For some people, sex and intimacy is a way to get rid of any dating jitters or awkwardness. And while it may seem kind of like putting the cart before the horse, the act of sex and engaging in pillow talk could actually create a meaningful emotional bond between two people.
This is not to say that we should all be banging one out or embracing others before getting to know them, but there are a few benefits to pillow talk that can be advantageous for new or old couples.
Just as Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT, says:
“It [pillow talk] can be the bridge between casual sex and falling in love, since our emotional connection is ultimately what makes a couple stay together and feel in love with each other.”
What is Pillow Talk?
Pillow talk is kind of like a moment of bonding between two people, not necessarily before or after sex, but also when two individuals are lying in bed together.
It can include cuddling and kissing, but mostly it is having intimate conversations with your partner that are sensual and playful.
Why is Pillow Talk so Beneficial for Couples?
Everyday life can be stressful, busy, and chaotic. And for one or both partners who are constantly on-the-go, the moment before bedtime, or before or after sex, can provide couples with uninterupted alone time. This is when partners can share their feelings, bond, and keep their sensuality fresh and exciting.
And sure, you can engage in this kind of behaviour at any time, but when two people are snuggled up together in bed, it has been said to inspire honest conversation, give individuals the freedom to talk more openly, and to feel more connected.
This could be for a number of reasons, including the physical intimacy that you may just have shared, or the focus on words being spoken as opposed to the ability to see your partner when the lights are out.
Also, the bedroom, and more specifically, the bed, is symbolic of where intimate moments are shared, providing a safe space for both individuals to really connect.
Additionally, two 2014 studies conducted by the same researchers concurrently found that post-sex affection actually promoted sexual and relationship satisfaction.
Is “Pillow Talk” Your Thing?
Pillow talk isn’t for everyone, and there are certain types of conditions and behavioral traits that contribute to people engaging in this act.
Not only that though! A study found that those with higher levels of testosterone and who did not orgasm during sex were less invested in the idea and benefits of pillow talk. In fact, they found it to be more of a negative experience.
This is possibly because the presence of testosterone can actually suppress the effects of oxytocin, a hormone released during orgasm, which is responsible for bonding and feelings of trust.
Plot twist, however: those who achieved orgasm, irrespective of testosterone level, enjoyed positive pillow talk as if they did have low testosterone levels.
This study was conducted on 253 young adults who kept a diary for the duration of two weeks. The diary revealed what they talked about to their partner after sex, and how they felt about the experience.
Men vs. Women: Who Falls Asleep First and Who Initiates Pillow Talk Post-Sex?
There’s an age old saying that men tend to roll over and fall asleep immediately after sex. But according to researchers Daniel Kruger and Susan Hughes, there’s no evidence of gender difference when it comes to who falls asleep first.
Instead, it was found that any gender has the potential to fall asleep first, and that the partner who falls asleep last is the one who craves pillow talk the most.
What’s also interesting is the type of activity experienced before pillow talk that can affect how and why it comes about. For example, the hormone prolactin, which induces sleep, is up to four times stronger after sex with orgasm than after masturbation with orgasm.
How to Engage in Pillow Talk
There’s no one-size-fits-all, and what’s discussed in the bedroom will differ greatly from couple to couple. Giving it a fair go though is a great way in which to set time aside for your partner, and to increase your feelings of closeness, often through verbal communication.
If you’re lost on how to engage in pillow talk, try:
Positive and Light Conversation
Bringing up problems such as finances and relationship issues is a sure-fire way to ruin pillow talk. It can trigger all kinds of arguments, which is exactly what pillow talk is not about.
You could talk about the things you love or adore about one another, your goals and dreams for the future, or reminisce about past romantic moments.
Use Your Body
Pillow talk doesn’t always need to involve verbal communication. Cuddling, caressing, and kissing are different ways to enjoy time with your partner that’ll increase your bond. This non-verbal communication can bring about feelings of security and safety.
During pillow talk, remove all distractions such as phones, laptops, books etc. This intimate moment between partners is about spending undivided one-on-one time together, and ensuring that the bedroom and the bed are a space for intimacy and sleep.
Basically, you could consider pillow talk to be that moment of mindfulness with your partner when you’re comfortable, attentive, open, and honest. And taking a few minutes out of your day to be fully present with your partner in an intimate way will ultimately lead to greater sexual and emotional satisfaction, prompt bonding, and increase your level of trust and security.