Those who have high levels of the sex hormone testosterone are reluctant to indulge in chitchat after making love, a study has found.
And when they do say something, it may well be hurtful to their other half.
In contrast, those with lower testosterone levels are keener to whisper sweet nothings, and are better at it, the study led by the University of Connecticut suggests.
The researchers described how post-sex communication may serve “an important role in not only sustaining a satisfying sexual relationship between partners, but may also contribute to more general feelings of relationship satisfaction and closeness’’
The possible risks of disclosure include “loss of control, embarrassment, hurt or rejection”, the researchers say in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
The benefits may include “increased intimacy, closeness and satisfaction”.
In the study 253 adults provided saliva samples from which their testosterone levels could be measured. They were then asked to keep an online diary for two weeks describing their sexual activity, as well as post-sex communication with their partner and how they felt about it.
Those who had higher levels of testosterone tended to regard pillow talk as being more risky and less beneficial than those with lower levels.
They were found to communicate less, express fewer personal emotions and to be more likely to have said negative things to their partners, the study found.
The researchers said: “Not only does the current study contribute to researchers’ theoretical understanding of sexual communication, privacy boundaries, and biology, but it could also have broader practical implications for romantic relationships.”