Information

If orgasm triggers bonding and feelings of love, why don't people continue to stay in love?

If orgasm triggers bonding and feelings of love, why don't people continue to stay in love?



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

I am a bit confused by the effects of orgasm in bonding; everything I seem to read seems to be a bit careless with the truth and does not mention why people fall out of love or why people who are in relationships cheat, etc. Could anyone please elaborate?


Surely, orgasms do release drain out dopamine but you're forgetting another important factor in dopamine release, which is novelty.

Ever heard that couples get bored of sex after an year or two? It's because they find it routine and boring. Cheating (an e.g) gives you the thrill of novelty.

The same activities which we find thrilling / rewarding will not remain that way. It has something to do with the sensitivity of dopamine receptors. Take novelty seekers (e.g) they tend to find novel activities thrilling.

The worst scenario occurs, when a person no longer finds any activity interesting. That is nothing but Anhedonia.


EDIT: I'm sorry, but I just realized that staying in love is a bit different from enjoying orgasms after reading this. A relationship is far more complicated than just producing enough dopamine.

Release of enough endorphins, helps you stay happy, if you're happy you're likely to not hate other people around you, if you do not hate them, you're likely to like them by releasing enough oxytocin (physical touch etc.). Apart from that, a sense of responsibility and well being comes into picture when you're serotonin levels are moderate.

Definitely low dopamine levels is a cause, but not the only cause of cheating etc. Any imbalance of neurochemicals causes not only relationships fall, but also other unhealthy / anti social behavior.


Oxytocin is the neurochemical that causes bonding. Its levels in the brain increase during sex and other activities. However, after an orgasm, dopamine levels decrease and prolactin levels increase. The combination of these things can contribute to moods and behaviors that cause disharmony in relationships.


The way women and men react post-orgasm is very different

After you have sex, you might look over at your partner and notice they’re behaving differently from you. While this is not necessarily indicative of your genders, science suggests they might play a significant part.

Most people have preconceived notions, usually imposed upon them by TV shows and movies, that post-orgasm, women become clingy and talkative, while men just want to fall asleep. In fact, there are many more layers to what goes on in men’s and women’s bodies and minds post-climax that explain this common end result and debunk it.

An orgasm is a full body and mind experience and impacts the body similarly to a good bout of exercise. Your heart is pumping, you’re sweating toxins out of your pores, your mind becomes much clearer and, if it’s a good session, you’re flooded with endorphins. However, that rush of energy comes on like an intense roller coaster ride &mdash it picks you up into the stratosphere, then drops you down over and over until your head is spinning. And while men and women both experience some of the same side effects of this ride, the changes in their respective hormones impact them very differently.

The orgasm itself

Physiologically speaking, male and female orgasms are actually quite similar. Both experience a series of contractions that reverberate throughout all the sexual organs, including the anus. That said, the length of the male orgasm versus the female orgasm is quite different. Even though men tend to climax more regularly during intercourse, men’s orgasms on the whole tend to be much shorter than women’s.

Post-climax joy

Both sexes enjoy a burst of ecstasy that floods the brain right after climaxing, but how they handle that joy is unique. Women usually want to bask in the after-climax glow and hold onto the fuzzy feelings sex often inspires in us. They want to bond with their partner rather than look for more bursts of joy, which is where that stereotype of cuddling and talking stems from. Essentially they are satiated, at least for now.

On the other hand, after a man climaxes, the addictive opioids that have been released from his limbic system make him search for another hit of joy, either from a cigarette or food or, oftentimes, sleep. While they have been satisfied by the experience, their testosterone levels make them crave more rather than allow them to settle into the moment.

Both sexes get a good dose of oxytocin, aka “the cuddle chemical,” which should encourage a sense of trust, affection and openness, but men (and some women) with higher testosterone levels tend to feel it less.

Sexual exhaustion is real

We all tend to feel a bit tired after a really good orgasm. That’s because our dopamine receptors were working on overdrive and are now tuckered out, which is reflected throughout the body. But this actually does more to men than make them unable to give it another go for at least 20 minutes. According to a 2003 study, it can actually desensitize them for up to a week.

This is unfortunate for women, because we’re often willing and able to go again almost immediately. Women are multi-orgasmic by nature, and sometimes that means if we’ve had only one during intercourse, we’re antsy for another, while our guy’s taking a necessary catnap. This is when it’s good to have your favorite vibrator on hand. Chances are, if you’re pleasuring yourself, he’ll suddenly wake up and feel inspired again.


14 Surprising Facts About Female Orgasms You Really Want to Know

Knowing everything there is to know about the female orgasm can help your mental, physical, and sexual health.

Psst &mdash you over there. Guess what? We're going to talk about orgasms. Specifically, the female orgasm. Why? Well, there are probably a lot of things about the female orgasm that you probably don't know. Some of these facts about orgasms revolve around their mental and physical benefits, like an improved immune system and reduced pain. Some are facts that debunk all-too-common myths, like condoms prevent you from climaxing. (P.S. - They don't.) Regardless, knowing everything there is to know about the female orgasm can make the experience much more pleasurable.

So now's the time to expand your knowledge. This is everything you ever wanted to know about an orgasm, and hopefully your next sexual experience will be your best one yet.


Noticing Trauma’s Impact On Behavior and Mood

Many times, trauma survivors re-live childhood experiences with an unresponsive or abusive partner (an important topic for another article). This often happens without the ability to see the reasons why they feel compelled to pursue unhealthy relationships. Beneath awareness is a drive to revisit unresolved trauma, and finally make things right. Of course, childhood wounds cannot be repaired this way unless there are two willing partners working on changing those cycles. But if these forces remain unnoticed, survivors can get caught in a cycle of abuse.

Even with a safe partner, a trauma survivor may

  • Experience depression
  • Develop compulsive behavior, an eating disorder, or substance dependence to try and regulate their emotions
  • Have flashbacks or panic attacks
  • Feel persistent self-doubt
  • Have suicidal thoughts
  • Seek or carry out the adverse behavior they experienced as a child

Get a printable Flashback Halting Guide with 10 Ways to Help Manage Flashbacks:

CLICK HERE for 10 Tips to Halt Flashbacks for Yourself or a Loved One

Partners of trauma survivors may want desperately to help. But partners need to “be clear that it is not your problem to fix and you don’t have the power to change another human being,” says Lisa Ferentz, LCSW in a post for partners of trauma survivors. Rather, know that both of you deserve to connect with resources to help you find comfort and healing.


What triggers oxytocin release?

While it&rsquos often referred to as the love hormone, oxytocin plays a key part in every relationship we have. &lsquoAny close bodily contact results in the release of oxytocin,&rsquo says Dr Lee. &lsquoLarge amounts of oxytocin are produced during childbirth, breastfeeding, and from the positive experiences when a mother cradles her baby.

It&rsquos easy to underestimate the power of human touch, says Dr Pennybacker, &lsquobut we're social beings and we&rsquore designed to connect. Therefore it&rsquos no surprise that, when we hug, cuddle or spoon a loved one, it releases oxytocin. Lots of research has shown that random acts of kindness can help us get a "helper&rsquos high" and this can be put down to increased levels of oxytocin also.&rsquo


Love, Sex & Narcissism: Why We Get Addicted to Abusers.

This is a copyrighted excerpt from the bestselling book, Fify Shades of Narcissism:Your Brain on Love, Sex and the Narcissist. It was first featured on Self-Care Haven.

The common question posed to abuse survivors is, why did he or she stay?

Many survivors of narcissistic abuse, a form of insidious emotional and psychological abuse, are also confounded by the addiction they feel to their abusive partner, long after the abusive relationship took a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

The truth of the matter is, recovery from an abusive relationship can be very similar to withdrawal from drug addiction due to the biochemical and psychological bonds survivors develop with their toxic ex-partners.

As a survivor myself who has studied psychology and has also coached other survivors on No Contact from their abusive partners, I knew that the answer to that question was more complex than what appeared to be on the surface irrational behavior. Abuse creates complex bonds between survivor and perpetrator that are difficult to break it also causes a great deal of cognitive dissonance as the survivor attempts to reconcile the brutal reality of the abuse with the person he or she once saw as their greatest confidante and lover in the early stages of the relationship. This cognitive dissonance is a defense mechanism that is often resolved not by seeing the abuser for who he or she really is, but rather by denying, minimizing or rationalizing the abuse that is occurring as a way to survive and cope with the trauma being experienced.

This form of abuse amnesia is compounded by the nature of the abuse cycle. Abuse is often slow and insidious, building up over time from tiny infractions to major meltdowns. What was once a glimpse of an abuser’s false mask occasionally slipping in the beginning becomes a horrific cycle of idealization, devaluation, and eventually, discard that the survivor has not only grown accustomed to, but also inadvertently becomes addicted to due to the strength of the “trauma bond” that forms between abuser and victim.

Motivated to understand why survivors such as myself felt a sense of paralysis that made it difficult to leave an abusive relationship, I set out to compile the research that I wish I had possessed as a survivor myself when I began looking for information. Stigmatizing labels of abuse survivors as meek and irrational didn’t ring true to me, as the survivors that often reached out to me in my coaching practice were incredibly intelligent, accomplished and introspective—there was something, I knew, about the nature of the abusive relationship that created a complex, psychological, even physiological reaction in the victim, regardless of who the abuse victim was personally or professionally.

Discussion of the biochemical bonding that occurs between an abuse survivor and perpetrator has been scarce, and my research into the chemicals and hormones at work—applied to the knowledge I had about the traumatic highs and lows of these turbulent relationships—has been eye-opening. What I uncovered though was that when it comes to leaving toxic partners such as narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths, our brain’s biochemistry is not on our side.

