Cuddling? Falling Asleep? What Happens After Doing “It?”

There seem to be only two post-coitus scenarios in popular culture: smoking a cigarette or the woman languorously rolling, wanting some conversation and being met by snoring from her partner!

Unfortunately, there has not been a lot of research focusing on “afterglow” moments.

However, in 2011, Dan Kruger and Susan Hughes (evolutionary psychologists at the University of Michigan and Albright College in Pennsylvania) published a report in the Journal of Sex Research considering a wide range of after-sex impulses.  These researchers did not find that men fall asleep faster than women after sex. In fact, according to the study, a woman is just as likely as a man to be out first.  But – and here’s the interesting part – regardless of gender, the partner who stayed awake longer (man or woman!) reported that they weren’t getting enough post-sex hugging, kissing or talking – what evolutionary psychologists call “pair bonding” activities.

They found that our post-coital behaviors – again, considering only heterosexual sex – do indeed tend to split along gender lines. Eating, fixing yourself a drink, smoking, and asking your partner for favors were more likely to be taken on by men. The women in this study placed greater importance on behaviors related to intimacy, like cuddling and “professing their love.”

After-sex research raises a number of questions. Wanting more attention after sex could very well be an expression of unresolved arousal, for example. So we Suddenly Solos should be aware of, and attentive to, the spoken and unspoken behaviors of our partners and always be considerate of their needs – especially at these times of togetherness!


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