Couples that play together, stay together.

Why Sex Is More Than a Perk

Why sex is more than a fun perk.

According to most research, one partner in a relationship wants sex more than the other.

If you’re on the wanting side of this equation, the following information is going to be both irrelevant to you and the greatest sex acquisition tool you’ve been given.

If you are the partner with an inconsistent and weak drive for sex, I’d caution you. Researchers have long understood the secret to keeping a chemical and emotional connection alive and well in a relationship—and that secret is consistent sex.

During sex—and especially during an orgasm—a hormone called oxytocin is released by both parties. As it turns out, this “hormone of love” happens to come with all kinds of side benefits proving that sex is far more than a pleasurable perk of a relationship. It’s actually an imperative practice to keeping a long-term connection alive between two people.

Here are three reasons why.


Prairie voles—small, burrowing mammals that you might see at the zoo—are well-known among the animal kingdom as serially monogamous, making them unique among most other mammals.

I know, this doesn’t sound romantic at all—but bear with me a moment.

In a study, these prairie voles were injected with chemicals to neutralize their oxytocin. As a result, these faithful lovers lost all partnership bonding and did not stay together. On the other hand, when oxytocin was injected into prairie voles who were not mating, the same partnership bonding that typically occurs while mating was induced.

Dr. Hans Zingg, a professor at McGill University and a longtime student of the “love hormone,” described these results as follows:

“There’s convincing evidence that oxytocin is involved in mediating stability, pair bonding, and monogamy; the enduring parts of love.”

Obviously, we’re not prairie voles, and we’re not part of a science experiment. So what does this mean for us?

Here’s one example. When a test group of people were shown an emotional video documenting a terminally ill cancer victim with his young son, their blood samples showed a 157 percent spike in oxytocin. What’s more, their oxytocin levels showed a direct correlation to feelings of empathy.

This experiment and many more all point to the fact that our ability to empathize with others is the basis for all emotional connection. More specifically, oxytocin plays a leading role in our ability to connect to and understand our partners—and it all starts with sex.


A common practice in the field of psychology is the documenting of the various stages of intimacy in a relationship. Though there’s no universal map to what those stages actually are, all experts seem to agree the most intimate emotional stage requires an excessive amount of trust. This only further proves that years of commitment and supporting experiences are necessary to establish a lasting emotional connection. Yet—commitment and years of experience may not be the only thing that can assist in building this kind of trust.

Biologists have observed that humans show abnormal levels of trust after oxytocin is released in our bodies. Interestingly, men and women often try to separate an emotional connection from physical intimacy. Yet—science tells another story and that story’s protagonist is none other than sex.


Neuro-economist Paul Zak handed a test group some nasal spray. Half of the bottles were filled with oxytocin, and the other half were filled with salt water. The subjects were then told that they would be given $40 and the chance to give a certain percentage of that money away to another subject, whom they would not meet. Those who snorted oxytocin gave away 80 percent more than those who snorted mere salt water.

Lasting love is not as much about the emotions we feel for our partner. It’s the everyday choices we make to give ourselves to them. And it just so happens that sex—by unleashing this incredible force of oxytocin—can make that giving just a bit easier for anyone—man or woman.

So the next time you or your partner isn’t in the mood, remember…

Sex is more than a pleasurable perk. It’s our greatest tool for a lasting relationship. Want to make sure this tool is being all it can be in your life? Stop by, and we’ll take care of the rest.

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