Understanding the Sex-Money Connection…

Money and sex are more closely tied than you may have first suspected, and there’s scientific research to back that up. A new brain-scan study showed that when young men were shown erotic pictures, they were more likely to take a bigger financial gamble than if they were shown a picture of something scary.

Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, the arousing pictures lit up the same part of the brain that also lit up when financial risks are taken.

The Sex and Money Study

The study involved 15 heterosexual young men at Stanford University and focused on the sex and money “hub” of the brain, which is near the base of the brain and plays a central role in what you consider to be pleasurable.

When the erotic images activated that hub, the men were far more likely to bet high on a random chance game that would earn them either a dollar or a dime.

The Triggers

Stanford psychologist Brian Knutson, a lead author of the study, says the trigger doesn’t HAVE to be sex. It could just as easily be something like a winning lotto ticket, good food or delicious dessert. Basically, he says, it’s all about the power of emotion and arousal and our financial decisions.

“It didn’t matter if the sexy woman didn’t tell you anything about the odds of winning a roulette game,” he explained. “What really matters is that the sexy woman is having an emotional impact. That bleeds over into your financial decisions.”

Part of a fulfilled life and relationship is keeping these emotional triggers, whatever they may be, from spilling over into your financial decisions too much. Letting sex, or food, for example, affect your financial relationship can have a severe impact on your emotional relationship. As I talk about in my book, Financial Infidelity, what typically leads to multiple types of infidelity, whether it be sexual, financial, emotional, etc, is a need for a thrill.

Thrill Seeking Behavior

Thrill seeking behavior, as this study shows, can be triggered by sex or sexual images and the reasons at at the root of this behavior can often be tied to stress and fear.

When it comes to financial infidelity, one person may use money or shopping to relieve the stress of a bad day at work, a fight in a relationship, any one of a number of things. These things are similar triggers to what can cause a sexual affair, as well.

The bottom line is, there are  behaviors going on behind the back of one of the partners. Obviously honesty is important, and it’s VERY important to be honest and not let the stresses, problems and temptations in your relationship get to the point of an infidelity! Learning how to talk through things you face, both as an individual and a couple, can be crucial to building a strong relationship.


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