What is Pillow Talk? & Why You Should Get Involved

What is pillow talk in a relationship?
on November 14, 2023
Read time: 10 mins

No matter how great your sex life is, you should never take pillow talk off the agenda. 

Pillow talk in a relationship is often overlooked, with physical intimacy often prioritized over an obvious opportunity for emotional intimacy!

However, pillow talk is an important part of sexual aftercare, and shouldn’t be skipped if you’re intent on building that emotional connection with your partner. To ensure that you’re both fully satisfied after any sexual encounter, this kind of intimate conversation has to be part of that recipe for success! 

Key Takeaways
  • What does pillow talking mean? This phrase refers to the kinds of intimate conversations romantic partners have with each other after physical intimacy. Due to the relaxed setting, it’s often easier for couples to open up about topics they wouldn’t normally touch.
  • Pillow talking with your partner can be about anything and everything, including the sexual encounter itself, or whatever is going on in your life/relationship. It usually takes place after intimacy, when you’re both feeling the effects of the bonding hormone.
  • Pillow talk shouldn’t be overlooked, as this kind of communication is proven to lead to higher relationship satisfaction overall.

What is pillow talk? 

Pillow talk is the kind of relaxed, intimate conversation that occurs between sexual partners directly after sexual activity. As you’re lying there with your partner, it’s easier to be open and honest in a way that you usually wouldn’t be!

If you’re looking at old spy movies, this time is usually when secret information is revealed — when their opponent is at their most vulnerable. Or perhaps it’s the famous 1959 film with Doris Day and Rock Hudson that comes to mind when you think about pillow talk! 

However, in romantic relationships, pillow talk means sharing little details and expressing feelings to your partner in an intimate environment. 

During these quiet periods, it can feel easier to express your feelings as the intimacy of the moment stirs up feelings of trust, safety, and security. Studies go on to show that people experience increased emotion and intimacy after sex, making it easier to delve into deeper topics with their loved ones.

What can pillow talk be about?

The chats after physical intimacy can be about anything and everything, with both partners free to express themselves in whatever way they choose. 

Some examples of pillow talk topics include the sexual encounter itself (what they liked about what just happened!), how they’re feeling in the relationship overall, plans for the future, or just day-to-day topics that are on their mind! 

The definition of pillow talk alludes to more intimate topics being on the table, as the emotions in play can give partners the confidence and the opportunity to express themselves openly and honestly. 

Is pillow talk better before or after intimacy? 

Pillow talk commonly takes place after sexual intimacy, where both partners are cuddling and have the opportunity to express themselves from the safe environment of their partner’s embrace. The kind of pillow talk that takes place before intercourse is more commonly known as ‘dirty talk’ or as part of foreplay, and doesn’t feature the same kind of emotional revelations. 

Researchers Hughes and Kruger coined the term after physical intimacy as Post-Coital Time Interval (PCTI), locating this specific period as vital for pair bonding and establishing relationship commitment. The intimacy of these conversations has the power to make or break a relationship, as partner feel their most comfortable and intimate during these moments. 

According to research, the presence of an orgasm can greatly affect the positive nature of pillow talk. If you both reach orgasm, your bodies are filled with oxytocin, commonly known as the ‘love hormone’ or the ‘bonding hormone’. This study by interpersonal relationships expert Amanda Denes revealed that women who orgasmed disclosed more positive feelings to their partners after sexual activity than women who did not orgasm.

This aligns with the concept of ‘sexual afterglow’, which is a time of heightened emotional connection, bonding, and relaxation following intercourse with your romantic partner. Therefore, a healthy sex life can naturally contribute to a deeper emotional connection. 

However, the release of this hormone does not have the same impact on men, who may experience less romantic feelings post-sex. Therefore, if you ever felt like your man shied away from intimate conversation after intimacy, this might be why! 

Pillow talk can also vary depending on your relationship type, with the same study showing how couples in more committed relationships feel more comfortable in these moments — which aligns with a more developed level of emotional intimacy. 

Why is pillow talk important in a relationship? 

Pillow talk is an important aspect of any romantic relationship, as this one-on-one time allows couples to build on both their physical and emotional intimacy. 

According to research, couples who engage in these intimate behaviors (including pillow talk, snuggling post-sex, and kissing) report greater sexual and relationship satisfaction overall. Further research from 2019 indicates that couples who cuddle after sex are happier in their relationships overall. 

Pillow talk should be considered an important part of sexual aftercare, where couples take the time to show affection for each other after intercourse. These kinds of behaviors are particularly important for those who suffer from Postcoital Dysphoria, whereby one may feel sadness or irritability after being intimate with someone. 

Instead of turning away after sex, couples need to engage in these intimate conversations, to build on their romantic connection and make their partner feel loved, appreciated, and perhaps most importantly, respected. 

Therefore, even though it may be tempting to catch some shuteye or scroll on social media after a particularly sexy session, pillow talk shouldn’t be so quickly cut out! 

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