Pillow talk—or a lack thereof—can be a topic of hot debate for couples and casual partners alike. But if the person you’re trying to have a post-sex convo with doesn’t reciprocate, it might not be totally their fault—it could be their hormones.
One study, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, found that both men and women with higher levels of testosterone are less likely to want to participate in “post-sex time interval” pillow talk.
“An important part of sexual activity involves the communication that occurs immediately afterward,” the researchers wrote. “During this time, individuals experience heightened emotion and intimacy, which may facilitate pair-bonding behaviors such as disclosing feelings and sharing emotions with one’s partner.”
To investigate what might make a person more inclined toward this post-sex chatter than another, the researchers recruited 253 young adult participants from a local university. Most identified as heterosexual and single; 78 percent were women. Each participant was asked to submit a saliva sample to measure their testosterone levels and then instructed to complete an online diary of their sexual activity and post-sex behaviors for two weeks.
An analysis of the journals found that participants with higher testosterone levels were less likely to perceive the positive benefits of post-sex communication. In many cases, they even saw it as a risky venture, fearing “loss of control, embarrassment, hurt, or rejection.” Those with lower levels of testosterone saw more benefits in their post-sex talk, reporting it boosted intimacy, closeness, and satisfaction.
There was also a connection between pillow talk and sexual satisfaction: People who did not orgasm had more negative feelings about the chatter than those who did. The researchers also cited prior research which found that those who orgasm are more likely to disclose information of greater depth to their partners immediately after sex. The same study found that the quantity of post-sex affectionate behavior is positively associated with relationship satisfaction.
So what’s a person who doesn’t like pillow talk (or is in a relationship with someone who doesn’t like it) to do? Keep your lines of communication open. And don’t take it personally—it’s science.