By Hayley MacMillen. Photos: Getty Images.
If you've ever found yourself sharing more with your partner than you had intended after sex, you're not alone — and there's a biological basis for that post-coital oversharing, according to a recent study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
The study was made up of three studies that looked at how sexual stimuli, including sexy photos and videos, influenced heterosexual participants' tendency to share personal info with members of the opposite sex. In the first, participants were exposed to either a sexy photo or a neutral stimuli and then asked to IM with a member of the opposite sex about an event in their lives. In the second, participants watched either a sexy video or a video about cats and then were asked to talk about something embarrassing that had happened to them with an opposite-sex individual IRL. In the third study, participants watched either a video of couples interacting sexually or a video of couples interacting intimately but not sexually, after which the participants were asked to talk about something personally embarrassing over IM. Both judges and participants themselves rated the extent of the personal info shared during interactions.
Together, the results showed that just thinking about sex encouraged participants to share more with their conversation partners — an impulse that researchers connect with relationship-building. "Self-disclosure...further increases the desire for this partner and fosters relationship development," they write. "Sharing of private aspects of the self with another individual is a well-documented way for adults to increase interpersonal intimacy and enhance relationship formation." One interesting caveat: you actually have to like your sex partner to be inclined to open up to them. If you're not interested in seeing them again, you're more likely to hang on to your secrets. The next time you find yourself recounting your embarrassing episode in that Barnes & Noble bathroom to the person you've just slept with, then, consider that it might be a sign you actually want to see them again.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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