How Hormones Affect Your Intimate Life

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. We all love the feeling of being in love and the excitement that goes along with new relationships and new beginnings.

The real question is ‘how do we find ways to keep the warm fuzzies alive 10 years down the road or even 20 years or longer?’

When we first meet someone that we really like, our brain first produces those hormones that make us feel what we could call lust. The levels of Testosterone for men and Estradiol for women are greatly increased. This is a primitive physical reaction to assist us in procreating but not what leads to longer term connections.

If we really like someone and we move to being in the attraction phase (and not just in the sexual sense), a huge amount of a neurochemical called Dopamine is produced in the brain as well as adrenaline. Adrenaline is responsible for the classic racing heart rate and sweaty palms that occurs when you see that person that you are newly enamored with. Dopamine is the other hormone that is released during this phase and it is a hormone that causes intense happiness. Dopamine causes increased energy, less need for sleep or food, intense focus and incredible delight at the smallest details of this new and exciting relationship. Sound familiar? This is the fun stuff we all love when we first meet someone and wish we could maintain forever.

The next phase of our relationships is called attachment and this is the part where we want to get married and have babies and form long lasting bonds. The hormone that creates the desire to bond and nurture is mainly oxytocin. This hormone is mainly known for its link to nursing mothers and maternal child bonding, but it is also released after orgasm in both men and women. This is one reason that we often feel closer to our partner after sex and this helps to strengthen the bond.

Now we are back to the question of how to maintain healthy intimacy and closeness in a long-term relationship. We need to look at these different phases and try to keep them alive. Our hormones need to be balanced and normal for us to continue having healthy sexual feelings toward our lover. We need to keep the spark alive by creating newness and time for romance if we want to have that happy dopamine release. Lastly, we need to maintain intimacy on both a physical and emotional level to create lasting bonds and lots of oxytocin. Talking and sharing deep personal thoughts has been shown to deepen the bonds we feel to our partners and create more feelings of love. Maybe we just need to remember to make our relationships more of a priority and less of an afterthought and maybe we need to change our ideas of what love and relationships should be. That initial rush is great, but it is great to feel that deep bond with someone after you have shared children, heartache and all of life’s ups and downs. That is what real love feels like.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Oysters—Ready for a Romantic Week

“Yes, I do think these molluscs are aphrodisiacs. If the male is having difficulties, they have to eat a lot of mussels or oysters.

Casanova, the 18th century lover who used to breakfast on 50 oysters, has been vindicated by a study that proves they really are aphrodisiacs.

And spring, the scientists say, is the time of year the shellfish have their greatest aphrodisiac quality.

The team of American and Italian researchers analysed bivalve molluscs – a group of shellfish that includes oysters – and found they were rich in rare amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones.

The link was announced to 15,000 scientists in San Diego, California, at a meeting of the American Chemical Society last week.

It generated possibly more interest than any other discovery in the society’s 126-year history. “I am amazed,” said George Fisher, a professor of chemistry at Barry University, Miami, who led the research team with his graduate student Raul Mirza and Antimo D’Aniello, of the Laboratory of Neurobiology in Naples.

“I have been a scientist for 40 years and my research has never generated interest like this.

“For centuries, old wives’ tales have said that eating raw molluscs – oysters in particular – would stimulate the libido but there has really been no scientific evidence as to why and if this occurs.

“We think this could be the first scientific evidence of some substance.

“Did Casanova’s 50 oysters really make him frisky? Could be.” Previous speculation about the powers of oysters has centred on the refuelling powers of their high zinc content.

Zinc is found in sperm and men lose between one and three milligrams per ejaculation.

Dr Fisher and his team, partly funded by the United States National Institutes of Health, bought samples of bivalve molluscs – which also include mussels and clams – from fish markets near Dr D’Aniello’s Naples laboratory.

They then used a process called high-performance li-quid chromatography to identify which amino acids were present and in what quantities.

They found two unusual ones – D-aspartic acid (D-Asp) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA).

“They are not the normal amino acids that Mother Nature uses,” said Dr Fisher. “You can’t just find them in a vitamin shop.”

Dr D’Aniello had found in earlier experiments that injecting the amino acids into rats triggered a chain reaction of hormones that ended with the production of testosterone in males and progesterone in females.

“Increased levels of those hormones in the blood means you are more active sexually,” he said.

When You Are Kissing These Hormones Get Released

What’s in a kiss?

In the average lifetime, most people spend 20,160 minutes kissing. A passionate kiss can burn up to five calories per minute. The longest kiss, recorded in Thailand in February 2013 by Guinness World records, lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. But these philamatology1 factoids2 don’t really explain why people kiss.

