Submitted by Bewell on
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I just discovered your book a week ago and I like your thesis. I'm already into sex without ejaculation and valley orgasm, so the benefits of that are not new. What is new is the discussion of the hormones of sex.

This evening I found an article on a new finding concerning prolactin:

"Surprisingly, after orgasm from sexual intercourse, the increase in blood prolactin levels is 400 per cent higher in both sexes compared with after orgasm from masturbation (Biological Psychology, vol 71, p 312)."

I find a couple of things interesting about the article. Instead of the negative connotation you guys give prolactin, they link it to a feeling of satisfaction. Something to reflect on. Am I depressed of satisfied after orgasm? The difference might have to do with context. If I'm unhappy with my circumstances, I might be depressed. But if I'm happy with my pre-arousal circumstances, I might be "satisfied."

That difference in circumstance might explain why masturbation leads to a more depressing orgasm, for me anyway, even though it leads to a lot less prolactin in the blood.

Your thoughts?


Thanks for your comments. Yes, we found that article interesting, too. My husband and I try to post such things on this page, by the way:

We, too, were amused that they said it leads to feelings of satisfaction. I think it will turn out that what it really leads to is feelings of "satiation." If you've been burning with sexual frustration and finally get to have sex, then it's easy to mistake the two feelings.

We think there's actually a big difference between these feelings. I think it will turn out that "satisfaction" is tied to feelings of balance, and a sense that "the balloon is still full" (see this nice message from a reader: ).

Satiation is just a temporary drop in dopamine...the relief that one doesn't feel horny for the moment. Biology gives you this temporary sense of relief... because you got the job done! But then, of course, it wants you to find your lover less appealing and move on (eventually) to a new genetic opportunity. It may turn out that prolactin serves BOTH purposes....

I think masturbation clearly doesn't lead to the same degree of "satiation." The biological "job" isn't done. As I said in this article about this research (and about your very question), "there's no rest for the lonely." See:

I don't wish to downplay your observations, by the way. Context makes a big difference. The more heart-centered the connection, the more soothing oxytocin flows in the right places. I think this will turn out to be a key factor is why the hangover hits some of us less hard at times. "New relationship" neurochemistry also plays a role here.

The risk of relying on those things to keep us in love, however, is obvious. Eventually we begin to project our less-blissful neurochemistry onto each other. That's when separation kicks in.