Hormonal Heaven

How big a priority on a scale of one to ten is passion in your relationship right now? One of my clients recently expressed a concern that she was missing the lovemaking with her partner so much. It was almost as if she felt guilty about it, as if her fascination was somehow unhealthy.

One of my Swami yoga teachers taught me years ago that our bodies are like chemistry sets. Our mood is largely dependent on our chemical balance at whatever point in time and different things fire off different chemicals. You’re probably aware that a confrontation will fire off adrenalin in your body leaving you feeling uneasy and a little unsafe setting up the “fight or flight” response mechanism in your body. Well this got me to thinking about sex and how great it generally feels, and at this point the Swami and I part company, as all Swami’s are theoretically celibate.

In her fantastic book “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, Adrienne Burgess conducted a ton of research. She found that sex fires off a phenomenal cocktail (hmm, no pun intended) of: Dopamine which gives a sense of well being, phenylethylamine which generates a feeling of excitement, serotonin for emotional stability, norepinephrine for that ‘I am a god’ feeling and oxytocin for an easy come down which leaves you feeling all safe and cuddly. That list may look kind of familiar to some of you; quite a few of those are also in good quality chocolate – that explains a lot.

This is why love generally arises out of sex. Couples who seem to have sexual problems just have too many requirements for sex to be right. Often they feel sex should only arise out of love and they won’t have sex when they’re feeling exhausted, unhappy or distant. The fact is oxytocin is a powerful hormone that promotes bonding, which means that the chances of us having highly erotic or romantic sex increase when we’re prepared to have, at other times, less than perfect sex.

Happier couples have sex more often than unhappy couples. So what is the deal with that chicken and egg thing?