Think summer and those in cooler countries, will smile at the respite from bitter cold. But those living in tropical countries will think of intense sunlight, unbearable heat and excessive sweating. Under such circumstances, getting intimate seems out of question. You think? Far from that, in fact, in most countries across the world [including countries like India] a lot of weddings happen in summer.
Naturally, there is a spike in copulation too. But besides the cultural mores, there are biological reasons why summer is linked to increased sexual activity. Take a look.
Summer is one of the best seasons to get intimate from the propagation of species point of view. Several studies have concluded that the brighter the sun, the better our fertility and sex drive. Studies at Boston State Hospital by Dr Abraham Myerson found that ultraviolet rays lead to an increase in testosterone [the male hormone] by as much as 120 per cent. Ultraviolet light also increases the level of female hormones. Research also suggests that more sunlight is good for sperm production and ovulation.
Sunlight has a direct effect on the brain's serotonin production, according to researchers at the Human Neurotransmitter Laboratory and Alfred and Baker Medical Unit, Baker Heart Research Institute, Australia. Our serotonin levels increase with increase in luminosity. And how does that matter? Among other things, serotonin also regulates arousal, says Ray Sahelian, MD, author of Mind Boosters. You can't complain of shortage of the sunlight this season!
Not just serotonin, but sunlight affects many other hormones in our body as well, some of which are associated with mood and pleasure feelings, according to professor Carmen Fusco, an instructor in pharmacology. It decreases melatonin, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine and increases cortisol, serotonin, GABA, and dopamine.
The longer day, shorter night cycle too affects sexual activity. "As the day gets longer, the amount of serotonin and dopamine in your brain increases—specifically dopamine, a hormone that stimulates libido," says Andrew Goldstein, MD, co-author of Reclaiming Desire. This is how it works. Lots of dopamine triggers the production of testosterone—a hormone that controls sex drive not just in men but even in women, according to Drs Helen Fisher and Lucy Brown, professors in the department of neurology and neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA.
The summer heat is good for your sex life too. It works on your muscles, by relaxing them and intensifies sensations of the skin. Further, the heat slows us down. This helps us get in touch with our more subdued sensual side, according to psychologist Stella Resnick, PhD, author of The Pleasure Zone.
Even the sweat that many would find gory does a world of good for your torrid encounters, according to psychiatrist Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Chicago, USA. When we sweat, the scent glands in our skin secrete mate-attracting pheromones, which register in those areas of the brain that control sexual urges and trigger desire. Ah! That explains why a lot of people get turned on by smelling their lover's used clothes. Sweat also boosts our own natural scents, which attract our lover.
More skin show
The heat and humidity affect our libido in indirect ways too. "We're wearing less clothing and showing off our bodies more. Often, that can be a subconscious or conscious signal," says Goldstein.
Caution: Don't get greedy and overexpose yourself to the sun in the hopes of super-charging your sex life. Getting sunburnt or super-exhausted, irritable and cranky won't help your cause, will it?
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