The Coolidge Effect is a term used in psychology and biology to describe the phenomenon characteristic of the vast majority of mammals in which both females and males experience high and continuous sexual performance when a new sexual partner appears. In other words, the discovery of a potential new partner with whom to mate creates a tendency to perceive her as more attractive simply because she is new.
In the case of humans, the Coolidge Effect is expressed through a fairly simple pattern: a person may be tired of having sex with his partner, but he can easily become aroused with another sexual partner . The reason is that a large amount of dopamine decreases with the partner due to habituation, but increases with the new sexual partner.
Knowing the Coolidge Effect, can we save our relationship without having to be unfaithful? To keep the relationship alive, we can create sexual situations that end the monotony and sexual habituation.
Studies with rats to demonstrate the Coolidge Effect
The Coolidge Effect was initially demonstrated with rats , putting a male in a box with several females with which he mates until he is satiated and loses interest. When a new female is introduced into the box, it reactivates the male’s sexual interest. This happens because the dopaminergic neuronal circuit of the booster area is activated by the presence of a new sexual partner .
When we have sex with our partner for a long time, habituation causes our circuits to become accustomed to the doses of dopamine, just as happens with drug use. This means that after some time, it is necessary to increase the amount to have the same effect , because the phenomenon of habituation appears. The new sexual partner causes a dopamine high that leads us back to ecstasy.
But the Coolidge Effect has not only been demonstrated in males, from which greater sexual impulsiveness is usually expected. It has also been demonstrated 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 facility separately. When Mrs. Coolidge passed by some chickens, she asked her guide how often the chickens carried out their work (referring to the sexual act). He replied to Mrs. Coolidge: “Dozens of times a day. She was impressed by his answer, and said, “Please tell the President.
When the president found out, he was also stunned by the rooster’s performance. So he asked the guide, “But is it always the same chicken?” The guide replied: “Oh no, Mr. President, a different one each time.” The president nodded slowly, gave a smile and said: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge, please!”
The Coolidge Effect on the Couple
Many experts have been interested in the importance of the Coolidge Effect on 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, new sexual partners would have a positive effect on sexual behaviour, as men, for example, would be more vigorous and more aroused by new partners than by their partners. In fact, other research has shown that having sex with someone new increases the production of semen .
Coolidge effect and infidelity
So, do we prefer quality or quantity in sex? It seems that most mammals prefer quantity , as we would be programmed at a biological level to procreate as much as possible and thus contribute positively to the expansion of the species.
The debate over whether humans are polygamous or monogamous is typical, and those who practice infidelity may often cling to the Coolidge Effect to justify repeated betrayals of their partner. For them, perhaps humans are evolutionarily designed to be closer to polygamy than to monogamy.
Caution: living with a partner is also respect
Unfortunately, these comments do not take into account the phenomenon from a holistic view , because unlike other species, human beings do 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 or not human beings are monogamous or polygamous, but it is important to emphasize 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 infidelity.
Revive the passion in your relationship
It turns out that many individuals who go to couples therapy complain about the decrease in frequency and variety of sex within the couple, and it is necessary not to ignore the importance that sex has in maintaining a healthy relationship.
In couples who have been together for many years and who have been practicing sex for a long time, a process of habituation-association may occur and it is very likely that the sensation of sexual gratification will be reduced with the passage of time , since the novelty factor ceases to have an effect between the two. Moreover, very rigid sexual routines or patterns, for example always practicing sex in the same way and in the same place, do not help to overcome this problem, but rather increase it.
Some keys to increase sexual desire in the couple
To solve this, it is necessary to be aware that humans are creative beings and can overcome the monotony of the couple’s relationship. When carrying out the sexual act with our partner we can make use of our 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 then, knowing the Coolidge Effect, it is possible to rekindle the flame of passion in the relationship of partner, but to do so it is necessary to move away from monotonous sexual patterns and practice sexual craziness, fantasies and games that make us feel as excited as the first time.