Talking after sex: Why pillow talk is important

Pillow talk is more important than you might think. Discover the benefits of pillow talk and tips to make the most out of it.

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Pillow talk - the sweet, intimate conversations we share in the afterglow of sex - is more important than you might think. It’s not just about telling each other how much you enjoyed the night or rating the sex. Pillow talk has the power to strengthen and deepen your bond with your partner.

In this article, we’ll look at why pillow talk is important and how to make the most out of it.

Learn more about the importance of emotional and physical intimacy in relationships with our comprehensive guide.

What is pillow talk?

Pillow talk can be described as affectionate conversations that couples share after sex. This intimate exchange is a form of relationship maintenance behavior and plays an important role in fostering emotional intimacy. 1

Relationship maintenance behavior includes various actions people take to maintain their relationships. They can be strategic, meaning that there’s a clear intent to maintain or improve the relationship, or routine behavior without the specific goal of maintaining or improving the relationship. 2

Examples of pillow talk

Pillow talk can take on many forms, from deep, meaningful conversations to lighthearted banter. Here are some examples of what pillow talk can look like:

1. Sharing thoughts and feelings: Couples can use pillow talk to discuss their thoughts and feelings about the recent sexual experience, their relationship in general, or other matters. Research has shown that sharing thoughts and feelings with your partner is linked to greater relational and sexual satisfaction. 2

2. Going over shared memories: Couples can also use pillow talk to reminisce over shared memories, funny stories from the past, or other enjoyable topics.

3. Sharing stories about each other’s day: Pillow talk doesn’t always have to be deep. Couples can also use pillow talk to catch up with each other and share highlights from their day.

4. Discussing plans and dreams for the future: Many couples use pillow talk to discuss their plans and dreams for the future. This could include planning vacations and talking about their hopes for the relationship.

5. Expressing love and affection: Pillow talk is a great opportunity for couples to express their love and affection for each other. Whether it’s through words or physical affection, expressing love and appreciation for your partner is crucial for a successful relationship.

Learn how to be more affectionate in a relationship.

6. Asking random questions: Pillow talk can also be playful and lighthearted. There are no strict rules as to what pillow talk can or should look like. Couples should feel free to ask each other random questions, tell silly jokes, or just lie in silence and enjoy the moment.

Talking about sex can also be part of pillow talk. Here are tips on how to talk about sex with your partner!

Benefits of pillow talk

Pillow talk offers more than just an opportunity to bond with your partner. A study from 2012 found that couples who share positive thoughts and feelings with their partners during pillow talk also report higher levels of trust, relationship satisfaction, and emotional closeness. 3

1. Greater relationship and sexual satisfaction

Research supports the idea that verbal communication post-sex is linked with both greater relationship and sexual satisfaction. 3

Pillow talk might encourage couples to be more honest and open with each other, which in turn increases their sexual and relationship satisfaction.

2. Fosters intimacy and bonding

Research has consistently shown that positive communication is an important factor when it comes to facilitating emotional and sexual intimacy in romantic relationships. 6

Pillow talk is no exception. It creates an intimate and bonding space for couples to share their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. It has the power to bring couples closer together and foster emotional intimacy. 3

Discover how to build emotional intimacy in a relationship.

3. Promotes trust and understanding

Trust is a fundamental cornerstone of long-term romantic relationships. 7 Pillow talk has been found to be associated with greater trust in one’s partner, which is crucial for a successful and healthy relationship. 3

Pillow talk is associated with many positive relationship outcomes. It encourages couples to be open and honest with each other, fosters intimacy and promotes trust and understanding.

5 tips for having meaningful pillow talk

Pillow talk can be a great way to connect with your partner and enhance both your relationship and your sex life. Here are tips on how to make the most of it:

1. Take your time

Don’t rush through these intimate moments. A study found that couples who engaged longer in affectionate behavior, including pillow talk, reported higher relationship satisfaction. 8

So, take your time and enjoy the closeness and intimacy that pillow talk brings.

2. Sexual pleasure is important

Research suggests that having an orgasm might be an important predictor of pillow talk. This is largely due to the release of the hormone Oxytocin, which is linked to prosocial behaviors like trust and empathy. The surges that follow orgasm may also promote intimate communication between partners. 2

So, these are all good reasons to make sure your partner is well taken care of during sex.

Discover tips on how to rekindle your sex life.

3. Focus on the positives

When it comes to pillow talk, try to keep the conversation positive. Research suggests that expressing positive feelings and thoughts about your partner during pillow talk is linked to positive relationship outcomes. 2

4. Be present in the moment

Drawing from the principles of mindfulness - a practice emphasizing conscious awareness and presence - being truly “present” during pillow talk can be immensely beneficial. 9

Mindfulness is linked to overall greater well-being. Specifically, it’s associated with greater life satisfaction, self-esteem, and optimism and lower neuroticism, anxiety, and depression. 9

To sum up, engaging with your partner mindfully, with full attention to the present moment, can elevate the experience and lead to increased well-being, positivity, and satisfaction for both individuals involved.

5. Make it a habit

Like any other beneficial routine, the more frequently you indulge in pillow talk, the better you’ll become at it, and the more you’ll reap its benefits.

Regularly making time for these intimate conversations can cement it as a relationship-strengthening habit, promoting continuous growth and understanding between partners.

Communication - whether it’s sexual or not - is a key factor in successful and fulfilling relationships. If you want to work on your communication skills as a couple, check out our complete guide on communication in a relationship.

  1. Denes, A., Crowley, J. P., Winkler, K., Dhillon, A., Ponivas, A. L. P., & Bennett, M. E. (2020). Exploring the effects of pillow talk on relationship satisfaction and physiological stress responses to couples’ difficult conversations. Communication Monographs, 87(3), 267–290. ↩︎

  2. Denes, A., Dhillon, A., & Speer, A. C. (2016). Relational maintenance strategies during the post sex time interval. Communication Quarterly, 65(3), 307–332. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. Denes, A. (2012). Pillow Talk: Exploring disclosures after Sexual activity. Western Journal of Communication, 76(2), 91–108. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  4. MacNeil, S., & Byers, E. S. (2009). Role of Sexual Self-Disclosure in the sexual satisfaction of Long-Term Heterosexual Couples. Journal of Sex Research, 46(1), 3–14. ↩︎

  5. Meeks, B. S., Hendrick, S. S., & Hendrick, C. (1998). Communication, love and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 15(6), 755–773. ↩︎

  6. Yoo, H., Bartle-Haring, S., Day, R. D., & Gangamma, R. (2013). Couple communication, emotional and sexual intimacy, and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 40(4), 275–293. ↩︎

  7. Holmes, J. G., & Rempel, J. K. (1989). Trust in close relationships. In C. Hendrick (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology (pp. 187-220). London: Sage. ↩︎

  8. Muise, A., Giang, E., & Impett, E. A. (2014). Post sex affectionate exchanges promote sexual and relationship satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(7), 1391–1402. ↩︎

  9. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848. ↩︎ ↩︎

Author picture of Janet Smith
Dating Expert

Janet Smith

Janet Smith is a freelance writer who writes about psychology, relationships, and dating. She has always been interested in understanding the human brain and how it affects our …

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