Kissing not only feels good, it’s good for you. It relieves stress and releases epinephrine into your blood, making it pump faster, which signals a reduction of LDL cholesterol. But while “swapping spit” in today’s culture most often denotes sexual attraction, there’s more to it than that:

“’Mucous membranes inside the mouth are permeable to hormones such as testosterone. Through open-mouth kissing, men introduced testosterone into a woman’s mouth’ which ‘is absorbed through the mucous membranes… and increases arousal and the likelihood that she will engage in reproductive behavior.3

But because some cultures don’t include kissing in their mating rituals, it’s possible the first kiss was given by a mother to her child rather than being shared between a couple.

Psychologists conjecture that kiss-feeding – exchanging pre-masticated food from one mouth to another was how babies received the nutrients needed to grow up strong and healthy (as they’re not always available from breast milk). This jump starts the digestion process and makes vitamins like B-12 more easily absorbable.

Actress Alicia Silverstone’s blog recently included a video of herself kiss-feeding her child4, nicknamed Bear, offering a clue to the meaning of mouth-to-mouth contact from a child’s perspective:

“I just had a delicious breakfast of miso soup, collards and radish steamed and drizzled with flax oil, cast iron mochi with nori wrapped outside, and some grated daikon. Yum! I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup from my mouth to his. It’s his favorite… and mine.

He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating.”


How Cuddling, Breastfeeding and Natural Weaning Relates to Babies’ Emotional Health

There’s a school of thought that contends that the cuddling, visual attachment and emotional bonding that takes place between mother and child during breastfeeding and/or kiss-feeding helps the child establish healthy attitudes toward food later in life. Subsequent baby-led weaning (BLW), which includes premasticating regular whole foods in lieu of serving processed baby foods and spoon feeding, is said to:

  • Enhance mealtime enjoyment
  • Help reduce the child’s obesity risk
  • Promote natural jaw development
  • Improve eye-hand coordination and dexterity

But it’s also said to help children develop confidence and security in their future relationships. Of course, what you feed your baby after breastfeeding also is crucial. Merging from breastfeeding on demand to gradually introducing regular foods is what humans have adapted to do.

According to Dr. Kevin Boyd, whose anthropological studies led him to ascertain that children’s dental health depends very much on this transition, as well as an absence of carbohydrates and sugar in their diets.

Interestingly, babies up to four months old can only focus on objects eight to ten inches from their faces – about the same distance between infants and their mother’s face when breastfeeding5 – suggesting that facial recognition is the beginning of emotional, not just physical, attachment.

The phenomenon of pareidolia – seeing faces in flowers and cloud formations – may reinforce the possibility that the search for emotional attachment may be one of mankind’s most elemental instincts.

Scientific Animal Testing Shows How Baby Monkeys Attach to Another ‘Mother’

In the 1950s, Dr. Harry Harlow conducted experiments on attachment at the University of Wisconsin which today would undoubtedly be considered cruel. Harlow separated young monkeys from their mothers soon after birth and placed them in cages with two “fake” mothers.

One was an immovable doll made of soft cloth, while the second, mechanical “mother” was made of cold, unyielding wire which nonetheless provided food. The young monkeys were then confronted with a scary, threatening contraption. But rather than running to the mechanical food source, they invariably scampered to the soft, cuddly doll mothers, showing that comfort was more important to them than food.

Harlow also created a rejecting “mother” that used a blast of pressurized air to push the baby monkeys away. But they clung even tighter to these mother figures. The scientists observed that the “rejection” actually strengthened the baby monkeys’ determination to hang on, and essentially, attach. In the 1960s, similar experiments conducted by Dr. Eckhard Hess6 at the University of Chicago involved electric shocks to keep ducklings from attaching to figures they imprinted on. But this only strengthened the ducklings’ behavior and made them follow even closer.

Experiments by A.E. Fisher on puppies in 1955 divided them into three groups. The first was treated kindly, while the second group was treated harshly and punished whenever they approached the researchers. The third group experienced random kindness mixed with punishment, so they never knew what to expect. But the third group of puppies formed the strongest attachment to the researchers. Guy Murchie7 dubbed this the polarity principal, which says the stress of uncertainty is one of the strongest factors affecting attachment, love and dependence.

The Paradoxical Nature of Attaching… What Doesn’t Comfort May Make You Stronger

These clinical tests introduce a paradox, which can be valuable teachers into the human psyche. Like the baby monkeys, ducklings and puppies, uncertainty can affect attachments and the most deep-seated behaviors – including who and how you kiss.

But what happens when early attachment was “iffy,” if not altogether absent, or when later attachments or relationships leave you feeling neglected or even abandoned? This is just one type of stress you can address using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which can help you eliminate emotional “scarring,” reduce the emotional impact of memories that trigger emotional distress and reprogram your body’s response to emotional stressors. EFT along with eating well, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly, can help restore your energy meridians as well as your mind/body balance – whether or not you spend 20,160 minutes of your life kissing.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article