The facial expressions we use can affect how we feel. According to some research, smiling can make us happier, even when we're down. But what if you couldn't express yourself as easily, like if you had Botox?
According to new research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, a lack of face movement might even make sex less enjoyable.
The small study from Cardiff University involved 24 women who'd had Botox and 12 women who'd had different cosmetic treatments like skin peels. They were asked to fill out questionnaires about their sex life and mood.
Results showed that 13 women who'd had Botox on their frown lines reported reduced sexual satisfaction, and they weren't able to orgasm as easily. Those who'd been injected for their crow's feet wrinkles had a "near significant" decline in pleasure.
Botox - or Botulinum toxin - works by blocking signals from nerves to muscles. When the muscle can no longer contract, wrinkles relax and soften, and look "filled in."
This also means you can't contort your face as easily, so the feedback loop of emotions that come from your facial expressions is lessened.
"This finding demonstrates the importance of facial expressions during sexual intercourse," the researchers wrote. "The results suggest that the facial expressions do not occur simply to communicate pleasure to a partner, but they are an integral part of the feeling of pleasure and are important in the process of achieving orgasm."
Previous research has found how smiling can make you find things funnier, and a past study from Cardiff University found that the treatment of frown lines left people feeling less depressed. The new study adds to the growing body of research that suggests the faces we make have a profound psychological impact.
"A person's social interactions can be negatively affected by these injections both generally, in terms of emotion recognition, and specifically in terms of sexual pleasure," the researchers concluded.
"Although this is a relatively small scale study, and further larger scale research is required, the sizes of these effects suggest that these powerful neurotoxins can have equally powerful psychological effects."
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