Friday, March 27, 2009
Friday's FYI: Sexplanations, the Science Behind Sex
By Lindsey Palmer & Nicole Yorio
You know that sex makes you feel closer to your guy, that stilettos are totally hot, and that hitting the sheets together feels completely different from satisfying yourself solo — but have you ever wondered why?
Lucky for you, author Jena Pincott sifted through hundreds of scientific studies in order to explain what's behind these and other sexy truths in her new book, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? Read on for the answers to three burning questions.
Why do I like and trust him more after sex? You can thank your hormones for this one. "When you cuddle, kiss, or have sex, your body's oxytocin production kicks in," says Pincott. "This so-called hug drug helps you feel closer and more connected by suppressing activity in the part of your brain that processes fear and dampening the production of stress hormones." Orgasm leads to a particularly strong surge of oxytocin. "And because estrogen enhances the effects of oxytocin and we women have much higher estrogen levels than men, we're more likely to experience this touching-leads-to-trusting phenomenon," says Pincott.
Why are high heels sexy? The stuff you strut is more sensual when you're up on your toes, says Pincott: "Heels force your pelvis to tilt so that both your rear end and chest stick out." One study showed that leg lengths 5 percent longer than average are the most attractive, so for most women, a 1.5- to 3-inch heel would create the ideal leg length. "This attraction might be evolutionary, because long legs are associated with better long-term health, which would appeal to a mate," says Pincott. "Plus, much like a peacock flaunts his feathers, which are really quite heavy and a nuisance, a woman teetering in heels can show off her fitness and coordination."
Why is intercourse more satisfying than masturbation?Good sex engages your body and senses (not to mention your emotions) more deeply than masturbation, so it stimulates the production of higher levels of dopamine, the horniness hormone. Now, stay with us here: After orgasm, dopamine levels plummet and another hormone, prolactin, skyrockets to take dopamine's place. "Prolactin is what gives you that feeling of satiety — and the more dopamine you had in your bloodstream during sex, the more prolactin rushes in to replace it afterward," says Pincott. "In fact, prolactin levels are a full 400 percent higher in people when they've just had sex than when they've masturbated." Another one of prolactin's effects you might have noticed: Post-coitus, it puts your partner right to sleep!