Science is finally studying what happens after sex–sleep or cuddling. It’s not that men sleep and women cuddle, it’s more subtle than that. A recent study shows that the tendency to fall asleep first after sex is associated with a greater in your partner for bonding and affection (so try to stay awake and cuddle for awhile).

"The more one’s partner was likely to fall asleep after sex, the stronger the desire for bonding." 456 participants completed anonymous online surveys assessing experiences and desires with one’s partner after sex. Participants then indicated "who falls asleep after sex?" and "who falls asleep first when going to bed not after sex?" Participants whose partners nodded off immediately after sex had stronger desires for post-coital cuddling and chatting.

Psychologist Susan Hughes says, "Falling asleep before one’s partner may be a non-conscious way to foreclose on any commitment conversation after sex."

The study also looked at who were more likely–men or women–to fall asleep first. Despite the common stereotype, the researchers did not find it more common for men to fall asleep first after sex. Women, however, were more likely to fall asleep first when sex hadn’t taken place.

Perhaps men stay awake longer due to "mate guarding"–making sure the woman doesn’t leave them for another partner," says Hughes. "Men may also stay awake longer in an attempt to entice their partner into having (more) sex."

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