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Oxytocin and Intimacy in Physical Relationships

June 20, 2012 Oxytocin and Sex No Comments

There is an old R&B song that goes by the name of ‘Love Potion Number Nine’ and it appears to promise a solution to all that ails your partner in the intimate elements of your physical relationship – but is it all just a load of baloney? Apparently not!

There are a number of naturally occurring hormones – oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin – that help to govern how your body responds to certain situations and oxytocin has been shown to have a positive effect on the physical and intimate sides of relationships.

If, like many people, you’ve never heard of it (unlike the better known blue pill of ‘Viagra’), it isn’t an over-the-counter medication that is widely advertised. But as far back as 1994, two academics from the University of Hawaii (Elaine Hatfield and Richard Rapson) published a paper[1] in the ‘Encyclopedia of Human Behavior’ (volume 3, to be precise) that established a link between hormones, attachment and intimacy. Oxytocin, in particular, is released into the body during intimacy and touching, and is believed to increase the feeling of trust and attachment with your partner – often known as ‘love’ – it can also decrease stress and improve sleep patterns. So is oxytocin a real life ‘Love Potion’? And how can you get hold of it?

It isn’t as if the hormone’s properties haven’t been known for a good while, in fact it’s over a century since (Sir) Henry Dale[2] first discovered that an extract from the pituitary gland – it’s about the size of a pea, sits at the base of the brain and controls many of the important processes in your body; growth, temperature, production of urine and many, many more – was an important factor in child birth and the ability of the substance to contract the uterus and also to stimulate production of mother’s milk. Dale gave the hormone its name after the Greek phrase for ‘quick or swift birth’ and it is from there that it began to be widely known. However, it took some time, 1953 in fact, before an American biochemist, Vincent du Vigneaud, really analyzed just what oxytocin could do – and he, too, got a Nobel Prize[3] for his trouble.

So, how do we get from a swift childbirth to intimacy in a physical relationship?

It’s a long and complex journey, but what was discovered was that this hormone, produced by something the size of a common or garden pea, has a major impact on how you feel about your partner. You know when you are feeling ‘down’ and you have a cuddle, you feel better already, don’t you? It isn’t simply that you like to have your partner’s arms around you, but your body produces something that responds to the cuddle – you’ve guessed it: oxytocin! If it’s a naturally-occurring substance that we produce automatically, why look elsewhere for it?  Well, often the body needs a bit of help and while we wouldn’t suggest going down to the drug store for a bottle of ‘Number 9,’ we might suggest that you look for one or other of the available formats of the hormone – perhaps something like Oxytocin Factor sublingual drops or nasal spray.

It’s not like taking a pill as the product is not effective if taken orally. A drop under the tongue (that’s the sublingual bit), or inhaling it as a nasal spray has proven effective. Unlike Viagra, the results are not physical, they affect your attitude and perception of being intimate and they act within a quarter of an hour and that ‘warm and cuddly’ feeling can last for several hours.

Hormones like this one are often wrongly labeled as ‘love drugs’ and while they can have a significant impact on the process of intimacy itself, they are best thought of as ‘mood music’ from your brain, setting the scene for being able to relax within the physical relationship. As a species, we depend on being able to continue by producing offspring and oxytocin is just one of nature’s ways of helping us get in the right frame of mind.

But don’t think that using a bit of outside help is wrong, it isn’t. We all produce our hormones in different quantities at different times and using a treatment such as that available as Oxytocin Factor is simply a way of nudging the process along a bit.

For more information contact Bryan Post, Managing Editor of Oxytocin Central info@oxytocincentral.com or call (405) 476-1983

 

 

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