The Coolidge effect, named after the 30th president of the United States, has nothing to do with labor relations, economics, or leadership, but with an aspect of sexual behavior. Specifically, it refers to the phenomenon present in many animal species whereby exhausted males after mating experience a renewed interest in sex if a new female is available to them.
In technical terms, males show a shorter refractory period if a new partner is introduced, that is, the time that elapses between one mating and another is shorter.
Origin of the Coolidge effect
The Coolidge effect was observed in the 1960s in an experiment conducted by scientists at the University of California. During the investigation, some psychologists working with mice introduced a female into the cage of a male who had been prevented from copulating for a long time. The male mouse mounted the female and repeated the act several times until apparently collapsing from sexual exhaustion.
The surprise appeared when the psychologists introduced a new female in the cage . At that point, the male had intercourse with the female mouse repeatedly until, once again, he was exhausted. However, when a third female was introduced into the cage, the previous situation was repeated again.
This experiment is a demonstration of the powerful effect of novelty on attraction and sexual performance. Although the Coolidge effect is more consistent in males, this phenomenon has produced similar results in females, albeit to lesser degrees. This fact was demonstrated by Boris Gorzalka and Gillian Lester’s team in subsequent research in which they developed a similar model using hamsters instead of mice.
How the Coolidge effect influences relationships
The Coolidge effect symbolically describes the effect of novelty in the field of seduction and attraction. In this case, the seducer is attracted by the novelty and this, in turn, generates novelty for the partner, therefore, the “novelty effect” appears stronger than the “habit effect on the partner”. On a biological level, the “novelty” effect in many animal species produces a rapid increase in testosterone and dopamine in males when faced with a new female to “conquer”:
Seduction is an adventure capable of following new and surprising paths. In the same way, there are always hidden corners to discover and explore, which is why a person who comes from abroad can exert a particular attraction, since it represents an unknown world, capable of exciting fantasy and imagination. It is the famous allure of the exotic that increases curiosity, due to both biological and cultural differences.
As a result, the feeling of novelty is an attraction multiplier and an excellent signal to understand the pattern of seduction. As long as the seducer makes her partner feel “new”, the passion will fuel their relationship . However, when routine, boredom and indifference dominate the relationship, it may mean the end of attraction and seduction.
How to avoid the Coolidge effect in your relationship
The Coolidge effect refers only to the physiological component of sexuality, that is, sexual behavior. A caged mouse has no interest in sexual activity other than reproduction. Fortunately, we are not caged rats or presidential chickens. For human beings, on the other hand, sex is another way of relating to one another in which our fears, desires, expectations, needs for confirmation or closeness can intervene, as well as protection and dedication, among other factors.
Is there a way to avoid the Coolidge effect? Our partner is a person with whom we have spent a lot of time, so we know their habits and can predict their reactions. On a sexual level, we know your body, what you like and what you don’t. If a couple gets bored, it may be because they only show themselves in the most superficial layers, or because they have lost the desire to experiment. For this reason, one of the most effective ways to prevent your partner from feeling bored is to ask yourself if you are taking the other person for granted and begin to change the dialogue to discover what they really think, feel, want, fear.
Another way to avoid the Coolidge effect in your relationship is to change the routine . The feeling of security in the couple is very good, but repeating the same thing day after day does not favor discovery and can cause stagnation in the relationship.