A sexpert has confirmed: I’m not. Phew! “The combo of the neurochemicals released during sex along with the emotions that go along with bonding and intimacy can certainly lead to a withdrawal feeling,” confirms Kiana Reeves, a somatic sex educator and chief brand educator at Foria Wellness. So, yeah, sex can be kind of like an addiction. Once you’ve had it (for the first time or for the first time in a while), you may likely want it again…and again…and again.
But why does this happen? What actually goes down inside our bodies that turns us into insatiable creatures who demand more action? Behold, four scientific explanations:
1. Your hormones are on overdrive.
“Sex is a heightened physical and emotional experience. When your body experiences something that feels deeply satisfying, it’ll send signals to encourage more of that behavior,” explains Reeves.
Our brains and bodies are ~bathed~ in neurotransmitters like dopamine (that’s closely linked to pleasure, reward, and addiction) and oxytocin (aka the bonding and love hormone), she says. When we hook up, we’re basically drinking a chemical cocktail that makes us want another round. (Personally, I prefer drinking margaritas, but I’ll indulge in a chemical cocktail too.)
2. Sex makes you feel good.
There’s a psychological element to all this as well. “A good sexual experience often helps deepen our feelings about a relationship,” says Carol Queen, PhD, staff sexologist at . “If you’re engaging in a relationship with someone where love and a sense of connection and belonging together are part of the mix, you’ll likely experience a (metaphorical) flame lighting up your sexual self.”
Awesome sex can make us feel free, appreciated, sexy, attractive—ya know, all those fun feelings directly associated with our self-esteem, beliefs, desires, and self-image. (I can confirm that having hot sex makes me feel like a badass bitch. Why wouldn’t I want to feel like that all the time?!)
3. You didn’t orgasm during said sex—and are aching for a release.
“It’s definitely possible that a turned-on person who didn’t orgasm could continue to crave sex because they just want to finish,” says Queen. If this is you, first off, I’m sorry. Second, let’s establish what the problem is: If you’re sexing with someone who snoozes as soon as they finish, it might be worth evaluating what this person brings to your sex life. It’s 2020, we out here ditching selfish sex partners, mmkay?
Now, if the person you’re between the sheets with doesn’t know how to make you O—but is still, at least, attempting to (big difference)—it ultimately comes down to communication. Tell your partner when something feels good and what’s working. This way, they’ll be able to pick up on cues that can lend a hand to your orgasm. Also: Do. Not. Sleep. On. Foreplay. It gets everyone started and feeling great, and it increases the chance of actually getting to the point of orgasm. And if you have to go back to foreplay moves post-intercourse in order to climax, go forth and get yours.
4. The aftereffects of sex are hella strong.
If you’re anything like me, you may experience that depressing feeling that happens when you come down from a pleasurable experience (it happens when I eat a little too much of something delicious or if I go on a bomb-AF date and they don’t text me immediately afterward).
The “comedown” you may experience is just your body’s way of telling you it wants to feel pleased again.
Much like real addictions, though, if your newly spiked sex drive starts to interfere with your day-to-day life in a negative way, you may want to investigate that urge with a more concerning lens, advises Reeves. Therapy might be a good place to start.
If you’re confident that your jacked-up libido is a healthy thing, though, then here’s what you can do to satiate it: Masturbate. “You have the privacy to explore all your fantasies and the opportunity to better understand your own body plus the emotional and physical benefits of receiving all that pleasure,” says Reeves. Plus, there’s no mess of having a no-strings-attached hookup. But if you’re in a relationship, let bae know you’re up for more—because they’re probably craving it too.
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