We’ve all been there before: your relationship is going well, your sex life is pretty good, and everything seems perfect. But then, you get into a fight, and things get a bit mean. (Hopefully not too mean, of course, but we are all prone to saying things we don’t mean sometimes… We’re all human, after all.) Thankfully, in most cases, we can move past these fights and get to the really fun part: The make-up sex.
It’s so weird how something that we do almost every day (okay, my girlfriend wishes it was almost every day) can be made so much more special when it follows a period of tension. Ever wonder why that works?
1. Human emotion is a balance.
Without rain, there are no rainbows. Without sadness, you can’t appreciate sadness. And since fighting and sex are basically polar opposites in terms of your passion, it makes sense that you can’t allow yourself to fully appreciate the tenderness hidden even within the roughest sex – that is, until it follows a period of unhappiness, such as when you’re fighting.
Admittedly, this can be an addictive contrast, though. Have you ever stayed in a horrible relationship because the make-up sex was so amazing? Balance isn’t always a good thing, when it’s being used to “cancel out” a situation that’s far less than ideal. Make sure your balance leans more toward the happiness, and let the negatives bring you to appreciate the positives more.
2. Human emotion is a spectrum.
Since emotion isn’t just a clear-cut “happy” or “sad”, those times in between (i.e. makeup sex, bittersweet goodbyes, and those times you’re drawn to your partner more just because you feel like you “can’t have her”) are precious and celebrated by our brains. Our subconscious mind takes these things that could be a very negative experience and turns them into something special – even something remarkable.
Because of this spectrum, the most complicated emotions are the ones we feel the most deeply. Let’s say, for example, you’re happy about your new job – but you’re also sad because it means you’ll be out of the house more. You appreciate the time you spend together more because it’s offset with time spent apart. Your make-up sex is so amazing because immediately before it, there was fighting – so, by contrast, the good times feel even better.
3. Make-up sex is anger and love, rolled into one.
Anger mixed with love makes passion – which means that the sex is going to be better, just based on core details. While you should do your best to avoid anger in the bedroom directly, you can take advantage of those heart-pumping, blood-flowing, rough emotions you’ve been feeling… And harness them in a way that allows you to express a different side of the equation.
For many people, make-up sex ends up being rough, hard, and no-holds-barred. (Maybe I’m guessing at the “many” thing – but that’s the way it’s been with almost all of my exes.) Your blood is already pumping harder, so there’s no need for (as much) foreplay. For those who have softer, gentler sex, you’ll be showing how your anger with your partner doesn’t affect your love for them – and that’s beautiful, too.
4. It’s a stress reliever.
Technically, sex is always a stress reliever. The only problem with that is, most women don’t want sex when they’re stressed out. It can be difficult to “wind down” enough to get in the mood for sex – unless, of course, you’re blowing off some steam. Since the act of shouting already helps to bring down the tension, your mind can start at a slightly lower level than it is otherwise – so there’s not as much work to be done to make it work out.
Please note that I am definitely not trying to encourage you to scream and shout at your partners. If possible, your arguments should be kept civil – after all, you love this woman. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done, and if you need to, go let out a primal scream to cool off a bit. Maybe even throw some things if you need to – I recommend keeping some thrift store dishes on hand for this, as it’ll be significantly cheaper than replacing stuff you actually need. Trust me on this one – I’ve broken many a cell phone out of anger.
5. It’s a different way to express our emotions.
After a particularly rough fight, it can be hard to remember the things that are important and the things that aren’t. But, for most of us, when we see our partner’s naked body eagerly waiting for us… Well, certain emotions take over and do the deciding for us. Generally, that’s not a bad thing – but it means more if you’re letting love win out over anger, as opposed to love winning out over complacency.
Obviously, I firmly advocate for communicating verbally with your partner, since it’s the most straightforward way to communicate your wants and needs – but sometimes, the words don’t come easy. Just be sure that you’re reminding your partner that your love is about more than just sex – or expect another fight to follow soon after.
6. Sex produces a bonding hormone.
It makes a lot of sense that fighting either pushes you closer together, or further apart. If the bonds are completely shattered (or hanging on by a thread), it’s often easier for one person to walk away. If the bond is still in pretty good shape, make-up sex can help ease the wounds caused by words. All sex produces the hormone oxytocin in the brain, which can actually become an addiction. (This leads to sex and intimacy addictions – which are a very real problem for some people.)
When we fight with our partner, some of the bonds and attachments connected to the oxytocin become damaged – which causes the brain to crave more oxytocin to replenish the lost supplies. (It’s also the reason you may find yourself tempted to sleep with the rebound girl, too. After a break-up, your brain doesn’t exactly recognize the difference between your attraction to your partner and your attachment to this other, newer girl – it just recognizes the oxytocin.)
7. Sex also produces endorphins – just like anger does.
Endorphins work to provide a number of effects to the body, and building a foundation of anger and sex will inevitably leave you feeling one or the other just a little bit stronger. For those whose anger takes over, it can mean hate-sex or a final break-up, but for those whose passions take over, it means highly-charged and seriously amazing sex – and a renewed sense of couple-dom.
What exactly do endorphins do to your body? Well, the endorphins produce a sense of euphoria and calm. When it comes to anger, this is used to help calm you down, so you don’t hurt others or yourself. (I suspect this is also why seriously grumpy people seem to like being mad all the time, but I’ve got no scientific proof on this one.) After sex, these same endorphins are used to calm you down and make you happy, and actually affect similar areas of your brain as drug use. It makes sense that combining the two biggest sources of endorphin production will basically get you high – making it the best sex you’ve ever had.
8. Sex and anger both produce adrenaline.
Just in case there weren’t enough hormones in the mix, make-up sex helps prolong the exposure to another addictive brain chemical: Adrenaline. Now, adrenaline activates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing blood flow and making you pretty excited (in one way or another). This leads to a racing heart, a hyped-up mood, and yes, possible addiction.
When your adrenaline is already built up after a fight with your partner, you’re going to be physically easier to arouse, since arousal and anger rely on the same hormones. This results in a heightened state of awareness to your surroundings, including your partner’s physical touch. If you haven’t fully recovered from the pain of the argument, it can even be a way to express your frustrations in a physical (but relatively safe) way.
9. Because you appreciate her more after a fight.
You can’t really appreciate what you have until you’re at risk of losing it, or once it’s already gone. This means that, naturally, after a bad fight, you’re more likely to recognize the things about one another that you enjoy and appreciate – you’re not trying to think about the bad stuff anymore. If you appreciate her more, you’re going to pay much closer attention to the things she’s doing, and the things you’re doing to her.
I’m sure we all know that paying closer attention to your partner is one of the surest ways to make sure she enjoys herself in the bedroom. Appreciation, affection, and attention – sometimes the equation is really that simple.
10. Because you finally got it off your chest.
Holding things in because you don’t want to fight sounds like a really good idea, but realistically, it’s damaging to your sex life. It causes resentment when one partner is blaming the other for things that aren’t even their fault. It causes guilt when there’s something you need to say, but you’re afraid of how your partner will take the news. It causes an emotional rift.
According to the Dual Control Model that we explained here, your body probably isn’t going to respond well to sex if you’re not in the right frame of mind. Once you’ve let go of the stresses that you’ve been keeping built up for so long, your body is naturally going to be more responsive for sex – putting you in a better mood, and more likely to have a stronger climax. Go science!