Couple kissing
Young tourists kiss as they enjoy a sunny summer afternoon in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre museum in Paris. Reuters

If you’re in hot pursuit of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your partner, here’s a tip: New research shows that a vacation can do wonders for a couple’s sex life.

The 2014 Expedia Pleasure Index, released Wednesday, revealed that, for most Americans, the pleasure of a vacation is quite literally that: One in two respondents said they were more likely to be intimate with their partner while on vacation than at home, while 93 percent said they were at least “somewhat likely” to be intimate while away on a trip. Seventy-seven percent of Americans, meanwhile, reported that vacations were important to the overall health of their relationship.

The cherry on top: Americans who take vacations three or more times per year report a much higher satisfaction with their relationship than those who don’t.

Of course, these are the kind of results one might expect from a survey commissioned by a travel brand. But to be fair, it was an independent company called Northstar Research that conducted the actual analysis of 2,000 Americans -- and some of the results are certainly shocking.

Respondents, for instance, said they valued vacations more than anything else in the world, placing them ahead of their cats, their religions, their birthdays and even their marriages. And they’d be willing to give up everything from alcohol to chocolate, TV and sex for one week just to get one extra vacation day each year.

“The Expedia Pleasure Index study brings some rigor to the notion that most of us intuitively understand: Vacations are the fastest path to happiness,” Expedia spokeswoman Sarah Gavin said. “People appreciate themselves and their loved ones more on holidays.”

Gavin noted that nine out of 10 Americans believe their happiest memories were formed on vacation. She said Expedia released the study in the dead of winter “to remind Americans that happiness -- a sunny beach, a mountain chalet or just an afternoon at a café with close friends -- is only a few clicks away.”

Expedia’s findings line up with the results of a similar study conducted by yet another industry promoter: the U.S. Travel Association.

In that survey, conducted last year, researchers found that three-quarters of respondents who said they traveled as a couple reported having a good sex life, compared with 63 percent of couples who did not travel together. Furthermore, one in four couples said their sex life improved after vacationing together, while 40 percent said sex together was permanently better after travel.

The kicker: A third of divorced people surveyed said they never traveled together with their ex while they were still married.