’Tis the season of summer Fridays, weekend barbecues, underboob sweat…and love? Some research says you might be more likely to find yourself paired up — at least for a night — come summertime.
Just ask Google, who’s been tracking all the weird things we search on the daily. An analysis of five years of searches found a few seasonal trends — namely, searches for porn and dating sites peak around the early summer (they peak again around Christmas, too, giving whole new meaning to “naughty or nice”).
Our Google searches aren’t the only things that point to love and sex being seasonal. The study authors point out that past research has found that human sexual activity is on somewhat of a six-month cycle. Condom sales also go up during the summer months, as do births, abortions, and STIs, suggesting that Google is onto something.
So what’s the deal — is the scent of sunscreen and chlorine hair that intoxicating, or is something else driving our summer friskiness? Scientists aren’t really sure. It might be all the extra free time we have in the summer months.
Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and Match.com’s Chief Scientific Advisor thinks all that all the extra sun we’re getting might get us in the mood too. An earlier sunrise means less melatonin, she explains. So you’re more energetic and more likely to want to get to know new people — and really get to know them. Match has even pinpointed the biggest day for love on their site — June 27th.
Match has even pinpointed the biggest day for love on their site — June 27th.
Another theory says it’s all in your head. Blame it on something called “embodied cognition,” aka our tendency to conflate temperature with our emotional perception of relationships. In the winter, that dude next to you at the bar is just some guy talking about how Catcher in the Rye is his favorite book. But come summer, you conflate warmth with intimacy and want to hear ALL about how he relates to Holden Caulfield.
But wait, you don’t want things to get too hot and steamy. Remember, the research on embodied cognition discusses warm temperatures, not eyeball-melting, sweltering heat. Studies have found that testosterone and temperature actually have an inverse relationship — when it’s hotter, men’s testosterone — and perhaps sexual desire — is lower, and vise versa. And while one in three Americans say that sex is hotter when it’s hot out, by “hot,” they mean a comfortable 68 degrees indoors and 70 degrees outdoors with 35 percent of Americans admitting they have turned down sex because of the too-high temperatures.
Bottom line? There’s some research to suggest that warm weather correlates to a hotter dating or sex life, but don’t count on fiddling with your AC settings to be the ticket to an exciting summer fling.