Oh, and spanking.
Turns out those weirdos who lurk in chat rooms in dark corners of the Internet trading fantasies about Catholic school, Taiwanese prison, and the Mitt Romney presidential campaign may be on to something. According to the New Scientist, couples that flay together stay together:
SPANKING is stressful at first, but it could bring consenting couples closer together. That’s the implication of two studies of hormonal changes associated with sadomasochistic (S&M) activities including spanking, bondage and flogging.
Brad Sagarin at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and colleagues measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 13 men and women at an S&M party in Arizona, before, during and after participating in activities. During S&M scenes, cortisol rose significantly in those receiving stimulation, but dropped back to normal within 40 minutes if the scene went well. There was no change in those inflicting the activity.
Basically that means that as long as you’re not, like, actually beating on each other, spanking and bondage and stuff can actually boost the bond between couples.
Of course there are always the haters that try to take a good, sexy science news story and tie it up with saddle leather and whip it into submission:
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, UK, adds that almost any shared activity is likely to promote interpersonal closeness. “It doesn’t have to be tying up your partner or placing clamps on their nipples, it could be something as simple as cooking a meal together or even doing the housework as a duo,” he says.
Frankly I don’t see why all of these activities can’t be combined into one. Oh yeah, you love the way I beat those eggs, don’t you girl? Yeah…. they’ve been naughty…. wait what are you doing with the vacuum cleaner? You’re gonna break it. No seriously, stop — you’re gonna…. Oh great. Nice job. Now how are we going to get all this parsley out of the carpet?
Spanking ‘brings couples together’ [New Scientist]