This Intimate Activity Won't Bring You Closer To Your Partner, According To Research

You won't find love beneath the sheets.

Being intimate with partner AleksandarNakic | Canva

You feel ready for a lasting relationship. You are tired of guys disappearing after you become intimate. You have the vague idea that waiting to be intimate may be the key, but you’re told that withholding it is manipulative, old-fashioned, and not very romantic. Listen up, girlfriend, because science is on your side when you wait.

Here is why being intimate does not bring you closer to your partner, according to research:

1. Dopamine brings you from crush to crash in no time

Chemicals like dopamine feed the buzz of infatuation in our brains. When you daydream about your crush, the anticipation of being together produces TONS of it, which further increases your feeling of infatuation. When two people feel a connection, this buzz can be amplified through non-intimate contact such as locking eyes, touching hands, and even simple physical nearness. But guess what shuts OFF the production of dopamine — and therefore that “in love” feeling — in men? Being physically intimate.


How Dopamine Actually Works 🧠

♬ original sound- Ali Abdaal

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That’s right: being intimate can temporarily shut off your man’s seemingly obsessive interest in you. If he is not already emotionally bonded (unlikely by date three), then this sugar crash will leave him empty and ready to move on — in search of a woman who can give him a longer and more sustained hit of happiness. (Interestingly, researchers have found that men with high self-esteem are even more likely to experience this post-intimacy emotional detachment than their less-secure brothers.)


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2. Oxytocin is wonderful ... unless you're a guy

Oxytocin is known as the “love” hormone, and it's TRUE that in women, the release of oxytocin during intimacy can increase our emotional attachment to a partner.  We also know that oxytocin is released in men during intimacy, as well as through other forms of physical affection and pleasurable experiences. However, unless a man is already emotionally bonded with his partner — a process that requires time and a healthy stock of shared experiences — the effects of oxytocin release in men are unclear.

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There is no scientific evidence that oxytocin released during casual intimacy — where an emotional attachment has not yet developed — will result in a man becoming further bonded with his partner. Oxytocin’s effect on male behavior is downright confusing and not necessarily loving ... if you’ve ever seduced a man in the hope of making him more attached to you, understand that that approach simply doesn’t work. So which would you rather experience with your dream guy: the slow build-up of desire, or the letdown of simply reaching the finish line? Although they probably won’t broadcast it among their casual buddies (because it’s nobody’s business and is maybe a little "unmanly"-sounding), men who dig you will wait. They will wait until YOU are ready. And amid that dopamine-fueled sugar high, they won’t mind waiting, either.

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Robyn Wahlgast is a Certified Dating and Relationship Coach with a career spanning several decades, she has dedicated her life to helping women navigate the complex world of dating and relationships.