6 Reasons Why Arguing With Your Partner Makes You So Damn Horny

Blame it on science. No, really.
PHOTO: RAYDENE HANSEN

It’s a classic Hollywood plot: Couple starts an epic screaming match with each other, then mid-fight, one partner pushes the other up against the wall, they kiss oh-so passionately, and things escalate to hot, steamy makeup sex. (I mean, raise your hand if that scene from The Notebook still leaves you hot and bothered.)

The argument = over. Relationship = restored. The end.

You and I both know this actually happens IRL too. Whenever my ex and I would argue, I’d immediately want to tackle him—not in a physical fight kind of way but more in like an I-suddenly-need-to-jump-your-bones way. The makeup sex was always soooo good.

Why is this a thing? Is there a link between being angry and horny? Or are we all just kinky mother-effers? After speaking with psychotherapists, physiology experts, and sexperts, I’ve learned that there is def some science behind this madness. Here are seven solid reasons why some people get turned on after arguing with their partner.

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1. Hormones

Hormones like testosterone, adrenaline, and cortisol (the stress hormone) all spike when we fight with someone, including our romantic partners. “When cortisol is released from stress, our bodies and minds may yearn for the closeness that sex provides,” explains certified sexologist Jenni Skyler, PhD.

The relief of orgasm and pleasure increases serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and oxytocin (the love hormone), explains sex and relationship therapist Andrew Aaron, LICSW. TL;DR: This means that while the hormones released during a fight can rile you up, the hormones released after a fight calm you down, make you feel satisfied, give you feelings of power, and increase your sense of safety—which, conveniently, all magically combine to make you want to bone. A true climax and resolution.

2. Evolution

Banging after an angry fight with your partner unlocks a deep and primal part of your psyche. “Sex after a fight not only provides relief, it also creates excitement. You go from being threatened to feeling triumphant in overcoming the threat by surviving,” says Aaron. Basically, you may feel like you’ve overcome something major, so your body celebrates by getting all excited (read: horny AF) as a result.

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3. Anxiety and arousal

Arousal and anxiety are sister sensations that increase your heart rate, blood flow, and breathing. “The excitement from one of those emotions is likely to transfer to another,” explains sexologist Robert Thomas, cofounder of Sextopedia.

“When we’re under stress, such as the stress induced by an argument, our sympathetic nervous system is aroused,” says relationship and sex coach Michele Lisenbury Christensen. (AKA, this is why fights turn you on.) “This also sparks your fight or flight response, which fills you full of energy and makes you motivated to want to physically act in some way,” adds physiology expert Elesa Zehndorfer, PhD. What better way to satiate that need to get physical than with that hot person right in front of you who’s also pissing you off? Sounds like the most logical option, IMHO.

4. You’re into sadomasochism.

Did you know that the word “passion” has a Latin origin that actually comes from “patior,” which means to suffer? So, like, “Hurts so good” is a saying for a reason. “There’s a close link between anger, passion, suffering, and connection,” says relationship coach Valarie Merced, founder of Precipice Magazine.

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Fighting can stimulate sadomasochistic sexual fantasies (aka gaining sexual pleasure from inflicting or receiving pain), explains Gail Saltz, MD, a psychiatrist specializing in relationships and mental health. But, FWIW, just because you like makeup sex doesn’t mean you’re a hundred percent going to be into BDSM. Although, if you *are* already into it, you might be one of the ~lucky~ ones who get turned on from fighting. (Hi, guilty as charged. Now, handcuff me. JK, not JK.)

5. Makeup—aka “mad at you”—sex is awesome.

Wanting to reestablish a connection and forgive your partner (or yourself) is a high-priority post-fight...which is exactly why you may turn to some “Fuck me like you hate me” sex to repair the bond. The evidence:

  • “I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but fucking after we fight is hot. Everything’s heightened and you’re breathing heavy. It’s you and this other hot-blooded person you’re presumably sexually attracted to. That makes me want my man. Like, he is MINE,” says Nicole, 33.
  • “We’re both desperately waiting for the fight to end because we’re still so physically and emotionally drawn to one another as we fight.” says Scarlett, 26.
  • “Who the hell doesn’t love makeup sex? It makes things more passionate and aggressive, which is always a plus,” agrees Kayla, 23. “It starts off with anger and rage but slowly transitions into love and passion and ends up being sweet.”
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6. It‘s a way to cope with trauma.

Traumatic events that contained fighting or intense anger (during childhood or some point of your early years) can sometimes get connected to sexual feelings, says Dr. Saltz. Because of this, it could be that you’re horny whenever you fight with your partner.

“Psychologically, when couples fight, they often instigate a trigger or very scared part of their younger memory system,” explains Skyler. Fear creates a sense of abandonment, inadequacy, or both, so sex can sometimes alleviate that fear by increasing intimacy and reestablishing feelings of safety.

If this is the case for you, you may want to seek therapy to unlearn this type of conditioning and coping mechanism. “Better understanding this part of you will help you to find methods to get that sex-fueled romp that’s less destructive to your relationship than purposely picking fights,” Dr. Saltz says.

This is loooots of info, right? But the bottom line is: No, you’re not weird for wanting to pounce on your partner after you fight. Yes, a bit of conflict can add novelty and sparks to relationships, but don’t go starting fights just to have super-hot make-up sex after, mmkay?

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Oh, and it’s also important to note that cruelty, violence, or emotional abuse are all red flags that signal there’s an unhealthy dynamic in your relationship. If you ever find that your relationship is only really good after it’s really bad, it may be time to consult a therapist or consider a breakup.

Otherwise, go resolve your little arguments about whatever-the-heck by getting primal and kinky with some wildly passionate makeup sex. You deserve it.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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