Understanding why we are addicted or bonded to our abuser permits us to recognize that our addiction is not about the merits of the abuser, but rather the nature and severity of the trauma we’ve experienced. It enables us to detach from the abuser, hopefully with the help of validating professional support, and move forward with powerful knowledge that can propel us towards greater agency and healthier relationships than the ones we’ve experienced in the past.

I know from personal experience that an abuse survivor that is judged, rather than supported, feels further alienated and ashamed when speaking about the abuse. We are prone to shutting down rather than getting help and society’s victim-blaming stance certainly doesn’t give us any incentive to speak out about what is happening.

Information about the effects of trauma challenges the victim-blaming discourse in society that prevents many abuse survivors from gaining support and validation—validation that would actually help, not hinder, these survivors in leaving their abusive relationships.

Some of these same biochemical bonds also make it difficult for us to detach from non-narcissistic partners as well.

This hormone, known famously as the “cuddle” or “love hormone,” is released during touching, orgasm and sexual intercourse it promotes attachment and trust. It is the same hormone released by the hypothalamus that enables bonding between mother and child. During “lovebombing” in the idealization phases with our abusive partners, it’s likely that our bond to them is quite strong as a result of this hormone. Intermittent reinforcement of positive behaviors dispersed throughout the abuse cycle (e.g. gifts, flowers, compliments, sex) ensures that we still release oxytocin even after experiencing incidents of abuse.

I’ve heard from many survivors who reminisce about the great sexual relationship they had with the narcissist, containing an electrifying sexual chemistry they feel unable to achieve with future partners. This is because charming emotional predators such as narcissists are able to mirror our deepest sexual and emotional desires, which leads to a strong sexual bond, which then, of course, releases oxytocin, and promotes even more trust and attachment.

Meanwhile, the narcissist, who is usually devoid of empathy and does not form these types of close attachments, is able to move onto his or her next source of supply without much thought or remorse.

The addictive nature of oxytocin is also gendered according to Susan Kuchinskas, author of the book, The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love. The unfortunate fact is that estrogen promotes the effects of oxytocin bonding whereas testosterone discourages it. This makes it more difficult for females in any type of relationship to detach from the bond as quickly as men.

The same neurotransmitter that is responsible for cocaine addiction is the same one responsible for addiction to dangerous romantic partners. According to Harvard Health, both drugs and intense, pleasurable memories trigger dopamine and create reward circuits in the brain, essentially telling the brain to “do it again.”

Do you remember recalling the pleasurable, beautiful first moments with your toxic partner? The romantic dates, the sweet compliments and praise, the incredible sex—long after you two had broken up?

Yeah—it’s releasing the dopamine in your brain that’s telling you to “do it again.”

The salience theory of dopamine suggests that our brain releases dopamine not just for pleasurable events but to important ones that are linked to survival. As Samantha Smithstein, Psy.d, puts it, “Dopamine is not just a messenger that dictates what feels good it also tells the brain what is important and what to pay attention to in order to survive. And the more powerful the experience is, the stronger the message is to the brain to repeat the activity for survival.”

Abuse survivors are unfortunately hijacked by dopamine. Abusive tactics like intermittent reinforcement works well with our dopamine system, because studies show that dopamine flows more readily when the rewards are given out on an unpredictable schedule rather than predictably after conditioned cues.

So the random sweet nothings whispered to us after an incident of emotional abuse, the apologies, the pity ploys, the rare displays of tenderness during the devaluation phase, right before another incident of abuse—actually help cement this type of reward circuit rather than deter it.

Combine this with powerful experiences of abuse which alert our brain to “pay attention” as well as pleasurable memories we recollect over and over again—and we’ve got ourselves a biochemical bond from hell.

3) Cortisol, Adrenaline and Norepinephrine.

Cortisol is a stress hormone, and boy, does it get released during the traumatic highs and lows of an abusive relationship. It is released by the adrenal glands in response to fear as part of the “fight or flight” mechanism. Since we are unlikely to have a physical outlet of release when cortisol is triggered during cycles of emotional abuse, this often traps the stress within our bodies instead.

As we ruminate over incidents of abuse, increased levels of cortisol lead to more and more health problems. In his article “Cortisol: Why The Stress Hormone is Public Enemy No. 1,” Christopher Bergland suggests numerous ways to counteract the effects of this hormone, which include physical activity, mindfulness, meditation, laughter, music and social connectivity.

Adrenaline and norepinephrine also prepare our body for the flight or fight response, and are also culprits in biochemical reactions to our abusers. Adrenaline promotes an antidepressant effect, triggering fear and anxiety which then releases dopamine—this can cause us to become “adrenaline junkies,” addicted to the rush of vacillating between bonding and betrayal. During No Contact or a break-up with an abuser, withdrawal from that “rush” can be incredibly painful.

Serotonin is a hormone that regulates mood. When we fall in love, the serotonin levels in our body fall in a way that mimics the way they are lowered in individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Marazziti, 1999). Individuals with low levels of serotonin are more likely to engage in sexual behavior which then again releases dopamine and oxytocin. As you can see, the biochemicals involved all interact with each other to contribute to this vicious cycle.

This is why narcissistic abusers dominate our brains in the early idealization phases of the relationship with their lovebombing, the excessive adoration we receive in the beginning. Imagine how this effect is compounded in the devaluation and discard phases, when, we are made to think about our narcissistic partner 24/7 due to their covert put-downs, their silent treatments, their stonewalling, their infidelity, and their sudden disappearances. We become obsessed with them not just through love, but again, through fear, through anxiety and rumination.

All of these jolts of fear and anxiety in the face of danger can reenact past traumas and create trauma bonding. Trauma bonding occurs after intense, emotional experiences with our abusers and tethers us to them, creating subconscious patterns of attachment that are very difficult to detach from. It is part of the phenomenon known as Stockholm Syndrome, in which victims of hostage situations become attached to their perpetrators and even defend their captors. Trauma bonding is prevalent in abusive relationships as well as kidnapping, hostage situations and addiction. According to Carnes (2013), “Little acts of degradation, manipulation, secrecy and shame on a daily basis take their toll. Trauma by accumulation sneaks up on its victims.”

Although survivors of narcissistic abuse come from many different backgrounds and anyone can be a victim of narcissistic abuse, trauma bonding is even more significant for those who grow up in violent or emotionally abusive homes, and/or have had a narcissistic parent in addition to their most recent experiences with trauma and abuse.

Survivors of multiple incidents of abuse by various narcissistic individuals can further reinforce subconscious wounds they experienced in childhood in the trauma bond with their current abusers. If there has been victimization in the past, such as the experience of having to survive in an abusive household, this can lead to trauma repetition or reenactment, the root of which Gary Reece, Ph.D in his article, “The Trauma Bond,” calls “relational trauma.”

For more information on trauma bonding, please see The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships by Patrick Carnes.

It is important to understand the various types of biochemical and psychological bonds that often create attachments between abusers and their victims. It is these bonds that cause survivors to struggle with No Contact from their abuser and cause them to suffer relapses on the road to recovery from the psychological trauma of the relationship. It’s important to explore how our own brain chemistry can lock us into this addiction to the narcissist or sociopathic partner, so that we can find ways to break and interrupt the bond with our abusers without blaming ourselves for the abuse we’ve experienced.

Better understanding these bonds enables us to move past victim-blaming and move forward into greater understanding, compassion and support for survivors who struggle with leaving abusive relationships.

We must not judge—rather, we must continue to empower ourselves and others with this newfound knowledge.


OPINION: Hookup culture: Why do “body counts” rise if orgasms don’t?

I was shocked at how unfazed I was by this comment. As a high schooler, I expected that most college students experience a sort of wildly promiscuous sexual awakening. Hooking up was something to look forward to, right?

Ever since I was a freshman, something about the University of Arizona’s party scene has always struck me as sexually charged. From frat parties to bar crawls, getting your rocks off seemed like a lot of students’ end-goal. I mean, there’s a reason Tinder is most active in the evening. But, why is it that when I’m recapping with my friends after a dizzy weekend, their hookup stories more-often-than-not end without a conclusion (if you catch my drift).

In terms of heterosexual hookups, why are “body counts” going up, but orgasms are not? I’ve tried doing the math, but it turns out that this issue is much more complex than accounting.

MORE FROM THE DAILY WILDCAT

OPINION: Love myself? That's much easier said than done.

Preserving your mental and physical wellness during freshman year at UA

Reducing stress one student at a time

I sat down with Lee Ann Hamilton, the assistant director of Health Promotion and Preventive Services at Campus Health, for a conversation about the hookup culture phenomenon and how participants can have consistently better sex when engaging with inconsistent partners. She has been teaching human sexuality at the university for 10 years and sometimes does a demonstration where she puts an entire football into a Lifestyle condom (think about that the next time someone tells you that condoms are uncomfortable).

Wash your hands and grab your lube, we’re going to break down your FAQ’s about everything from feelings to faking it.

The Myth of the Promiscuous College Student

According to Campus Health’s annual health and wellness survey, the expectation of how many people are actually having sex with more than one partner is far lower. Most people only have sex with one new partner annually.

“I think there is an over perception about how much sex students are having and how many people they’re having it with,” Hamilton said. “While a lot of people are hooking up, there’s still a significant number of students that are not. Because of the media, some tend to assume that all college students do is drink and screw their brains out. But the data proves that to be untrue. A lot of students are too busy or are being more selective with their partners. Yes, hooking up happens, but I think there’s a perception that it happens way more than it does.”

Hamilton went on to explain that “we tend to see what we look for. So, yes, there are some people who are very active in hookup culture, but it’s not everyone. We shouldn’t assume that every college student is out there screwing their brains out with strangers.”

