We may think our arousal is mostly dependent upon who we’re in bed with (or what vibrator is the flavor of the month), but that’s not entirely true. There are actually everyday things, things that never even cross our mind, that contribute to our arousal levels. According to a new study, one such thing is hunger. Yes, being hungry affects arousal — and your idea of romance, in general, too.
The study by Alice Ely, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego found that women’s brains respond very differently to romantic images depending on if they’re full or hungry. The study put 20 women into an MRI scanner both before and after consuming a meal replacement drink of 500 calories and what they found, through a series of pictures, some romantic in nature and others neutral, is that a full belly led to the participants being “more response to romantic cues.”
What Ely and her team realized is that when a women gets hungry, she can’t focus on anything else, and because of that, her interest in romance, sex, or pretty much anything else, goes out the window. Women need to have consumed mass amounts of pizza (obviously), so they can move on to the next thing on their plate, no pun intended.
But hunger isn’t the only everyday thing that can throw a wrench in a woman’s arousal or her response to romance. Here are five other daily things that affect it, too.
1. Lack Of Sleep
According to a 2014 study by the CDC, people not sleeping enough is a public health epidemic. No joke. Although adults need seven to eight hours of sleep, a survey by the National Health Interview found that almost 30 percent of adults average less than six hours of sleep. This doesn’t just make for one cranky individual, but a dwindling arousal.
When you’re exhausted, cortisol levels in the body rise, which can lead to a lower libido. Hormones aside, if you’re totally wiped out, what are you going to choose anyway: Sex or sleep? I’m thinking the latter.
2. Drinking Coffee
According to a 2013 study by the National Coffee Association, 83 percent of adults drink coffee, and the best part is that women benefit from coffee consumption. A 2011 study found that a boost of caffeine in female rats gave their sexual arousal a kick. With that knowledge, the scientists then deduced that it could be said for female humans, too. Although I imagine too much coffee can lead to a jittery mess, instead of just feeling like it’s time to sex it up. So, don’t get too carried away.
3. Not Having Enough Time
As humans, we’re constantly on the go. I have friends who work so much that even trying to get in a daily shower is a feat. While it might seem strange that lack of time can affect your arousal, it really does. In not making enough time for sex, both intimacy and libido suffer. You just don’t have it in you anymore to get it on.
4. Menstrual Cycle
Your menstrual cycle has a huge bearing on your arousal levels, and it’s definitely something to deal with everyday, even if you don’t have your period. Studies have found that arousal skyrockets when a woman is ovulating, where as menstrual and pre-menstrual days of the cycle can make some women feel like sex is the last thing on their mind, so arousal isn’t as easily attained. However, some birth control can affect hormones so much so that it can actually make arousal a distant memory.
5. Keeping Your Phone In Your Bedroom
For starters, who doesn’t keep their phone on their nightstand? I mean, what if you have to answer a text in the middle of the night or have a brilliant status update for Facebook at 4 A.M.? It’s not like you want to walk all the way into the other room to do it ― you want easy access, don’t you?
According to a study by the Online and Opinion Research Corporation, with 87 percent of people bringing their cell phones into the bedroom, you are not alone. But the problem is, that even if it’s not being used, its very presence can be distracting enough to kill your arousal and create a disinterest in your partner. We’re so in tune with waiting for a notification from our phones, that that’s all we can focus on when it’s beside us.