It’s a common way for couples to reconcile. Animalistic, uninhibited and aggressive, many couples are enthralled by make-up sex. Some couples actually thrive on it.

So why is anger such a powerful stimulant?

And what are the rules of engagement for resolving conflict in this way?

While fighting as a form of foreplay doesn’t make much sense, on second thought, it’s not such an inconceivable aphrodisiac.

Physiologically speaking, anger and arousal have quite a bit in common in revving up the body. When angry or sexually aroused, a person’s body reacts in much the same way –- to the point that a furious individual can mistake outrage for sexual excitement.

When an individual is angry, chemicals, including adrenaline, are released in the brain. With these neurotransmitters fired up and ready for action, the brain is reacting much like it does during sex.

Anger adds fuel to the flames of make-up sex. It will:

— Embolden you, giving you the courage to pursue your desires;

— Release you from feeling like you have to comply with a partner’s demand, proposal or coercive efforts, which is empowering;

— Make you feel more entitled to gratify your physical, sexual and emotional needs;

— Unleash stress, helping you to embrace that super-charged moment;

— Welcome a competitive component to sex, pumping up lovers’ sex drives as they attempt to outdo each other in their longing;

— Involve aggression, in some cases, which many partners are turned on to during sex;

Just think about the fervent, feverish action that make-up sex entails, and you may need to fan yourself. Yet, it has a soft intensity as well. Lovers may feel vulnerable and open at this time, so this kind of sex may replicate first-time sex in some ways. This could be because some men show a softer side during make-up sex, especially if they are apologizing for being in the wrong.

Once grievances are aired out and removed, couples can further relax in their mutual emotional “space.” This quiet after the storm has a feel-good component to it, with unstable couples feeling especially close given their normal state of emotional and/or physical abuse.

Finally, with orgasm, sex results in the release of oxytocin. This “cuddle” hormone helps couples to bond. Like aloe on dry, cracked skin, it provides the right soothing touch and healing that’s needed to carry on.

It’s important to keep in mind that habitual make-up sex signals dysfunction in a relationship. Some couples go so far as to force passion, instigating fights for searing sex. This eventually becomes old and tiring, contributing to a relationship’s demise.

Furthermore, for couples where make-up sex becomes cyclical, the sexual intimacy is not bonding as perceived. Make-up sex can be a very self-centered act. This is because fighting before sex gives some lovers the distance they need to stoke their sexual needs and desires.

It is the anger that fosters a sense of separateness and independence that this lover needs to be intimate. For whatever reasons or psychological issues, sex, for this person, is about one’s own fulfillment. He or she doesn’t want to worry about a partner’s needs or emotions. Being angry gives this person the disconnect that’s needed to have sex guilt-free.

We're human, and it’s inevitable that spats with a lover will arise from time to time. In navigating angry sex turned sexual reconciliation, strive for the following:

— Don’t initiate sex unless both of you are willing to forgive, forget and move on;

— Don’t mention what triggered the argument;

— Don’t force touch if it’s undesired;

— Don’t use sex as a weapon to punish.

Finally, if you’re having post break-up sex, make sure that you’re on the same page as far as where you are headed. If one partner sees sex as a means for getting back together, while the other one does not, you can anticipate a lot more fighting –- sans sex — in your near future.

Sexpert Q & A: What is an Anaphrodisiac? Click here to find out.

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Dr. Yvonne Kristín Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."

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