Love is the Drug

by

Dear Readers:

Getting back to my science roots for a bit, here is an essay I wrote a while back.  Due to popular request and a discussion on another board, I am reprinting it here:

Oxytocin

(Note: I must give a hat-tip to Pat Allen, the author of Getting to I Do, who presented aspects of the following material in a wonderful lecture I attended. I also attribute her book and insights to the fact I was engaged within 6 months after hearing her speak).

Birth control and abortion options, which have expanded considerably in the past 40 years and have been promoted by feminists as emancipating for women, has given both sexes the mistaken notion that they can have brief sexual encounters with serial partners with no consequences.

For men, that remains somewhat true — or as true as it has been throughout history. However, for women, that remains as untrue today as it has been since Eve (for “intelligent designers”) or Lucy (for Darwinian evolutionists). The reason is a wonderful biochemical — oxytocin.

Essentially, if you were ever wondering about a “love drug” (i.e., a compound that when taken, makes people fall-in-love), it already has been created. It is oxytocin. When pumped into the bloodstream, it gives people the warm-and-fuzzies and increases the emotional bond between that person and the second individual (whose presence is stimulating the production of this hormone).

During the three-million-years or so of human evolution (note – my religious friends, I am a scientist, so I will take the scientific perspective for the duration of this essay; please do not take it as a sign of disrespect), the female system has been designed to begin a cascade of oxytocin production — when being intimate with a male AND when breast-feeding an infant. On the other hand, human males have very limited oxytocin production (and actually release some of the little oxytocin they produce when “involved” with the woman of the moment).

Now, oxytocin is a wonderful thing. It energizes you, and makes you feel good about life. It helps stimulate all sorts of good actions in the immune system, as well as other biochemical processes in the human body. Personally, after accutane and strawberry margaritas, oxytocin is my favorite chemical (and I have a graduate degree in biochemistry, so I know chemicals).

However, as with everything, there is a downside. Once you produce oxytocin, you want to do everything in your power to keep up the production levels. For example, have you ever heard stories about women who nurse their babies for many years (until 3, 4 or 5 years in age)? This is related to the fact these women want to continue generating oxytocin (even though they will have other rationalizations).

The same thing is true following intimate relations. Oxytocin production can be stimulated in a woman through her lover’s voice, scent, sight and touch. That is why a lot of women get very stupid after they have sex with someone. These women will call up frequently. They will steal their lover’s shirts. They will invent excuses to see their lover. Essentially, the more oxytocin these women generate when with their lover (or by talking to him), the more emotionally attached they get.

Now, a couple of points to keep in mind:

* Though men do generate oxytocin, they don’t match the production levels in women.
* As noted before, men can release small amounts of oxytocin into a woman (increasing her “rush), thereby creating more of a bond between them.
* Women will generate fairly substantial amounts the first time they are intimate with anyone (therefore, the biochemical basis for the focus on virginity), and increasing all the affects I have previously described.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, if a woman is involved with a nice man and is in a committed relationship. However, it can really complicate life if those conditions are not met. And, the bad thing about it is, the presence/voice of a lover can trigger oxytocin production for up to 2 YEARS!!!!!!! Basically, to guarantee a man will no longer have an affect on a woman, this woman can never hear/see/touch the man in question for up to 2 full years. Fortunately, once the man is “out of her system”, that same individual tends not to trigger such a production again.

Ever wonder why woman goes back to a man who beats/abuses her? Do you ever wonder why a girlfriend cannot seem to get over a guy, and will call up is number just to get his answering machine? Do you know a girl who will drive out of her way, to check to see if current/ex boyfriend his home? Yes, people, all-knowing Mutnodjmet has provided you with an answer: OXYTOCIN ([Disclaimer — NO, I HAVE NEVER DONE THE ABOVE, though I will own other stupid acts committed in the name of love ….no, oxytocin production).

Thirty years of birth control and abortion can not get around this three-million-year honing of biochemistry, designed to create strong bonds between a female and her provider (the male) and offspring (her children). To think otherwise is arrogance and/or stupidity.

Therefore, women cannot “hook-up” like men. An intense biochemical bond is formed when women are intimate with men. To break that bond is exceedingly difficult, and places women in the position of having the quench a biochemical reaction, and in doing so, causing both physical and emotional stress that is unnecessary and unhealthy. Casual sex is devastating to women in so many different ways, and to pretend that women can have serial sex with many partners is foolish.

