The Coolidge Effect versus The Obama Effect

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Have you heard of the Coolidge Effect? It is, in fact, named after our 30th President, who entered office after Harding kicked the bucket. The rumor (or old joke, take your pick) is that the President and his wife were visiting a chicken farm. The wife noticed that one of the roosters was getting it on quite a bit during her visit, (cue “Brown Chicken Brown Cow”) and asked the farmer the approximate frequency of its love-humping. “Up to fifteen times a day,” the farmer replied proudly, because that’s what this farmer lives for, having his roosters hump hens to oblivion to create a ton of egg-abortions for your breakfast. “Please tell that to the President,” said his wife. The farmer did what he was told and informed the president. The president asked, “The same hen?” “Oh NO,” replied the farmer. “Many, many different hens, Mr. President.” “Tell that to my wife,” says Coolidge, yuk-yuk. I mean yoke yoke. Oh dear.

So, the gist is, the frequency of making love to Coolidge’s wife has decreased over time, whereas the 30th President’s chicken-mistresses have increased ten-fold. Same partner, sex go bye bye. New partner, sex is super-happy-all-time! And even though the propensity tends to be more common in males (see any episode of Married…With Children), it can happen with females as well. It’s our cruel evolutionary imperative, it seems – the more diverse the genetic makeup of offspring, the better chance they have of surviving the Zombie apocalypse. Which is why with your current partner you may feel like a completely asexual couch potato that hasn’t bothered to shave in months, until that day you met Dave in Accounting and suddenly you need to get your nails done and your punani waxed before nightfall. Not personally speaking, of course.

Now, what if your long-suffering partner was indeed willing to fuck your brains out, every day, without fail? Would that offset the dreaded Coolidge Effect? Sadly, according to my new fave bathroom read Psychology Today, the answer is no, it gets worse: “Exhausting our sexual desire frequently speeds up the Coolidge Effect by setting us on recurring quests for surges of dopamine to counteract the periods of low dopamine that naturally occur after sexual satiation… The sad truth is that if your spouse isn’t having orgasmic sex with you as often as you’d like, he or she could be preserving your union by preventing you from satiating yourself sexually too frequently.” Crazy, huh? That old “not tonight dear, I have a headache” chestnut is actually keeping you dumb fucks together. So thank him/her for giving you the Heisman, at least it’ll make your tax deductions easier and keep your credit score above 600 for another year.

OK, so this dopamine is the dope drug, the one we’re all apeshit for, the one that makes for great episodes of “Intervention.” But now let’s go to the Obama Effect. I made this term up, because for an old married couple, (20 years and counting) Michelle and Barack sure seem to really…like each other. You can still imagine them getting it on (oh, like you haven’t?). In yet another article from Psychology Today (what do you want, I’ve been constipated), the key to staying together despite the decrease of dopamine is oxytocin, the “cuddle” hormone. It’s the true bonding stuff that you see on the Hallmark Channel: kissing, touching, hugging, physical affection, sleeping together as in…spooning. It’s the Teacup Ride versus Space Mountain. Maintaining bonding rituals on a daily basis maintains levels of oxytocin which can relieve stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Again, hate to say this, but just like weaning yourself off of an unhealthy sexual practice, letting go of the relentless pursuit of the almighty orgasm may actually be the key to preserving a long-lasting relationship, past the three-day/week/month mark.

Why do I suddenly feel like I may be writing myself out of a job?

Staying In Love, Monkey Style – Psychology Today

What If She Were Always In The Mood? Psychology Today

Sex: The Coolidge Effect BlogHer

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