Women are known to “obsess” a bit when it comes to relationships. Okay, obsession may be a strong word, but there are biological reasons why women become more emotionally attached to their lovers than men do. At the turn of the 21st century studies were conducted to better understand romantic attachment. The results were quite jarring to say the least and it was discovered that orgasms cause both oxytocin and vasopressin to be released from the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for pleasure and mating. Although the two neuropeptides associated with continued attachment are secreted in both men and women, oxytocin and vasopressin have stronger influence on women .
Oh yes, it happens to everyone.
Vasopressin is most compatible with testosterone, but luckily for us ladies, oxytocin and estrogen make a more powerful couple. Did I really just say, luckily? Well, it has been theorized that the difference in potency is likely due to the fact that females have longer orgasms than males, averaging two minutes in females and only a few seconds in males. In this sense I would have to consider us women to be the lucky ones. But it gets a little more complicated than that.
I can’t say I feel lucky considering I just spent a month getting over a guy that I had only been with for a month. He is a kind 36-year-old divorcee who’s life was in shambles. We had a lot of fun together, always dining at lavish restaurants and such, but he reeked of ambivalence. I, on the other hand, am confident and satisfied with my life. I was stable, baggage-free and a shining ray of light in his dark and dismal state. However, it didn’t work out. Most would, and did, give me that old “his loss” adage, but if he really was the one “lost” why was I the one to experience a greater deal of emotional heartbreak when our fling came to an end?
Well, now I know the answer: Oxytocin! What can I say, the sex was incredible and while I was having this incredible sex, Oxytocin was secreting in my brain, giving me that warm fuzzy feeling that only a strong connection can bring. I couldn’t get enough, which is the only way I can explain the fact that I was able to fall so hard so fast.
If you look at the results of Gert Holstege’s 2005 study, this makes perfect sense. The study showed that when females orgasm, the regions in the brain associated with behavior control, fear, and anxiety shut down. More specifically, orgasms reduce brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus (the parts of the brain that are responsible for emotion), which in turn decrease alertness and anxiety. Some refer to this state as emotionless, but as a woman, I consider it a vacation from my otherwise emotion-filled life. I mean, there’s a reason why oxytocin has been dubbed the “cuddle hormone” and is considered the initiator of the cuddly, emotional behavior that we experience after a mind-blowing orgasm.
It’s no wonder women get so frustrated and confused by relationships! Our minds may often tell us that this is the “wrong guy” but our brains are sending waves of calm and contentment, ultimately fooling us into believing a profound connection exists.
We’ve all seen those couples, the ones that can’t help buy make you think “How did he get her?” Definitely couldn’t be his looks, could be his money, perhaps his personality. Well now I know the answer- Oxytocin. Fucking Oxytocin.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that men know about this. Perhaps not these very details, but enough to know what it is they have to do. Recently, more and more men have attempted to go down on me at first kiss. Hello! Do you know what will happen if I enjoy it? In my life I have made efforts not to come across as an obsessive lover, but sometimes I just can’t help it…touche, oxytocin. All I’m saying, dear lads, is be careful what you wish for.
Sure it’s all brass balls in the beginning as men flash their feathers and relentlessly court until they get the object of their desire between the sheets. However, when the clothes come off and the emotions come out, those bold, confident men morph into frightened rabbits during a lightening storm.
Ladies, don’t despair, we’re not “psycho,” we just have higher levels of estrogen and while yes, we can get emotional, estrogen also makes us more compassionate than our testosterone-fueld counterparts.
Perhaps everything would be easier if women only had sex with the men they married. It would certainly spare us from tons of heartache and pain. But are you gonna wait until he puts a ring on it to have sex? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Until you meet the elusive “one,” remember that it’s all fun and games until oxytocin is released.