Orgasm and Attachment: the Power of Touch

10 Jan

“From the first touch to the height of orgasm,” the hormone involved is powerful and addictive, according to Theresa L. Crenshaw, M.D. It is so important, that its stimulation through touch is necessary for a newborn to grow into a healthy adult. Find out how touching those you care about more frequently can lead to a life with “more tenderness, closeness, and intimacy than ever before.”

The hormone responsible? Oxytocin.

It makes us feel good, that everything is going to be all right. It is one reason that when somebody is holding you, you feel so safe, relaxed, and calm. Touch “can soothe you better than a Valium or a drink, and lower your blood pressure as well as a diuretic…” Crenshaw writes in her book The Alchemy of Love and Lust (1996).

Through touch, you become dependent on each other, accompanied by a sense of submission.

“If you are having a fight with someone whom you usually love, the hardest thing to do is to hold them, but if you manage to hang on tight for a few moments, it helps the conflict dissolve of its own accord.” (Crenshaw)

A possible explanation for why women seem to want more cuddling than men is that females tend to get more physical contact from their friends and parents during their upbringing than males do; men may simply not know the pleasure that they’re missing. Also, high oxytocin levels are so pleasing, that they are addictive. Woman may just want more of this ‘drug’ that they have become so accustomed to at younger ages. And, yes, just like with any other drug, there are withdrawal symptoms, depression, for example, when suddenly deprived of it (Crenshaw).

Now let’s talk about sex, because oxytocin is involved in many facets of your sex life. For example, “Just before orgasm and ejaculation, oxytocin spikes to levels three to five times higher than usual” (Crenshaw). As soon as the genitals or nipples are stimulated, oxytocin levels increase and aid in sexual arousal and receptivity. Too high a dose though, has the opposite effect; it’s associated with sexual satisfaction—as one feels after an orgasm. Oxytocin, acting on your nervous system, could be the reason for the “altered states of consciousness” during orgasm (Carter, 1992). To be better satisfied with their sex lives, women may require more touching and tactile stimulation before penetration (Crenshaw).

If oxytocin is so wonderful, why aren’t we just injecting ourselves with it? Because it impairs memory and learning (Lee et al., 2009). “Oxytocin just wants to hold you and not think about it anymore” (Crenshaw). The hormone relaxes you, and lowers your “response to threatening stimuli” (Lee et al.), which could potentially cause some dangerous situations.

There is no need to take oxytocin in the form of a drug. It’s free. Just touch somebody you care about, or somebody who cares about you. Don’t hesitate at the next opportunity you get to be physically close, because it will make both of you feel better, forget about your problems, and form a more intimate bond.

Article image via howtodothings.com

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5 Responses to “Orgasm and Attachment: the Power of Touch”

  1. Kenneth Stephenson 17. Jan, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    So if i read this and understood it correctly to much touching and physical contact could cause the opposite affect and make you not produce this or not want to be touched?

    • Marina Murashev 17. Jan, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      “‘Just before orgasm and ejaculation, oxytocin spikes to levels three to five times higher than usual’ (Crenshaw)…Too high a dose…[is] associated with sexual satisfaction—as one feels after an orgasm.”

      Notice how high levels have to be to feel sexual satiety. I assume that such oxytocin levels cannot be reached without orgasm or without a high-dose oxytocin injection. Post-orgasm, the oxytocin levels go back to close to normal.

  2. paul johnson 29. Oct, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    I do not ever want to cuddle with my lovers.
    I am also on the Autism spectrum. Does that mean I do not possess any Oxytocin?

    • aria 04. Aug, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      It doesn’t mean that you don’t “posess” oxytocin. it’s not really something you posess, like blue eyes or hemophilia. it’s more of a hormonal response to sexual and romantic touch. since you’re a person on the autism spectrum, my guess would be that cuddling or whatnot might not elicit very high oxytocin levels in your brain. (or maybe it’s just that you don’t crave oxytocin in the same way that others do). i suppose this would also apply to asexuals, though probably to a much higher level

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  1. Let’s talk about SEX… and PARENTing « Rethinking Everything Publishing - 19. Oct, 2011

    [...] a hormone that yields a sense of calm, safety, and relaxation.  A post at psychworld.com entitled Orgasm and Attachment: the Power of Touch alludes to the direct positive correlation between healthy, sustained physical connection between [...]

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