Makeup sex is a pretty common trope in sitcoms and in rom-coms, but how legitimate is it as a relationship strategy or mood diffuser? If you’ve never found yourself in the throes of post-argument passion, perhaps you should give it a try the next time you find yourself yelling, stressing, or shaking your fists at your love. The dramatic results might surprise you, and you might even find yourself eagerly anticipating your next fight.

Why do people want makeup sex in the first place?

When you fight with your partner — whether it’s about your in-laws, how you should discipline your kids, or whose turn it is to take out the trash — your emotions and feelings start working on a higher level. Whether or not you know it, that fight might be telling your brain that your relationship is on the line, causing your brain’s attachment system to go on high alert. Whatever the argument is about, your brain will automatically want you to get closer to the person with whom you were fighting to maintain the relationship: If you’ve been fighting with a partner, this relationship maintenance may look like hot sex.

While not everyone will be automatically ready to go to bed after a fight, the subconscious “will we break up” message that floats through your brain can lead you to want to be closer to the other person after the fight itself has dissipated. Instead of letting this message fester and worry you, your body might lead you to express your love in a more physical way. Fighting might break you up, but sex will bring you back together.

Does fighting first make sex better?

Before you even get into the makeup sex, you have to have something to make up: there has to be a fight first. While heated discussions have their place in a healthy relationship, they usually aren’t the best parts of partnerships. But now, scientists on the front lines of sex research are discovering that arguments may actually give both partners heightened feelings of attraction, make you more likely to want to hop in the sack at all and make your physical experience even better than usual.

When you’re in the middle of a fight, your mind may be racing to come up with the best comeback or rationale. But your body is also racing in a more primitive way: your heart pounds, your blood flow increases, and you start breathing harder and faster (whether you know it or not). All of these physical elements combine to make your body primed and ready to participate in some other primal behaviors. Your body will be ready for sex, but you might not be expecting the quality of sex you’ll get: this physical setup can lead to some of the best sex of your life. Therapist Douglas Brooks suggests that the quality of sex might be based more on the emotional state of the participants than the physical expertise or movements of either partner. If both people are in the “I don’t want to leave you or for you leave me” mental space after a fight, there is the possibility that the experience will be mind-blowing for everyone.

Though it might not be a great idea to start a fight just because you want to have great sex afterward, it’s clear that having sex after a fight can do wonders for a relationship both physically and emotionally. If you’re not into it (or your partner says no thank you) don’t push it, but consider considering it. Your relationship and your body will thank you (as will your partner).