The Season of Sex: Why Sexual Activity Peaks in the Summer

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In the animal kingdom, there are some species that only mate seasonally. They do it just a few times per year, coinciding with their fertile periods. Humans, by contrast, are what scientists call “continuous breeders,” meaning they are able to mate all year-round. However, the term “continuous breeders” masks the fact that humans’ mating patterns still follow a very reliable seasonal pattern. Specifically, we tend to have more sex in the summer than we do at any other time of year.

In my latest article over at Playboy, I review the evidence demonstrating this peak in summer sex. This includes changes in everything from Google searches for sex to sales of condoms to STD diagnoses to the months during which teens are the most likely to lose their virginity. I also explore the various factors that contribute to these changes in sexual activity. 

As I explain in the full article, this is a biopsychosocial phenomenon, meaning there are biological, psychological, and social factors that all play a role in this increase in summer sex. In short, there are changes in neurotransmitter levels due to increased sun exposure (biological), the transfer of excitement from all of our outdoor activities to our sex lives (psychological), as well as increases in the number of sexual cues we’re exposed to and the amount of free time we have (social/environmental). When you put all of these things together, it’s no wonder there’s a summer peak in sex!

While you’re over at Playboy, check out the Hard Science column to learn more about the science of sex. Some of my other recent articles include: 

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology ? Click here for previous articles or follow the blog on Facebook (facebook.com/psychologyofsex), Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit (reddit.com/r/psychologyofsex) to receive updates.

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