosexual men are called gay. We get lots of sex.

Not so with breeder couples. Aussie sex therapist Bettina Arndt had ninety-eight couples keep intimate diaries of their sex lives for a year. She found inevitably it is women who get the blame for the lack of sex in relationships. Her work backed up that done in Germany which established that four years into a relationship, less than half of 30-year-old women wanted regular sex. And in lesbian relationships, sexual frequency tails off even more rapidly – a phenomenon which has been labelled ‘lesbian bed death’ by US sociologist Pepper Schwarz.

It would seem that with the higher numbers of happy, sexually active gay men, same-sex marriage should be encouraged. At least by those who profess the desire to protect that institution. The sex drive of two men in a committed relationship should lower the aggregate of relationship dissolution, a much needed boost as there are now more divorced than happily married people in the West. But data from the National Survey of Families and Households shows gay men may be happier than their breeder brethren not just because they have more sex, but because they are not stagnating in a formal partnership too.

Science has proven that a happy ending results in a happy ending. Whatever the cost.

Results of the survey published in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family found that cohabitating couples are happier than married ones. Researchers looked at well-being among 2,737 single men and women, 896 of whom married or moved in with a partner over a six-year period. Shortly after marrying or moving in together, couples were happier and showed fewer depressive symptoms than singles. But the benefits faded quickly.

The study showed that married couples’ health improved, but those who opted to live together in unwedded bliss experienced bigger boosts in happiness and self-esteem too. “For some, cohabitation may come with fewer unwanted obligations than marriage and allow for more flexibility, autonomy and personal growth,” lead author and Cornell professor Kelly Musick, PhD, said in a statement.

So science has shown that despite popular belief, money can in fact buy happiness. As long as you are spending your money on sex. And regardless of equality issues, not tying the knot will guarantee you the happiest ending.