Chemistry of Orgasm
“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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Sherri Aikin is a Fellow of Integrative Medicine, Nurse Practitioner, Sex Counselor, Mindfulness Facilitator, and Life Coach.
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