If Horror Movies Turn You On, Science Says You’re Not Alone
Look, I love me some horror movies. Usually after watching a horror movie, my adrenaline is pumping and I spend the rest of the time thinking about what I would have done differently to survive the murderer or the paranormal entity that I had just witnessed on the screen. It never ends well for me, I'm certain in most horror movies I would more than likely die first. All the horror and adrenaline results in me not being able to sleep, because I'm scared and sleep alone. But if you're not like me and horror movies instead arouse you (not judging) don't feel like a weirdo, science says that's totally normal.
Arousal, by definition is plainly:
(n) To stimulate to action or to bodily readiness for activity; Excite.
Really, it's just stimulating your body, unfortunately the word "sexual" gets added in front of it and the giggles ensue. Your alert levels are high and you get an elevated heart rate, it could be sexual, but it could also be used to describe you on a first date or even a job interview.
All that combined could make you either really alert but also really horny. According Dr. Holly Richmond, PhD, a somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist, it has a lot to do with your body’s physiological response to fear. She says:
“When we’re scared our blood naturally is pulled to our extremities, so that we can run faster. When we’re turned on, the blood flows to our genitals… Cortisol levels go up both when we’re scared, and when we’re in aroused, specifically in situations with new partners, or when there’s a novel aspect to sex.”
This is all heightened if you're watching a horror movie with someone you find attractive. Furthermore, sociologist Margee Kerr says that research has shown that we feel more closely bonded to others after going through something stressful. Richmond adds that when you watch a scary movie with your partner, it might call for a lot of hand-holding, snuggling, and other contact. Also, Kerr says that screenwriters are aware of this, which is why you'll see a sex scene accompanied to the bloodbath.
So if you're wondering if something is wrong with you after feeling a little turned on after watching a horror movie, don't. Kerr calls it "sexy-scared" and it's totally normal. I guess maybe that's why spooky season is followed by cuffing season, but more on that later.