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Pillow talk is the relaxed, intimate conversation that often occurs between two sexual partners after sexual activity, usually accompanied by cuddling, caresses, and other physical intimacy. It is associated with honesty, sexual afterglow, and bonding, and is distinguished from dirty talk which usually forms part of foreplay. Pillow talk, more broadly may also refer to conversations between parties that may be of a more casual and flirting nature, and are not necessarily engaged in a physical relationship.
The content of pillow talk typically includes the sexual act itself, stories and confessions, expressions of affection and appreciation, and playful humor. A line of research done on pillow talk has revolved around the hormone known as oxytocin; this "bonding hormone" is related to other effects, such as decreasing stress, decreasing perceptions of social threat, increasing bonding, and increasing the ability to read emotional cues.  This hormone has been known to increase in the body proceeding sexual activity between two people that have reached the point of orgasm. The individuals involved in this act of coitus can benefit from this process by opening up in a sense of communication and trust. A study done by Amanda Denes (2012), shows that partners who orgasm are more likely to engage in the act of pillow talk versus partners who do not orgasm.
Disclosure is a key word when referring to pillow talk. This is part of developing a relationship, but can be difficult for some to do. There are several risks and benefits that accompany disclosure. Most of them go hand in hand. It all revolves around risk-benefit analysis. This concept is centered on the idea that revealing private information is risky because it makes people feel vulnerable. Pillow talk is a direct way of practicing disclosure.
Pillow talk is conventionally seen as an opportunity for spies to obtain secret information. In espionage, a "honeypot is a trap that uses sex to lure an enemy agent into disclosing classified information" Christine Keeler is said to have used this approach in the Cold War-era Profumo Affair. The Profumo affair was a British political scandal that originated with a brief sexual liaison in 1961 between John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's government, and Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old would-be model. When the Profumo–Keeler affair was first revealed, public interest was heightened by reports that Keeler may have been simultaneously involved with Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché, thereby creating a possible security risk.
- The 1959 Rock Hudson/Doris Day film Pillow Talk follows the screwball comedy format of a humorous battle of the sexes focusing on courtship, marriage--and therefore wished-for consummation and pillow talk.
- A couple's pillow talk session is often used as a plot device in works of fiction and drama, such as movies and television. It offers a convenient setting for a couple to discuss relevant plot events or reveal new information to each other.
- Elephant Bill records how he only discovered the fate of his dog Jabo two years later in pillow talk, "when a young Burmese girl told me the true story, as all girls will on certain special occasions".
- E. Raynor, The Happiest Woman (2011) p. 37
- F. A. Ramos, Enigma (2007) p. 70
- R. L. Weagley, Wallace (2011) p. 353
- Denes A. Talk: Exploring Disclosures After Sexual Activity. Western Journal of Communication. Vol. 76, Iss. 2, 2012/
- Denes A., & Afifi T. D. Pillow Talk and Cognitive Decision-making Processes. Communication Monographs. Vol. 81, Iss. 3, 2014.
- 11 Terms used by spies. Available online at: http://people.howstuffworks.com/11-terms-used-by-spies1.htm. Accessed on March 14, 2014
- R. Taylor, Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage (2004) p. 136
- J. H. Williams, Elephant Bill (1964) p. 106