The summer is here! This means it’s time for summer love! Why do we feel more like flirting, dating and having sex these months? Two Dutch love experts shed some more light on this and give tips on how to have a summer fling.
From Summer Nights (from Grease) and All Summer Long (Kid Rock) to Summer of ‘69 (Bryan Adams) and Summer Love (Justin Timberlake): there are plenty of songs about summer love. But you would never hear anyone talk about winter love. But why do we associate summer with flirting, dating, falling in love and sex? And do we actually do it more often, or does it mainly seem that way?
To start with that last question: we are actually more sexually active during the summer. A famous Dutch newspaper previously cited various studies showing this. Such as a 2004 Swedish study that proved that men ejaculate more often in the summer than in the winter.
And a 2010 publication in the American Journal of Human Biology in which it becomes clear that the exposure to (sun)light can stimulate feelings of lust in chimpanzees, baboons… and people.
There’s more active sperm
This Dutch newspaper also mentioned an Australian study that shows that there are more STI reports in the summer and that there are more rapes in the cities of Paris and Houston in the summer than in the rest of the year.
And then there is an American study that reports that young people experience their first time much more often during the summer months than in the rest of the year. Men also appear to be more fertile in July and August than in the rest of the year, an Italian study shows. This is because sperm is then twice as active as in January!
Hormones play an important role in all this as well, knows the Dutch love expert Marie-José Bosch-Kuiper. “The moment sunlight hits your skin, something happens. Your hormones go through the roof. Men in particular produce more testosterone, which makes them feel more masculine and makes them feel horny and in love faster.”
The perfect hormone cocktail
Sunlight also stimulates the production of endorphins. That ‘reward substance’ – which your body also produces after exercising – contributes to feelings of happiness and euphoria. Furthermore, an exposure to the sun releases the hormone serotonin and the well-known substance caffeine. The first one gives you a cheerful and relaxed feeling, while the second one makes you alert and energetic. This is a perfect hormone cocktail to open up new love connections.
Apart from the hormones, sunlight in itself already makes us more relaxed, says the love expert. “Sunlight on your bare skin feels like an embrace, it warms you up. Even on a bustling terrace you can feel all the stress melt away when you simply close your eyes.”
There is also something like a Pavlov effect that occurs when the sun starts to shine, says Bosch-Kuiper. “In our brain all moments of happiness are being stored, memories of beautiful summers. That day at the beach, that crazy holiday, that wonderful festival. The moment the sun shines, you can get a kind of déjà vu feeling and instantly feel a lot happier. Just like when you’ll get a holiday feeling at an international airport. Even if it is only 5 o’clock in the morning and it’s still dark outside.”
The Dutch psychologist, sexologist and relationship therapist Jolien Spoelstra also thinks that the ‘free time factor’ boosts those summer butterflies and feelings of lust. “Normally, many people lack the time to contact other people and to be open to flirting and sex. In the summer, that time is there. And then there are all kinds of fun things to do in the summer, like going to festivals, where you can easily meet new people. There is simply more opportunity.”
There are also more sexual stimuli, she thinks. “People wear less, dress more scarcely, they show more of themselves.” In fact, temptation is everywhere.
More sunlight and wearing less clothes also makes us feel better, says love expert Bosch-Kuiper: “You’ll feel better and that’s how you look, or vice versa: you look good and that’s how you feel. Sexy and attractive. That does something to you. Then you’ll start acting more confident. Your nose towards the wind, and with your chest out: here I am!”
Feeling better in your skin
Many people are indeed more comfortable in their own skin during the summer than in the winter, psychologist Spoelstra confirms. “In the winter, people are often a bit more tired and gloomy. In the summer, we usually feel happier and more energetic. It’s warm and light, and we do spend more time outside and are more active.” It’s therefore not surprising that summer is the season par excellence in which flings and love blossom!
The love season is here! And this is how you score that summer love
Finally, do the love experts have any tips for landing all that summer love? Spoelstra says: “Do lots of fun things, take a good look around you and make eye contact. When you totally believe in yourself, then you’ll radiate that: there’s nothing more attractive than someone who steps into the world with confidence!”
Bosch-Kuiper confirms the latter. “And when you feel amazing, then someone else probably feels the same way. Besides that, be generous with your compliments. Because everyone likes to get a compliment. Just say: geez, that dress/shirt looks good on you. Tell someone else what you’d also like to hear yourself. And if you do find this all very exciting, then you can also just smile, put down your sunglasses and give a sexy wink!”