Explore by Subject
Get 4 extra free issues and unlimited free access to NewScientist.com
New Scientist is now partnered with Approved Index. Visit the site to get free quotes from website designers and a range of web, IT and marketing services in the UK.
Sex and Cloning

Sex with a partner is 400% better

  • 22 February 2006
  • From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
Printable versionEmail to a friendRSS FeedSyndicate
Space shuttle launch

Life extension

If NASA is to keep flying the shuttle until its replacement is ready, it will need more cash
Dolphin serial killers?

Cute killers

Bottlenose dolphins kill other cetaceans, possibly 'for fun'
The closest thing to Jedi mind tricks

Jedi mind trick?

Zen Buddhists regain inner calm before other people do
Celebrity shark

Celebrity shark

When a fisherman landed the biggest fish ever caught in 1912, what did he do? He stuffed it and took it on tour...
Turtle trauma

Turtle trauma

Why does this turtle have a hump on its back?

LOVERS know only too well that men usually need a "recovery period" after orgasm, and that sexual intercourse with orgasm is more satisfying than an orgasm from masturbation alone. Now scientists think the two phenomena might be linked.

Following orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released into the bloodstream in both men and women. The hormone makes us feel satiated by countering the effect of dopamine, which is released during sexual arousal.

Stuart Brody of the University of Paisley, UK, and Tillmann Kr�ger of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, measured blood prolactin levels in male and female volunteers who watched erotic films before engaging in masturbation or sexual intercourse to orgasm in the laboratory.

Surprisingly, after orgasm from sexual intercourse, the increase in blood prolactin levels is 400 per cent higher in both sexes compared with after orgasm from masturbation (Biological Psychology, vol 71, p 312).

This explains why orgasm from intercourse is more satisfying than masturbation, says Brody. Since elevated levels of prolactin have been linked to erectile dysfunction, this may also explain why most men need a recovery period after sex.

From issue 2540 of New Scientist magazine, 22 February 2006, page 21
Comment subject
No HTML except lower case italic tags or lower case bold tags, please:
<i> or <b>
Your name
Your email

We need your email in case we need to contact you about the comment. We will not use it for any other purpose.

There are 6 comments on 2 pages
1  | 
 | Next
 | Most Recent
 | See all

Comment removed

By Werertrtytr

Sun Nov 25 07:21:57 GMT 2007

This comment has been found to be in breach of our terms of use and has been removed.


Comment deleted

By Maddy

Sun Dec 23 09:41:54 GMT 2007

This comment has been found to be in breach of our terms of use and has been removed.


Refractory Period 400% Longer?

By Bill

Wed Feb 27 00:39:45 GMT 2008

If prolactin causes the refractory period, then wouldn't that period be much longer after intercourse? But I don't believe that is the case.


There are 6 comments on 2 pages
1  | 
 | Next
 | Most Recent
 | See all

All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the "Report" link in that comment to report it to us.

If you are having a technical problem posting a comment, please contact technical support.

Cover of latest issue of New Scientist magazine
  • For exclusive news and expert analysis every week subscribe to New Scientist Print Edition
  • For what's in New Scientist magazine this week see contents
  • Search all stories
  • Contact us about this story
  • Sign up for our free newsletter
Subscribe to New Scientist magazine