Your Brain and Sex

…was the topic of a great presentation I went to today. Granted, when you have a choice between “Your Brain and Sex” or “Ethics in Counseling Management” the choice is clear.
Some highlights:
  • Marriage counseling is basically trauma work. “People say marriage counseling doesn’t work, but statistics aren’t very good in trauma surgery either.” This is yet another case for PREVENTION! Work on your marriage before you need counseling.
  • Addicts, at a basic level, are addicted to dopamine. The presenter opined that “orgasm is the largest naturally occurring rush of dopamine. The initial heroin high is similar to a two-minute sustained orgasm… now I don’t want anybody running out looking for heroin!”
  • Often women are blamed (or blame themselves) for a lower sex drive, and may be diagnosed with low sexual desire, but “How can you diagnose someone with decreased desire, when there’s not much there that is worth desiring?”
  • People get caught in the “Dopamine/Prolactin Rollercoaster” which occurs when a desire for a new partner increases dopamine, which can begin an addictive cycle of increasing amounts of dopamine followed by bursts of prolactin.
  • The “Coolidge Effect” – New sexual stimuli creates a quick fix that may start the cycle over again. More types or more frequency of sex for couples may actually make things worse in the long term. Variety to deal with sexual lulls are not enough. Couples need to know how to deepen their intimacy and bonding (which is associated with Oxytocin). Oxytocin facilitates stability in the desire/orgasm/resolution cycle shown below. This effect also suggests that moving quickly into a sexual relationship may result in a faster dissolution of the relationship.
  • People often interpret the dopamine rush with a new person as “there’s something here” when there is really not. The presenter suggested that people should interpret is as “I need to do something more in my own relationship.”
  • Regarding sex ed, if we are just teaching abstinence, or just that sex is bad, we may actually make the problem worse! When something is taboo it becomes more biologically enticing. He suggests that we teach our children what is happening with their bodies, and encourage them to find other ways of getting dopamine that involve bonding and commitment, such as through sports.

About shenpa warrior

"Patience is not learned in safety." View all posts by shenpa warrior

3 responses to “Your Brain and Sex

  • M.A

    This is really interesting stuff! Where can I find more info? Esp the neurotrans stuff. Whose work is it? Yeehaw!

  • adam

    I am going to email the presenter and inquire! He’s a prof. at UCF. I’ll let you know!

  • Steve

    I watched a show on Discovery Health this weekend or last week about sex addicts. It talked about the same thing and how it isn’t the “sex” they are addicted to, but the dopamine and other chemicals that are involved with having sex and meeting new people. Most of the addicts actually disliked the sex part or only like the pre-sex excitement part. And I agree totally (and may have said so in the previous post) that “just say no” only exacerbates people’s problems with sex and understanding their needs, both physically and emotionally, in a relationship or not.

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