How to make someone you’re talking to feel as good as they do while having sex

Brain imaging from a 2012 Harvard study showed that “self-disclosure” triggers the pleasure centers of the brain. These are the same pleasure centers that are activated when you experience “rewards” like sex, sugar or drugs.

Brain scans showing the pleasure center of the brain activated during self-disclosure. Source

“Self-disclosure” is fancy talk for “talking about yourself.” Namely sharing your thoughts and opinions.

We all know people who love this. Take your Uncle Bob who can talk all Thanksgiving long about the current president in office. He just loves sharing his opinions on where the country is going while he’s chomping down on turkey.

Back to the study. In the study, those who were allowed to share thoughts, versus those who were told to think to themselves, showed even greater reward activity in their brain.

Things got even more fascinating when the study revealed that the subjects were even willing to forego money to talk about themselves. Yes, when they were offered money to shut up…they chose not to!

So how can you make someone you’re talking to feel as good as they do while having sex?

You talk about them! You ask questions focused on them, their opinions and their thoughts.

Remember people won’t always remember what was said in a conversation, but they will remember how they felt after a conversation.

How do you Talk About Them?

So now that you know that the topic of conversation is all about the other person, how do you go about asking the right types of questions.

Questions that won’t fall flat and lead to an awkward pause.

Ask open-ended questions rather than “yes or no” questions.

A great hack is to “observe” something and then ask about it.

For example:
Q: I see you chose the red wine tonight. Why do you prefer red over white?
Rather than….
Q: Do you like to eat cheese with your wine? (Yes or no question)
A: Yes (duh!!)
Q: That’s a really nice jacket, what’s the story behind it?
A: Oh I actually got it while I was backpacking in Europe, I bought it from this tiny store…
Rather than…
Q: That’s a nice jacket. Does it keep you warm?
A: Thanks, yes it does.
**Cue awkward silence**

So the next time you’re at a social event, make some friends by asking open-ended questions. You can couple it with a technique I call the “Yes and….Technique” to strike the right balance of talking and listening during conversations.

The “Yes and…” Technique

Let’s suppose the conversation shifts over to you, or the other person is finally done talking about themselves. Don’t act like Barbara Walters and continue asking them 101 questions.

It’s now time for you to share something about yourself.

A natural and easy way to sprinkle in things about yourself is by using the “Yes and…Technique” when someone asks you a question.

  • The “yes” part simply answers the question. In some cases it may be “no” (depending on the question)
  • The “and” part goes into a bit of depth and turns your answer into more of a story

Here are two examples:

Katrina: Do you enjoy red wine?
Example #1 : Yes I am [Yes]. And [and…] I actually just went to Napa Valley this summer because I love wine and the winemaking process so much. It was beautiful there, rolling hills, huge estates we had a blast. Are you a red wine fan?
Example #2: Yes, I absolutely love red wine [Yes]. In fact, [and…] most of my Fridays at work are spent dreaming about the bottle I’m going to open that night (Ok, I’d never say that. But it’s true!)

See how both examples turned a “yes or no” question into something way more fascinating by adding a few details?

Using this strategy will make you more memorable.


Because people remember stories. They forget the one time you stuttered or that awkward moment when you spilt your drink.

By adding a short story you become way more memorable and you also show some vulnerability with the person you’re speaking with. This will help establish some trust and hopefully a meaningful bond with your conversation partner.

A version of this post was originally featured on:

Want more ?

Check out my site, and get my free video course called: How to Shut Up your Inner Voice & Beat Awkward Conversations. I also share actionable tips so you can get socially confident and live your best life.