PS. As an aside, check out the classic video of Bryan Ferry performing “Love is the Drug“.

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17 Responses to “Love is the Drug”

  1. rusty57 Says:

    Excellent article. It seems like regardless how much technology changes modern society, we are still hardwired to respond to stimuli in the same manner as our ancestors who ventured out onto the grasslands of East Africa, and we are forced to adapt those instincts to modern life!

    In my workplace, we have an alarmingly high rate of stroke and heart disease because we’re doing essentially sedentary work that is highly stressful. Our ancestors were only equiped to respond to stress in a physical way(fight or flight), so many of my co-workers who don’t exercise build up high levels of adrenalin causing anxiety, elevated pulse rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Recently, the healthcare costs have motivated our employer to pay employees extra for spending at least two one hour sessions at the gym each week.

    As for: “Thirty years of birth control and abortion can not get around this three-million-year honing of biochemistry, designed to create strong bonds between a female and her provider (the male) and offspring (her children). To think otherwise is arrogance and/or stupidity.”

    It seems nature has intended man and women to have different sexual strategies. Men will tend to scatter their seed as wide as possible if there are no negative consequences. An interesting sidenote I came across a few years ago is that men in polygamous societies with more than one wife are just as likely to seek extramarital relations as men in monogamous cultures!

    Traditionally women have been the restraining influence–allowing sex to the man with the condition of an exclusive, committed relationship. It’s true that many young women are lowering their standards today. Especially the poor, underclass women who see a government cheque as an adequate substitute for a husband. Even in the case of the welfare-mother, these women usually have one boyfriend, but are trapped in a system that penalizes them financially if they have a man living with them. Because the man can come and go at will, she has little leverage to keep him in any kind of exclusive relationship.

    P.S. Is it a safe assumption that a Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music record raises your oxycontin levels? I have to ask this because Bryan Ferry has always been my go-to guy when I want to get my wife in the mood! It started with Roxy Music’s Avalon Album. Before we were legally married, the Avalon album would always get her in the mood for love right from the opening guitar chords of the first track: More Than This.

    My wife could never understand why Jerry Hall left Bryan Ferry to shack up with Mick Jagger!

  2. isis13 Says:

    rusty57: Tell your wife I concur with her assessment. Trading Ferry for Jagger was like going from a Jaguar to a gold Yugo. Yes, the gold car may be worth more than the Jaguar — but it is still a damn ugly vehicle. Oxytocin would be the only reasonable explanation.

    And, I must commend your excellent taste in both wives and Music. Avalon is my third favorite 80’s album — right after Rio (Duran Duran) and Lexicon of Love (ABC). I admit, I am dating myself again.

  3. rusty57 Says:

    I’m glad you didn’t rake me for mixing up oxycontin with oxytocin! I must have been thinking of Rush Limbaugh when I wrote that post.

    I have to confess that since I am a child of the 70’s(graduated highschool in 1975) I didn’t care much for the change in music that occured in the 80’s with the introduction of music video and MTV. My wife is 8 years younger than me, so we had a hard time finding music we both liked when we started dating. Aside from Roxy Music (which was really a 70’s band that was ahead of their time) the only 80’s groups I really got into were U2, the Police and Dire Straits.

    On the serious side, I forgot to ask how you would interpret the biochemical effects like oxytocin have on the mind?

    Many neuroscientists today are materialistic monists who see consciousness as merely an emergent property of brain chemistry and the firing of neurons in the neocortex. But I wonder whether consciousness can be studied objectively! Our mental states may be caused by brain function, but our thoughts are as real to us on a subjective level as anything in the natural world, even though they are not tangible.

    Some of the monists, like neuroscientist Giulio Tonini, go so far as to say that our consciousness is an illusion, being an emergent property of the complex interaction of the 30 million or so neurons in the neocortex. In his view, fundamentally we have no free will, but instead are controlled by our brain chemistry. I was curious about how you interpret an effect like oxytocin. Is the mind an illusion created by brain function? Or does it mean that the self or ego does exist, but not independently from physical phenomena?

  4. Patricio Says:

    Sorry to be so late with this comment, but I appreciate the article and find myself looking at things from a new viewpoint, incorporating this information into my understanding(s) of life.
    It doesn’t make me appreciate my dear wife any less – I don’t care why she loves me, actually – as long as she DOES. It will remain my secret that there might be something to it other than my charm, my loyalty, good looks and my incredible sexual prowess (joke).
    In any case, thank you for the enlightenment.

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