There are three habits I used to miss about smoking:
Strong coffee and a cigarette.
Strong booze and a cigarette.
But mostly, the post-sex cigarette.
But why? Why is the post-sex cigarette is such a satisfying experience? And can vaping give you the same satisfaction?
As it turns out, the science behind it is a little dull. It all comes down to satisfying your body with the need for nicotine. In the same way you would crave a smoke after any extended period without one, after going for a run, or spending 2 ½ hours at the cinema.
The psychology behind it is where it gets interesting.
It is no accident that these tar riddled, teeth staining, addictive sticks of leaves and twigs rolled in paper became an international sexual symbol.
Back in their hayday, tobacco companies lead the world in modern marketing, recognising the importance of embedding behaviour in society. Behaviour that would, in turn, make a profit.
Prior to the 20th century, smoking was still considered to be corrupt and inappropriate for women, cigars were strictly for men and any woman smoking was portrayed to have loose morals and promiscuous behaviours. Then, In the 1900’s, cigarette companies started selectively advertising to women, appealing to their vanity and advertising cigarettes as a method to keep a trim figure. Even then, women were ridiculed for “not smoking properly.” In 1919, a hotel manager said that women “don’t really know what to do with the smoke. Neither do they know how to hold their cigarettes properly. Actually they make a mess of the whole performance.” And in due course, Philip Morris instigated workshops for women to learn how to smoke properly.
The question became how could women smoke in public without the stigma or ridicule?
Edward Bernays, now known as the father of public relations, had the answer. Identifying a female market niche in women who held feminist values of independence, who were at the time striving for equality. Philip Morris hired Edward Bernays to tap into this previously undiscovered demographic, eliminating the taboo found in female smokers of the time.
In 1929, during the New York City Easter Sunday Parade, cigarettes were transformed into “Torches of Freedom” for women and feminists everywhere. Edward Bernays selectively hired women who smoke to march in the parade, hired his own photographers and created the campaign that, to this day, is considered a protest for equality and sparked nationwide discussion. Feminist Ruth Hale also called for women to join in the march saying, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”. The rates of women purchasing cigarettes soared, from 5% in 1923, to 12% in 1929 and finally reaching its peak in 1965 at 33.3%, remaining at this level until 1977.
While post-sex puffing may have only become a topic of conversation in the last few decades, we can trace this back even further, with Hollywood’s help.
In 1940-50, sexual imagery was censored in cinema, creative directors and screenwriters were forced to seek more subtle forms of depicting sex on screen, utilizing of course, the newly liberated and sexualised women of their era. And thanks to Edwards Barney’s efforts earlier, cigarettes were the obvious choice.
Every second cinematic experience released showed stories with meet-cute moments over lighting a cigarette, where Hollywood heartthrobs would hold the gaze of a beautiful woman just a second too long, coupled with rich strings depicting a sexual experience unparalleled by anything except, perhaps, the act itself. You would be lucky to find any movie pre-2000’s that features a post-coital scene without either one or both participants smoking a cigarette in bed, with nothing more than a sheet covering their naked bodies.
Who can resist an immediate transformation to a sexual bombshell with just one puff?
As it turns out, they have their routines down pat. With cigarettes proven to cause lack of blood flow to the genitals within minutes of hitting the blood stream, loss of libido could kill your sex drive before you make it past removing your pants. After orgasm, your body enters a refractory period of complete relaxation and smoking helps a person to relax even further, especially after an extended period without. After the relaxation period comes a buzz, giving your body a “hit” of nicotine that can cause the relaxation period to shorten and increase your post-sex buzz, getting you in the mood for round two faster than ever before.
But the question still stands, does vaping give you the same satisfaction?
Due to the elective measures of nicotine in e-liquid (and without finding any studies around how nicotine impacts said phenomenon), it would be fair to say that yes, replacing the post-sex cigarette with a vape will give you the same nicotine “hit” and therefore the same “buzz” that you have grown accustomed to.
Ready for round two?