You probably already know about some of the benefits of sex in your relationship: it reduces stress, brings you emotionally closer to your partner, and boosts your libido. One thing you may not have realized, though, is that sex can also make you a better communicator.

That’s what researchers at the University of Connecticut recently discovered, at least. They recently published a study that found partners were more likely to share honest, important information in the aftermath of an orgasm. It seems sexual satisfaction in your relationship isn’t just about the build-up and the act itself: it’s also about what happens afterwards.

Oxytocin Builds Trust

If you’ve ever felt like you could share anything with your partner after sex, you might not be surprised by this recent study’s findings. But why do we feel this way?

One major factor is oxytocin, the hormone responsible for building trust and intimacy between people. The brain releases this hormone after orgasm and also lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, causing people to feel more trusting and safer. Because people feel more at ease, they are more likely to open up about things that are important to them, such as how they feel about the relationship and their hopes for the future.

This type of pillow talk can have a positive effect on a couple’s overall relationship, not just their sex lives. Partners who are open and honest with each other about their emotions are better able to understand one another as whole people, not just idealized selves, and are able to enjoy a happier, healthier relationship.

Post-Sex Shouldn’t Be the Only Time for Open Communication

Of course, the importance of pillow talk should in no way diminish the importance of open and honest communication in non-sexual situations. You and your partner should make sure you’re setting aside time during the day to have meaningful conversations that go beyond whose turn it is to make dinner or put the kids to bed. By regularly dialoguing—talking and really taking the time to listen to one another’s responses—you can strengthen your relationship.

If you want to learn more about improving your communication in your relationship, consider trying Portland marriage counseling. Our goal is to improve relationships through dialogue, and we’d be happy to work with you and your partner.