Ever wondered why you light up like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer during sex. Well, there is no need to fear. You just have the sex flush going on.
You’re getting down and dirty with your partner. You stand up to grab a condom from the dresser across the room. On your way there you pass by your mirror and notice your skin looks like that time you fell asleep on the deck chair. Don’t panic, that bright red hue all over you is what’s called a sex flush or sex blush.
You’re shocked that you’re so red all over that it looks like you’re halfway through your second bottle of vodka.
Understanding the sex flush
We can assure you that it’s quite harmless and happens normally in such situations. With that out of the way, let’s look into some facts on how and why we get those bright red patches when having sex.
#1 What is a sex flush? As mentioned, sex flush is the noticeable reddening of the skin in certain parts of the body when it is in a state of sexual arousal. It appears all over the body as bright-pink to deep red swatches on certain parts of the body. Sometimes as small clusters of red blotches similar to the ones when you have an allergic reaction. [Read: 14 questions about sex most of us are too shy to ask]
#2 Where does it appear? When men get the sex flush, it usually appears on the chest, upper belly, face, ears, forearms, back, and his shoulders.
#3 Women are more likely to get the sex flush than men. Sexual flushing occurs to approximately 50-70% of females and 25% of males during intercourse. Aside from this, the signs of flushing on the body are more consistent among females compared to males.
#4 Sex flush is different from your average blush. Compared to the average person’s heat blush or drunken glow, sex blush has an intense red color. It becomes more apparent as the level of arousal increases. Think of it as something similar to the flush a person gets after running a full marathon.
#5 Sex flush is more obvious among fair-skinned people. The fairer the skin a person has, the more visible the blood vessels are to an observer. The sex flush happens to everyone though. It’s just more noticeable on fair-skinned people.
#6 Temperature also plays a role in getting a sex flush. The warmer the room where you have sex, the brighter your sexual flush will be. Cold temperatures on the other hand may make your sex flush less noticeably. They may even prevent it from appearing at all. [Read: The pop culture sex terms you should definitely know by now]
#7 Why does it happen? Flushing is a part of the human sexual arousal cycle. When a person gets sexually aroused, the circulatory system goes on overdrive to increase blood flow to certain areas of the body to prepare itself for an obviously exhausting physical activity.
This increased circulation manifests itself on the person’s skin where the blood vessels are more noticeable.
#8 Oxytocin is responsible for giving you the sex flush. Oxytocin is a hormone released by the brain during sexual activity. It is a hormone for feelings of love, bonding, trust, and intimacy associated with sexual intercourse. During arousal and especially during orgasm, the body has an increased surge of oxytocin all over which shows as that distinct red glow we are all familiar with.
#9 The closer the person is to orgasm, the brighter the sex flush will be. The closer a person is to orgasm, their heart rate and oxytocin levels also reaches its peak level, making the sex flush redder compared to the sex flush from the arousal stage.
#10 The sex flush can remain moments after sex. Flushing starts at the moment you realize sex is indeed going to happen. It ends after the body reaches a relaxed state following sexual intercourse.
As mentioned, Oxytocin brings forth the sex flush and that hormone remains in circulation for several minutes after orgasm. People retain that red glow after sex. Once the person’s heart rate goes to normal and passed the point of sexual arousal, the sex flush fades away as well. [Read: A few tiny fixes for the most jaw-dropping orgasms]
#11 Don’t like the appearance of having a sex flush? Here’s how to deal with it and tone it down.
**Turn down the air conditioning. As mentioned, the warmer it is, the more apparent your sex flush will be. If you want to get less of that tell-tale red glow, make sure that your room is pretty cool and comfy.
**Avoid using any warming lubricants or condoms. There are certain types of lubricants or condoms that add a little “heat” into the action. Using these kinds of products with warming substances may make your sex flush more obvious. If you don’t want to make the flushing more apparent, avoid using these products. [Read: The best lubricants sitting in your kitchen cupboard]
**Do use cooling lubricants and condoms. Mint-infused condoms and lubricants help cool the body down during sex. These help you lessen the appearance of the flush.
**Take a shower afterwards. To avoid the obvious sign you just had sex a few minutes ago, take a cool shower a few minutes after sex. Not only will this literally cool you down, but the cold water running all over your body relaxes your circulation and moves your body back to its relaxed state.
Sex flush is like an alarm beacon. It is the reddish glow you get all over. It is your body telling you you’re sexually aroused and ready for action. It’s a pretty normal bodily function and should be no cause for concern.
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Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul aka Morty is a keyboard-pounding cubicle-dweller based in Manila where he occasionally moonlights as a writer for anyone in need of his mediocre word-strin...