A few glasses of wine may put you in the mood for love, but a new study that appeared in the academic journal Communication Monographs suggests that mixing sex and alcohol can negatively affect intimacy during the pillow-talk phase.
In a video for Huffington Post, DNews’ s Trace Dominguez breaks down the science behind the finding that drunk sex has the potential to draw people further apart rather than bring them closer together by altering post-coital communication negatively.
According to Dominguez, the trouble really comes down to a conflict in neurochemicals. Sexual activity releases a burst of feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin, among other happy-making chemicals that are also boons to your immune system and encourage bonding with your partner. Consuming alcohol also results in a burst of chemicals flooding your brain. Those chemicals include endorphins and dopamine, which account for the rush of vitality and energy you get when you’re in the buzzed zone of drinking.
The tricky part, however, is the fact that alcohol doesn’t keep the feel-good chemical party going. Because it’s a depressant, at one point you’re going to crash and burn, emotionally speaking, and start to feel sad.
As Dominguez points out, sober sex often includes some post-coital pillow talk that is actually good for relationships. Our bodies are buzzing with oxytocin and intimacy is strengthened in these little chats in which secrets or feelings or simply good will is exchanged. But when we’ve been drinking, we’re more inhibited and we’re also feeling more depressed, factors that could result in some pretty off-the-wall pillow talk.
So next time you’re feeling blue post-sex keep in mind it may have more to do with that second or third glass of wine you had after dinner rather than the health of your relationship. For the sake of your partner and yourself, opt out of pillow talk. Instead, kiss your partner on the cheek and get a good night’s sleep. Things will definitely feel better in the morning.