Pillow Talk: Exploring Disclosures After Sexual Activity

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Drawing on physiological research, this study explores disclosures after sexual activity, or ‘‘pillow talk.’’ Oxytocin, better known as the ‘‘bonding hormone,’’ has been associated with physical affection and intimacy. While the hormone was originally studied for its role in childbirth, recent work has started to explore oxytocin’s other effects, such as decreasing stress, decreasing perceptions of social threat, increasing bonding, and increas- ing the ability to read emotional cues. Together with the literature on affection exchange theory (Floyd, Judd, & Hesse, 2008), several hypotheses regarding characteristics of disclosures after sexual activity were tested. This study found that disclosing positive feelings for one’s partner after sexual activity is positively associated with trust, relation- ship satisfaction, and closeness. Additionally, women who experienced orgasm disclosed significantly more than both men who orgasmed and women who did not reach orgasm. Lastly, individuals in monogamous=committed relationships engaged in more disclosures after sexual activity and experienced more positive outcomes from such disclosures than individuals in casual/open relationships.

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  • Amanda Denes

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