The Pleasure Gap in Heterosexual Sex

Durex surveyed 1,500 women between the ages of 18 and 65 about the frequency in which they reach orgasm during sex. The results showed that 3 out of 4 women do not orgasm with their partner. However, the figures for men concluded that only 28% had difficulty finishing during sex.

So, straight friends (or anyone bumping opposite anatomy) why do we think this is? A common conception that a lot of my gal pals have come to is that some guys just don’t care. They don’t ask questions and they don’t want direction. Unfortunately, some men that I have spoken to have confirmed this for me. Although, their reasoning is a bit more disheartening.

From “it’s too complicated” to “it takes too long,” the female orgasm does not seem like a feasible destination for the impatient.

There is a myth that lesbian couples have much more satisfying and climax-achieving sex than hetero couples do. Although this stereotype is embellished, it stems from the fact that it’s inherently easier to interact with a body that is similar to yours.

Hamilton related this lack of understanding between the genders to the socialized emphasis of penetrative sex. “Particularly in American culture, we are over-fixated on penetrative penile-vaginal intercourse, which pretty much always feels good for the penis owner. But, for women, it’s really about clitoral stimulation. Having deep penetrating intercourse may be the opposite of what leads to [female pleasure]," Hamilton said. She went on to say that “the clitoris has more nerve endings than the penis does, so it’s really about stimulating the clitoris.”

Keep in mind that only 6% of women can achieve orgasm through penetrative sex alone. This statistic haunts me every time I think about how much porn lied to me.

Sensation vs. Connection

“A lot of people that are interested in sex, they’re really interested in the passion and the excitement and the sensation of it,” Hamilton said. “What’s often missing is that deep connection of intimacy. Human beings often crave more. There are often cases where people are looking for sensation and excitement and passion, and there are other people who are looking for intimacy, shared experience and a sense of deeper connection and bonding.”

There have been studies conducted on women who can mentally bring themselves to orgasm. And get this — it’s referred to as “thinking off.”

Sexual health researcher Barry Komisaruk did a study in 2011 about this ability. The research revealed that “women who can will themselves to orgasm mentally experience the same brain activity during orgasm as women who use stimulation to get off. If women can experience the same orgasm from stimulation as they can just through mentally willing it to happen, it proves just how large of a role the brain plays in female orgasm.”

If this is the case, why don’t women just manifest climax? This is where sensation vs. connection comes into play.

Not every woman is capable of this. In fact, it’s very rare. However, the mental soundness and comfortability that must be present in order for a female orgasm to occur is as much of a factor as physical stimulation. Hamilton made light of the other gap associated with the orgasm dilemma: “Men get excited faster than women do. Men are more like microwaves, women are more like crock-pots.” One word: foreplay!

Oftentimes, hookups are expected to be fast-paced and hot and heavy, leaving little room for equal and substantial arousal. If your partner is not ready to engage, they’re definitely not going to be ready to finish. Foreplay establishes the connection that makes comfortability necessary, as well as makes space for exploration. It’s the perfect time to try things out and ask questions in order to see what your partner is going to like — and not like — moving forward.

You don’t have to like someone romantically to have sex with them, but you have to like what they’re doing in order for it to be a satisfying experience.

Setting Expectations for Hookups

Some people have sex with new partners for the excitement and passion of a new experience. Some do it based on the idea of a golden ticket hookup: finding that one person who just knows how to get it done. The psychology behind the latter reason is flawed in that it’s ineffective to continually do the same thing in hopes of a different result.

Hamilton said it best: “Nobody can read your mind. Communication is key.”

If you’re someone that is going into a sexual situation with the expectation to finish, then that has to be communicated and actively worked through with your partner. “Let people know what your expectations are, what you’re looking for, what feels good and doesn’t feel good,” Hamilton said. “Being honest is the most effective thing, whether it’s for a one-night stand, friends with benefits or a relationship.”

Faking It and Hurt Feelings

A few male peers of mine, both in previously taken gender and women's studies and sexual education courses as well as in personal conversation, have expressed that they either assume that their female partner finished or that it isn’t achievable at all. Sometimes I put my misandry aside and feel bad for men having to endure the running joke about them not knowing where the clit is. However, it takes two to tango.

Ladies, when’s the last time you faked an orgasm? More women do it than you think, and a lot of us have crafted quite the Oscar-worthy reenactment. Hamilton accredited “faking it” as a seemingly-polite reaction to the thought of “I’m over this! I want this to stop.” I believe this pressure to perform also comes from a place of social conditioning.

Sometimes women just don’t want to hurt men’s feelings. This stems from the expectation for us to be polite and also the subliminal fear associated with making men upset. However, men fake it too!

There are also those cases in which your partner is genuinely trying and you’ve pulled out all the stops — communication, direction, self-stimulation — and it just doesn’t happen. It’s not rude to be honest about technique not translating. We’ve just been trained to feel uncomfortable about it.

Hamilton warned us on the cyclical dissatisfaction of faking orgasms. “Faking it doesn’t help because if someone fakes it the first time and they have sex with that same person again, their partner thinks that what they did the last time worked and they will continue to do that thing. That will continue to repeat unless they’re honest,” Hamilton said.

It’s important to remember that pleasurable sex is possible without climax. Some people are just in it for the experience or connection. Sometimes you’re just not in the right headspace or have had too much to drink. It all depends on what your expectations are when approaching a sexual interaction. Invite yourself to think about the journey more than the destination.

Squirting: “She came, I can totally tell!”

Squirting is defined as a “discharging of a noticeable amount of fluid from the urethra.” A common misconception is that this is a surefire way to identify a real female orgasm. Contrary to popular belief, squirting can happen without orgasm. It is simply a result of stimulation that leads to liquid expulsion and isn’t always tied to climax. Also, not every woman can do it, making it an untrustworthy source.

According to clinical sexologist and YouTube “sexpert” Lindsey Doe, there are multiple types of fluid that can be released from a bio-sex female’s body, two of them are both called female ejaculation. She explained the difference as “there’s female ejaculate, which can be similar in quantity and consistency to semen, and there’s ejaculate which is clearer and more abundant.”

Squirting and ejaculation are different. The fluid associated with squirting comes from the bladder and is clear. No, it’s not pee! However, this liquid builds up in the bladder during stimulation, so by nature it is possible for there to be traces of urine in there.

Ejaculation comes from the glands inside of the vagina and can range from clear to nearly white. It’s possible to tell when orgasm has occurred because the lubricating fluid in the vagina will increase and become thicker, sometimes even stickier.

Hamilton linked the over-interest in squirting to porn. “Some men think 'If I see her squirt then I know she had an orgasm, I know she didn’t fake it,' but in porn they’ll set up the squirting scene using various angles and tubes that squirt to make it look like the woman actually did,” Hamilton explained. “That makes people think that women should squirt. That’s not something that all of us can do.”

There’s no shame in bringing a sex toy into the bedroom! At least, there shouldn’t be.

There’s this embarrassment associated with sex toys in which a person may feel like they’re not enough for their partner. We would like to think that our primal abilities and the tricks we picked up from porn will be enough to get someone off. However, if you’re engaging in one-night stands and want more consistent orgasms, then bring that consistency with you.

Also, men should not feel shame for using sex toys. Although their branding might be gendered, they’re for everyone! Hamilton made it clear that “you don’t need to have a sex toy to have an orgasm, but if you’re not having them, it’s up to you to take responsibility for yourself to make sure that you have one.”

Sex toys also help in one’s personal understanding of their body. You can’t teach someone a language you’re not fluent in yourself! Hamilton made it a point to further emphasize communication with these tips. “What people can do is masturbate on their own to show their partner how to stimulate them. Then you can find out what gets you there. Whether it’s a vibrator, a finger, a toe, a penis, a tongue, you need to figure out how you want to be stimulated and with what,” Hamilton said.

Sex on Medication

More people take medication for their mental health than is advertised. Thankfully, issues like depression and anxiety are becoming destigmatized and medical help is slowly becoming more accessible. That being said, medications like SSRIs can decrease a person’s sex drive dramatically and, in some cases, make orgasm unachievable.

Hamilton’s stated that “taking anti-depressants can decrease libido enormously and make it impossible to have an orgasm. So, some people can try all they want, they can have a vibrator and the best partner in the world, but because sex has so much to do with our brain and our central nervous system, if you’re on drugs that alter your serotonin or your dopamine, it can make getting there impossible.”

Even medications used for ADD/ADHD, like Adderall, Vyvanse and non-stimulants, can impact a person’s sexual performance. This isn’t to say that sex cannot be enjoyable while on medications. A stinting of arousal or climax also isn’t a side effect for everyone. One can still enjoy the ride without getting to park the car.

For more information on your sex and health needs, take a look at Campus Health’s SexTalk archives. I would like to personally recommend Doe’s YouTube channel "sexplanations" where she talks about all things sexy (and sticky). Lastly, if you are having any reoccurring issues with sex, trauma-based or otherwise, reach out to CAPS for counseling and/or support group sessions.

Selena Kuikahi (she/her) is a senior studying both film and television and law.

Let us come to you. The Daily Wildcat, straight to your inbox. News. Science/Health. Sports. Arts/Lifestyle. You choose. You cancel at any time.


Myths about the "love hormone" oxytocin that could ruin your love life

People often make weird claims about oxytocin, sometimes called the "trust hormone" or the "love hormone," and sex. Scarleteen's Heather Corinna researches the real neuroscience behind oxytocin and breaks down the myths.

