Sex spurs spirituality in men, makes them more likely to believe in God, new study shows


Pray after sex?

That's not entirely a novel idea as far as researchers from Duke University in North Carolina are concerned.

In fact, their latest study showed that having more sex makes men more devout and more likely to pray, according to the university's publication Duke Today.

The study found that sex can be a truly religious experience, making men more likely to believe in God, the Sun reports.

The researchers said their findings are based on science. They found that the "love hormone" called Oxytocin is stimulated during sex, heightening love and affection and that this hormone is connected to spiritual beliefs.

According to medical experts, oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus and acts as a hormone and as a neurotransmitter, affecting many regions of the brain. It is a naturally occurring chemical produced by skin on skin contact, which promotes social bonding, trust and feelings of well-being.

It turned out that the hormone has even greater powers. Dr. Patty Van Cappellen, the lead author of the Duke study, said they found out that oxytocin could also incite spirituality in men.

"Oxytocin appears to be part of the way our bodies support spiritual beliefs," she said.

In the study, men were given the hormone while others received a placebo. Those who took the hormone were more likely to say afterwards that spirituality was important in their lives and that life has meaning and purpose, the researchers said.

Participants who received oxytocin were also more inclined to view themselves as interconnected with other people and living things, giving higher ratings to statements such as "All life is interconnected" and "There is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people," the study said.

The male test subjects also participated in a guided meditation. Those who received oxytocin reported experiencing more positive emotions during meditation, including awe, gratitude, hope, inspiration, interest, love and serenity, Cappellen said.

She said the study participants were all male, and that the findings apply only to men.

She explained that oxytocin operates somewhat differently in men and women, adding that oxytocin's effects on women's spirituality still needs to be investigated.

The results of the study appear online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.