Can Laughter Be Better Than Sex?


I once had a gay boyfriend who believed he loved me because we spent every day creased over with unbridled laughter. Although my love was unrequited, the relationship produced a euphoric high not unlike those of any true love affair. And so I post the question – Can Laughter Be Better Than Sex?

Here are some known facts gathered from various reputable sources, (ok, the internet), that point to reasons why it just may be so:

  • Mutually shared bouts of laughter, bonds and builds a friendship.
  • Laughing burns calories. A 150-pound person will burn up somewhere between 10 and 40 calories if their hysterics add up to 15 minutes a day. (Of course, the same person will burn about 22 calories just by reading this hub, even if they don’t laugh at the attempted humor).  
  • Sex also burns calories, but it depends on the quality of the sex. Our healthy 150-pound person will burn 13 calories for 15 minutes of ho-hum sex. Bump it up to 30 minutes of wild jungle sex and he or she will burn 54 calories. So far, laughing is winning in the calorie department.
  • Both bodily activities, i.e. having sex and laughing, produce endorphins that strengthen the immune system and lessen the pain of many ailments including headaches and arthritis.
  • Laughing and sex both lower the levels of stress-causing hormones.
  • Test results from The Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Toronto, Canada, showed that in the female brain, the exact same zones are excited during both sex and laughter. I’m guessing that applies to gay guys too.
  • Other testing by the same university determined that the phases of laughter were very similar to phases of sexual excitement – on par with foreplay, heightened excitement and orgasm. That’s why both sex and a good belly laugh leave you pleasantly exhausted.

So tests seem to confirm what most of us already knew intuitively; that laughter and sex are both highly pleasurable and healthful.

Sex does have a distinct advantage over laughter when it comes to procreation. I never knew anyone who got pregnant from having a good laugh, unless of course they were having sex at the same time.


Whether you’re a scientist or merely an observer of human behavior, it seems to ring true that we all stir up major hormonal activity, whether laughing something off or hotly getting it on.

There’s also good non-scientific evidence pointing to the belief that one is compelled to tell jokes when afflicted with a case of raging hormones.

Take the disruptive kid in class who, much to everyone’s amusement, can’t control making clever remarks about the lesson, (or the teacher). Someone like that usually goes on to become a Nobel Prize winner, or at least, a brilliant stand-up comic.

Then there are the two kids in the back of the room who are always passing notes, trying to stifle an uncontrollable case of the giggles. They usually wind up getting married or at least having a love child.

And let’s not forget the weird kid who, for no apparent reason, laughs at everything. He’s the one who finds humor in a bowl of steamed broccoli. Someone like that is likely to father many sons and live to be 125; especially if he eats the broccoli.

So what can we conclude from all this? Is laughter an acceptable substitute for sex? Is sex an acceptable substitute for laughter? Is one better than the other? It's all very personal and in the end, we're still left with something that's highly subjective. I'd venture to guess that it strongly equates to the quality of the act, your reasons for engaging in the act, and whether you just finished a 5-course Indian dinner. But what do I know?

What do you think?  I welcome your thoughts on the matter in the comment section below.

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