The Science Behind Why The Best Lovers Are Married Couples

man kissing woman's forehead

A survey of 2930 men and women 45 and older commissioned by the AARP, The American Association of Retired Persons, shows that sexuality remains an essential element in older couples’ lives. Approximately 49% of those with a regular partner engage in sex once a week or more. Most of these adults say “a satisfying sexual relationship is important to their quality of life.” Oops! I thought sex was just for young couples….

Contrary to popular opinion, current research agrees with these older men and women that regular sexual activity improves their lives. In fact, when a young monogamous couple enjoys a loving sexual relationship, their sex life continues to get better as they age. Dr. Joe S. McIlhaney Jr. and Dr. Freda McKissic Bush validate what God has patiently taught for over 3000 years in Proverbs 5:15-20 that the best lovers are the older husband and wife — not the young hot-hormonal bed partners.

And what a wonderful lifelong sexual journey it is of growth and bonding from newlyweds to senior lovers. The ecstatic wonder of youth only gets better over time. Truly, God is great in providing his people with a lifetime of passionate love in each other’s arms!

Doctors McIlhaney and Bush explain in Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children how this bonding phenomenon occurs over decades in each other’s arms. Indeed, MRI and SPECT brain scans and new developments in neuroscience are providing greater understanding of the role of three major hormones of love released during sex.


Dopamine is a brain chemical that affects a person’s enjoyment of many activities. We sometimes call it the “feel-good hormone.” We get a physical and emotional high of intense energy, excitement and hyper-focusing when we do something we thoroughly enjoy. It makes us want to keep doing the pleasurable activity over and over —perhaps even to the point of blissful exhaustion.

Dopamine Doesn’t Gave A Conscience Or A Sense Of Right Or Wrong

The bad news is dopamine doesn’t care if the activity is good or bad for us or if it’s harmful to other people. Dopamine rewards us for both healthy and destructive activities. It doesn’t care if we’re getting our thrills from using illegal drugs, drinking until we throw up, or racing our car down the highway weaving in and out of traffic. The feel-good hormone can cause both adolescents and adults to become addicted to the activity that gives them a blast of pleasure.

Sex Is One Of The Most Powerful Activities That Gives A Dopamine Rush

As might be expected, sexual activity releases dopamine into a person’s system to give them a rush regardless of the circumstances or with whom the tryst occurs. We all probably already know sex is one of the most powerful generators of the feel-good reward of dopamine.

Teenagers And Young Adults Can Easily Get Hooked On Indiscriminate Sex

Teenagers and young adults are especially susceptible to the addictive effects of this hormone of pleasure for unhealthy sexual activity — sex only for the sake of sex. An emotional bond is not necessary for dopamine to flood a person’s brain.

Sex Plus Dopamine Makes Married Couples Addicted To Each Other

Contrary to the negative affect of dopamine on unmarried people, the hormonal rush benefits married couples. Frequent lovemaking over a lifetime addicts married couples to sex with each other. It greatly strengthens their emotional attachment and delight in each other.


Both men and women have the hormone oxytocin, but it’s primarily a female hormone necessary for healthy sexual activity and bonding. It’s released into the woman’s brain by warm, intimate touch. Oxytocin has two roles. (1) It increases the woman’s desire for more touching. (2) At the same time it bonds the woman to the man who is doing the touching.

Oxytocin And Touching Often Leads To Sexual Contact And Bonding

Intimate touching and orgasm flood the woman’s brain with oxytocin. This creates a cycle of desiring more touching and lovemaking which leads to more desire for touching and sex. At the same time, the woman is becoming more and more bonded to the man.

Older Couples Get The Most Benefits From Oxytocin, Touching and Sex

Frequent lovemaking and oxytocin create a special long-term connectedness and happiness. A wife in such a relationship rarely seeks sexual activity outside her marriage. She is firmly bonded to her husband who gives her so much pleasure.

Oxytocin Bonding Is More Than An Emotional Connection For Older Wives

The bonding takes place in the brain. Doctors McIlhaney and Bush state, “It is almost like the adhesive-effect of glue — a powerful connection that cannot be undone without great emotional pain.” Reacting with brain cells, oxytocin physically binds the wife to her husband.

God Glued Adam And Eve Together With The Hormones Of Love

Interestingly, the doctors’ description of oxytocin bonding like glue sounds similar to God’s declaration after he created Adam and Eve that a man would leave his parents and cleave to his wife (Genesis 2:22-24). “Cleave” means “glue together, cement, join or fasten firmly together, join oneself to, cleave to, give oneself steadfastly to, labor for.” Now, science has shown us that God doesn’t use super glue on a husband and wife — he uses oxytocin, which holds better than even The Original Super Glue.


God didn’t overlook men when he passed out hormones for gluing a couple together during lovemaking. Men also bond to the woman during sex. Only vasopressin controls the man’s soulmating. This masculine hormone has two major roles in relationships: (1) It glues or bonds the man to the woman. (2) It also bonds the man to his children.

