How ‘Get In My Belly’ Could Lead to ‘Get In My Bed’


A new study suggests that when a young woman's stomach is full, she's more receptive to romantic cues. Pete Cade/Getty Images
A new study suggests that when a young woman's stomach is full, she's more receptive to romantic cues. Pete Cade/Getty Images

The fastest way to the bedroom may be through the kitchen, at least when it comes to romance. For some women, telling food to “get in my belly” may lead to telling a partner to “get in my bed.”

After studying brain activity in women when they were hungry versus full, researchers at Drexel University discovered that the brains of college-age women lit up when viewing pictures of couples holding hands and showing affection. MRI imaging showed the reward centers in the women's brains were far more active and receptive to these romantic cues when the women had recently eaten and felt full.

The findings are of little surprise to Suzanna Mathews, a Kansas-based professional "dating coach" and matchmaker. “People must have intuited this connection between romance and a happy tummy before studies were ever conducted," she says, "because in nearly every culture and society across the timeline of human evolution, ‘courtship feeding' has been a common practice.”

The Drexel University findings were consistent among participants with full bellies, and suggest a link between eating and becoming romantically receptive. Researchers posit that the brain's neurocircuitry — the connections that recognize and respond to reward-rich stimuli — become more sensitive after eating.  This, in turn, creates greater receptivity when it comes to romantic notions.

The study built upon previous work that revealed women who had recently eaten — and who had a history of dieting — had greater brain responses to certain food cues than those who had not dieted. For example, in the earlier studies, participants who were dieting had stronger responses to highly palatable food cues, such as chocolate cake, than participants who were not dieting.

The takeaway? It's not only that “good clothes open all doors,” as Thomas Fuller once proposed. It's good food, too. And more: “Personally," says Mathews, "I think a little wine opens doors more effectively than a really full stomach.”

NOW THAT'S COOL 

Other studies have shown that when people are hungry, they are more sensitive to stimuli, though not necessarily of the romantic type.

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