A few weeks ago, while I was writing about the sensation created by the release of the "bonding hormone" oxytocin at orgasm, I attracted the attention of a dear friend and major geek, whom we will call Bill. His wife is, um, Bachael. "Bachael and I have long been fans of the "warm gooey" feelings (as you so aptly described them) created by sex," wrote Bill. "Turns out: you can get these feelings from your partner cooking you a really, really good meal, too. Who knew?"
"Oh yeah?" I responded. "Is there research?"
So he sent this:
R___g, B., "The Way to a Man's Heart: Field Trial of a New Stuffing Recipe," Journal of Warm Gooey Feelings, Vol. 12, No. 11, November 2008, p. 23.
Subject (n=1, a 43-year-old domesticated male) was conditioned with ethanol and fed an experimental diet consisting of stuffing and baked chicken to examine changes in behavior and neurochemistry. The chicken diet had been previously tested on the subject with good results but the stuffing was novel to this laboratory and was created as published in . During the course of the experiment the subject was heard to make auditory noises commonly associated with sexual pleasure and exhibited "clingy" behavior toward his mate. Subject then exhibited postprandial narcolepsy and went to sleep at 8:15 p.m. while muttering endearments to his wife.
 "Italian Chard Stuffing", Sunset, November 2008, p. 79.
Hey. I thought it was funny. You don't have to. Bill also sent along a New York Times article (www.nytimes.com/2008/11/24/us/24sex.html) which I had read and meant to get to. It was about a pastor in Texas who assigned his married parishioners seven days of warm gooeyness: the Rev. Young, an author, a television host and the pastor of the evangelical Fellowship Church, issued his call for a week of "congregational copulation" among married couples Nov. 16, while pacing in front of a large bed. Sometimes he reclined on the paisley coverlet while flipping through a Bible, emphasizing his point that it is time for the church to put God back in the bed.
Since I don't believe in God, I ought to find the idea of tucking up under the covers with him no more discomfiting than cuddling up with the Easter Bunny or Harvey or any other invisible rabbit, and yet I do. Then again, if you're comfortable with making room for invisible rabbits or comfortably capable of ignoring that part of the plan, the pastor is indubitably right. More sex does make for more intimacy, which does make for a better marriage or marriage-equivalent (you'll notice that the latter is not included in the prescription).
"If you've said 'I do,' do it," Young said. As for single people, he said, "I don't know, try eating chocolate cake." Lame, if you ask me. But, of course, it is not the job of a pastor in Texas to address the relationship-maintenance issues of the sin-living and the homo-sekshual. It's mine, though, and at the risk of pointing out the tediously obvious, the same goes for all persons of coupledom.
The article cannot help but mention two books I'd been meaning to get to, 365 Nights and Just Do It, competing memoirs by members of married couples who agreed to have sex every night for a specified period (a solid year for the Mullers and 101 days for the Browns). Both couples claim that getting a book out of it never crossed their minds at first, and despite my generally jaundiced view of people who relate the super-intimate details of their lives on daytime TV, I do believe them. It's tempting but probably unfair to lump the Browns and the Mullers in with stunt-memoirists like A.J.