Vasopressin is the “monogamy molecule” or “commitment chemical.”

Oxytocin and vasopressin affect the female and male brains in a very similar way to bond the husband and wife to each other. This bond becomes stronger over the years with frequent lovemaking. If a woman wants her husband to love her more, she needs to respond to his sexual desires with gusto. Even better, she should initiate lovemaking.

Touching Releases The Hormones Of Love When Illness Gets In The Way

Diabetes and other medical problems can hamper a man’s ability to express physical love to his wife. Certain drugs play havoc with a loving man’s desires. Yet even in these instances, a couple can share love through hugging, cuddling and fondling each other. Even though it isn’t as intense a form of lovemaking as sexual intercourse, the doctors say intimate touching still releases hormones of pleasure and bonding.


All three hormones, dopamine, oxytocin and vasopressin are “values-neutral.” In other words, none of the hormones care who the person engages in sex with. They still change brains cells to bind the couple together even if it’s a one-night stand.

The Hormones Of Love Can Lead To Long-Term Bad Relationships

The hormones don’t care if one of the partners is a self-centered narcissist or a verbal abuser. The hormonal bonding caused by sexual activity can trap the more gentle and loving partner in a relationship with a person without natural affection and harmful behavior. Even men who are being abused by a woman frequently have a hard time mustering the emotional strength to end the relationship.

Men And Women May Try To Figure Out What’s Wrong With Them

All three hormones greatly affect behavior. Women may wonder why they love someone who treats them so disrespectfully. Men may question why they keep dating a woman who verbally abuses them. Both men and women may ask what is wrong with them that they can’t develop a deep permanent relationship with anyone after having many sexual partners.

The Hormones Of Love Bathe Their Brains With Partial Bonding Chemicals

Sexual intercourse inundates their brains with hormones that create a partial bond with every sexual partner they have. These cycles of casual sex with one partner and then another limits their cranial response to only one kind of sexual experience. They get hooked or addicted to the immature dopamine rush of sex. They never allow their brains to experience the full benefit of the hormones of a long-term relationship.

Thus, both men and women jeopardize developing a long-term satisfying sexual relationship when they engage in casual sex. Doctors McIlhaney and Bush state, “They risk damaging a vital, innate ability to develop the long-term emotional attachment that results from sex with the same person over and over.” The effect of the hormones can be seen in brain MRI and SPECT scans of couples who have been engaging in sex for a few months.

Having Multiple Sexual Partners Damages The Bonding Mechanism

Concluding the section on the bonding similarities between oxytocin and vasopressin, the doctors state that men and women lose their ability to bond after numerous sexual partners. They compare it to “tape that loses its stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times.

The Hormones Of Love Benefit Monogamous Couples

If a couple regularly expresses sexual love to each other, their emotional bond grows stronger over the years. As they age, the affection their bodies speak to each other deepens. The hot, impatient hormones of youth give way to the mellow sweetness of a lifetime of passionate loving.

The AARP Sexuality Report says, “Respondents with a regular sexual partner are more satisfied with their sex life, and generally have a better outlook on life.” This becomes more pronounced as the couple advances in age and partakes of the three sexual hormones. “Men ages 70 and older and women ages 60 and older tend to have a more optimistic outlook on their present situation than younger respondents.”

In addition to limitations from poor health, the number one reason for sexual dissatisfaction from the older participants is a lack of initiative from their partner when it comes to having sex. My experience of over 40 years shows that is also the number one reason for marital unhappiness for both men and women of all ages.

God has wonderfully designed the hormones of love to bless husbands and wives. It’s part of the way of a man with a maid and enjoying passionate love for a lifetime. Not only do the man and the woman give each other great mental and physical pleasure, but in doing so they also bind themselves together in greater love and commitment for facing the normal problems of life.

Such a God deserves to be served with all our might — yes, even in bed!

This article is taken from Patsy Rae Dawson’s new book The Song of Solomon Love Triangle: God’s Soulmating & Lovemaking Guide for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex.


You may find Patsy’s video "Is The Brain The Most Important Sexual Organ?" helpful.

Readers describe Patsy Rae Dawson as the most outspoken Christian woman on sex, referring to her frankness and comfort talking about sex. Her unique ability to unlock the scriptures and challenge traditional views makes her a popular speaker and writer. Check out Patsy's latest book, The Song of Solomon Love Triangle: God's Soulmating & Lovemaking Guide to Prepare You for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex. She's also the author of God’s People Make the Best Lovers and God’s People Appreciate Marriage.

Listen to "The Profile of a Desperate Marriage" on Patsy's CD on Challenges in Marriage: What to Do When Sin Inhibits Love.  Sign up for her newsletter called Embarrass the Alligator where Patsy talks about the good, the bad and the ugly of marriage so we can enjoy a literal taste of heaven. and