Have you ever impulsively blurted out “I love you” or something similarly awkward in the minutes following sex? Now you can blame it on science.
New research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has found that even just thinking about sex makes you more inclined to disclose things about yourself. You can thank our evolutionary need to build relationships with our sexual partners for your current day struggle to not say the wrong thing to the person you just met on Tinder.
The findings were actually the result of three separate studies, all of which used related methods. They each exposed participants to sexual stimuli — either consciously or subliminally — and then asked them to reveal a “personal event” to a stranger. The studies all found that thinking about sex made people more likely to reveal sensitive information about themselves.
The third study went further and found that after unloading their secrets, people were more likely to want to continue interacting with their partner. In other words, they’ve proved that talking about your most embarrassing childhood mishaps makes you feel closer to someone.
Why do we care about being closer with those we’re sleeping with? Well, humans are very difficult to raise. Historically speaking, we’ve done our best to keep a co-parent around for as long as we can to help out.
So since sex can and often does result in pregnancy, it follows that we would have evolved a response to it that helps us foster a lasting relationship with our partner. Though of course things have changed considerably since our earliest days, so that impulse may not be as useful now as it was way back when.
Still, just because it’s science doesn’t mean it’ll be any less painful the next time you impulsively reveal that you once peed your pants on a rollercoaster after you’ve hooked up with someone. Sorry.