What Is…Sexual Priming?

Why watching porn before a date could lead to a second… 

Of all the strategies you may have tried to ensure a great first date, sexual priming might just be one of the most enjoyable. According to a psychology study just thinking about sex before a first date makes people much more open and outgoing, meaning you’re more likely to form a stronger connection with each other and want to have a second date. 

How Does Sexual Priming Work?

A study led by Professor Guirt Birnbaum, an associate at the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, has found that activating the sexual systems before a date makes people much more likely to engage in what she calls “relationship-initiation processes”. Put simply, this means that people are put in the headspace of wanting to form or initiate a relationship with someone after having been exposed to sexual stimuli, making them chattier and more likely to disclose personal information to their date. This self-disclosure is really important when it comes to forming bonds or attachments with people. The more open someone is, the closer you might feel to each other, leading to feelings of wanting to see each other again as well as deepening attraction. 

Activation of the sexual system encourages the use of strategies that allow people to become closer to potential partners

Prof. Birnbaum

Why Porn Though?

Fair question – it would make sense that watching porn might make you want sex, but why would it make you want to initate an ongoing relationship? Prof. Birnbaum, naturally, has all the answers. In a post on Psychology Today, she writes: 

Our sexual behavioral system evolved to motivate reproductive acts. The primary strategy for achieving this goal is to approach a potentially fertile partner, convince him or her to have sex, and engage in intercourse. 

However, human offspring are vulnerable throughout an exceptionally prolonged development period. Hence, in ancestral environments, sexual partners needed to stay together long enough to jointly care for their offspring during the period of maximum vulnerability, thereby increasing the offspring’s chances of survival and future reproductive success.

Prof. Birnbaum 

You can start to see how, if sex equals reproduction deep in our mammalian brains, sex also equals needing to build a bond with a partner that will stick around to help raise the offspring. 

Pre-Date Rituals

Even taking procreation and evolution out of the equation (no shade, Darwin) these findings still make sense. A whole pre-date routine in its own right is a kind of sexual priming: whether it’s a full-on primp session or throwing on some clean clothes and brushing your teeth, we prepare ourselves physically which prepares us psychologically. Adding an extra element of sexual priming, whether that’s with a cheeky bit of audio erotica, watching some porn, or even just taking a moment to breathe and feel your body gets you in a frame of mind where you’re more open to having sex, which means that you’re more likely to engage in behaviours such as the self-disclosure Professor Birnbaum studied. 

Is Sexual Priming Just For First Dates?

Sexual priming doesn’t just have to be for first dates either, you’ll be pleased to hear. In fact, it can be a great way to amp up the erotic tension with a partner. You can text or share naughty images or videos before you meet up for your date, guaranteeing you’ll both turn up turned on and ready to have a good time.

So next time you’re getting ready for a date, schedule in an extra ten mins to do some sexual priming. If nothing else, you’ll get to enjoy a little erotic stimulation…and what’s not to love about that?

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