Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

The more sex a woman has with her partner, the more committed

Posted in news by jenapincott on November 15, 2008

42-15225272The more sex a woman has with her partner, the less attracted she is to other men. That’s the upshot of a study by medical psychologists Ursula Hess, Stuart Brody, and their colleagues, who asked female subjects to report the details of their sex lives and rate the facial attractiveness of twenty-four men. Sexually sated women gave hot guys significantly lower ratings than did women who weren’t having as much sex. Simply put: the more sex women recently had with their partners, the less attracted they were to hunky alternatives. It’s as if biology blinds them to other opportunities.

Several factors may be at play here — and hormones are implicated. As I describe in BLONDES, the hormone prolactin, released after orgasm, makes a person feel sated, at least for awhile (two days, according to some studies, and up to a week according to others). The hormone oxytocin — released when touching, caressing, kissing, and orgasming — makes a woman feel more attached to and trusting of her current partner, even if he’s just a fling (the study didn’t measure relationship strength). Naturally, the more attached a woman feels, the less likely she’ll be on the lookout for another beau. Or it just might be love. A separate study led by evolutionary psychologist John Maner also found that women (and men) in love are automatically less likely to pay attention to the faces of good-looking strangers.

(Of course the whole phenomenon could be a virtuous cycle: the more committed, the more sex — and the more sex, the more committed.)

As a separate and interesting side note, researchers in the sex study also found that depressed women — even those with partners — masturbate more, which the researchers think may either be self-soothing or actually exacerbate depressive symptoms. That, or it just might be that these women are down because they haven’t found the right partners. Perhaps they’ve blinded themselves to other opportunities.

I’d like to know if the same is true for men.

9 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. nonblonde said, on November 16, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    interesting and true, on both counts!

  2. Painting Tasters said, on December 12, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Some men exhibit this behavior as well.

  3. Don Beleefo said, on December 12, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I don’t believe it. Sluts aren’t faithful.

  4. […] she becomes, and the less attracted she is to other men — at least in the short-term. I blogged about this study several weeks ago and offered explanations both hormonal and psychological. But another theory came […]

  5. Ducker said, on January 8, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Could it be then than women who have lots of partners have a hormonal release problem of oxytocin and prolactin?…interesting article.

    And yes, men tend to masturbate more during deppresive stages, not only in adolescence but also as grown men

  6. ba3301 said, on January 8, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I agree with Ducker, masturbation is definitely soothing to men and can help during times of depression. I have found that I masturbate more often when my wife is avoiding sexual contact and when I am traveling away from her.

    Great article, Thanks

  7. Daniel Ling said, on January 11, 2009 at 6:30 am

    But sluts would be having contact with more than 1 guy. Thus it’s different from what the author is talking about.

  8. […] Why does daily journaling about a relaitonships help so much? According to the researchers, it helps lovers to better articulate their feelings. It not only helps you articulate your feelings, it also helps you realize them and reinforce them. Thoughts and feelings may be vague and fleeting; capturing them in words amplifies them and loops them back to you. Our brains love patterns — they reinforce feelings — and you may find yourself expressing yourself with your partner the same way you do in your private writing. Focus on positive thoughts in your journal writing and you may find that those happy emotions spill over into everyday life. In a virtuous cycle, the partners of the study participants also became more expressive in response to their partners’ expressiveness. (It’s another amplifying feedback loop, not unlike how having a lot of sex may make you want even more of it.) […]

  9. David aka Mr. Manpower said, on September 5, 2011 at 12:42 am

    I’ve always thought this… that’s why when I want to keep a woman, I make sure she’s getting it on the regular… If I want to lose her, I refrain from sticking it in her

    even more important than that, is making her orgasm on a regular basis, I think there’s a relationship there:

    I wrote about this, but never read up on studies, pass by and comment:

    Make Sure you Are Giving your Girl an Orgasm on a Regular Basis!

    Love your blog by the way… fascinating… been reading it for a couple hours now

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: