According to new research, sex or physical intimacy set the stage for deepening the emotional connection between strangers. The study suggests that sexual desire hugely impacts people's capacity and ability to form an emotional connection.
As per the psychologists from the University of Rochester in New York and the IDC Herzliya in Israel, this physical intimacy can actually bring people closer together. The group also believes that gender plays no role when trying to build an emotional bond as both men and women try and connect to their potential partners when being intimate.
As reported by DailyMail, the lead of the study Professor Gurit Birnbaum shared, "Sex may set the stage for deepening the emotional connection between strangers."
He further added that he and his team discovered that the sexual desire between strangers could encourage and help people bond and connect. "This holds true for both men and women — sex motivates human beings to connect, regardless of gender," Professor Birnbaum continued. "Some believe that men are more likely than women to initiate relationships when sexually aroused."
"But when one focuses on more subtle relationship-initiating strategies, such as providing assistance (as proved in the study), this pattern does not hold true. Both men and women try to connect with potential partners when sexually aroused," he added. Researchers also did four separate studies and found that the sexual desire and tension between strangers can encourage people to behave in ways to help them bond.
During the first study, the participants were introduced to a potential partner of the opposite sex. Men and women had to lip-synch to pre-recorded music as they sat beside an attractive person of the opposite sex (study insider) who was part of the study without the participants knowing. The participants had to rate their desire for them and the results revealed the greater the attraction, the more they synched with them.
In the second study, men and women were made to slow dance with an attractive subject of the opposite sex and the same results were produced. In the third study, both the men and women were shown quick flashes of erotic and non-pornographic images on a screen for around 30 milliseconds and were not aware of what they were seeing.
They proceeded to discuss interpersonal dilemmas with their potential partner who was also taking part in the study while being taped. Their behavior was rated in terms of responsiveness and caring.
What the researchers found was when the 'sexual system was activated' people tended to show signs of caring about their partner's well-being. The last and final study involved around 50 men and 50 women half of whom were made to watch an erotic non-pornography movie scene while the other half had to watch a neutral video on South American rainforests. Post this, they were matched with an attractive subject of the opposite sex and were told to finish a verbal reasoning task.
The study insiders then acted as though they were stuck on the third question and had to ask participants for help. Those who watched the erotic film were much more helpful than those who watched the neutral film. Professor Harry Reis from the University of Rochester shared, "Although sexual urges and emotional attachments are distinct feelings, evolutionary and social processes likely have rendered humans particularly prone to becoming romantically attached to partners to whom they are sexually attracted."
Professor Birnbaum added, "Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships. It's the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form."