Serotonin is the body’s key antidepressant chemical and one of the major reasons people feel happy and relaxed after sex. If the stay-at-home mother-of-three from Harrow in Middlesex goes without sex for longer than two weeks she becomes snappy and aggressive with everyone, even strangers.‘I’ll shout at people taking too long in the queue in front of me at the supermarket,’ says Collette, 36.
‘Last year I had to abandon my Christmas buys half way through shopping because there were too many people and they were driving me mad and I felt frustrated and angry with everyone.’But it is husband Michael who bears the brunt.
‘She’d shout at me for little things I had or hadn’t done, and because we both work full-time, it made everything so much harder.‘Before we had kids, we’d have a lot of sex, but now we’re tired and it’s more difficult.
I do miss it, too, but I don’t suffer without it as much as Corrinne does.’The only thing that could end the strained atmosphere was to get intimate.
One study published by psychologist Gordon Gallup in the American Archives of Sexual Behaviour linking regular sexual activity to emotional wellbeing, found that younger women felt more depressed the longer they hadn’t had sex.
This is because, like any exercise that raises your heart rate, sex causes your brain to release feel-good chemicals that boost your levels of serotonin — the happy hormone — to lift your mood.
’As well as feeling short-tempered, Collette claims a lack of intimacy affects her physically too.
‘I find myself waking more in the night and will feel so much more lethargic in the mornings,’ she says.
Even when we hadn’t had sex for just a week, I’d start to feel like we were drifting apart and it made me frustrated and angry.‘I worried about everything and whether our relationship was in trouble. I can see how couples could break up in these circumstances.’A ‘sex famine’ is something many exhausted parents can identify with, not to mention couples who’ve lapsed into lazy over-familiarity in long relationships.
The truth is we’re simply not making love as often as we used to.
‘It’s like we have entered the honeymoon period and for the next few days I’ll feel all happy and normal again.