Here’s a question for you: Why does sex feel good?
You might be thinking to yourself, “What kind of half-baked question is that? Sex feels good because it’s sex, and sex feels good.” Hmmm… when you think about it like that, nobody is actually sure just why doing the deed leaves us feeling great.
Sure, the neurotransmitters and hormones and whatnot released during sex have a lot to do with all the nice things your dick feels after a good lay, but scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that feels so good. Until now.
According to a new study, sexual pleasure puts you in some sort of trance, as if you were meditating, or drank a bunch of Ayahuasca with the Indigenous peoples of Amazonia. Just kidding. It's not that entrancing. But close enough.
The rhythmic movements and intense sensations of pleasure lead to an altered state of consciousness in which we perceptually block out any other stimuli, and devote our full attention to boning the person on top of us.
"The idea sexual experiences can be like trance states is in some ways ancient,” says Northwestern University neuroscientist Adam Safron. "Sex is a source of pleasurable sensations and emotional connection, but beyond that, it is actually an altered state of consciousness."
According to Safron’s new study, published in the scientific journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology, he found that humans are all about “rhythmic timing,” which are apparent in music and dance, so it only makes sense that we vibe with sex. Ever get totally absorbed in the music while listening to Pink Floyd? Yeah, me too. Anyway, it's kind of like that.
The rhythmic nature of sex, like that of music and dance, causes our neurons to oscillate at the same frequency, bringing us to sensory absorption, which is why we get “lost in the moment.” This phenomenon, my friends, is called neural entrainment.
"Although obvious in retrospect, I was not expecting to find sexual activity was so similar to music and dance, not just in the nature of the experiences, but also in that evolutionarily, rhythm keeping ability may serve as a test of fitness for potential mates,” Safron said, enlightening us all.
As always, thank you, science, for answering yet another pressing question life had faced us with.