The more young people are told - usually by adults who know from their own experience it's not true — that sex outside of marriage, outside long-term, monogamous relationships, or with any more than one partner in a lifetime, will always do them terrible, irreparable harm and make them damaged goods forevermore, the more we get questions about oxytocin, one common staple in that messaging. So, around a year ago, I started excavating.

Anyone who regularly reads Scarleteen knows we don't feel there's one model of relationship, or any right or wrong number of sexual partners, that will or won't lead to satisfaction, happiness or a lack of hurt or harm for everyone, and that we don't feel it's sound for us or anyone else to suggest that there is. At this point in human history and social science we've all the evidence we need to know we've pretty much tried every possible kind of relationship and social set of "rules" and strategies there are, and none have generated any identical, satisfactory or unsatisfactory results for everyone who has tried them. We also don't feel that consensual sex of any kind or in any one context is right or wrong for everyone and don't think suppositions to the contrary are sound. We stand firmly behind the understanding of people as incredibly diverse, and know that our relationships, sexuality and what we each want from those things and find is right for us is also incredibly diverse. So, while we really shouldn't have to say it, for the record, nothing I'm about to say here should be interpreted as any kind of suggestion or evidence that any one way or model of having sex or relationships, or anything a given person wants, needs, finds ideal or non-ideal when it comes to either of those things is right or wrong according to me or according to science.

There are a lot of links packed in here. If you want to dig into this topic a bit more, click away. If youɽ rather have the basics, I spared you as best I could. But all the links alone should make clear that anyone who is making pat claims about oxytocin is probably either a) lazily parroting what they heard someone else say without doing any qualitative reading themselves, and/or b) dismissing the complexity actual study and the diversity of human experience has shown us about oxytocin and all of human behavior in order to further a social or personal agenda, or in order to further their hope — as sometimes we're all wont to do — that some of the most complex and confusing parts of our lives could be magically made simple.

The oxytocin-and-sex bus seems to have really gotten its gas with Dr. Erik Keroack , a popular lecturer for the National Right to Life Committee and the National Abstinence Clearinghouse. Ex-President Bush appointed him to head Title X, our national family planning program, for the Department of Health and Human Services. There are about a hundred reasons why that appointment made a lot of people feel stabby, but the biggest one is that Keroack was strongly against family planning. It was a lot like putting an anti-gun activist in charge of the NRA. Keroack was also particularly fond of talking about oxytocin and making claims about it (claims unsupported by science) to support his own agenda, such as that , "People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual."

Many claims about oxytocin regarding love, sex and bonding cite some science, but often very selectively and dubiously, so much so that some scientists whose studies have been used to make agenda-driven claims have strongly objected to the use of their studies to do so. As well, when people are talking about studies done on oxytocin and sex or pair-bonding, the vast majority of those studies have been done with and about prairie voles, not people.

A prototypical conservative claim about oxytocin, sounds a lot like this :

Oxytocin is a hormone that is released in a woman during childbirth, nursing a child, and during sexual activity. Commonly referred to as "glue," oxytocin creates a strong bond between the woman and the other involved. In the case of childbirth and nursing this bond is important because it creates a nurturing environment for the child. In a marriage relationship where sex is safe and beneficial, oxytocin helps keep the bond between a husband and wife strong. Outside of marriage however, the oxytocin bond can increase the emotional pain when the relationship has ended. Oxytocin is impartial. Whether during sexual activity between husband and wife or in a teenage hook-up, the hormone is still released and the bond is still created. Oxytocin promises an involuntary chemical commitment.

Every parent, educator, and school administrator can undertake the mission of teaching abstinence with heightened significance as the intensity of the oxytocin bond explains why teens suffer emotionally after breakups, and often even during a relationship. Sex was created to unite two people, bringing a bond unlike any other relationship. This powerful bond is what sustains husband and wife until "death do us part" contributing to trust and security. Outside of marriage the release of oxytocin can lead to distrust, hostility, and insecurity. Sexual relationships without commitment still have a lasting bond. Oxytocin even has the power to sustain attachment within abusive relationships.

That's from The Oxytocin Factor (Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg, 2003, Aspire, Scott Phelps, 2008, The Medical Institute of Sexual Health, 2006). The Medical Institute of Sexual Health is an abstinence-only organization . Its advisory board reads like a Who's Who of purity pushers, including W. David Hager, another former Bush appointee, to the FDA's advisory board on reproductive health, who suggested prayer as a cure for PMS and whose ex-wife stated in The Nation that he had repeatedly raped her . The AMA it's not. I have not found any study done on oxytocin that shows oxytocin alone creates emotional bonds (rather than potentially playing a part in them or creating a feeling in someone they they may be bonded, even if they are not), no studies done exclusively within marriage to show it is different for married or unmarried people, and none done to determine what role, if any, oxytocin may play in the pain of a breakup. I also have not found any oxytocin studies done within or about intimate partner violence to support conclusions that the reason people stay attached to abusive partners is chemical. If only it were that simple.

These kinds of sentiments about oxytocin are often the impetus for such popular abstinence-only routines as "Miss Tape." (Which I just demonstrated for my friend's four-year-old, who now promises to never tart it up.) Here's another example of some socially conservative claims about oxy:

Oxytocin also helps females bond with men. When a woman and man touch each other in a loving way, oxytocin is released in her brain. It makes her want more of that loving touch, and she begins to feel a bond with her partner. Sexual intercourse leads to the release of even more oxytocin, a desire to repeat the contact, and even stronger bonding. But, like dopamine, oxytocin is values-neutral. It's a chemical reaction, or, as the authors write: "[I]t is an involuntary process that cannot distinguish between a one-night stand and a lifelong soul mate. Oxytocin can cause a woman to bond to a man even during what was expected to be a short-term sexual relationship." So when that short-term relationship ends, the emotional fallout can be devastating, thanks to oxytocin.

"The authors" in that quote are Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, who are affiliated with the abstinence-only group the Medical Institute for Sexual Health.

Not only do we know from study on oxytocin that it is not at all exclusive to women , and that oxytocin cannot, by itself, create emotional bonds, I cannot find any studies about oxytocin done on sexual activity exclusive to intercourse. That same piece also states not only that oxytocin is a girl-thing, but that vasopressin is a guy-thing, when in fact, both chemicals can and do exist in the bodies of all genders.

Let's take a look at what oxytocin is . Let me preempt what you're about to read by saying that we not only still know very little about oxytocin, we still know very little about all neurochemicals and how they affect our feelings and actions. If someone says they know something absolute and definitive about oxytocin and what it does in our bodies, that's a big pseudoscience red flag. Also, some of the claims and quotes about oxytocin report it as being about only women and men or only women or only men. Most, if not all of the time, they're talking about people who are or are thought to be XX or XY, and when interplay between men and women is discussed, they're talking about heterosexual people. If and when I use the language they used or is found in studies I'm citing, that's why, not because I'm a fan or think it's necessarily accurate (particularly when people are talking about studies done with voles and not people at all).

Oxytocin is one of many neuropeptides found and produced in mammals. It seems we've known about it for around 100 years but have only recently started studying it in any depth. Scientists currently understand it as potentially playing a part in everything from labor contractions, deep discussions, breastfeeding, autism, sexual arousal , activity and orgasm , altruism, and all kinds of general social interactions (good, bad and otherwise) for those of all sexes and genders who can or do experience all or any of those things. Apparently, oxytocin levels may elevate in people even just by being around the color blue . How much or how little oxytocin is out and about during these or other events varies widely among mammals, even mammals of any one assigned sex or who are all having the same kind of experience in which oxytocin is or may be present. It's understood to have a plasma half-life (the time it takes for half of any given substance to become inactive) of only around 3-5 minutes in the human bloodstream.

According to the APA , "Oxytocin is produced mainly in the hypothalamus, where it is either released into the blood via the pituitary gland, or to other parts of the brain and spinal cord, where it binds to oxytocin receptors to influence behavior and physiology. The excitement over the hormone began in the 1990s when researchers discovered that breastfeeding women are calmer in the face of exercise and psychosocial stress than bottle-feeding mothers. But more recent research has shown other roles for the hormone, too. Oxytocin levels are high under stressful conditions, such as social isolation and unhappy relationships."

It's been highly linked to influencing trust and social attachment between mammals (not just sex partners: parents and children, friends, even a dude and his dog ). As the APA makes clear, the idea that oxytocin levels surge only in pleasant or sexual situations isn't at all accurate. Those of you using hormonal methods of birth control should prepare yourselves to hear that you apparently can't emotionally bond as well as women not using those methods, since progesterone inhibits oxytocin . If that and claims about oxytocin being THE thing that bonds are true, then when women are in the phase of the fertility cycle where progesterone is highest — about half of every cycle, during the time practitioners of natural family planning who are trying to prevent pregnancy would be having sex most — they wouldn't be able to bond as well then, either.

That same APA piece also takes a chunk out of the idea that surges of oxytocin early in life, or with more than one other critter, make us less likely to bond. In fact, they suggest that without those early-life surges, we may have problems bonding later.

Let's revisit that "many" part about neuropeptides. Rather, let's let Sue Carter, a zoologist who pioneered some oxytocin research, be clear : "The nervous system is not just oxytocin. There are many other hormones that might be just as important as oxytocin that haven't been identified yet," Carter says. "A piece of social support is oxytocin. That doesn't mean that oxytocin alone equals social support." Oxytocin so isn't just about, or just produced or possibly elevated during sex, though. Not even close .

One common place oxytocin apparently plays a big part is in breastfeeding and child-parent bonding. Suggesting a person who has multiple — or even just more than one — sex partners will be less able to bond to people because of potentially having oxytocin surges with more than one person would suggest that breastfeeding mothers who have more than one child would become less and less able to bond to their children. Not only am I quite certain neither is true — particularly based on just one neurochemical — I can hardly imagine the social conservatives who are pushing oxytocin so hard as a way to scare people about sex jumping on THAT bandwagon.

