Our Sexuality! Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 37

At the moment of orgasm it is fully released followed by an immediate drop in level. The drop in dopamine levels (along with Prolactin) could be the protagonist for that tired feeling after sex. Dopamine can also be highly addictive and some scientists have equated it to the brain pattern and rush experienced by heroin or cocaine users. This could explain one of the reasons why orgasm feels so incredible. Orgasms give you the highest dose of natural Dopamine. Who needs drugs when you can just have orgasms?

Prolactin, aka The “Ahhh” Moment!

Prolactin is the afterglow chemical that creates the ahhh feeling. It is responsible for the refractory period that happens after a man ejaculates or a woman has a clitoral orgasm. Although these periods act differently for everyone, Prolactin is the culprit behind it every time. During sexual arousal there is a peak and then a crash. This is because of the Dopamine-Prolactin effect causes a spike followed by an immediate drop as mentioned before. Often times people do not realize the hormonal shifts that are happening during sexual activities. In some cases, this can create a disconnect between partners and cause them to pull away from each other afterward but thank goodness Oxytocin is there to run damage control! Prolactin also helps to regulate our sex drive. If the brain isn't producing enough of it, there is only the desire to have sex. However if the brain is producing too much Prolactin, it can repress the libido and result in a loss of sexual arousal completely.

Oxytocin, aka The Bonder

Oxytocin affectionately labeled “the bonding hormone” is another chemical hormone that is released during sexual activity. It produces feelings of trust, emotional intimacy, relaxation, attachment and contentment between people. It calms the spirit and lifts moods reducing fear and anxiety and allowing a feeling of safety in the arms of your Beloved. One of the best things about Oxytocin is that it definitely believes in reciprocity; the more you give the more you get. Nonsexual touch can also increase levels of Oxytocin. Our pleasure center actually becomes more responsive and releases high levels of Oxytocin when we touch, nurture and care for others. Oxytocin also provides balance between the highs of Dopamine and lows of Prolactin.

Phenylethylamine (PEA), aka The Love Potion

PEA is known as the “love chemical.” It’s the reason that we all can experience the “in love” tendency. It has us thinking about and wanting to be with our Beloved all of the time. Under the intoxicating influence of PEA, our Beloved can do no wrong. PEA production commonly lasts for about 1 to 24 months. As soon as the production stops, the honeymoon may slow down or come to a screeching halt. The rose colored glasses come off and things in your partner that never bothered you before suddenly begin to irritate you. The relationship may begin to suffer or eventually end because we are simply not hard wired to maintain that level of PEA production. But, all hope is not lost! The great news is that besides falling in love, PEA production can be simulated by participating in thrill seeking activities like sky diving and the eating of certain foods like chocolate! So even after the affects of PEA have trickled off with the help of Oxytocin, thrill seeking or a little chocolate, we can still love and continue to form lasting bonds with our Beloved and to stay connected.