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Coolidge effect: why we always want more sexual partners

Coolidge effect: why we always want more sexual partners

January 17, 2022

The Coolidge effect is a term used in psychology and biology to describe the characteristic phenomenon of the great majority of mammals in which both female and male experience a high and continuous sexual performance when a new partner or a new sexual partner appears. That is, the fact of discovering a potential new partner with which to mate creates a tendency to perceive it as more attractive by the mere fact of being a novelty.

In the case of humans, the Coolidge Effect is expressed by a fairly simple pattern: a person may be tired of having sex with their partner, but can be easily excited with another sexual partner . The reason is that a large amount of dopamine decreases with the couple due to habituation, but that increases with the new sexual partner.


Knowing the Coolidge Effect, can we save our relationship as a couple without having to be unfaithful? To keep the relationship alive, we can create sexual situations that end with monotony and sexual habituation.

Studies with rats to demonstrate the Coolidge Effect

The Coolidge Effect was initially shown with rats , putting in a box a male with several females with whom he mates until he is satisfied and loses interest. When introducing a new female in the box, it reactivates the sexual interest on the part of the male. This happens because the dopaminergic neuronal circuit of the reinforcement area is activated by the presence of a new sexual partner .


When we practice sex with our partner for a long time, habituation causes our circuits to get used to the doses of dopamine, just as it happens with the consumption of the drug. That is, after a while, it is necessary to increase the amount to have the same effect , because the phenomenon of habituation appears. The new sexual partner causes a high of dopamine that leads us back to ecstasy.

But the Coolidge Effect has not only been shown in males, of which a greater sexual impulsiveness is expected. It has also been shown in females.

The origin of the Coolidge Effect

The origin of the term is curious. History says that President Calvin Coolidge (United States, 1923-1929) and Mrs. Coolidge visited a government farm in Kentucky. Once there, they toured the facilities separately. When Mrs. Coolidge passed by some chickens, she asked her guide how often the roosters carried out their work (referring to the sexual act). He responded to Ms. Coolidge: "Dozens of times a day." She was impressed by his response, and said, "Please, tell the President."


When the president found out, he was also stunned by the cock's performance. He then asked the guide: "But is it always with the same hen?" The guide replied: "Oh, no, Mr. President, a different one every time." The president nodded slowly, gave me a smile and said, "Say that to Mrs. Coolidge, please!"

The Coolidge Effect on the couple

Many experts have been interested in the importance of the Coolidge Effect in infidelity. According to research data, the Coolidge Effect would explain the habituation suffered by couples who have been together for a long time . Over time, they may seek a sexual high with another person.

In addition, the new sexual partners would have a positive effect on sexual behavior, since, for example, men would be more vigorous and would be more excited with new partners than with their partners. In fact, other investigations have proven that having sex with someone new increases the production of semen .

Coolidge effect and infidelity

Therefore, do we prefer quality or quantity in sexual relationships? It seems that Most mammals prefer the amount , because we would be programmed at the biological level to procreate as much as possible and, in this way, contribute positively to the expansion of the species.

The debate on whether humans are polygamous or monogamous is typical, and those who practice infidelity are often likely to cling to the Coolidge Effect to justify repeated betrayals of their partner. For them, perhaps the human being is evolutionarily designed to be closer to polygamy than monogamy.

Beware: living with a partner is also respect

Unfortunately, these comments they do not take into account the phenomenon from a holistic view , because unlike other species, the human being does not always resort to sex as a reproductive method.Humans are rational beings, and values ​​such as loyalty, fidelity or respect are important for many individuals.

If you want to know more about this topic, we invite you to read our article: "Monogamy and infidelity: are we made to live as a couple?".

In this article we are not going to discuss whether human beings are monogamous or polygamous, but it is important to note that education has a lot to do with the acquisition of values ​​and the emotions that these provoke in people . To give an example, if we think that infidelity is wrong, we will feel bad when it happens and it will be difficult to tolerate it. On the other hand, with an open mind it is easier to overcome an infidelity.

Rekindle passion in your relationship

It turns out that many individuals who come to couple therapy they complain about the decrease in the frequency and variety of the sexual act in the couple, and it is necessary not to ignore the importance that sex has in maintaining a healthy relationship.

In the members of couples who have been together for many years and who have been practicing the sexual act for a long time, a process of habituation-satiation and it is very probable that the sensation of sexual gratification will be reduced with the passage of time , because the novelty factor stops having effect between both. In addition, with very rigid routines or sexual patterns, for example always practicing sex in the same way and in the same place, do not help overcome this problem, but increase it.

Some keys to increase sexual desire in the couple

To solve it, it is necessary to be aware that humans are creative beings and we can overcome the monotony of the couple's relationship. When carrying out the sexual act with our partner we can make use of the imagination and we can leave behind the taboos that are the result of a repressive education, an education that, in many cases, does a lot of damage to the couple's relationship.

We recommend: "How can we improve our sexual desire?"

Now, knowing the Coolidge Effect, it is possible to rekindle the flame of passion in the relationship of partner, but for this it is necessary to get away from monotonous sexual patterns and practice sexual follies, fantasies and games that make us feel as excited as the first time.


Why is porn so addictive and relationship sex dull? (January 2022).


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