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Trick or treat

October 31st, 2006

Dr Petra

For the past week or so some newspapers have been leading up to Halloween with some spooky sex-related stories. Many of these features have claimed that a shock or surprise (or good old fashioned horror movie) can revitalise your sex life.

Whilst there has been some research supporting this, it’s something that isn’t so easy to prove in an experiment. The limited research on this area has typically involved getting couples to go on a roller coaster ride or similar, and testing levels of hormones and/or sexual activity post fairground ride. The hypothesis behind such research is if you encourage couples to undergo an experience that raises stress levels (albeit in a fun environment) this will have a knock-on effect to their sex lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly people in the few experiments of this kind that have taken place mostly claim it did lead to sexual activity.

However, the problem with this kind of research (aside from it being a bit gimmicky and also expensive – hiring a roller coaster ain’t cheap) is that it’s very difficult to keep participants from guessing what its about. You’re asked to attend a study as a couple, go on a roller coaster then later fill in a questionnaire on your sexual habits – not hard to guess what you’re supposed to answer. So although over the past few weeks such studies have had some coverage, they’re fairly limited in aims, scope and application.

Within reports there’s also been further evidence provided to support the idea that shocks and scares lead to greater sexual activity with some reports citing how sexual activity increased post 9/11 or 7/7. Whilst some have argued tragedies can lead to people having more sex immediately following a disaster, it isn’t exactly comparable with saucy sex tips for Halloween and some reports taking this stance have been in pretty poor taste.

So perhaps a better way of looking at sex in relation to Halloween would be to take the approach of Cory Silverberg who outlines some of the fun aspects the day can offer, or you could check out my blog from last year and get creative with pumpkins.

And if today has a more spiritual significance for you, enjoy your Samhain celebrations.

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