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The Weird Way Your Cat Could Be Affecting Your Sex Life

The Weird Way Your Cat Could Be Affecting Your Sex Life: Volanthevist / Getty

Volanthevist / Getty

Are cats making us kinkier? A recent study says yes. The study, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, suggests that a parasite commonly found in cats, Toxoplasma gondii, could make people more interested in bondage, fetishes, and violent sex. The parasite is known to change the behavior of rats, and researchers at Charles University in the Czech Republic conducted the study to find out if the same was true of humans.

The parasite causes changes in a rat’s brain that affect its responses to fear, anxiety and sexual arousal. Instead of being afraid of cats, an infected rat starts feeling drawn to them, and the parasite soon spreads to the cat. Humans are exposed when they clean an infected cat’s litter box. The CDC estimates that 22.5% of the United States population now carries the parasite.

Toxoplasma gondii is dangerous for pregnant women, which is why doctors advise them to steer clear of litter boxes. Most healthy people quickly fight off the flu-like symptoms, but the parasite remains in their brain cells. What exactly is it doing in there? The study found that it makes people feel more aroused by their own fear. Just as rats with the parasite are attracted to their predator, infected humans are turned on by danger, pain and sexual submission.

If your favorite cat person has developed an interest in S&M, you may have Toxoplasma gondii to thank.

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