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Couples who spank together stay together - such is the conclusion of two separate pieces of research, reported in the latest edition of New Scientist.

According to the report, Brad Sagarin of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb attended an S&M party in Arizona, where he and his colleagues measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 13 men, before, during and after participating in activities. They found that during S&M scenes, cortisol rose significantly in those receiving stimulation – but dropped back to normal within 40 minutes if the scene went well.

Meanwhile, at an S&M event in Colorado, more research found congruent results. Testosterone was measured in 45 men and women, and found to increase significantly in women who were on the receiving end of the spanking. According to Donatella Marazziti of the University of Pisa, Italy, this boost may help women cope with the aggressive nature of S&M activities - or it could be another sign of stress.

In any case, couples in both studies who enjoyed the parties also claimed to feel closer in their relationship. The bottom line being: where couples enjoy spanking, not only do stress hormones rapidly return to normal, they also appear to experience increased intimacy.

However, Professor Wiseman, of the University of Herts, an expert in Quirkology and a renowned researcher in the fields of luck and the paranormal, claimed that almost any shared activity is likely to promote interpersonal closeness. He said "It doesn't have to be tying up your partner or placing clamps on their nipples, it could be something as simple as cooking a meal together or even doing the housework as a duo."

At time of writing, we have been unable to clarify the effects of combining sado-masochistic activity with housework. ®

Bootnote

In other news from the New Scientist, Professor Andrew Krockenburger of Queensland’s James Cook University commented on reports that the Australian lemuroid ringtail possum, which had been widely reported as the first possible extinction casualty of climate change, was in fact still alive and kicking. "They have a very limited range – most likely due to an inability to tolerate high temperatures – so they are at risk from future temperature extremes," he said.

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