One of my favorite oxytocin fables is that it is why when men and women have casual sex, women are apparently thereafter waiting, lovelorn, by the phone, feeling they just lost the great love of their life after one hookup, while men apparently go skipping off casually, having experienced no feelings at all and having developed no attachment whatsoever to the woman they just slept with. That might well be so if that's always what happened, if oxytocin was the only thing that drove or influenced any of those feelings or experiences, and if oxytocin was something that only occurred in women. But those things are not true. It's also often suggested that it's female orgasm that's the big oxytocin power surge. However, more women than men are inorgasmic, and with casual sex specifically, it's more common for women than men not to experience orgasm, especially with brand-new partners. That given, it becomes an even stranger supposition, because the roles should then be reversed, right?

While commonly called "the love hormone," that's also not always the most accurate nickname for this particular neuropeptide, because it doesn't always create those feelings. Sometimes, it's quite the opposite.

One study in Israel found that oxytocin may also increase feelings of envy and make it more likely for a person to gloat: not so lovey-dovey, that. Those researchers and others will tend to bristle at the suggestion of oxytocin as the "love hormone" or "hug hormone," instead suggesting that what it may do is simply intensify the whole range of human emotions, not only the pleasant ones and not only feelings of love or sexual attraction. In all the actual scientific information we have so far on oxytocin, it's clear it has just as much to do with fear and stress as it does with love.

Here's my running list of when and where oxytocin has been found or suggested to surge in study done in humans and/or other mammals: For people with a uterus , during labor (a synthetic version of Oxytocin, Pitocin, is often used to induce labor), birth (vaginal delivery) and/or breastfeeding when men snuggle babies when we pet or look at our dogs during massage (from anyone, but found to elevate more in the massage therapist than the massage-ee) when we sing together in groups when we compete, play games or gamble kissing (though this apparently raises men's levels more than women's hugging acupuncture talking intimately with your friends , apparently especially between female friends yoga, meditation or prayer some foods: like chili peppers, which contain a compound called capsaicin, which has been shown to prompt a surge of oxytocin

Neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson suggests that , "Probably, oxytocin can also be released just by imagining – the more vividly, the better – the activities just mentioned."

Though the central oxytocin studies often used for some of these claims were with voles, not humans, if we're going to talk about them and talk about oxytocin, we also have to talk about vasopressin , another very similar neuropeptide . And if we're going to talk about orgasm or sex and hormones, we can't really pull one ingredient out from the whole soup: our bodies can't and don't, after all. Thatɽ be like suggesting that a three-layer-cake and flour, just one ingredient of that cake, are the same thing. On a chemical level alone, there are a host of chemicals that can be or are involved with sex and sexual response: androgens, estrogens, prolactin, cortisol, neurochemical almost always inextricably linked to oxytocin — serotonin, phenylethylamine and others, for people of all genders: not just women, not just men, and not just in interactions between women and men.

Where does a lot of this stuff come from that suggests that oxytocin, in the context of love or sex, is SO different for men and for women? As far as I can tell, a lot of it comes from sex and gender essentialism, much of which flies in the face of science. Oxytocin has also been studied far more in females than males, most likely because the most important role it has seemed to have so far is with labor, delivery, lactation and maternal behaviour .

Testosterone is known to suppress oxytocin. People might be able to get away with some generalizations about men and women because of that. but only if testosterone was exclusive to men. ⟎pt it's not. Not only do we all have it, it plays some part in all sexual response. Certainly, most XY people have more testosterone, or higher levels, than most XX people, most of the time. That can be as little as two times as much to twenty times as much. When people are sexually aroused, all of our testosterone levels are elevated, whatever our sex or gender. Additionally — estrogen may increase — not create, increase — the effects of oxytocin. But men have estrogen, too, even though most women have more. And as we've already talked about, sex and sexuality is not merely chemical.

Looking at that list up there of situations in which oxytocin can purportedly rear it's oxytociny head, let's apply the same kind of logic some do with statements about sex and oxytocin to some of these other situations. Let's also use the same broad brush and total certainty in making them.

If we did, we might say things like: Mothers who deliver by C-section or who do not breastfeed will not be able to bond to their children. Post-menopausal women have a decreasing ability to bond with other people. (Grannies are gonna love that one.) Massage therapists can't pair-bond because they touch too many people. Mothers who deliver or breastfeed more than one child will be less and less able to bond to subsequent children. Because birth apparently creates the biggest oxytocin surges we know of, women may bond with anyone involved in their birth. Good news for obstetricians! People who have and care for pets will be less able to bond with other pets or people. People who sing in choirs or bands may as well be having orgies for all the oxytocin they're hurling around. People with autism may not be able to bond to anyone, ever.

I'm not saying ANY of these statements are true or are things I believe to be valid. I don't, not even remotely. They sound utterly offensive and silly to me, just like the claims about oxytocin at the top of the page do. But if we're supposed to accept that things like claims about number of sexual partners and bonding ability are true, weɽ have to accept some or all of these other statements are or may be equally true.

In most, if not all, of our social interactions, oxytocin may be or has the potential to be present. How much or how little probably depends on which activities we're doing, what a given one is like for us at a time, on each of our very unique cocktails of biochemistry and on the big picture of our lives, histories and feelings about and conceptions of those lives and histories. For someone of the mindset that we need to watch who we have have oxytocin surges with and in what kind of interactions that occurs, so far science seems to indicate that to do that, weɽ all need to stay away from most social interactions — pleasant and unpleasant alike — we have with everyone, like with parents, platonic friends, romantic and/or sexual partners, co-workers, religious leaders, fellow singers in our choirs, pets, massage therapists, religious communities and yoga teachers.

Where's the bad part of oxytocin? Going back to that APA piece up top, "When it is operating during times of low stress, oxytocin physiologically rewards those who maintain good social bonds with feelings of well-being. But when it comes on board during times of high social stress or pain, it may "lead people to seek out more and better social contacts," says Taylor." But it's also worth nothing that, as Rene Hurlemann, a psychiatrist who has done oxytocin studies states , " An Israeli study has shown that when people are engaged in a contest, if one player's emotions are manipulated by the offer of a bigger prize to the other player, the first player's feelings of jealousy and ill will are actually exacerbated by a dose of oxytocin.

"Oxytocin does not make you a better person," he says. "In some cases it may simply intensify whatever you're feeling."

Love and bonding — whether we're talking about either in a sexual or nonsexual context — is much more complex than a single chemical. I'm not just saying that because I think so: social science has backed that up since we've had social science, and medical science tends to be in cahoots with that notion, too. We can't compartmentalize love or sexual behavior or biochemistry in the way so often done around oxytocin.

Everything I've read on oxytocin from scientists has this funny thing where they tend to use the word "may" with claims, or where they talk about how their study makes suggestions which should lead to further study. The scientists doing the studies that are then cited by so many others are not making the kinds of definitive statements about oxytocin those folks are, and some are increasingly critical of the ways studies are both being conducted and used around neurochemistry and human behavior, particularly when evolutionary psychology is involved . If those scientists aren't making conclusive statements about their own work, no one else can really justify doing so. Scientists tend to understand the difference between hypothesis, theory and fact: those referencing science, or looking to support their own theses with it, could stand to be reminded of that.

A lot of the popular claims about oxytocin, like so many made about sex or love, are exclusively or primarily about heterosexuality and binary sex or gender, both of which we know — thanks, science! — aren't binary at all. Some studies may actually show us differences in oxytocin with XX and XY people (if they have even been determined to be so in those studies, which they probably have not) — or rodents — but what about with XXY, XYY or XO people? What about male-female relationships in which both parties are trans gender?

After spending far too much time buried in oxytocin research, I'm not going to argue that the notion or suggestion oxytocin potentially plays some part in how we do or don't bond or otherwise behave with or feel about with others is invalid. It's pretty clear to me that it is valid to state it often does or may plays a part.

However, if we're going to get on board with that, we can't be essentialist or selective about it. If we're going to give credence to one of the ways oxytocin has been shown it does or may work, we have to give equal weight to all the other ways it has been shown to or may work, and we have to do so even if and when evidence about one scenario with oxytocin may make claims anyone makes about another patently false or ludicrous.

We just don't know enough about oxytocin for many of the kinds of statements that have been made, especially so firmly, to be made. And some statements made have absolutely no basis at all: the idea that any given oxytocin surge more people means a difficulty or inability to bond with fewer people ever after, for example, is something I couldn't find even one scientific reference for or study on. Oxytocin is clearly an over-convenient rationale or scapegoat for plenty of people, and not just the abstinence-only crowd .

At the beginning of this piece, we linked to scientist Dr. Rebecca Turner voicing an objection to her studies being used inaccurately. In that piece, Turner said something else that was really important:

There are always some human values involved in statements of policy, and it is fairer to the public to acknowledge what those values are," she continued. "This is something we instill in our students: in a free society, we have to be open to debate the evidence, the meaning of the evidence and its quality. At least Dr. Keroack's co-author did acknowledge that they were developing conclusions that no scientists would ever put forth.

What generalizations and conclusions can we soundly draw based on data scientists have provided, and what conclusions they have themselves drawn? That oxytocin is one of many chemicals in the bodies of mammals, one of an incredibly large pool of influences and factors, chemical and non-chemical, which very likely have an impact on some of our behavior, including but not limited to our sexual and other social interactions and responses. That how much or how little oxytocin impacts those things, how it impacts them, for whom and in what situations, clearly varies widely, even though we can say we know some situations in which it is very likely to be present and have some sort of effect. And that if we want ways to make more definitive statements than these about oxytocin, until we have a lot more study done with humans, we're going to need to stick to talking about rodents instead of people.


