In movies and TV shows, spring and summer time is often conveyed as the season of love. Whether it’s picking flowers together or spending a lazy afternoon at the beach, great weather gives people infinite opportunities to explore their sensual sides. But is there a scientific reason as to why better weather is associated with love? For this week’s bit of myth busting, we explore if weather actually has a significant impact on one’s propensity for romance.
Scientists have found that there’s a correlation between certain vitamins and libido. Vitamin D—nicknamed the "sunshine vitamin"—has been shown to boost testosterone levels and subsequently stimulate libidos. Though there are plenty of foods that are packed with Vitamin D, exposure to sunlight also leads to higher levels of the vitamin. When you’re spending more time having a picnic at the park, sunbathing at the beach or running, you increase your Vitamin D levels just by being outside.
In addition to raising testosterone, Vitamin D has been shown to improve blood circulation, which is frequently cited as an important factor for sustaining an erection. A 2015 study found that Vitamin D deficiencies appeared in 35% of men experiencing impotence and that men who had lower levels of the vitamin were 32% more likely to have erectile dysfunction. However, the scientists behind the research project stressed that there’s an explicit causation and that Vitamin D levels is one of many potential reasons for ED.
In a piece for Glamour, Harvard medical school psychiatrist Ashwini Nadkarni said that, “Sunlight has been shown to have an association with serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in the ability to experience pleasure.” Serotonin has been called the “happy chemical” because of its impact on one’s mood. Lower levels of serotonin could lead to depression, anxiety and loss of memory.
There are three kinds of erections: Reflexive, nocturnal and psychogenic. Though reflexive and nocturnal are biological, psychogenic erections are linked to one’s mindset and response to images, foreplay and contexts. Even if someone is biologically able to get aroused, there could be psychological reasons like depression, anxiety and trauma that also lead to impotence.
Some people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a condition in which people overeat, oversleep and have lower energy in seasons with less sun. However, there has been some research showing that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. Some people, in fact, experience SAD during the spring and summer.
One study tested the notion that sunniness equates to happiness by comparing the happiness levels of people in the Midwest with California. The study found that Californians weren’t happier than Midwesterners and that the weather ranked fairly low in reasons as to why people were satisfied with their lives. Though there are definitely libido boosting chemicals that are released when the sun is out, there’s no substantial evidence that brighter weather means that this is the case for everyone.
By and large, Americans tend to exercise more during the summer and spring. Though there’s evidence that summer can make people lazier and warmer climates are harder to work out in, sunnier climates encourage people to exercise more frequently.
Men who exercise more often have been shown to have higher levels of sexual desire and stamina. Why? Because when you exercise, endorphins your body that reduce depression, stress and anxiety are released. A Finnish study found people that exercise two to three times a week were less depressed and angry.
Additionally, staying in shape can boost your self-esteem and raise your confidence in the bedroom. Regularly working out also helps out with your blood circulation, which could strengthen your erections.
Though there are plenty of solid reasons as to why spring and summer are associated with romance and arousal, it’s impossible to account for everyone’s reaction to the change of seasons. Some people might thrive when the sun’s out, while others are at their best nuzzled up in their rooms during the colder months. In addition, all the positive, libido-boosting aspects of spring and summer don’t have to be limited to sunnier months. Just because warmer climates make it easier for you to go for a jog or play a spontaneous game of basketball with friends doesn’t mean you can’t do these things during colder and darker months.
Although spring and summer does boost some people’s libido, waiting for the seasons to change isn’t a full-proof way to combat things like the winter blues, SAD or all the things associated with it—stifled sex drive, depression, anxiety and even ED. People that are suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), don’t have to just wait for sunnier months to be happier. There are plenty of fantastic ways to help mitigate those issues like therapy, light boxes, dawn simulators and prescription medications.