Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Tue September 15 2015

Is Sex The Cure For A Fear Of Flying?

Features & Advice | Rich Thomaselli | September 15, 2015

Is Sex The Cure For A Fear Of Flying?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock






A fear of flying is no joke and passengers have tried everything – and a combination thereof – to get over their nerves about getting on an airplane.

Tom Bunn thinks he has a new answer.

The former pilot-turned-licensed-therapist runs the SOAR program for those afflicted with a fear of flying, and he thinks it could be a simple case of … how shall we put this … a night of procreation beforehand.

“I had a male client who said he had a fear of flying for seven years,” Bunn told Yahoo Travel. “Every time he flew he was totally miserable, except for one time when, before he came back from a business trip, he hooked up with someone. He said they didn’t get any sleep. They made love all night long and he dragged himself out of bed onto the airplane and had a perfectly anxiety-free flight.”

There’s some science behind all of this. In a condensed version, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explored the idea of memory consolidation — the process by which our brains process and record traumatic events. Those who have a fear of flying naturally have more anxiety.

“If a person is chronically anxious, it doesn’t take much serotonin for them to consolidate memory,” Bunn told Yahoo Travel. “It happens really fast.”

In order to prevent traumatic memories from consolidating in the brain, Bunn said the body can do that by producing another chemical: oxytocin, a hormone that plays a big role in sex and reproduction by bonding us to other humans.

See where we’re going with this?

According to Yahoo, Bunn believes oxytocin’s fear-suppressing ability was the key factor in his client’s post-coital, anxiety-free flight.

“He was still producing oxytocin because of his intense, all-night experience,” Bunn said. “Maybe he was still picking up her scent. But whatever it was, he produced oxytocin through the whole flight. He was fine.”

So there you have it. More sex. Less anxiety.

In theory, of course.


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