Shine On

Is summer loving an empirically-based phenomenon?

Is summer loving an empirically-based phenomenon? (Thinkstock)There's nothing like the feeling you get on the first hot day of the year. You step outside in your considerably less cumbersome clothing, let the sun beam down on your face, feel a jolt of excitement because it's going to be a great summer, and - whoa! - did you see that absolute vision of corporeal hotness walking down the street?

There’s something transcendental that happens to human beings during that first warm weather rush, almost like a re-awakening of the senses after a long hibernation. It’s potent. It can turn us into ambulatory lust monsters. The great bards have even written songs about it.

But it turns out our amorous impulses may be rooted in science. Well, social science. OK, mostly anecdotal social science.

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According to LiveScience, experts have posited numerous theories about why we suddenly feel that spark in June, July and August and the reasons aren’t exactly surprising.

For starters, that skimpy wardrobe is giving people ideas. Naughty, naughty ideas. The more revealing clothing of summer is “triggering sexual arousal,” notes LiveScience.

You heard them, folks. The only way to keep those sexual advances away is to rock that snowsuit all year round.

On a less physically dependent note, Catherine Sanderson, a psychology professor at Amherst College, tells the website that the mere idea of summer holidays, and the potential break from the drudgery of regular life, can get that serotonin pumping. This is doubly applicable to students on summer break.

"Time spent with someone increases attraction in general — in a classroom, at the workplace, et cetera," she says. "But it also means that people may feel more free to engage in romantic and sexual experiences if ‘on break’ from their real life. You can see this anecdotally with spring break and summer romances."

Because we tend to socialize more in the summer, whether it’s hitting the patio after work or pursuing more outdoor activities on the weekend, this also increases our chances of meeting other people with whom we may entertain the notion of engaging in a little nookie (this is the proper scientific term for it).

Another factor are all those sleek, muscly, sweaty, be-Spandexed cyclists, joggers and rollerbladers. "People may exercise more in the summer due to warmer weather and that can increase feelings of arousal, simply by the act of doing arousing activities," Sanderson adds.

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Despite this constant parade of sexiness, however, data shows that summer may actually be something of a relationship killer. Data compiled by Facebook between 2010 and 2011 reveals that the number of breakups reported by users skyrocketed between May and August compared to any other time during the year.

When you think about it, this finding is completely consistent with LiveScience’s evidence. With all that potential for summer lovin’ it’s tempting to explore the options.

The one major wrench in this sexy theory: Birth rates. With all those pheromones baking in the heat, you’d expect a deluge of spring babies. As it turns out, summer is also the prime time for new life to emerge from the birth canal. According to mathematics and biology, this means autumn and winter serve as key baby-making time and not summer.

Which makes sense. Because if you don’t have an air conditioning unit in your place of residence, chances are you feel exactly like Tina in Do The Right Thing every time your own Mookie starts putting on the moves.

For more tips on the best places to meet a date, watch "Let's Talk About Love" with Niecy Nash.


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