Lust Never Sleeps: The Coolidge Effect
There’s an old joke about President Calvin Coolidge and his wife visiting an experimental government farm that specialized in developing new approaches to efficiency. They were both taken on separate tours. When Mrs. Coolidge came to the chicken yard, she saw that the rooster was happily mating with the hens. She asked her guide how often that would occur, and he replied it would be close to dozens of times per day. Mrs. Coolidge asked the guide to tell that to the President. When President Coolidge passed by that same chicken yard and received his wife’s message, he asked whether the rooster mated with the same hen every time. The guide told him that no, it was a different hen each time. The President asked the guide to relay that bit back to his wife. COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!
Very recently, HBO "Silicon Valley" star Thomas Middleditch opened up in a Playboy interview to being part of the lifestyle and that this basically saved his marriage. He revealed that, as a sexual being, he loves to have sex with others than just his wife. Getting married surprisingly for him didn't change that fact at all. He claims that since this is part of who he is at the core, repression sucks and that those with similar traits should explore the swinging lifestyle. As a couple in the lifestyle, he and his wife communicate constantly and function as a unit. She, as the queen, has the last word on who they swing with or not.
Sound familiar? For those in the swingers’ lifestyle, this may be a no-brainer, but to those scratching their heads in anywhere from disbelief to shock, the explanation may surprise you, and our ancient genes have everything to do with this.
The Coolidge Effect
So, it turns out that basically, the joke is pretty much on all of us. The Coolidge Effect is the principle that men are more sexually attracted to and aroused by new females after a certain amount of time. Not much research has been done yet on how this same principle affects women, but from the ladies’ mouth, it works pretty much the same way the other way around. But, for argument’s sake, we are talking about the primitive “spray and pray” strategy — the more females one male mates with, the more potential offspring will carry their DNA into the future. It’s a simple fact of nature and the need to seed future generations.
It’s a well-known fact that humans are among the tiny minority of mammals (3 – 5%) that are pair-bonders. Human offspring take a long time to mature so, apart from societal norms and pressures, we’re wired to stay together in order to raise our children in a family setting. In this dynamic, parents are teaching the promotion of emotional attachment and bonding behaviors, which offspring in their turn use to form their relationships. So, in a society where families are the building blocks of civilizations, the odds are stacked against our inherited nature to a certain degree.
On the one end of the spectrum, we highly desire the intoxicating release of dopamine, as it’s the heart of human sexual motivation, and, without it, we pretty much lose any sense of pleasure for anything. On the other end, we’re at the same time wired to protect the nest and future, and so we crave an infusion of oxytocin that comes with love, bonding trust, and relaxation. These opposing forces are what makes monogamy in long term relationships such a challenge for many.
It’s interesting to note that the release of dopamine from sex with the same partner not only decreases over time, it also takes longer to ejaculate. Yet the release of dopamine actually spikes with a fresh partner. The initial rush of flaming passion, where every location is a fuck-stop, fizzles down to the realization that the initial spark has faded and, even worse, has led to the certain death of passion. So, in short: it’s a given that, down the road in any relationship, we can all pretty much forget about getting those luscious highs from primal sex that ends in mind-blowing orgasms.
Beating the Odds
Spoiler alert: trying to re-ignite that hot flaming sex spark? It most likely won’t come around with a romantic date night here and there. Even though romance is never lost, the thrill of sex needs a thrill for that to happen. Of course, opting for an open relationship or polyamory may be a wonderful and proven solution that many in the lifestyle enjoy and, while it comes highly recommended, it isn’t necessarily a perfect or viable solution for everyone.
Beating the Coolidge Effect also doesn’t mean you simply have no other choice than to have sex with other people. But it’s worth it to consider that part of the all-encompassing lifestyle is to be able to build up sexual excitement elsewhere and redirect that into your relationship. This means trying a variety of activities: getting all hot-and-bothered in a club or at a lifestyle event, to be a voyeur, to take up those sexy classes like pole dancing, striptease, and burlesque, play dress up and role-play, dance and flirt, etc. In other words, to simply build up that sexual tension and arousal and then tear each other’s clothes off, just like in the good old days. Whether you’ll find yourself on the path of full-on swinging down the road, who knows?
Fun Fact: Sperm Competition
It’s a real thing! When talking to couples in the lifestyle having opened up their relationships, they say that apart from a greater overall sexual satisfaction, they also speak about increased levels of desire for their primary partner. So not only are both partners benefiting from the increased dopamine from having new sexual partners; they also seem to find each other more attractive.
Not only that, as a couple, they’re taking advantage of yet another manifestation of primate ancestry — sperm competition! When a male believes or knows that his female has had sex with another male, he’ll have an even more intense orgasm with a greater volume of ejaculate in an attempt to flush out the competitor’s sperm and replace it with his own. It’s a win, win situation.
Lust never sleeps — Mother Nature made sure of that. Why not take a chance and discover a new world of sensual excitement and satisfaction with SDC.com? Why not Seek, Discover, and Create?
The Travelling Goddess