Why Does Fear Make Us Horny?

terror March 5, 2021 0
Why Does Fear Make Us Horny?

Fear, danger and horniness: they mesh together in ways we often neglect to explore intellectually. This horny trinity is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives, but we don’t always notice. Think of horror movies, sexy Halloween witch costumes, novels about the living dead, the Giant Drop carnival ride and BDSM. For many, fear and sex are two sides of same coin.

It all has to do with that indelible rush we get when thrill-seeking. “Sexual arousal and fear come from the same base emotion — physiological arousal,” says Lucy Rowett, a certified sex coach and clinical sexologist. When adrenaline courses through the body of someone who enjoys high-stakes situations (whether perceived or real), it makes them giddy — high, even. It’s a state of euphoria so intense that many of us chase it and seek it out. Again, think of people who absolutely love rollercoasters or scary movies. They genuinely enjoy the feeling of being afraid.

This taste for the terrifying is directly connected to our sexual triggers. Fear and danger can really get us hot and bothered. Consensual encounters designed to amplify the “near-death” feeling are not literally putting you in a life-threatening situation, but your nervous system doesn’t know how to make the distinction. Your biological response to the perceived threat to your life spikes your adrenaline levels, giving you that rush so many of us crave.

Dr. Justin Lehmiller, an expert for sex toy retailer Lovehoney and host of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, tells InsideHook that adrenaline is present both in states of fear and sexual arousal, so it’s not super surprising that both physiological states would occur in tandem. In these instances, the body starts pumping adrenaline and the arousal response kicks in as a result. “When we experience fear, adrenaline is released, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, while also increasing blood flow to the genitals,” he explains. “This is why people in fearful states sometimes report experiencing a genital response despite not feeling turned-on.”

This misattribution of desire doesn’t just happen with fear and danger. Our bodies can become sexually excited by all sorts of lovely things. “Misattribution of arousal can happen any time we are in a state of arousal and then we put the context (environment) of that arousal on what we are attracted to. [It could be] a beautiful, sexy partner, a beautiful car, or [a] delicious pastry,” says Taylor Sparks, an erotic educator and founder of the sexual wellness shop, Organic Loven.

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