Summer flings, summer fun, summer love — there seems to be something about summer that gets us a little more interested in love — or lust. You might notice that you feel a little friskier, but it can be difficult to tell why. It definitely does seem like heat really helps to get our motors going, but the link between summer and your sex drive isn't all that clear cut.
For example, in condom brand Trojan's “Degrees of Pleasure” survey, they found that those living in hot climates, like Miami, had more sex than those living in chillier locations. But they also found that 35 percent of people had said no to sex because of the heat. It's easy to understand why it would be conflicting — summer means pool parties and long nights, but it also means ass sweat and struggling to sleep and chafing that burns with the power of a thousand suns. How does the heat really affect our sex drive? Well, it's complicated.
Vitamin D Can Make You Horny
Vitamin D isn't just good for you — it's good for your libido. "Testosterone levels in men's blood rise accordingly with doses of vitamin D," sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching, tells Bustle. "The vital nutrient is produced in the body after exposure to sunlight and can also be obtained from eating oily fish and meat."
And when it comes to sex ? "Researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria found men with more vitamin D per ml of blood had much more of the main male sexual hormone, testosterone, circulating than those with less," Lee says. "In short this means when their body is at least sufficiently supplied with vitamin D, it’s good for their testosterone levels and their libido among other things." It's not just about the men, though.
"Let’s not forget the vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen in women, which also means low sex drive. So it is true that increased vitamin D causes your hormones, and your libido, to peak during summer months."
Serotonin Is Your Friend
Sunlight may pack a punch of vitamin D, but that's not the only benefit that we get from the sunshine. Ashwini Nadkarni, M.D., psychiatrist and instructor at Harvard Medical School, told Glamour that the serotonin boost we get from summer sun helps us experience pleasure — in all sorts of ways. So as our serotonin levels rise, we may be feeling more frisky and open to sexual experiences.
Mood And Clothing Play A Role
Many of us associate summer with relaxation, fun, and excitement. And even though that may be a state of mind, it can also have a physical side effect. "Summer is the perfect time to experiment in bed because the electric energy of summer can translate into a lot of sexual desire," Dr. Lauren Brim, doctor of human sexuality and founder of the Adult Play Mat. tells Bustle. "[A]nd as we are generally working less and more relaxed, this higher state of relaxed arousal leads to better orgasms and more openness to experiment and discover new pathways and types of pleasure." So yeah, that celebratory feeling that you get in the summer may also be making you feel more sexual.
Plus, heatwaves generally mean less clothes all around you. “Sexual cues are everywhere in the summer. Scientists sometimes call this ‘sexualization of the environment,’ which basically means more bikinis, short shorts, and muscle shirts,” Nicole Prause, Neuroscientist at Liberos, a sexual biotechnology company tells Bustle. “You might not be thinking about sex much rushing between warm buildings with only your eyes peeping out, but greater leisure time and the more seductive clothing typical of summer are likely helping to increase your sex drive.”
...But You Can Have Too Much Of A Good Thing
Even though summer sun might get us serotonin-hyped and playful, there's also a point where it can swing the other direction. In 2015 researchers at Tulane University looked at data the from National Climate Center Data gathered over a huge period — 1931 to 2010. For every day that the temperature was above 80 degrees during that period, there were .4 percent fewer births nine months later, according to CNN. Four percent may not seem like a lot, but that means that each of those hot days translated to about 1,165 fewer births. That means that one heatwave could lead to tens of thousands of fewer births. Working backwards from that, it seems clear that very high temperatures can actually create a drop in sex drive. Or, even if the sex drive is there, we're all just too damned sweaty to do anything about it. So summer can help you get frisky — until it all becomes a bit too much. Then you may want to lay spread eagle under a fan and wait for sweet, sweet relief to arrive.
As you can see, the heat works for you and against you. On the one hand, our mood and serotonin levels are telling us to go buck-wild, but on the other hand, we can become too hot to do anything besides sweat and cry and sweat some more. So you may find that you feel more frisky in the summer, but everything has its limits.