NEUROCHEMISTRY AND SEXUALITY

We always talk about sexuality and sex from a sensitive, emotional, physical point of view… But today we will talk about what happens in our body from the neurochemical point of view.

Orgasm is generally seen as the last goal of recreational sex. Wilhelm Reich was the first scientist to describe nature and the purpose of orgasms as a discharge of the excess of bioenergy with the additional liberation of sensation energies, and he also recognized the negative consequences of the blocking of sexual energies.

Our hormones, whose activity is similar in all mammals, are mainly responsible to produce beneficial and pleasant effects, although sometimes they play tricks.

The main protagonists are:

  • Dopamine: the hormone of reward.

  • Prolactin: the hormon of satiety.

  • Oxytocin: the hormon of affection.

  • Levels of receiving androgynous which affect our humor, our desire for intimacy, our perception or opinion about our partner as well as our susceptibility to addictions and other addictive substances.

These hormones may also have different functions, but generally related. In addition, the stimulant phenethylamine (PEA) is also involved, which is also in cocoa and chocolate, and boosts energy, humor and attention. Phenethylamine is produced in large quantities when people are in love; on the contrary, a deficiency (common in maniac-depressive) causes feelings of unhappiness. When we fall in love, at the beginning we consolidate ourselves by the increasing levels of phenethylamine, oxytocin and dopamine. When we are sexually excited by close contact, our level of dopamine increases, and at the moment of orgasm we have a brain thunderstorm of dopamine, which a researcher compared with the effects of heroin in the brain.

Dopamine is active in all addictions, even in people who have forgotten what sex is. Most part of this activity is located in the limbic system, the oldest part of the brain.

After orgasm, the levels of dopamine fall sharply with usual symptoms of retraction. This reaction tends to be immediate in men, and more delayed in women. Also the levels of prolactin increase and the receiving androgens fall after orgasm. A low testosterone level is associated to irritability and anger.

The levels of oxytocin fall after a conventional orgasm, but staying in close contact could help to counteract this fall and oxytocin substances. The changes in the behavior of this disturbed balance of hormones have been observed for up to two weeks. During this time we may be more irritable, unsatisfied, anxious or depressed, and instead of looking at the bright side of our partner, we are painfully aware of their flaws.

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