Orgasms aren’t just good for your sexual relationship, they may also promote good communication, according to a paper in Communication Monographs.

In the aftermath of having experienced an orgasm, people are more likely to share important information with their partners. And, that communication is likely to be positive.

Spies always knew this, of course. The USSR recruited the most beautiful women in Romania during the Cold War because they knew if they could seduce someone important, information would flow. Oxytocin, a “pro-social” hormone, floods a person’s brain immediately after orgasm. Elevated levels of oxytocin are linked with a greater sense of trust and reduced perceptions of threat, in addition to lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. This combination may create an environment in which people feel safe disclosing information to their partner.

Credit and link: GQ

What doesn't lead to the most important secrets? Immediately following sex, people who have been drinking are likely to say things to their partner that they hadn’t intended to disclose, but their pillow talk consists of less important information and is less positive than that of people who drink less on average. 

“Oxytocin is an ‘upper’ and alcohol is a ‘downer,’ so it’s not surprising that they have opposite effects on behavior,” said Tamara Afifi, Professor at the University of Iowa, and co-author of the study. “People who drink more alcohol on average perceive fewer benefits to disclosing information to their partners.”

Alcohol combined with failing to have an orgasm results in even more negativity. The study suggests both that orgasm may counteract the negative effects of alcohol consumption on communication after sexual activity and that people who regularly drink greater amounts of alcohol before having sex may have developed communication patterns that interfere with positive post-sex communication.

“Post-coital communication is likely linked to sexual and relationship satisfaction,” said Amanda Denes, Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut, and lead author of the study. “For this reason, pillow talk may play a pivotal role in maintaining intimacy.”

Citation: Amanda Denes&Tamara D. Afifi, Pillow Talk and Cognitive Decision-making Processes: Exploring the Influence of Orgasm and Alcohol on Communication after Sexual Activity,  Communication Monographs, 2014, DOI: 10.1080/03637751.2014.926377