14 Surprising Facts About Female Orgasms You Really Want to Know

Knowing everything there is to know about the female orgasm can help your mental, physical, and sexual health.

Psst &mdash you over there. Guess what? We're going to talk about orgasms. Specifically, the female orgasm. Why? Well, there are probably a lot of things about the female orgasm that you probably don't know. Some of these facts about orgasms revolve around their mental and physical benefits, like an improved immune system and reduced pain. Some are facts that debunk all-too-common myths, like condoms prevent you from climaxing. (P.S. - They don't.) Regardless, knowing everything there is to know about the female orgasm can make the experience much more pleasurable.

So now's the time to expand your knowledge. This is everything you ever wanted to know about an orgasm, and hopefully your next sexual experience will be your best one yet.


Final Words

To wrap this all up we can say that the answer to “can you ever stop loving someone?” is too complex to be put in a simple sentence. You can’t just stop loving, the same as someone can’t just stop loving you.

What you can do is work on yourself and start seeing life as something bigger than just one experience. There are so many opportunities that could change your life in a moment.

Nothing ever happens without action and action is prevented by letting ourselves live in the past. The truth is you can never stop loving the person you loved and still move on with your life.

You can accept undying, real love as a virtue instead of a burden.

The ability to love is an admirable trait. The ability to love someone in spite of them not feeling the same way is an even more admiring trait.

Every relationship is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and test our limits in various aspects of life. One of them is loving without gain or interest because, in love, that’s possible.

Love, like many great things in life, will always partly remain a mystery.


78 Comments

I found this article so helpful- thank you so much! I do have a question though- what are the best ways to move forward and be supportive of a person who has deep issues with accepting love and affection?

Thank you question, Renee. This article on 5 Strategies for Dealing with Your Partner’s Fear of Intimacy might be helpful.

You’re missing an important one: fear that “love” is actually an attempt to control. Parents and adult lovers routinely use the “look at what I’ve done for you – now you must do as I say”/”look at how much I love you – if you don’t do what I want (stay with me at any cost to you, ultimately) just think how much it will hurt me!” scripts.

Of course, that may not be the lover’s intention. But, the resentment arises from the assumption that it is, grounded in previous experience with the lover or in childhood. And, in fairness, too often that is exactly what is going on.

of course that’s what’s going on, because we are unconsciously choosing people who will manipulate and control us with “love”-it’s not at all comfortable, but certainly familiar. reading your comment, i had a flashback to myself age 7 or 8, feeling rage and resentment at adults i was expected to be affectionate/polite towards, (and the adults who expected a reciprocal “i love you” when i didn’t, and i really don’t think they did either. ugh) having to smile through clenched teeth and fight an almost primal instinct to recoil from the requisite hug-and-kiss greetings…even recently, i found i was being told “i love you” at odd/inappropriate times, which sent my ‘something is rotten in denmark’ meter into the red. (tried to pass off as spontaneous or romantic? right) on to discover that they were times the person had just done or was about to do something they knew would not make me happy. my response to “i love you” became, “what have you done this time?” love feels like, “here, have an imaginary pillow that we’ll hope cushions the blow of the really crappy thing i’ve done to you, but i love you, so it’s ok, right?”

This is impossibly true Thomas! I am currently battling intense feelings of pure raw anger, and I have traced most of it down to exactly what you mentioned here. Growing up as a step child, I was told, still to the day that while my well being matters, my feelings / emotions / thoughts didn’t. I was emotionally neglected as a child in an affection-less angry fearsome house. Whatever I felt or thought about my life was and still is irrelevant, the only thing I should ‘feel’ and ‘think’ about is gratitude for what I have and otherwise would not have had if my step dad had not taken my older sister and I in. Both my parents dish this out to us, to the day. So I could somewhat understand my fear of intimacy, however my hostile response to kindness and real well being blows my mind! It is as if if anyone close to me tries to help me or express genuine and spontaneous thoughtfulness to me they are saying I cant do it on my own, they are suggesting that I am inferior in some way. And sadly for me since my feelings were held down so long my spouts are more implosive than explosive, means I play them over in my head rather than express them to the people involved, or they come out in the most inopportune, irrelevant times and ways. As if that isn’t enough, I fail to get angry and express myself adequately in the exact situations that I should feel normal anger and offended. In those situations, I shrink into my shell and think about what I have done to create the situation, what I have done wrong or how I am unable to defend myself in that moment and others. It is the most painful existence, and I can only thing that it is because my base needs were hung over me and used to guilt me, in a time that I had not power over my situation. Now I battle perpetual feelings of inferiority and powerlessness alike and I’m severely passive aggressive. Relationships are non existent, or are a fiery battle of power, even though I initially portray kindness, fun, laid back-ness, friendliness and understanding to people. I’m a ticking time bomb in relationships! That is why your writing here has touched me, after years or research and some therapy I have pegged it as one of the fundamental root causes that I am having the worst time trying to move past. I am currently trying to decide if I should seek treatment again, and if so which one!

You aren’t alone. My upbringing was the same. It’s hard to accept the fact that you have been emotionally neglected your entire life… By parents, friends, lovers but the worst is realizing that you are neglecting your own needs. YOU. Other people trained you to act that way but YOU are perpetuating it. It makes me so fucking angry thinking about how all of this damage was done to me and how I’ve become my own worst enemy because of it. Be kind to yourself. You didn’t deserve what they did to you. You are your friend, lover, and family first and foremost. You deserve to live yourself and put your needs first. Let no one tell you otherwise.

If i could be your best friend….
We have the same upbringing, my parents are exactly like that but my life turn worst when I’m entering an arranged marriage to the man I never loved before. I have no idea about my fear of love since I thought I can handle this marriage but I’m in the middle of severe depression because this relationship traumatized me more than ever. I remember the first horror came when my husband whispering to me that this will be his first and last marriage and I’m scared at that prospect. I hate it even more when he called me with sweet names. I want to address the problem with my husband so I asked him to get things slowly but he can’t accept that. I asked him I need to learn first but he won’t accept since we already married so it’s already late for me not to love him. He always angry and complaining if I’m never initiated the loving act or if I’m not showing enough gratitude if he showered me with love and gifts. What I feel is only raged and fury. He even including my parents in our marriage if I’m not as much as happy, accepting and proactive as he is to make them scold me because I’m not grateful enough having such a ‘kind’, ‘patient’, and handsome husband. I feel more and more angry because of feeling trapped into this relationship I’m never volunteered into. Whenever he buy me things I feel insulted like he is trying to buy me with money. It is hard. Now I’m traumatized so badly I can’t even meet the person anymore but my parent’s won’t let me divorce him since it’ll tarnish their image and turned me into ungrateful daughter that always making them hurts.

I’m very sorry for your plight. You need to get divorced and who cares what your parents think since this isn’t their life. Its yours. They lived theirs. Its time for you to live yours.
This “husband” sounds more like an a hole. Of course you’re angry and have rage. You weren’t given a choice on marrying him. You were basically ordered due to some family tradition, and it’s not fair to you. You’re a human being. Not some piece of property that can be handed over to someone else.

OMG. Why are we so afraid to surrender control?? This whole generation is made up of total control freaks. We can’t have a working, mano-e-mano relationship without surrendering some control.

I have a scenario I would like some guidance on. My wife and I have been together for 14 yrs. it has been better than average. In July she kicked me out of the house because of a trivial act on my part. I’ve been gone now for 7months. She says she doesn’t want to be intimate with me, not even to kiss. We had a better than average sexlife and I know she agrees(it’s a long story) she instigated sex before the breakup quite often. I’ve accused her of cheating but have not found any evidence of it. What is going on?

These concepts are simply fascinating and very thought provoking. I would love to buy a book with a more in depth analysis of these theories. Most search results on CAUSES of negative people are simply trite lists titled “X ways to avoid negative people”.

Glad to hear you found these concepts so interesting! We have a list of books here that offer a more in-depth analysis to some of these theories, and, as a matter of fact, Drs. Robert and Lisa Firestone are currently working on a new book on this very topic.

Being loved is far different than being manipulated and controlled. Sometimes the person that claims they love the other is really not showing them love. Period. Thus good intentions or in some cases a morbid and dishonest “concern for appearances” is NOT LOVE and this omission – (that this happens in real life) – is unforgivable for an article like this.

This article is in fact typical of the grossly misleading and manipulative false narrative that many people apply to actual human interactions in order to paint themselves as without fault in their dealings with the person who allegedly “reacts negatively to being loved”. Its shameful, actually.

What’s worse is it can become part of an ongoing con-game and an oversimplification by people who are not being honest with THEMSELVES or the person they “LOVE” and need to camouflage the fact that they are duplicitous, controlling, needy and duplicitous and thus need to offload responsibility for their own considerable failings on someone else.

Its for this reason that these ostensibly “helpful” self-help articles often reinforce the most unjust and dishonest tyrannical behavior in people who use this kind of self-help thinking as a kind of fig-leaf for absolutely abhorrent behavior, betrayal and character assassination.

Steve K. – remover of veils

Not everyone’s deficiencies can be laid on childhood. This repeat trek to some perceived abuse during childhood… maybe for some cases, but the way the author goes on and on with it?

The unfortunate truth is the author cannot control how readers user his material. The hope is that the reader will analyze their own behavior and hopefully be better equipped to not only understand, but seek professional help. The unfortunate truth, with some exceptions, is most people who engage in the very egregious acts you mention don’t feel there’s anything wrong with them, or their behavior. So they continue to engage in it until their partner finally gives up in exhaustion and leaves.

