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Credit: Pekic

The reward centers of our brains are complicated places. They can cause us to crave food or sex or the Republican presidential nomination for reasons we don’t even fully understand. But recent research suggests that oxytocin – a hormone that is believed to be tied to and possibly released during sexual activity may also be correlated to binge eating, with lower oxytocin levels signifying an increased proclivity towards overeating.

The study, simply titled “Oxytocin’s role in binge eating,” led by researcher Caroline Davis at York University, eventually did, in her words, “highlight the importance of oxytocin in overeating.” As Davis points out, “Oxytocin enhances prosocial and related behaviors. On the other hand, increases in oxytocin tend to decrease appetite—especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates." To put it in the simplest way possible, researchers found that people who had certain genetic markers for making oxytocin receptors were less inclined to binge eat. “These results support the role of genes in giving rise to traits that regulate behavior,” she was quoted as saying.

However, though oxytocin may be related to both sexual activity and to eating, the study does not appear to delve into determining any specific relation between the two. The website Munchies, for instance, insinuated that having sex to reduce binge eating might be “worth trying.” And First We Feast straight up suggested, “Having sex may reduce the urge to binge eat.”

My interpretation of the study is that though both of those suggestions might indeed be worth exploring, they’re probably a bit of a stretch. However, I will say that you are definitely less likely to be binge eating while you’re in the process of having sex. So at the very least, let’s just say that’s one way to cut down on your food consumption.