Much of the Northeast is about to be swaddled in snow, as winter storm Stella crashes into the region in a downpour of unusually deep fluff. The National Weather Service anticipates that the region will be hit between 12 to 20 inches of snow as the storm hammers the region spanning Washington, D.C. to southeast New York. Likewise, some people stuck inside might be inclined to do their own sort of hammering. There is, after all, a real reason why the phrase “blizzard buddy” entered the winter vernacular of the cooped-up and horny. But does blizzard sex actually lead to blizzard babies? The connection is hotly contested.
In an interview with Inverse, Dr. Richard Paulson, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, argued that there isn’t much scientific literature to back up storms and a subsequent baby boom. In fact, if a storm is too severe, he explains, libidos could actually go cold, and a drop in fertility might occur.
“The human reproductive physiology is dependent on environmental factors, so if the storm was long or severe enough, that may cause people to have a stress response and you would have the opposite of a baby boom,” he says. “The idea that people who are confined indoors, in close proximity to their partner, without much else do might feel inclined to want to reproduce makes sense. But human reproduction is multifactorial, and doesn’t necessarily result from something as simple as that scenario.”
Paulson’s argument is supported by an often-cited 2008 study that examined the effect U.S. hurricanes had on fertility between 1995 and 2002. That study, led by Brigham Young University macroeconomics professor Richard Evans, found that low-severity storms resulted in a positive spike in later pregnancy but that severe storms led to a negative fertility effect. The study concluded that no one takes the time to get busy when their actual lives are on the line. This argument, combined with the fact that contraception habits shouldn’t change because of a two-day storm, doesn’t indicate that winter storm Stella will result in any babies wrought out of boredom.
And yet, some hospitals have noticed an increase in babies conceived during winter storms, despite the fact that numbers aren’t strong enough to indicate a pattern. That’s why, when Hurricane Sandy resulted in a swath of July and August births in 2012, researchers were stumped: There wasn’t a strong enough correlation between storms and fertility to serve as a predictive model, and yet the babies still popped out nine months later.
Blizzard sex and subsequent births may illustrate that correlation does not imply causation, but that doesn’t mean that people won’t be having a sexy snow day anyway. Besides the obvious idea that a couple stuck in a room together will probably have sex, studies have found that sex rates spike during the brief, storm-driven months of winter. Additionally, according to a 2008 study in Perception, heterosexual men rate women as more attractive in the winter months than during any other part of the year.
Furthermore, choosing to get busy during a blizzard may be the best option for your health: A Wilkes University-sponsored study found that people who have at least two sexual encounters a week experience a rise in a protective immunoglobulin called IgA. Increased levels of this immunoglobulin result in a heightened immune system that can more readily fight against colds. Lessening your chance of getting sick this winter and increasing your odds of getting lucky? Sounds like a good excuse as any to fire up that text to your blizzard buddy ASAP.