"Sexual communion should be a ritual performed in mindfulness with great respect, care, and love. True love contains care and respect. It is deep, beautiful, and whole."
- Thich Nhat Hanh
With the passing of Valentine's Day, some may be glowing from gifts, good food, and maybe even great sex. If you followed my last blog about the neurochemical events after orgasm (assuming when you had “great” sex, you had one), then you might be experiencing some of the chemical changes I described.
In Marnia Robinson’s book "Cupids Poison Arrow," she discusses a concept called Karezza. Robinson says, “In simplest terms, karezza is affectionate, sensual intercourse without the goal of climax.” In fact, orgasm is not advantageous and may be what causes disruption in relationships. This idea may create a stir within about the attachment we have to orgasm. It feels great and for most couples is the goal to even entering into the act of our sexuality. Marnia’s website and book.
Karezza is not the only ancient wisdom practice that recommends not reaching a climax. Tantric practices in eastern wisdom traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, teach sexual tantric practices that keep this vital energy within the subtle energy channels that circulate within our gross physical bodies.
When couples share their frustration about one partner having difficulty having an orgasm or individuals that suffer from post-orgasmic syndrome (yes, this is a real phenomenon), this is a practice I recommend. In fact, I advise new couples to practice the art of bonding through touch, intimate touching, and basic tantric practices so they concentrate on a trusting and wholesome bond, versus a fixation on orgasm.
Because Oxytocin bonds us to each other, it would be advantageous to foster behaviors that promote secretion of this hormone. Ultimately, in coupling. creating a bonding connection that can withstand the typical relational issues, Oxytocin may be the key ingredient to keep that bond. Behaviors that promote Oxytocin are cuddling, kissing, hugging, touching, and deep authenticate communication. With orgasm, there is a very small burst, but not long lasting. Oxytocin has a very short half -life so it’s important to keep bonding behaviors active in relationships.
Choosing to have orgasms and enjoying them may be a by-product of your love making, but making it a means to an end of a sexual act is missing the essence of our sexuality. Let the act of bonding be what moves your sexual flow and connect deeply to the human being that chooses to be in your arms and you in theirs. Practicing the art of mindful meditative sexuality may bring you to greater bliss than the 6 second orgasmic bliss. Give it a try!
“The pleasure of living and the pleasure of the orgasm are identical. Extreme orgasm anxiety forms the basis of the general fear of life.”
- Wilhelm Reich
Most patients seeking my counsel typically want to have more orgasms, making their sexuality, goal-seeking. There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying the pleasure that orgasm does bring, yet there is some very curious chemistry happening with orgasm worth analysis.
When orgasm occurs, Dopamine (DP) our reward hormone, is released in certain areas of the brain. Prolactin, a satiation hormone, increases after orgasm. Oxytocin, our bonding/trust hormone, increases, but sharply decreases if behaviors such as cuddling do not occur. Androgen receptors in the Hypothalamus, of which Testosterone interacts with, declines after orgasm as well.
So what does this mean to you? Here’s what you may find for yourself if you really pay attention over several events of having orgasms. With drops in DP and increases in Prolactin after orgasm, you may find yourself feeling depressed, motivation and drive diminished, less inclined to loving behaviors, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, mood changes, headaches, sadness and distracted.
Biological Anthropologist, Helen Fisher PhD, has extensively studied human sexual behaviors and what is happening in our brains with sex. What she has found in her studies is that DP release tops off after 1-3 years in relationships. If you assess your own relationships, you may know this to be true. Things begin to be less exciting and sex seems to take more effort than when you first met and courted your betrothed.
My analysis of how DP, Prolactin, and Oxytocin influence the cycle of orgasms and the confusion over how it seemed so good at the beginning then diminishes into repetitive quarreling, really does seem to be pointing in the direction of neurochemistry that is imbalanced. Neurochemistry in balance does bring well-being and cooperation, yet the excess released in abundance during the first year or two soon to cycle into the rollercoaster ride as described above. It’s not surprising that most relationships begin to struggle with sexually related problems.
With this knowledge, you may ask, well now what? Don’t have orgasms? The answer is yes and no. Maybe it’s about re-thinking your sexual approach and what happens after the sexual act that has resulted in orgasm. Ultimately to gain stability and balance with your neuro-biological system will bring the greatest health and sexual benefits.
Stay tuned for the next blog on different techniques to help you understand where to go from here. For now though, keep track of your moods, motivation, and attitudes. Keep a journal and see if you may possibly have the DP related blues related to post-orgasmic syndrome. Until next time, may you have true pleasure in your life that brings you health and well-being.
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