During President Calvin Coolidge’s time in the White House, he and First Lady Grace Coolidge toured an experimental government farm, taking separate routes on the tour. While passing the chickens, Grace Coolidge noted how often the male rooster seemed to be mating with the hens.
Mrs. Coolidge asked the guide how often the rooster mated and was told he did so dozens of times per day.
“Tell that to the President when he comes by,” Mrs. Coolidge said.
Upon being told, the President asked if the rooster mated with the same hen every day and was told no, that the rooster mated with multiple hens each day.
“Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge,” the President said.
What Is The Coolidge Effect?
This mating habit of increased sexual arousal when new mating partners are introduced became known as the Coolidge Effect, and multiple species display it. In humans, some individuals will show less interest in a sexual partner after some time, and may be more aroused or more interested in sex with a new partner. Scientists say there’s a biological reason; after all, mating with more individuals increases the likelihood of procreation and reproduction, and our brains are programmed to procreate. We’ve evolved to survive and continue the human race.
How Can It Impact Your Sex Life?
The Coolidge Effect, or other novelty-seeking behavior in a relationship can cause emotional distress and sadness for both partners. It can lead to:
- Lowered sex drive
- Decreased libido
- Affairs and infidelity
- Lack of communication and vulnerability
- Breakups and separations
If you’re feeling less interested in sex or notice your partner feeling the same, there are of course any number of reasons that could be happening. Stress and anxiety alone can cause lowered sex drive, as well as aging, changing hormones and issues with nerves and blood flow in the sex orgasms.
There are also other sexual and intimate problems that prevent orgasms and harm your sex life, the orgasm gap and orgasm disorder being only two. It’s important to understand the options, even if they’re upsetting, so you can start tackling the blocks in your relationship.
The only way to truly know if the Coolidge Effect is happening is good, open communication. Intimate communication is the foundation of every relationship and sex life, and this is no different.
So What Do We Do Now?
Of course, not all species exhibit the Coolidge Effect; birds often mate for life. The better news is humans aren’t rats, chickens, cows or even birds. We have the ability to reason and find solutions to our problems. We can communicate with each other and when done effectively, even the most vulnerable and intimate problems can be tackled.
Here are some possible solutions to addressing challenges in your sex life:
- Sex therapy. If you feel particularly confused or upset, sometimes professional help is the best. Just as experts can help with depression and anxiety, sex therapists can offer insight and help you process feelings and emotions in a healthy way. Sex therapy is different from sex coaching, which you may also benefit from. Sex coaches help you navigate vulnerable conversations about your own pleasure, how to climax more, and how to better enjoy sex with your partner.
- Porn. One of the many benefits of porn is seeing new partners, new people and new experiences. It’s a safe way to experience that new-car thrill without actually meeting people in real life. It’s also a good way to get inspiration; Dipsea, Bellesa, and Make Love Not Porn are great places for feminist porn that won’t leave women and people with vaginas feeling objectified or crazy for not being interested in being jackhammered with no foreplay.
- Experimentation. Have you ever had sex in a lusty pirate costume? Ever been to a sex dungeon? You never know what you’re into until you experiment. There’s nothing worse than boring sex, and while it can take some time to find new tricks, positions or places you love, it’s worth the journey. Try having sex outdoors, blindfolded and in total silence, or upside down. It doesn’t matter how crazy it gets as long as both parties consent and are down to play.
- Toys. Similar to experimentation, toys can make intimacy more exciting. Toys help with role play (think: blindfolds, ball gags, nipple clamps, wax candles, etc. etc.) and assist in exploring new kinks. Toys also provide extra stimulation and can make orgasms easier and more interesting. The best toys for women and people with vaginas include clitoral and G-spot stimulation; that’s exactly how we designed Osé. Others can be used to provide a boost during partner play; Onda delivers an intimate caress to the G-spot, while Baci leads to bliss through pure clitoral suction. If you’re looking for an award-winning woman-designed sex toy, we’ve got you covered. There are multiple kinds of orgasms; challenging your partner to give you two new ones in a single session may be just the turn on you both need.
- Nonmonogamy. This option isn’t for everyone, but some couples benefit from open relationships and consensual non-monogamy. There are many forms non-monogamy can take; it would be reductive to try and name them all. Still, some couples might enjoy bringing in a third, dating, or swinging. The options are limitless, but it requires a lot of…
- Communication. Of all the possible routes to explore, non-monogamy requires a lot of honesty, vulnerability and communication. For some couples, it removes stress and pressure. But no matter what you choose to explore, you’ll need to talk about it. You can’t try kinky role play or explore new desires and experiences without consent. And without communication, there’s no consent. There’s no way around it; hard conversations are the rock-solid foundation of every relationship. You may chat in private or with the guidance of a therapist, but all these solutions stem from this. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend, which “best G-spot dildo” or award-winning sex toy you buy. Communication is everything.
You are worth the effort, communication and work it takes to solve problems, and you deserve a partner who will do the work with you. With that effort and some solution-focused problem-solving, you and your partner can weather anything you choose to.