The holidays are all about spending quality time with family, eating good food, taking some much needed time off…and having sex?
As it turns out, research shows that interest in online sex “peaks sharply” during major family-oriented cultural and religious celebrations around the world. In the study, the researchers used Google Trends to see how often people searched for the word “sex” and noted that it rose around the holidays, reached its highest levels during the Christmas week in the US, as well as peaked during the holidays. – Fitr celebrations in Muslim countries.
The researchers also noted that these peaks in online sex-related searches corresponded to an increase in the birth rate in the United States after nine months.
Experts say there are several reasons why interest in sex may increase during the holidays. Here, they break it.
1. You’re on vacation
Not surprisingly, vacationing around the holidays is high on the list. “For most of the year, most people work and their partner works,” Laurie Mintz, a psychologist and sex and sex therapist at sex toy company Lelo, tells Yahoo Life. “You come home at the end of the day tired.” But during the holidays, people usually get a break from work, feel more relaxed and have “extra time” on their hands, Mintz says.
She also notes that some people take trips during the holidays, and “we know that vacations increase sex.” That’s because traveling and “getting out of your element increases sexual activity in couples,” Leah Millheiser, MD, director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University Medical Center, tells Yahoo Life.
While some people find the holiday season “totally fun and relaxing,” Mintz says, for others it’s completely stressful. Although it can be discouraging for some, “there are people who deal with stress through sex,” notes Mintz. And while some may find it a little difficult to have sex under the same roof with their parents if they’re going home for the holidays, there are people who “find it exciting,” says Millheiser.
2. It’s “handcuff season.”
Cuffing season is the time of year when individuals feel compelled to get married—even if it’s only temporary—to get through the cold winter months. Although there isn’t much research on the social phenomenon, experts explain that cuddling season makes sense because cuddling not only warms you physically when it’s cold, but it also feels good, and boosts your mood.
“When the temperature drops and it gets cold earlier, there is often a change in mood associated with the two chemicals melatonin and serotonin in your body,” psychologist Susan Albers Pauling told the Cleveland Clinic. “Dark, cold nights can trigger extreme feelings of loneliness and a drop in serotonin, and there may be an important link between cuffing season and seasonal affective disorder.”
But our coupling “makes us feel good and creates a natural boost of serotonin, that feel-good chemical in your brain,” she said, “and having someone to bring with you to a holiday event or family gathering can relieve a lot of dread and anxiety.”
3. Winter may enhance sexual attraction
One study that looked at how men’s ratings of women’s attractiveness changed seasonally indicated that men found women’s bodies more attractive more attractive in winter than in summer, despite—or perhaps because—the crowding.
Social psychologist and author Dr. Justin Lehmiller explained why in his blog on Sex and Psychology: “Because women wear sexier and more revealing clothes in the summer months and bulkier in the winter, the standard for physical comparison is Many Higher when it’s warmer outside (for example, because everyone shows a lot of skin during the summer, the bar for what’s described as “hot” is set higher; in winter, skin is rarely seen, so it gets hotter and hotter Looking at).”
“Another possibility is that hormone levels in men fluctuate seasonally, thus altering patterns of attraction,” he adds.
4. You are immersed in nostalgia
“There is an emotional element to the holidays,” Millheiser says, noting that there is something “nostalgic about the time of year,” regardless of religious affiliation. These emotional feelings can increase the desire to feel more connected to partners and to be more romantic with partners, including being more intimate.
It’s “the whole Hallmark phenomenon,” Millheiser said, explaining that there’s a reason people are “obsessed with these movies — the holidays inspire people this feeling of love and kindness and nostalgia.”
“For some, the holiday is a reminder of the importance of family and bonding, and for many, connectedness,” she adds.
5. I’m starting to think about my New Year’s resolutions
Another factor may be pre-New Year’s resolutions in which long-term couples reflect on the previous year and aim to give extra attention to their relationship, which can include having sex more often, Mintz says. “I think people are starting to think about how they want the year to be better,” she says. “I’m going to have more sex… I’m going to make it a priority.”
For couples whose sex lives have been put on hold, prioritizing intimacy — whether it’s through affection or sex — can help them feel closer and more connected. In fact, cuddling, kissing, or having sex (with orgasms in particular) triggers the body to release the hormone oxytocin (aka the “love hormone”), which makes people feel more connected to their partner.
Feelings of nostalgia and “at the same time assessing how you want to do it best—those two together would be a very powerful combination for, ‘Let’s have more sex,'” Mintz explains. ”
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