For example, look at what girls are taught from a young age. If a boy hits you, he likes you. Really? And what about when that boy breaks her nose, or her eye socket? How much does he love her now?

Make no mistake, boys don’t have it much easier. Boys don’t cry. Small wonder boys grow up into men who can’t express themselves.

I’m a woman and I grew up in a very abusive household. Try defending yourself at all times from 3 individuals: both of my brothers, and my mother. Furthermore, during the small amount of time when my father was in the picture I’d have to watch my back with all 4.

I wasn’t allowed to cry or I’d get hit even more. I’m an adult now, both my parents are deceased, and no I refuse to speak to my brothers. Since my first language is Spanish, there is a language barrier with my memories. Sometimes I need to think in Spanish in order to truly remember things. Recently I was able to recall and piece together things my father did and said that had haunted me all this time (long story and I’m going to get into it here). Ever since I’ve piece all this madness together, I’ve had nothing but peace of mind, and happiness.

Well said, Steve. These leftist articles seem to be designed to disrupt and even destroy our relationships from the inside out. They’re brainwashing people to hate their partners and their feelings toward their partners by giving them cold, detached theoretical philosophy. Nothing more. Nothing grounded. Nothing real. It’s BS to put it harshly. Humans are too messy for these writers to understand apparently.

I found the article really useful. I was not loved appropriately as a child and have had a tendency to push away those who are kind to me, while inviting those who are unavailable/manipulative/abusive. The article is nearly the only one out there on this topic. What I would like to see is a sequel on how to surmount some of these issues and be loving to those who deserve it rather than living in isolation for fear of kicking up old wounds and hurting someone else. I have had excellent therapists over a number the years and yet this item remains outstanding.

I agree with you that the article is a good one. I also agree that not much is out there regarding this subject matter. It answered many questions for me in getting involved with abused individuals…….

I was rejected by my mom and today I can’t stand people telling me they love me or miss me, it repulsed me to the core, I want to get healed so bad, all my life I have picked husband’s that are manipulate and control freaks and emotionally unavailable , now I’m understanding why

I just find this fascinating. So much about modern psychological, pseudo-science is unacceptable because it is inexplicable and unrepeatable. What you have said here makes common sense, even though it may be less than satisfying to some of those who would wish it to be otherwise.

I find you to be a teller of truth, and I value that.

I feel I’ve I have finally found key pieces to what I’ve been searching. I am beyond amazed with how much is personally pinpointed .I noticed you said more would come after more research was done for your book. Would you be interested in an interview where I could provide me proud to this? Thank you again

*information and experience to this.

Please . i know this post is old . but you say you have answers that i need about why i love this man that was a fantasy and i dreamed of it a sa little girl as most girls do . i wanted my prince charming and hes here .my problem is he loves me too much . and it scares me and i reject him and respond in anger and close myself off . please help please please please .

I’m so very much looking forward to the publication of your book then! This subject fascinates me. Write fast – publish quick! – and keep us informed re release dates!

My best wishes from Switzerland
Alison

Reading this brings a mix of feelings for me. On the one hand, it is so validating and makes perfect sense to me when I think of the struggles i have/had in my love relationships. It also brings up fear and despair, because most men are not working w their issues at this level, nor do they want to. This is not a judgement, (i cant blame them really) but more of an observation. It is something i encounter as a divorced single woman looking to have a deep relationship. Lately i have been seriously questioning if any of this knowledge and learning is even helpful to me and my life. It seems only a psychologist would want to relate at this level! That narrows my options quite significantly. I am considering giving up and choosing to be w a partner who is good and kind, likes sex, and wants to travel. I would appreciate any feedback on this. Thanks.

Relationship, love, affection blah blah needs more scientific fields like nasal

Hi this was very informational and I appreciated it but what can I do to prevent this from happening I just started seeing someone and the amount of negative feelings coming up of fear sadness and loneliness ironically are flooding in you think it would be the complete opposite. Please help

Huh, this is interesting. I had a boyfriend many years ago now who became absolutely furious when I suggested to him we could move in together (we were both leaving the accommodation we had at around the same time). A simple: “I don’t feel ready for that” would have been fine with me and I was baffled by how enraged he seemed as I really didn’t feel I’d said anything hurtful. I just sort of shrugged it off at the time as some kind of “quirk” he had.

I’m not sure I actually get angry at people for wanting to be around me. I know plenty of people who do. Although I would say I agree with the commenters above that sometimes someone wanting to be around you is more for their sake than yours. I guess the reason I don’t get angry with this is because I don’t really see it as their fault that they feel so bad about themselves or need so much. I just feel terrible for them. They must be in such pain.

My personal problem seems to be similar but a bit different in that I find it difficult to be close to people because I believe they cannot really “see” me. I tend to believe that people will see in me whatever serves them, so a relationship is never really a relationship to me. It’s all about them anyway.

This article is eye opening exactly what I’ve been hoping to find. I’m going to save this for future reference. It’s a tough road to walk when countless attempts become just years of practice. Still trying to figure out my minds next move.

Enjoyed the article and its a good start towards a more in depth look in a book. Couple of thoughts.

I think there is a case to be made that sometimes the anger may be the result of feeling undervalued. Taking your first example of the man who felt anger at his wife worrying about him when he went out. I’ve felt that and I can tell you exactly why. I hold two black belts, I’m a spelunker, rock climber, and a fair shot with a rifle. I’ve also never weighed more than 124 lbs in my life (and I’m a guy so…). Typically people take one look at me and assume that I need to be protected, that’s tolerable from strangers who don’t know me. But its even worse among those who know and care about me. For my perspective it often engenders feelings of resentment and irritation that eventually boil over into anger over time. At its base is that feeling that they never really “see” me for who I actually am, what I’m actually capable of or the things I’ve achieved (or at least survived, don’t ask LOL) in my life. Compound that with the desire on my part that those individuals especially be the ones to actually “get me” and feeling disappointed that they still don’t and you can see how that would lead to some irritation. While my case might be atypical in some regards, I think there are likely many cases where someone doesn’t perceive the expression as love but rather its taken more as being undervalued, mistrusted, or their capabilities under-appreciated. Or simply put, not being seen and valued for who they really are.

Another point, again drawing on personal experience. I once dated a young woman whom I’d been very fond of almost from the instant we met. Just one of those cases where you meet someone and immediately connect with them. For several months she’d grown increasingly uncomfortable with it or with my expressions of affection. It wasn’t that she didn’t feel the same, she did. It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy the affection, she loved it. So after a long and eventually very open discussion she finally realized her discomfort came from not knowing why I loved her. It wasn’t that she didn’t think she was deserving of being loved, she just had never really known why I specifically loved her. After spending some time telling her various reasons why, things I liked about her, things about her that made me happy, she felt better. I think here again it had its roots in the need to feel one is being “seen” for who they are, that I really loved her for who she was. Once she realized I did, she was happy with it.

Best of luck with the research and book.

Well if many of us had been born at a much Earlier time which many of us would’ve been all settled down by now with our own family which came very Easy for our family members that were very Blessed to meet one another back then since the times were so much different than today, and for many of us Good Single men it is very hard finding love these days.

This has really helped me understand my ex partner. I also feel extremely sad. I remember the first time he asked if I had fallen in love with him, as though he was checking how intimate we were getting. Whenever talks of love or intimacy came up, he would run right away and not return for as long as two weeks. He ended it with me 4 times, each time I hoped it would be the last. The last time he slept with me and it was beautiful, but then when we woke up the next day, I told him I was so happy to have him back and he told me he didn’t need anyone and that he was going to run again. He said himself he didn’t even know why. I’m really scared it has rubbed off on me and I too will be scared of intimacy, like him. It’s been really hard understanding why he ran away from my love and support. This helps explain. Please if you could, can you talk about the effect it has on the partner? Will I have his issues too now from also being emotionally and physically neglected?

i guess i just cant relate to any of this..i dont have a fantasy bond with my parents, because i have a real bond and have no need for fantasy. i think what this article and others here basically saying is likely true and only relatable to children being raised by children

I fell in love and am still very much in love with the person you so outlined in your post. For the past 8 weeks, I have been obsessively trying to understand the sudden ending of our relationship, and now it feels as though the inner child voice you have shared so has answered my question. My former partner experienced severe neglect throughout childhood and eventually abandonment but, somehow, raised himself into the person I didn’t know enough to even hope for. Sensitive, gentle, affectionate, intelligent, calm, and funny. He was vigilant about every aspect of our relationship, and I was amazed by the mindfulness, dedication, and care he gave to the building of us. We had been together for 7 months when I decided to throw him a surprise party for his birthday. To the crux, the party was not appreciated. Instead it was interpreted as deception. Of the 9 guests who attended, he cut ties with all but two. He began to isolate himself further from others. And with me, although he remained affectionate, attentive, and engaging, he no longer trusted me, became suspicious of simple questions, became private, evasive, almost secretive, no longer said “I love you,” and seemed to not address our relationship with the vigilance he once had. I felt devastated that the gift I had orchestrated and intended to be a gesture of love turned out to be a traumatic event for him, causing him to distrust me and cut out relationships he had had for 22, 15, 10 and 8 years. I think out of embarrassment, he denied that the party was a problem for him still. But two weeks before he ended us (8 months after the party) the party issue was raised again by him. He proclaimed that he had been deceived by a room full of people and nobody understood how he was doing his best to keep the few relationships that he had chosen to retain. At the end of this lengthy discussion, he ignored the option of couple’s counseling but said he did want to navigate our problems together, to try to fix them. I accepted this as renewed commitment and believed we could resolve our issues. However, days later, after a lovely weekend, he ended everything abruptly and (I feel) quite impulsively. In hindsight, I see things that occurred throughout the relationship that indicate much of what you spoke of. It feels to me as though he never could quite accept or truly believe that he was loved. It seems to me that the vigilance he had given to the relationship was his attempt to achieve something I suspect he desperately wants but is afraid to achieve. It’s saddening. Thank you again for sharing because your words are a rare window into the highly guarded inner thoughts of survivors of childhood neglect. A window if opened could help those who love them.

