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The Power of Oxytocin During Sex

"Sex releases the hormone and will create a bond between the two people involved… since the release of oxytocin can be classically conditioned, after repeatedly having sex with the same partner, just seeing that partner could release more oxytocin, making you want to be with that person all the more. [1]
Breaking this bond is often difficult and can lead to depression and other psychological woes.  
Unprotected, a book written by Dr. Miriam Grossman, a campus MD,   shares story after story of students she has seen and dilemmas they are in because of the sexual culture prompted by college campuses."

The world today promotes the notion that sex is pure recreation, that the “hook-up” culture is natural and even empowering to women, and that love and sex are two completely different things.

That’s not the whole story.  Casual sex is not a natural part of the human make-up.  Sex is a bonding experience and when the bond is broken by multiple partners, your body and mind have a conflict.  This conflict is caused by a hormone called oxytocin and this is what makes love so ecstatic but also hurt

The hormone Oxytocin comes from a Greek word meaning “quick birth”. It is a mammalian hormone that also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In women, it is released mainly after distension of the cervix and vagina during labor, and after stimulation of the nipples, facilitating birth and breastfeeding. Oxytocin is also released during orgasm in both sexes. In the brain, oxytocin is involved in social recognition and bonding, and is involved in the formation of trust between people.

A recent article in the Arizona Daily Star shows the power of this hormone and its effects on autism.  “Scientists have found preliminary evidence that oxytocin, holds promise as a potential new treatment for autism. While it is hardly implausible that a hormone involved in orgasm would have positive effects on anyone, these findings of improvement in adults with autism given oxytocin are based on measurable changes in behavior as well as visible changes in their brains as seen through functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Previous studies have indicated that oxytocin, plays some role in how mammals manage fear, develop trust and establish socially cooperative behavior. Autism is a disorder in which, among other things, individuals have difficulty establishing social relationships. In this study those who received the hormone improved in their ability to identify emotions as described in writing to them and also reduced characteristic autistic repetitive behaviors.”

In preliminary studies, the hormone oxytocin was shown to be associated with the ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships and healthy psychological boundaries with other people. The study appears in the July 2006 issue of Psychiatry.
"This is one of the first looks into the biological basis for human attachment and bonding," said Rebecca Turner, PhD, University of California, San Francisco adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author of the study. "Our study indicates that oxytocin may be mediating emotional experiences in close relationships."
The study builds upon previous knowledge of the important role oxytocin plays in the reproductive life of mammals. The hormone facilitates nest building and pup retrieval in rats, acceptance of offspring in sheep, and the formation of adult pair-bonds in other animals. In humans, oxytocin stimulates milk ejection during lactation, uterine contraction during birth, and is released during sexual orgasm in both men and women.

Turner and her colleagues tested the idea that oxytocin is released in response to intense emotional states in addition to physical cues. Twenty-six women between the ages of 23 and 35 were asked to recall and re-experience a past relationship event that caused them to feel a positive emotion, such as love or infatuation, and a negative emotion, such as loss or abandonment. Because massage done on rats had previously been shown to influence oxytocin levels, the participants also received a 15-minute Swedish massage of the neck and shoulders. Blood samples were taken before, during, and after each of the three events to measure baseline oxytocin levels in the bloodstream and any change.
"We decided to look at the interpersonal characteristics of individual women to see if there was a correlation with changes in their oxytocin levels," said Turner, who is also the director of Student Research at the California School of Professional Psychology, Alameda campus. "We found a significant difference between women who reported distress and anxiety in their relationships and women who were more secure in their relationships."

Different questionnaires, including the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems and the Adult Attachment Scale, were used to assess each woman's previous experiences with personal and close relationships. The results were significantly correlated with the recorded changes in bloodstream oxytocin levels.

Women whose oxytocin levels rose in response to massage and remembering a positive relationship reported having little difficulty setting appropriate boundaries and being alone. Women whose oxytocin levels fell in response to remembering a negative emotional relationship reported greater problems with experiencing anxiety in close relationships.

In addition, women who were currently involved in a committed relationship experienced greater oxytocin increases in response to positive emotions than single women. The researchers speculate that a close, regular relationship may influence the responsiveness of the hormone, said Turner.

These preliminary findings bring up some intriguing questions, said Teresa McGuinness, MD, PhD, UCSF clinical psychiatry faculty member. Because oxytocin is released in men and women during sexual orgasm, it may be involved in adult bonding, said Turner. There is also speculation that in addition to facilitating lactation and the birthing process, the hormone facilitates the emotional bond between mother and child.
"Evolutionarily speaking, it makes sense that during pregnancy and the postpartum, both a woman's body and her mind would be stimulated to nurture her child," said Turner.

Oxytocin may also play a role in the higher levels of depression and interpersonal stress seen in women. According to most psychiatrists, women experience depression twice as often as men and tend to be more affected by relationship difficulties.

Dr. Grossman describes a 19-year-old, “Heather,” who is depressed. She has a “friend with benefits” but only with the help of psychotherapy is she able to acknowledge that the relationship is causing her pain. She’d like to do things with him, like see movies or go out for dinner, but he is interested only in sex. She helps Heather to see that her needs are being neglected.

Another student, “Olivia,” is devastated after her first serious boyfriend breaks up with her. Her grades suffer, she weeps constantly, and suffers a relapse of an eating disorder, making herself vomit up to six times a day. “‘Why doctor,’ she asked, ‘why do they tell you how to protect your body — from herpes and pregnancy — but they don’t tell you what it does to your heart?’ ]  Oxytocin is the culprit.   One does not have to think long to understand what multiple relationships can do to the heart and one's self-esteem.

Remaining sexually pure until marriage is the way the human body was designed.  To be with and desire one person in your life time is part of the human chemical make up.  Stepping outside of that natural design creates conflict between body and mind.  

[2]Wikipedia.org

[3]Azstarnet.com, 'Love hormone' oxytocin helps autistic adults, scientists find
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.04.2007

[4,5,6] Oxytocin.com

[7,8] Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student

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