Oxytocin is quite a busy hormone. When released in the brain, it facilitates sex, orgasm, birth and breastfeeding, as well as feelings of bonding, connection and trust. In her forthcoming book The Chemistry of Connecton: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love, author and journalist Susan Kuchinskas describes the important role oxytocin plays in our love lives and how we can train our brain to better respond to love. In other words, we weren't born knowing how to love—we learn it.
When we start to crush, why do our appetites vanish? And why is four hours of sleep just fine? Limerence, coined in the 1970s by Dorothy Tennov is the rose-colored lenses part of a relationship, where dopamine skyrockets, similar to being on cocaine. study in Italy also proved that being in love raises women's testosterone levels and lowers a man's. If we're lucky, our crush then flattens into a nice, comfortable groove of commitment. While not as exciting as the roller coaster first stage, the feeling of comfortable companionship is also dominated by hormones. While bonding oxytocin, the brains trusting maternal hormone, is released. Oxytocin makes us crave spooning, breakfast bed, and maybe even marriage, pets and children.
During a recent study at Lafayette College, researchers studied the cortisol and oxytocin levels in 15 heterosexual, kissing couples. While both sexes saw a drop in corisol while kissing, it appeared that only men experienced a raise in oxytocin. Women, forever desiring more, more, more, needed "a romantic atmosphere of dimmed lights and mood music" to notice any cortisol upswing. Researches also think kissing my boost the body's immune system, since you mix and match so many different strains of saliva.
What if you could fall in love at will—and make him love you back? We've heard the "love is a drug" theory before, but researcher Larry Young believes love can be explained by a specific pattern of events in the brain—so specific, in fact, that scientists may be able to replicate it. It starts with the chemical oxytocin, a hormone that helps mothers bond with their new babies—Young thinks that this neurotransmitter and other chemicals are responsible for romantic love, and that scientists will one day discover how it all works.
New mothers rarely boast that giving birth is as satisfying as the quickie that left them with forty extra pounds, stretch marks and–of course –a bundle of joy. However, Orgasmic Birth, Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s new documentary (completely unrelated to sadomasochism, by the way) is quickly closing the public’s perception of a nine-month gap between pleasure and pain. The film follows 11 pregnant women in their exploration of various labor options, and ultimately asserts that childbirth can be as sexually stimulating as the child’s conception–and even result in orgasm.