One second, the tears are flowing. You face is puffy and your mascara is smeared. It’s anything but sexy. But the next thing you know, you and your S.O. are tearing into each other in fits of “I must have you now, or I’ll-die” passion.
Make-up sex is amazing. And while it’s partially because the brush with a potential—even if it’s unlikely—breakup can make us frantic not to lose our loved ones, it’s also because fights get us all keyed up, says Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., a Manhattan-based marriage therapist.
“Fights cause us to be over-stimulated,” he says. “During and after a fight, the primitive part of our brain, known as the limbic system, is hyper activated.” Your body tends to follow, with slippery palms, a speeding heart, and maybe even buzzing between your ears. Your brain links that feeling of excitement with whatever’s around. Like him.
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What’s more, since your brain and body can’t withstand this hyped-up state forever, it wants to calm back down and find a sort of emotional equilibrium. “Make-up sex does that for us,” says Hokemeyer, who credits nookie’s calming effects to a perfectly crafted cocktail of feel-good chemicals, including dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin.
So since it’s really not the fight that makes make-up sex so freakin’ intense, you don’t have to actually have to break out the boxing gloves to enjoy make-up-style sex. Hokemeyer’s suggestion: Role play a blowout with your partner.
You can even dress up if you’d like (you can play a frisky police officer; he can pay a burglar). Trust us, even faux fighting will put your nerves on high alert. “You can put yourself in a hyper-aroused stated mentally without having to be compromised emotionally,” he says. “Remember, 90 percent of great sex happens in our minds, not in our genitals.”
And since with role play, you won’t have a snotty nose and hurt feelings to contend with, it will be even better than your best make-up sex.