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Could a pre-flight hook up cure your fear of flying?

Thirteen hours trapped in a flying metal box. She hugs her glass of wine closer. He approaches her at the airport bar and offers a “scientifically proven” cure.


Overheard at the bar in Melbourne Airport: 

“Where you heading?” 



“Is it that obvious?” 

“You know it’s scientifically proven that sex can cure flight anxiety.”


If she falls for that, I reckon I could get her a good deal on purchasing Sydney Opera House. By the time I leave, they’re chatting, heads close. Maybe I could throw in the Harbour Bridge, I think.


But while I wait for my flight, I check with Professor Google and it turns out his line may have a ring of truth.


According to veteran airline pilot-turned licensed therapist Tom Bunn, a bit of pre-flight hanky panky may produce enough oxytocin to alieve symptoms of those who suffer from a flying phobia.


“I had a male client who said he had a fear of flying for seven years,” Bunn, who founded the SOAR program to help people with a fear of flying, told Yahoo. 


“Every time he flew he was totally miserable, except for one time when, before he came back from a business trip, he hooked up with someone. He said they didn’t get any sleep. They made love all night long and he dragged himself out of bed onto the airplane and had a perfectly anxiety-free flight.”


Bunn cited an MIT study published in Science Daily which showed that the hormone oxytocin shuts down the part of the brain, the amygdala, where serotonin helps process fearful memories.


Apparently your body tends to produce oxytocin when you’re a mother nursing a baby and right before and right after you’ve had sex. Not everyone can breastfeed, but as for the other stuff, Bunn believes oxytocin’s fear-suppressing ability was the key factor in his client’s post-coital, anxiety-free flight. 


“He was still producing oxytocin because of his intense, all-night experience,” Bunn suggested.


“Maybe he was still picking up her scent. But whatever it was, he produced oxytocin through the whole flight. He was fine.”


If you think the whole thing’s a crock, at least you’ve got a good topic for conversation next time you’re at an airport bar...


Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 5 November 2018

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