Do we make love more often when it’s hot ?
Rédaction en ligne
vendredi 27 juillet 2012, 15:29
In our collective imagination, scorching hot weather means sex. However, even though sultry weather seems to be perfect for sex, the link isn’t that simple.
L’Amour dure trois ans – DR
« Sex on the beach », « sex in the summer »… every year, films and songs promote the same images. Torrid weather and almost naked bodies seem to form the perfect mixture for some hanky-panky, but things are not that simple in real life.
Hot weather and sex, a geographic variable
Seasonal birth rates provide some clues about the intensity of sexual activity. In regions with a tropical or southern climate, birth rates fall in the spring – i.e. 8 to 9 months after the summer – which seems to rule out the hypothesis that hot weather encourages sexual activity.
Two theories exist. According to the first one, due to the adverse effects of heat on the quality of sperm, fewer babies are born following a summer roll in the hay. Nonetheless, other researchers argue that sex drive itself is affected.
Indeed, a study by the University of North Norway’s medicine and clinical biochemistry showed that testosterone levels in subjects monitored during periods of hotter weather were lower.
Actually, geography plays a crucial role in understanding the impact of heat on our social interactions. People do not react to 35ºC weather in the same way on both sides of the equator.
In northern climates, birth rates soar in the spring, which reminds future parents of summertime, a fertile period for procreation.
Still, the subtle link between hot weather and sex is not in the least enough to explain more intense sexual activity during the summer.
Forget about chemistry and hyperactive hormones, as shown by lower sexual activity in southern populations during the summer, the link between sex and higher temperatures seems to be nothing more than a myth.
Summer, a time for meeting new people : psychological and social factors
With the summer holidays and the pleasant weather, both men and women go out more often. With more people in squares and bars, meeting new people is easier.
What if hot weather had more of an influence on our minds than on our bodies ?
This theory is confirmed an article by Matthew Vass, which was published in the Psychological Science journal, as the researcher shows that people tend to spontaneously associate hot weather and promiscuity. Could this be the scientific validation of old sayings which usually describe southern people as more buoyant and northern people as colder-tempered ?
Although one should be wary of culturalist stereotypes and easy links between morals and weather, the History of science, be it sociology or chemistry, shows how fascinated we are about the influence of climate on our bodies. Emile Durkheim already suggested, in 1897, that temperature had an influence on suicidal tendencies, while Marcel Mauss showed the influence of cold weather in the « sexual communism » of Inuit populations.
Alicia Bourabaa (st.) – translation Michele Daniele