Science writer Patricia Barnes-Svarney is used to getting a lot of questions. Questions like “why do women crave more sex in the summer?” and “why is a guy with good dance moves so appealing?” and “are my friends bad for my love life?”
In her book published last month, Why Do Women Crave More Sex in the Summer? 112 Questions That Women Keep Asking — and That Keep Everyone Else Guessing, Patricia Barnes-Svarney answers all those and more, tackling 112 questions about women (and women and men) and the science behind the answers. Her timing was great: “Until just a couple decades ago, there were very few studies about women’s science—most of the research was conducted with men or a combination of men and women,” Barnes-Svarney explains. “Now (finally!) there are many studies that include more, or only concentrate on, women—from youth to maturity.”
We couldn’t include all 112, but here are our top three most intriguing insights from the book:
1. Women really do crave more sex during the summer.
Okay, so you may have guessed that from the title of the book. But did you know that part of the reason we get all hot and bothered during the summer is school? We’re conditioned to respond to the “bell”—when school’s out, we’re ready to play, and we feel that urge even as adults. Add to that the tighter, skin-baring clothes and the mood-boosting effects of the sun, and you’ve got a recipe for feeling frisky.
2. Falling in love comes at a cost.
The cost: two friends, to be exact. Researchers found that when new romance comes into a person’s life, their circle of close friends loses two people on average. One explanation is the need for emotional contact, which fuels the maintenance of your friendships—and which you need less of when you have a new love interest.
3. Pregnancy makes your brain smaller.
“Pregnancy brain” is no myth—there’s a reason you feel so foggy when you’ve got a bun in the oven. According to a study in the American Journal of Neuroradiology, a woman’s brain volume decreases by about four percent during pregnancy (one study specified that this occurred during the third trimester), as the brain restructures itself. But don’t worry—it returns to normal size within six months after the baby is born. And the coolest thing? Even though the brain shrinks in some areas, the forebrain that’s responsible for problem-solving and higher reasoning actually gets bigger and better!