If you ever feel like 90 percent of your friends have their birthdays in September, you may actually be onto something. Though it's a running joke that people have more sex around the holidays, new research shows that it actually is the case — and the September birthdays are a natural side effect of that.
The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, comes from scientists at Indiana University and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal. They tracked our "collective unconscious", looking at Google searches and tweets in over 130 countries. "The rise of the web and social media provides the unprecedented power to analyze changes in people's collective mood and behavior on a massive scale," Luis M. Rocha, a professor in the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, who co-led the study, explained in a press release. "This study is the first 'planetary-level' look at human reproduction as it relates to people's moods and interest in sex online."
What they found is a definite peak in searches for "sex" and other sexually-related terms around cultural and religious holidays. And the proof was in the pudding, because they also found a corresponding peak in birth rates nine months later. So we're not only thinking about sex, but we're following through, too.
But before you think we're all just doing it to stay warm during the winter, the research shows that it's not something biological, it's a social phenomenon. The researchers realized this because the spikes were not the same world-wide. While in many countries there was an increase in sexual searches around Christmas, in Muslim-majority countries there was a peak around Eid-al-Fitr, the celebration that falls at the end of Ramadan. And with Christmas and Eid happening at totally different times of year, it seems as though it's the atmosphere of celebration, more than a specific time period, that's causing the boost.
It makes sense, because the holidays evoke closeness. "The holiday season is [all] about memories and intimacy," Michele M. Paiva, Licensed Zen Psychotherapist, tells Bustle. With an emphasis on connection and emotions running high, it's easy to see why people would be feeling more sexual.
For more information on the study, check out this video explaining all of the findings. If you're like me, you may have the urge to have sex around the holidays but often run into some practical difficulties. Here's how to make it work.
Sex During The Holidays
Because the holidays can make you feel warm and intimate, it's easy to see why sex would be the natural next step. And though people may be getting down around this time of year — the September birthdays prove it, after all — it not always that easy. You may need to fit in a quickie around family engagements or have almost totally silent sex to avoid attracting attention, but there are ways to make it fun.
"Sex during the holidays is a perfect reason to emphasize the cuddly coziness that can be achieved with you and your partner," Dr. Megan Stubbs, sexologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Find innocuous happenings during your holiday events to create a fun game with your partner. Count how many times someone makes a passive, or just plain aggressive comment about politics and make that number [how many times] you try to make your partner come." Or maybe just remember that sex is a great way to blow of steam and make yourself less stressed. Just know, if you're feeling the urge, it's totally OK to take some time for yourself and your partner.
It's not just in your imagination that a lot of your friends are born around the same time, it turns out we really are hornier around the holidays — and we've got the cluster of September birthdays as consequence of that. It may feel like a tricky time to have sex but, if you have the urge, go ahead and make it happen.