Reuniting Articles about Sex
Articles on the science of sex by creators of this web site (who are also the authors of Peace Between the Sheets)
A male friend, pictured here, said my book needed to address this question, so here's an excerpt from the new book that does so. Feel free to add your comments to the end of the article.
One reason people often believe that orgasm is purely a beneficial outlet is that it seems to solve the problem of too much sexual energy—or perhaps too much semen if you’re male. This impression seems irrefutable, in part because wet dreams are a natural phenomenon of adolescence. It’s logical to assume that the body is making extra semen that has nowhere else to go.
Excerpt from Cupid's Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships.
Chapter One: Biology Has Plans For Your Love Life
Hit by Cupid’s arrow! What an exhilarating, enviable state of affairs. Everyone wants to believe that the key to lasting romantic bliss is a partner with whom you feel a passion so intense that it can never fade. Yet, have you ever fallen in love with total abandon, experienced wonderful lovemaking, been sure you wanted to stay together forever—and then noticed recurring emotional friction arising between you and your beloved? If you’re married do you have a sense that the honeymoon is over? Perhaps one of you sometimes becomes clingy and demanding while the other feels devoured and needs "space." Maybe you experience subtle, periodic irritation, or a sense of stagnation that is gradually extinguishing your former delight in each other. Perhaps you engage in spectacular fights interspersed with passionate reconciliation.
Scroll down for Kindle version that also includes Forward and Preface, or just continue reading Chapter One
This subconscious alienation—which mates so often encounter despite their desire to remain in love—is the result of an unsuspected poison on Cupid’s arrow.
Gary and I were interested to discover that there is a very active forum on a popular science site in the UK called "Naked Scientists" about Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome, known as "POIS." These men (and a few women) suffer debilitating symptoms after orgasm, such as exhaustion, insomnia, flu-like symptoms, brain fog, anxiety, depression, weakness, indigestion and so forth. It tends to last for a few days until around two weeks.
In recent years scientists discovered that oxytocin – best known for its role in labor contractions1 - was also the neurochemical behind apparent monogamy (in prairie voles) and emotional bonding between parents and children, friends and lovers. An experiment showed that it increases the attraction between familiar mates (in hamsters), but not between unfamiliar potential mates. 2
Even though I think John Gray is overlooking the most fundamental cause of the disharmony that builds between intimate partners (namely our mammalian mating program, which urges us on to new mates), I always fall in love with him a little bit when I read his books. I find his sincere desire to help men and women stop tearing each other apart endearing, and his folksy wisdom has a lot to recommend it.
While I was collecting material for Peace Between the Sheets, a lovely young woman explained to me that she didn't want to try the alternative of controlled intercourse with its absence of hot foreplay because she wouldn't be able to use all the great lovemaking skills she had mastered.
Cupid, or the God Eros, is often represented as a mischievous, chubby child. Could it be because Eros generally serves biology's procreation agenda above any other?
Part I of this article explained that junk food (especially high sugar/high fat nutritionally-empty foods) and sexual stimulation (especially with the emphasis on climax rather than affectionate contact), although natural, have the potential to distort sound judgment. Both are examples of supranormal (unusually intense) stimulation, which reinforce learning – that is, they draw our exaggerated attention to anything associated with experiencing them. 'Learning reinforcement' is the same brain mechanism that distorts addicts' judgment, and locks them into their destructive behaviors. It occurs in the reward circuitry of the brain, and the neurochemical dopamine plays a critical role.