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The Season of Sex: Sexual Activity Increases in December. Here’s Why

December 18, 2019 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex is seasonal, to some degree. Researchers have found that our sexual activity patterns ebb and flow throughout the year, and there’s an interesting change taking place right now.

Sex tends to reach its peak in the summer. Indeed, summer is the time of year when people tend to have the most sex. Sex typically declines in the fall and winter; however, there’s actually a surge that occurs during the month of December. Indeed, there’s a lot of evidence that sexual interest and activity reliably increase this month, and this is especially true with respect to the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

We see this in terms of changes in condom sales, Google searches, conception rates, STD rates, and more. All of the evidence points to a brief bump in sexual activity this month. Check out the video below for a closer look at the various changes that take place in our sexual and romantic lives during December, as well as the biological, psychological, and social factors that might be playing a role in it.

To learn more about the research, scroll below the video for references and further reading on the subject.

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Sources for information contained in this video:

Seasonal changes in sexual activity levels: Cornelisse, V. J., Chow, E. P., Chen, M. Y., Bradshaw, C. S., & Fairley, C. K. (2016). Summer heat: A cross-sectional analysis of seasonal differences in sexual behaviour and sexually transmissible diseases in Melbourne, Australia. Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Seasonal changes in Google search trends for pornography, prostitution, and online dating: Markey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2013). Seasonal variation in internet keyword searches: A proxy assessment of sex mating behaviors. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(4), 515-521.

Seasonal changes in condom sales and STD rates: Wellings, K., Macdowall, W., Catchpole, M., & Goodrich, J. (1999). Seasonal variations in sexual activity and their implications for sexual health promotion. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 92, 60-64.

Seasonal changes in conception rates: Tita, A. T., Hollier, L. M., & Waller, D. K. (2001). Seasonality in conception of births and influence on late initiation of prenatal care. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 97(6), 976-981.

Seasonal changes in sexual injuries: Phillips, E. A., Esposito, A. J., & Munarriz, R. (2015). Acute penile trauma and associated morbidity: 9‐year experience at a tertiary care center. Andrology, 3(3), 632-636.

Seasonal changes in virginity loss: Levin, M. L., Xu, X., & Bartkowski, J. P. (2002). Seasonality of sexual debut. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(4), 871-884.

For more information on biopsychosocial theories regarding why sexual behavior changes in the winter, check out this article I wrote for TONIC

Music Credit: Winter Wonderful by Kensington Studios, used under license from Shutterstock, 2017

Image Source: Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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