March 26, 2023

What are the benefits of morning sex? 
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And should we be having more of it?
Morning sex is something I used to have an unspoken aversion to. But like other breakthroughs I’ve had while writing about the grizzly details of my 20s for Fashion Journal, I’ve recently overcome a mental roadblock when it comes to intercourse in the AM. 
The barrier to these morning frivolities was the same one that’s become a recurring theme throughout my personal life. Whether it was going on top or wearing sexy lingerie or feeling unsure of my small(er) bosoms, I haven’t always felt super confident being intimate with the lights on.
I’m often a blinds-down, late-night operator, mainly because I’ve felt self-conscious about my body. But haven’t we all! And trust me, it’s a foolish mindset to have when you’re as young, limber and collagen-plumped as you’ll ever be. And it’s especially foolish if the person you’re doing it with is madly into you; I think that changed everything for me.
Over the years, I’ve forced myself to charter some murky territory with you lot. I often come away from writing about these topics feeling a little less intimidated about intimacy. I also learn a thing or 50 thanks to the goldmine of expertise stored in our generous interviewees’ minds.
Today, my faithful confidante and sex expert, Caroline Moreau-Hammond, takes the editorial stage to explain why morning sex is a huge vibe. Caroline is the host of The Philosophy of Sex podcast and the founder of the ethical sex toy marketplace, Becuming
I’ve been putting the theory to the test over the last few weeks and can confirm there is something inherently raw, beautiful, messy and (most importantly) intimate about starting your day with something a little sexier than hot Pilates. 
What are some of the unexpected benefits or pleasures of morning sex? 
My grandfather used to say two things were key to a happy relationship: love your partner more each day and make love every morning. As old-fashioned as these sentiments might seem, to me, they sum up the benefit of morning sex: it’s a wonderful time of day to connect. 
If you had a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel rested and calm. This can help with feeling more present and connected to your body. You might’ve been holding your partner, or sleeping close to each other, which releases oxytocin, a hormone that plays a role in feeling bonded to another person.
Starting the day with stress release is always going to feel good. Plus, you’re already in bed. All it requires is rolling over and embracing your partner. For me, there’s nothing better than a weekend morning spent in bed with a lover, with no pressures for the day ahead – just a focus on present pleasure. 
How does it differ physiologically (if at all) from sex in the evening? 
We have an odd societal expectation that sex should happen at night. However, we’re more likely to be in a position to feel connection and intimacy in the morning. Our nervous system plays an important role here. Your sympathetic nervous system is more likely to be active after work. The sympathetic nervous system is what prepares you for action — the fight or flight response.
On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system is what’s active while your body rests and repairs itself. It’s responsible for things like digestion, getting rid of waste, and sexual arousal. So our bodies are almost built for better sex in the morning. Our hormones are also geared for sex when waking: estrogen levels are often higher in women, and testosterone levels peak in men in the morning. These hormones help dictate arousal. 
Stress can be a catalyst for arousal in some people, but for most people, sex after a long day in the office or at work isn’t conducive to great intimacy and sex. You’ve probably been doing dishes, laundry, or [been] stuck in traffic, which aren’t known for being aphrodisiacs.
Why does it seem like men (in the context of heteronormative intercourse) climax faster in the morning than at night? 
To my knowledge, no conclusive evidence has found time of day to cause faster ejaculation or orgasm. That said, there are a few reasons why a man might feel more aroused in the morning. As mentioned above, a man’s daily testosterone concentration typically peaks between eight and 10am, which is the hormone that plays a significant role in men’s desire and arousal. 
It also comes back to the nervous system, as the parasympathetic nervous system controls erections. Because of this, erections sometimes happen when a man is sleeping and waking. The term ‘morning wood’ is actually a misnomer; penises can become erect and then flaccid again several times in the course of one night. You’re just more likely to notice it when you wake up. A man might also feel less stressed after a night’s sleep.
Put simply, if a man is well rested and relaxed, he’s likelier to be horny. If he’s had a shitty day at work and is tired, getting off might be more difficult. We know that stress makes reaching orgasm more challenging for many people, irrespective of biology or how they identify.  
Any other imparting wisdom you have to share on morning sex?
I know some people feel self-conscious about morning sex; you’ve probably got bedhead [hair], and maybe your breath stinks. Letting go of the scaffolding you’ve built around how you feel you should look, smell or sound can feel empowering. The morning is an opportunity for authentic, uninhibited sex. Dive in!
Genevieve Phelan is Fashion Journal’s Lifestyle & Careers Columnist. Her writing fuses introspection with investigation, calling on her own personal anecdotes and the advice of admired experts in the realms of intimacy, money, friendship, careers and love. You can find her here and here.
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