Sexual energy = caffeine? (What's going on with the neurotransmitters?)

Submitted by TommyMaddox on
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I've been studying myself over the last few weeks and I've noticed a strong similarity between the way I feel when I am sexually turned on and the way I feel when I've consumed caffeine. In both of these "aroused" states I have a ton of energy, don't need/want to sleep as much and feel very positive/optimistic. However, I also tend to feel stronger anxiety, a bit jittery at times and when I "crash" (either withdraw from caffeine for an extended period of time or have an orgasm) I tend to feel lethargic and a bit down.

Based on Marnia's work and other stuff I've read I'm guessing that similar neurotransmitter activity is at work here. I've read that caffeine increases dopamine levels as does sexual arousal. Increasing amounts of either seem to breed habituation which in turn requires additional amounts for purposes of stimulation. Although I've been largely porn-free this year I can see from my past that I had this problem (to a certain extent, it was never extremely bad for me) and now I might be having this problem with caffeine (again, to a certain extent).

OK, that's a bit of a ramble but now I'm to the crux of my question:

First, if I enjoy the feelings of both sexual energy and stimulation from caffeine what's the best/most sustainable way to move forward? I'm in a committed relationship and so the sexual energy is good when my partner is around but I want to remain 100% faithful and so to some extent maintaining a high level of sexual energy feels like playing with fire. On the caffeine front it feels like something similar where I can push to a certain edge and be OK but when I over-do it I have a lot of negative feelings including anxiety.

Second, what is a proper relationship with dopamine? If we're always denying ourselves dopamine hits (e.g. not eating sweets, not consuming alcohol or caffeine, minimizing our opportunities to be sexually aroused) then it would seem to stabilize us. However, I also wonder if it would push us into a state of lowered motivation. It seems like the most high-powered, achievement-oriented people have coffee or alcohol addictions or huge appetites for the opposite sex. Could it be that their strong propensity to seek dopamine is actually behind much of their achievement? (ie Tiger Woods)

This is a really fascinating subject to me. It seems that there is an intersection of evolutionary psychology and neuroscience that, while we know a lot more now than we used to, is still a lot of uncharted territory.

Would love to hear others thoughts on this matter.


I like all those things because they give me a jolt.
Dopamine is behind all motivation.
But consuming more alcohol, or more orgasms, or more sugar will not give me more motivation (dopamine) for other rewarding activities (music, traveling, sports, dancing, learning, etc.).
In fact, high consumption of sugar and caffiene and alcohol may lower my motivation (dopamine release, low dopamine receptors) for other rewarding life experiences. What goes up, often must come down. So high jolts of dopamine usually lead to a drop of dopamine.

As far as high powered people go, its complex. We are complex. A few thoughts:

1) Many entrepeneurs have ADD/ADHD (probably low dopamine, but get a bigger blast from novelty than others do), so they seek out stimuli for work (accomplishments) - along with sex, drugs, & rock and roll.

2) Outgoing personalities tend to have higher dopamine. They tend to do better in business, politics, sales, etc.

3) Some of the "greatest" achievers in history are thought to have been bipolar. Huge surges of dopamine driving creative spurts, and destructive habits, followed by bouts of depression.
(some famous persons with bipolar)

The above examples are genetics (plus environment). The addictions, or use of substances, may be a byproduct of imbalanced dopamine.
But having a lot of orgasms, smoking, drinking, and eating twinkies are not going to create an abraham lincoln (supposedly bipolar).