The best way to cure your fear of flying... sex

A new study into chronic and post-traumatic stress could support the theory that sex lowers stress levels before a flight

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The Independent Travel

Sex could be the best way for anxious flyers to get over their fear, according to an airline pilot-turned-therapist.

Tom Bunn, founder of SOAR, a counselling service which helps people conquer their fear of flying, said clients who have sex the night before a flight are less anxious before taking off.

Speaking to Yahoo Travel, Mr Bunn said one of his male clients was “totally miserable” every time he flew, “except for one time when, before he came back from a business trip, he hooked up with someone”.

Mr Bunn cited a new study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology into chronic and post-traumatic stress, which he claims supports the theory that sex can lower stress levels before a flight.

Published in Science Daily, the study explores why those who experience chronic anxiety are more susceptible to post-traumatic stress after particular incidents.

It found animals that suffered from chronic stress prior to a traumatic event were more likely to consolidate traumatic memories, which trigger anxiety.

Mr Bunn said the study suggests that passengers who suffer from chronic stress are more vulnerable to developing a fear of flying when something traumatic such as turbulence occurs.

The study found that traumatic stress memories may be prevented or watered down after drugs had been taken that interfere with serotonin levels, which accelerates memory consolidation in the brain.

Mr Bunn said sex helps nervous flyers by raising their oxytocin levels, a hormone which behaves as a neurotransmitter.

In 2012, Live Science reported another study undertaken at the Swiss University of Lausanne, which found that oxytocin bombards the amygdala, a specific part of the brain that governs fear. 

Through his work with SOAR, Mr Bunn’s counselling services encourage clients to develop a mental tie between flying and a memory that produces oxytocin.

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