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The Science Behind Pillow Talk: Why Post-Sex Chats Boost Intimacy

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By Hadley Earabino for YourTango

Men tend to drift off after sex—trust me, it’s not you, it’s the oxytocin—but with a little gentle pillow talk, you might be able to improve your relationship and your sex life.

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According to biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love and four other books on the science of love, our brains have evolved over millennia to create deep feelings of attachment after sex.

Plus: Why Are People Still Lying About Their Number Of Sex Partners?

There are three main brain chemicals that work to bring long-term couples closer together after intercourse: oxytocin and vasopressin—known as the attachment hormones—and dopamine, the reward chemical. This cocktail of chemicals evolved, according to Fisher, to enable couples to bond long enough to raise at least one infant together. In other words, pair-bonding provides motivation to share parental chores, which benefits offspring. Evolutionarily speaking, romantic attachment is a good thing for the human race.

Plus: Is It Time For Women To Reclaim The Word ‘Slut’?

While sexual intercourse can create warm and fuzzy feelings for both women and men, it also tends to make men sleepy—at least in the short-term. Scientists have recently discovered that parts of men’s brains shut off after sex—specifically their prefrontal cortex—which can cause drowsiness. Not exactly news to many couples, but apparently that, combined with the release of hormones like prolactin, has a profound sleep-inducing effect for men. An orgasm might make a man feel closer to his mate, but it also acts like a very pleasant sleeping pill.

For more info on why post-sex communication can make you closer, check out YourTango.

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