Sex Will Save Your Relationship: The {brief} science behind the orgasm

I wrote this blog a while ago but thought I would repost it since it’s in the history and not viewable. It came to me after I noticed a search term that lead to my blog was “how to get past a girls defences.” I can answer that easy enough for myself (but not for every girl): food, wine, and sex.

Being trained in neuroscience, and having that be most of my career in my professional life, I always wonder what’s happening in my brain under any given circumstance. Tonight I was thinking, post-coitus, what changes were going on in my brain during sex and orgasm. I know vaguely of this. In short, it’s all a mechanism of the limbic system. You may know the limbic system from biology or psych class as being the “fight or flight” system in your body. Which is to say, it controls pure instinct without consulting your conscious mind. My favourite neurotransmitter, dopamine, is the main actor in sexual activities. It’s part of your reward center. Not surprisingly, the release of dopamine is also what is most rewarding in things like obsessive behavior and addiction. You can get your dopamine rush in artificial ways, like cocaine, but the easiest way is through the simple orgasm.

Which lead me to wonder, what happens when you fall in love? I know oxytocin is a very important love hormone and they’re even undergoing oxytocin therapies in Europe (but the FDA in the states has not yet approved it). But what does falling in love have to do with dopamine? Or what does oxytocin have to do with dopamine? With a little research I found out that, unsurprisingly, dopamine is high when you fall in love with someone. It also turns out that oxytocin is released during orgasm, as well as when you begin bonding with the person you’ve falling in love with.

So, in short, it seems to me the best way to keep your relationship going and to keep that strong bond you initially had in your “honeymoon phase” is to have lots and lots of sex. The same brain mechanics are at work during the course of falling in love, sexual activity, and orgasm. That’s my scientific advice, at least. So go fuck like bunnies. Your husband/wife will thank me.

Addendum: Which leads me to wonder if the amount of masturbation that takes place correlates with self esteem. Hmmm. Probably not.

~ by ellyvstheworld on 07/29/2011.

15 Responses to “Sex Will Save Your Relationship: The {brief} science behind the orgasm”

  1. Very well written!

  2. I definitely do agree about this. However, what if that sexual attraction and humping like bunnies are only thing that’s keep you together? Is that still a psychologically encouraged behavior? :)

    • I think there is a lot more to it than that. The sex probably increases the psychological connection between the two partners as well. So, not only is the sex amazing but you’ll feel more comfortable and trustful with that other person. I think it definitely could be psychologically encouraged behavior. Mind you I am way too lazy to find a source for this at the moment.

      • I recently got out of a relationship where I was continuing the relationship mainly because we had amazing bedroom chemistry. It was inevitable that we can’t be together but we stayed together for a long time solely due to the fact we wanted each other in bedroom every night. So i wonder…

        For the record btw, yes, it was worth it lol :)

  3. Not so sure about you. Is it all about your Orgasmo? How old are you? Are you an Adult? Or worse an MBA? Sure, it’s common in long ass relationships for the guy to get his girl off multiple times in less than 10 minutes. Yeah those “simple orgasms” come in handy. But it’s not real good sex.

    When the SEX has a life of its own, this life force will keep you together. Believe me. Maybe you haven’t found it, but when you have War and Peace EPIC sex, Nothing.Else.Matters. and you live together blissfully ever after.

    You seem like a chick who spends way too much time in her head, instead of in her bed with someone who loves you to death.

    • I’m going to take it that you’re a random passerby to my blog from the Portland post. You come off as much too smart and passionate to be one of those ex-coworkers that are just trolling me. Regardless, thanks for the visit and the opinion.

      I am an adult, I am not an MBA. I actually have a degree in Neuroscience, which is why I think about things like this. I’ve had epic sex, I know I have. But it never is enough to keep a relationship together. There are other things that pop up like jealousy, cheating, stalking, and oh that thing called rape. I do have to agree with you that when sex has a life of it’s own it’s extremely addictive and can sometimes lead to stupid decisions or very good decisions.

      In my post I was referring more to the couples who don’t have sex at all. Simple orgasms don’t give you enough time. It’s the act of vaginal penetration that actually increases these hormones more than any other form of sexual contact. Yes, even more so than a nice blow job. I scoured the internet for a link to this study and sadly it’s hard to get anywhere when you are searching with the term “sex” on google. I should bookmark more often.

      I have to agree with you that I spend way too much time in my head, but perhaps so does the person who supposedly loves me to death. Maybe that’s what actually makes us work.

      • The mind can be a dark, dark place especially when we’re alone. SEX MAKES US GLOW. Go to light. and the one who makes you shine the brightest.

  4. When the heart of a romantic is shattered — his mind (and mouth) should not be held responsible.

  5. I have a question. Although it is eluded to in some articles it is nowhere fully explained what the oxitocin effect is during rape.
    I am editing a book I have written about Love (capital L) Hope someone in the neuroscience community has the answer.

    • That’s a very interesting question. Honestly, I’ve wondered this as well having been a victim of sexual assault. You’ve inspired me to delve in a little bit deeper in this, thank you for the challenge. I’ll let you know what I find. It seems like it would be very difficult to study scientifically since you can’t ethically simulate a rape, it would probably be all theories and no scientific evidence.

  6. That is probably why I can’t find it anywhere, though since there is uterin contraction taking place during intercours, it would seem that there is oxytocin involved. Would you agree? Sorry about your unfortunate sexual assault. Thanks for your quick reply.

  7. OK smarty pants — I pose this challenge to you: What would cause the brain to erase the sexual experience? This has never happened before with anyone else, but when I have intense passionate sex with this one particular woman, afterwards I have no memory of it at all. It really sucks! And no, this is not a result of excessive alcohol or drugs. Is it simply that she fucks my brains out? Or do you have an intelligent scientific answer?

    You might agree, it would be the most wonderful superpower to erase events from memory at will.

  8. http://whatsthebigdealnow.com/home/intimate/ This is one that annoys me because they don’t give any scientific backing.

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