Why playing hard to get doesn't work

In an experiment, both women and men expressed more sexual desire for each other if they thought their partner was more responsive. Photo / Getty
In an experiment, both women and men expressed more sexual desire for each other if they thought their partner was more responsive. Photo / Getty

Playing hard to get and keeping potential lovers at arm's length will not lead to more sex, according to new research.

Scientists say that acting aloof in a bid to increase desire in a potential lover does not work.

Giving potential lovers the cold shoulder and pretending not to be interested does not mean they will come running back for more, according to the new study.

Researchers at the Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel, made the claims after quizzing couples on what made them more sexually attracted to a partner.

They found that chatting and being interested in the conversation of a boyfriend or girlfriend also increased sexual interest.

The study called Intimately Connected: The Importance of Partner Responsiveness for Experiencing Sexual Desire, confirmed that sexual desire gradually subsides over time.

The results, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, came about through a three-part study, handed to student newspaper The Tab.

Subjects from 153 couples had a 10 minute online chat with each other, after which they filled out a form to say whether they felt their partner cared for them during the discussions.

Then they filled out a second form with researchers to say how much they wanted to do sexual activities with their partner.

The results showed "women experienced greater desire while interacting with a responsive partner than while interacting with an unresponsive one", whereas men generally had more sexual interest but it didn't depend on how responsive their "girlfriend" was.

The second experiment consisted of 178 straight couples having face-to-face conversations about life events.

It showed both women and men expressing more sexual desire for each other if they thought their partner was more responsive.

However there was less sexual attraction when partners told sad stories as apparently, "the individual focuses on personal weaknesses or stressors".

The last part of the study focused on 100 straight couples who wrote a daily diary.

Gurit Birnbaum of the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology in Israel, said: "We asked both members of romantic couples to complete a nightly diary for six weeks in which they recorded the quality of their relationship, their perceptions of partner responsiveness and mate value, their sense of feeling special, and their desire to engage in sex with their partner.

"This allowed them to assess whether responsiveness directly correlated to an increase in sexual desire over time."

On "responsive days", women and men both sexually desired their partners more if they felt "special".

- Daily Telegraph UK

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