If you always find yourself in the midst of a post-coital chinwag about your embarrassing life problems, listen up.
Scientists have discovered why people tend to overshare following sex, and it would appear that we just can’t help it. It’s inbuilt.
The results of three studies deduced that activation of the sexual system – whether that’s through actually having sex or merely thinking about it – made people more likely to use strategies to get close to potential partners.
So if you’re truly interested in someone, you’re more likely to overshare with them compared to if you’re not interested (in which case you’re likely to hold back).
For the first study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, participants were subliminally exposed to either sexual or neutral stimuli. They were then asked to share a personal event to a member of the opposite sex via Instant Messenger.
The results showed that merely thinking about sex, even without being aware of it, encouraged oversharing.
In the second study, participants watched either an erotic scene or a scene about cats’ behaviour. They were then asked to self-disclose an embarrassing personal event to another participant during face-to-face interaction.
In study number three, participants watched videos depicting couples interacting either intimately (but non-sexually) or sexually. They were then asked to disclose an embarrassing personal event to someone over Instant Messenger.
The researchers concluded that activation of the sexual system encourages self-disclosure, a strategy that allows people to become closer to a potential partner.
“Self-disclosure, in turn, further increases the desire for this partner and fosters relationship development,” they wrote.
“Sharing of private aspects of the self with another individual is a well-documented way for adults to increase interpersonal intimacy and enhance relationship formation.”