“You are less stressed, no meals to prepare, no laundry to fold... Nothing better to do but relax and have sex!” reader Denise R. told The Huffington Post in a Facebook comment.
But there’s more to it than that. According to psychologist Amy Muise, there’s a scientific reason being somewhere new and different can make for better sex.
“Vacations can provide opportunities for couples to self-expand ― engage in novel, exciting activities… This can promote sexual desire, sexual activity and sexual and relationship satisfaction,” she told The Huffington Post.
Sex is better because you’re trying new things.
Muise, a professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Canada, studies the dynamics that keep some couples fulfilled in their romantic partnerships and what leads other couples discontented with their sex lives.
Some of her work suggests that the new adventures we seek out away from the daily grind of our at-home routines actually help make our adventures in the bedroom more exciting, too.
In psychology, the concept is referred to as “self-expansion” ― and “it’s more than just having a good time,” Muise explained. It’s about doing things that are novel, exciting, arousing, challenging and broaden your perspective of your partner or the world, she explained.
“Often it is about doing things outside the bedroom that enhance desire and closeness ― which tends to lead to a greater likelihood of (and better) sex.”
Sometimes that means trying new things in the bedroom, she said. “But often, it is about doing things outside the bedroom that enhance desire and closeness ― which tends to lead to a greater likelihood of (and better) sex.”
Couples may be more likely to experience this happening on vacation because trips often have that element built in. You’re in a new place. You’re trying new foods. You may be trying new activities. The result is more passion in bed, she said.
It’s also easier to get in the mood while you’re away.
Other research has found that even just being in a good mood makes you more likely to have sex. One study that followed 58 women found that being in a positive mood one day resulted in the women more frequently having sex and showing physical affection to their partners the next day. And the opposite was true, too ― showing more physical affection or having sex one day meant the women were more likely to be in a good mood the following day.
So it’s not surprising that being on vacation ― when you are likely less stressed than when you’re at home ― makes it easier to get in the mood to begin with.
“For sexual arousal to occur, especially in women, parts of the brain associated with anxiety and stress need to turn off,” Ian Kerner, a licensed psychotherapist, sex counselor and best-selling author of “She Comes First,” previously told HuffPost.
The good news is, you can bring those hotel vibes home with you.
“Couples certainly don’t need to go on a trip to self-expand,” Muise said. “Sometimes it is as simple as going to a new part of your own city, taking a class together, trying something new or even having an in-depth conversation where you learn new things about each other or see each other in a new light.”
It’s something to think about not only when you’re planning trips, but also when you’re planning time together at home, Muise added.
Time to step up your date night game ― your sex life will be all the better for it.
Sarah DiGiulio is The Huffington Post’s sleep reporter. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.