Image via

A reader brough my attention to an article that ran in a recent issue of The Globe and Mail.  The headline: FALLING ASLEEP AFTER SEX INCREASES THE DESIRE FOR CUDDLING.

That’s right! There’s a new sex-study  in town from U of Michigan that suggests falling asleep after having sex with your partner may speak volumes about your relationship intimacy.

I tend to take media summaries of academic studies with a grain of salt. Articles like the G & M piece can make for cool jumping off points, but my inner cynic always reminds me that researchers are looking for press and the press is looking for an audience.  That means repurposing results and using them to create a snazzy headline, followed by an easily digested story.

And really I can’t fault the authors this study. The G & M story did peak my curiosity enough that I went looking for the original study. It’s an interesting read. The hypotheis of the study is basically this: A person with a partner who to tends to fall asleep first has a greater desire for bonding (“Wake up, yo! I wants ta’ cuddle and rap atcha ’bout my feelingz!).

Also? Men are more likely to fall asleep first.

The study does show some correlation between the dozy partner and need for bonding. Although the research pool is a pretty narrow sample of university students from two midwestern schools. Nothin’ but love for researchers Daniel Kruger and Susan Hughes. I suspect that funding for sex research in middle America is scarce. Academics gotta make due with what they have.

Kruger and Hughes are able to draw any definite conclusions from their research. Post-sex sleepiness may come as a result of any number of things – body chemistry, emotional factors, intimacy…and let’s not discount the fact that a lot of people get on each at night when they’re most likely to be tired anyway.

This got me thinking about my own tendency to conk out seconds after the lovin’s done. One segment of the Kruger/Hughes study theorized that hasty sleep may be an unconscious mechanism that allow partners to avoid awkward or intense relationship conversations.

Hmmm. Is my subconscious all,”Crap! I hope this person I’ve been committed to for sixteen years doesn’t ask me where I think this relationship is going! ZZZZZZZZZ!”

Somehow, I doubt it.

I do wonder; however, if it’s related to my long-time habit of nighttime masturbation. Like a lot of kids I started wanking a fairly young age, as a self-comfort thing when I was falling asleep. Again love for my parents who never tried to shame or otherwise dissuade me from privately enjoying  my own body. Wanking at bedtime always made me super-dozy and I’d usually be sound asleep within a couple minutes.

The fact that I’m typically super-tired after partner sex seems less like an avoidance mechanism and more like finely-honed Pavlovian response. Which makes me wonder about other post-sex sleepers.  For example, Kruger and Hughes’ work supports the stereotype that men are more likely to conk out first after doing it? Is it because guys want to avoid “The Talk”? Perhaps. Could it also have something to do with the fact that young guys tend to masturbate more frequently than young girls? Who knows

If I had a million dollars -or several – I’d commission team Kruger/Hughes to do an even bigger, more exhaustive study (no pun) intended on sex and sleep that included data from long-term self-servicers like myself.  I can see the headlines now: BETTER LIVING (AND SLEEP) THROUGH MASTUBATION

Would you read that article? Do you like to cuddle and bond with partner after sex or are you a roll over and turn out the lights type of lover? Do you have any research dollaz for ourU of M peeps?  Lemme know in the comments!





  1. rpriske says:

    Doesn’t this sound a bit like over thinking?

    Couldn’t it be as s imple as ‘you used a lot of energy. you are now tired (in a good way…)’

    In general ‘good tired’ is the best way to fall asleep… so wouldn’t A+B=…

  2. Kel Parsons says:

    Gotta be honest. this research, like a lot of what-else-can-we-wring-out-of-our-fascination-with-copulation research, seems utterly pointless to me. No profound insights, no new knowledge. No wonder dollars for this sort of thing are scarce. And I say that as a humanities researcher, so it’s not like I don’t get it. I just think most inquiry into sexual behaviour is pretty much spent.

    • nadinethornhill says:

      I would actually like to see more extensive research done into matters related to sexual and reproductive health and sexual function. Unfortunately, I think the press related to these studies is often frivolous and doesn’t tell us much that’s new. And from what I’ve read researchers don’t seem to have the means to do larger more in depth research that might result in more conclusive information about human sexuality.