Dr. Smartass

When Anger In Bed Is a Good Thing

If you have to make her mad, doing it in bed may be your best bet. Dr. Smartass explains the science of the lying-down infuriation and how it can work to your advantage.

By (@doctorsmartass)

August 16, 2009

Got a question for Dr. Smartass? E-mail doc [at] esarcasm.com.

Dr. SmartassGood day, good day, my virtual patients! It’s time for us take on more tough issues, wielding the sharp blade of science as our problem-slaying weapon.

Having already tackled the science of size and what your password says about your personality, today we turn our attention to the best way to break bad news. Who among us, after all, hasn’t had to tell a boss he’s a boob, or tell a lover she leaves us limp? (Not you, Mrs. S. My mind’s just been in other places the last few nights.)

From my inbox:

Dear Dr. Smartass,

I want to tell my girlfriend that I had sex with someone else. It happened at the very beginning of our relationship, but I’m still worried she might freak out, and she can get pretty violent when she’s mad. When’s the best time to break the news without having her break my balls?


Oh, Rick, you and your dick — our pantside friends can get us into so much trouble. The good news is, when bad news must be delivered, there is a better way to do it. And it applies to any situation, not just when you’re telling your lady you boinked that big-chested gal from the bar.

Here’s the scientific truth about the truth: Your hard-to-swallow story is best delivered in bed. Just don’t expect anything else to be swallowed afterward.

Bedroom AngerLie down and let me explain. Scientists, you see, now believe people are less apt to react violently to an offensive statement if they’re relaxing on their backs. A new study out of Texas A&M University measured subjects’ brain activity while they were hearing insulting statements. The subjects belly-up were found to be far less aggressive than those who were sitting upright.

“In the upright or leaning forward state one might be more likely to attack,” lead researcher Eddie Harmon-Jones explains. “In the reclining state, you’re more likely to brood.”

Specifically, the docs say the area of the brain responsible for “approach motivation” is less active when you’re lying down. So, give her the news when she’s staring at the ceiling, and your odds of a flailing fist reaction should decrease (though they may be the only thing going down that night).

If you make it past this experience, here’s something else to keep in mind: The researchers think lying on our backs could affect our responses in areas outside of anger, too. They’re looking into whether the urge of desire could also be distorted by horizontal body positioning.

Dr. Smartass, being the dedicated scientist that he is, is off to the local college dormitory to test that theory.

Until next time,

Dr. Smartass

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