Raised by an abusive father who had himself been whipped with barbed wire, beaten with log chains, etc, love came conditionally. He desired not to be like his own father, but failed to ever get help. Fast forward to my 21st year and my first serious girlfriend. She was drop dead gorgeous and was head over heels with me. We started off awesome but as our relationship grew over a rocky two years, i found myself constantly testing for her love. i pushed pulled toward her, controlled her with a well crafted childhood coping mechanism of manipulation – honestly i knew it was wrong but the manipulation was so ingrained as a survival mechanism from my abusive father, i didn’t know how not to manipulate. I often found myself swinging emotionally from rage to sobbing in our relationship and had no idea why. I THOUGHT EVERYONE DID THAT. It made me hate myself even more. A good looking guy, college football player, life of the party kind of guy, I never felt like i was in the right body, at least emotionally. I could walk into a room and turn heads but hated, loathed, despised the person inside. I was a closet self abuser and enjoyed the pain i could inflict on myself. I broke up with the girl on a whim even though it destroyed me. It messed with me so much I lost a bid to the NFL because i lost so much weight. I only dated casually until … I was 28. Now a teacher and coach, i avoided dating seriously, and chose prostitutes over a girlfriend – who knows why the hell i did it – most likely as a punishment. Most of the time i hated it so much i wouldn’t ‘make it’ and would just fake it and quit. My self abuse and become more severe and I was cutting – the exhilaration from cutting rivaled that of sex (which for me was almost nonexistent). Now the rest of the story. During these years I discovered that one of my peers lived in the same apt complex. Terrified of a serious relationship, although she liked me, we just became good friends. Hung out, played, etc. Unfortunately, or fortunately, she was a beautiful blonde and i was a mess. With slept together several nights and initially all was okay… but then a cloud of fear hit me and i ran. I avoided her, but since we taught in the same school would still see her. I was conflicted and miserable. Six months later the following year, we had rekindled our friendship and … woops, found myself in her bed, again. I would look at her beautiful blonde curls as she slept wishing I could love her. I ran again, avoiding her. then a knock on my door. I opened to my dear blonde blue eyed friend and she told me in tears that she was pregnant. I can’t say i wasn’t happy. i really wasn’t even nervous at least not right then. After a few months we agreed to get married. I found myself swinging again. At one point I told her she really didn’t want to married to me as i was messed up. I am 56 now. And i am still married to her, or maybe i should say, because of her we are still married. I had so many addictions when we married i could have been a side show. I was abusive like my father. I manipulated and loved conditionally like my father. Basically i was the man i hated. Started and stopped counseling a few times and finally about a dozen years ago she kicked me out of the house and i entered rehab. Diagnosed as CPTSD (chronic post traumatic stress syndrome) which is basically cult type abuse I was able to get into a program called CR or Celebrate Recovery. I spent 3 years in this program and still go periodically, especially when those feelings come back. Meds do help, but keeping those addictive behaviors at bay is a daily battle. Thanks to CR and a wife who loves me unconditionally i am the happiest i’ve ever been, more each day. My kids watched me change and respect me more than i ever thought they would. It’s a daily battle. But for me, realizing the key was in my thought life – and whether about my traumatic childhood or self hate , I have a choice about those thoughts. My mantra: ‘JUST BECAUSE I HAVE A THOUGHT, DOESN’T MEAN I HAVE TO THINK IT!” If you can understand that phrase, and get your butt to CR, perhaps you can change and have a meaningful life and be able to love and accept love the way i can now!

I don’t know how long ago you wrote this message but similarly like you I feel we are two and the same, only difference is you say you are 56 whereas I am 31. I am actor, well want to be actor and like you a good looking fella, like you manipulation is a well crafted tool I use to getting what I want from my partner, crying to get them to feel sorry for me and when they show any sort of affection towards me I question their motives, try to understand why they are doing it and this ultimately has led me down the rabbit hole of seeking oral pleasures from other men, to cheating on my long term girlfriend with other women to isolating myself for days on end away from people in general until I want to feel something that is and then I put myself out on display. I don’t see myself as a cheat or as a gay man, but feel that for much of my waking life I feel numbed and when i want to feel something I take it where I can get it and if thats with either a man or woman then thats how it is. But I know every time experience pleasure from one of these experiences I am actually just self abusing. Underneath it all, I don’t feel I had an abusive father because I didn’t know my father, I did however have step father who was emotionally impaired because of the relationship he had with his father. Looking back at my childhood I knew my step father wasn’t my real father and always dreamt of people like my headmaster or my grandad actually being my real father, I used to also fantasise that I wasn’t of this planet and that my father was like Kal-el (Supermans father) and I was in fact an alien on this planet. As time passed I found it harder and harder to talk about the issue surrounding the identity of my actual father for fear of hurting my step fathers feelings. Little did I know that by not talking about who he was I was hurting myself and what my own identity.
My issues although similar appear to be getting worse and not better. I have since split from my long term girlfriend and appear to have gone out an gotten myself a complete replica girl who I have sex with on a regular basis but still seek to punish myself by indulging in homosexual acts such as receiving oral from other men. I feel the problem lies in how I see myself, I must see myself as not being worthy of actual real love and when it is displayed in front of me i get angry and want to fight with whom ever is offering it. I feel the fact that (a) my dad was never around (b) he never came looking for me (c) I never talked about him I have developed symptoms of abandonment and an identity crisis. I have thought of therapy but the cost is a financial burden at present. Did you find that by attending therapy that you began to see yourself as a better person and with it your life began to take a turn for the better?

Thank you for sharing this, Daniel. I appreciate the words “just because we have a thought, doesn’t mean we have to think it.”
That’s basic meditation, which as a child I used to disassociate myself from pain. I’ve definitely gone the thought route, but the pain body deep inside me is still there.
One of my issues is that when others come too close it’s not a thought, it’s a physical pain that feels like my heart is ripping apart and I’m being destroyed. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s not essential to find a way to be able to fully experience that body of pain and love myself through it. I’ve gone through therapy, 12 step programs, plant medicine ceremonies, etc. At 55, I’m so ready to leave this behind me.

Well today i do have to blame the single women today for that one since there are many of us good men that are still single these days when we really shouldn’t be at all since the women that now have their career are now very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky, and very money hungry as well since they will only want the very best of all and will never settle for less. They usually most of the time do prefer men that have a lot of money or are very rich instead.

Don’t blame single women. Blame the evil cancer that is Cultural Marxism and it’s most powerful tool of manipulation, feminism.


The way women and men react post-orgasm is very different

After you have sex, you might look over at your partner and notice they’re behaving differently from you. While this is not necessarily indicative of your genders, science suggests they might play a significant part.

Most people have preconceived notions, usually imposed upon them by TV shows and movies, that post-orgasm, women become clingy and talkative, while men just want to fall asleep. In fact, there are many more layers to what goes on in men’s and women’s bodies and minds post-climax that explain this common end result and debunk it.

An orgasm is a full body and mind experience and impacts the body similarly to a good bout of exercise. Your heart is pumping, you’re sweating toxins out of your pores, your mind becomes much clearer and, if it’s a good session, you’re flooded with endorphins. However, that rush of energy comes on like an intense roller coaster ride &mdash it picks you up into the stratosphere, then drops you down over and over until your head is spinning. And while men and women both experience some of the same side effects of this ride, the changes in their respective hormones impact them very differently.

The orgasm itself

Physiologically speaking, male and female orgasms are actually quite similar. Both experience a series of contractions that reverberate throughout all the sexual organs, including the anus. That said, the length of the male orgasm versus the female orgasm is quite different. Even though men tend to climax more regularly during intercourse, men’s orgasms on the whole tend to be much shorter than women’s.

Post-climax joy

Both sexes enjoy a burst of ecstasy that floods the brain right after climaxing, but how they handle that joy is unique. Women usually want to bask in the after-climax glow and hold onto the fuzzy feelings sex often inspires in us. They want to bond with their partner rather than look for more bursts of joy, which is where that stereotype of cuddling and talking stems from. Essentially they are satiated, at least for now.

On the other hand, after a man climaxes, the addictive opioids that have been released from his limbic system make him search for another hit of joy, either from a cigarette or food or, oftentimes, sleep. While they have been satisfied by the experience, their testosterone levels make them crave more rather than allow them to settle into the moment.

Both sexes get a good dose of oxytocin, aka “the cuddle chemical,” which should encourage a sense of trust, affection and openness, but men (and some women) with higher testosterone levels tend to feel it less.

Sexual exhaustion is real

We all tend to feel a bit tired after a really good orgasm. That’s because our dopamine receptors were working on overdrive and are now tuckered out, which is reflected throughout the body. But this actually does more to men than make them unable to give it another go for at least 20 minutes. According to a 2003 study, it can actually desensitize them for up to a week.

This is unfortunate for women, because we’re often willing and able to go again almost immediately. Women are multi-orgasmic by nature, and sometimes that means if we’ve had only one during intercourse, we’re antsy for another, while our guy’s taking a necessary catnap. This is when it’s good to have your favorite vibrator on hand. Chances are, if you’re pleasuring yourself, he’ll suddenly wake up and feel inspired again.