Sex is an unavoidable fact of life. It’s what it took for you to get here right now, and it’s one of the main drivers in relationships. And so, it’s easier to think you know all there is about it. But the reality is… Sex is far more complex than you can imagine. So, to show you just how strange it can be, here are eight psychological facts about sex that might surprise you.
1. Post Sex Sadness is a Real Thing
Now, if you’ve ever cried after sex and thought you were strange… Don’t. It can actually be a very common occurrence and there’s even an official name for the response. Post-Coital Dysphoria (PCD) is characterised by intense feelings of sadness, anger and even distress after orgasm. There still isn’t a great deal known about the condition, but it’s believed by certified sex therapist Ian Kerner, that it’s possibly linked to a surge in hormones. Which could stem from past trauma from a prior sexual assault in some cases.
2. A Strong Sense of Smell Can Make Your More Orgasmic
A study that was published in the archive of sexual behaviour found that people with a more perceptive sense of smell had better sexual experiences. Women who had a better sense of smell reported having more enjoyable orgasms than those whose noses weren’t as sharp. However, the study found that this wasn’t actually linked to sexual desire or performance in the bedroom. This suggests that the heightened state of pleasure is triggered by body odours like vaginal fluid and sweat that those people can smell more easily.
3. Sex Increases Your Immunity to Pain
Aside from the obvious physical pleasure… Sex can actually be an aid in pain relief. During states of arousal and orgasm, the hypothalamus in the brain releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey found this surge of oxytocin can help reduce pain felt in women, especially during menstruation. A further study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine found that oxytocin in men can cut the perception of pain in half.
4. Having Sex Can Help Trigger Your Creativity
The act of sex itself is already a creative act intended to birth new life. Even when you’re not trying to conceive you’re still creating a bond experience with your partner. But there’s an added psychological effect that can help you in your creative pursuits, whether it’s art, design, music, writing, or even just creative thinking. And it’s that same chemical again. Oxytocin. Although it’s intended to make you feel closer to your partner… It’s also able to create cognitive flexible pathways in the brain…Which can foster creative thinking and improve problem-solving.
5. Orgasms: Use it or Lose it?
Now, this one might scare you if you’ve not been sexually active for an extended period. And it is rare… However, also possible that you may lose your sexual sensation if you go for long periods without sex if you’re a woman. There’s a known called clitoral atrophy, which occurs when the clitoris doesn’t receive enough blood flow, which in turn causes it to retract into the body. There is also the possibility of penile atrophy. But this usually has less to do with a lack of sex and more to do with ageing or injury.
6. Want an Orgasm? Leave Your Socks On
If you’ve ever bought your partner lingerie or like to play dress-up… You might want to reconsider whether it’s actually the best thing. Research done at the University of Groningen suggests that if you want to increase your chances of having an orgasm, you might just want to keep your socks on during sex. Their theory is that in order to have an orgasm, you need to be totally relaxed and anxiety-free. And cold feet could interfere with the ability to really get into the moment according to psychologist and author Fran Walfish PhD.
7. The Egg Chooses the “Winning” Sperm
Men like to believe that it’s the fastest sperm that wins the race. But this so-called ‘sex fact,’ is a massive misconception according to sexologist Jill McDevitt. She goes onto say that, “The narrative is biased with our cultural lens about men being competitive (see violent words like ‘drilling’ ‘burrowing’ and ‘penetrating’) the egg, while the egg (women) sits around passively,” she then further expands by saying… “In reality, eggs have sophisticated biological mechanisms that actively choose which sperm they allow in and it isn’t always the first one to arrive.” Which, when you think about it, makes a lot more sense. The egg has a biological imperative to make the perfect match, just as we try to find the perfect partner.
8. People Who Have Less Sex Overcompensate in Their Jobs
Now, this one may open your eyes if you’re a single workaholic… Researchers at the University of Gottingen in Germany found that people with an inactive sex life tend to do more work to compensate for their lack of fulfilment. The study asked 32,000 people to open up about their sex life and work habits. The results found that 36% of men and 35% of women who only had sex once a week, would also work excessive hours at their jobs. The more work you have, the more stress you have. And the more stress you have, the less sex you have…