Article by Marnia Robinson and Gary Wilson

Intoxicating Behaviors: 300 Vaginas = A Lot of Dopamine

Why Are Porn and Junk Food So Tempting?

sexy waitress with foodAlmost monthly, new research confirms that food can cause drug-like brain changes. Food and sex are known as "natural reinforcers." That is, they aren't drugs, but our brains light up for them so we reach for more without thinking.

Still, the concept that "food can cause obesity because it is like a drug" is perplexing. After all, our rather buff ancestors ate a lot, and quite evidently were enthusiastic about sex. Yet becoming dangerously hooked didn't seem to be much of a risk. Didn't their brains light up for food and sex? Yes, of course. The difference is that they weren't surrounded by superstimulating, synthetic versions of food and sex.

Do You Need a Chaser after Sex?

Desire sometimes ratchets upward soon after hot sex.

hamster wheelDoes "the more you scratch, the more you itch" sometimes apply to sexual jollies? Is the reverse true? Intriguingly, the Chinese noticed a "ratcheting up of sexual desire after orgasm" thousands of years ago. Men today do too:

I sometimes feel hornier in the days following orgasm. At such times, I also have strong feelings of attraction for other women (even though I'd never want to have sex with anyone other than my partner).—Tom

My new girlfriend and I got each other off, and now, a day or two later, I'm definitely noticing powerful urges to masturbate and look at porn again (after three months porn-free). It seems so contradictory that our heavy petting would trigger this, but it's happening. I'm masturbating more and I even looked at homemade porn yesterday.

Porn on the Brain

Would we be happier without online pornography?

porn on brain

A few years ago, men from all over the world began arriving in my website’s forum complaining that they were unable to stop using Internet porn. Google had sent them—perhaps because my site shares information about the effects of sex on the brain. My site, however, is about relationships, not recovery. Yet their obvious distress, and porn’s impact on their relationships, motivated me to welcome them. As I listen, these visitors support each other in the struggle to leave porn behind.

Often they report dramatic changes as porn use recedes: more energy, increased social confidence, better concentration, greater gains from workouts, stronger erections, a return to earlier sexual tastes, increased optimism, and more enjoyment from life’s subtler pleasures. In short, many men are happier without Internet pornography.

Forbidden Sex Research: the Orgasm Cycle

Orgasm occurs in the brain"Financiers take too many risks; scientists do not take enough." --Seth Roberts

When your appetite changes, your perception changes. Think about how uninviting that fifth slice of pizza is compared with that delectable first slice. Recent brain research is revealing a disturbing phenomenon: intense natural stimuli can interfere with our brain’s normal appetite satiation mechanism. By numbing the pleasure response of the brain, such stimuli can make pleasures less satisfying. The effects linger for weeks. The result is less overall enjoyment and contentment, even though the superstimuli continue to register as especially “valuable.”

Could this sneaky primitive mechanism also be at play in our love lives? We can’t say, because it hasn’t been studied.

Can’t She/He See I Need Sex?

Beware the brain numbed to pleasure.

'Cold'Are you gauging the value of your relationship by how often you have sex? Is your mate starting to react to your every gesture of affection as pressure to "get it on?"

If so, you may be victims of a primitive brain mechanism that promises satisfaction—but delivers its opposite. It can put couples out of sync sexually. (This is especially likely after your one-time booster shot of honeymoon neurochemistry has worn off.)

When Should A Woman Try Karezza for Best Results?

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loversWant your female partner to try karezza with you? Choose the two weeks after her ovulation to begin.

A recent article in Scientific American Mind explains that levels of estrogen and progesterone both impact a woman's susceptibility to stimuli. Estrogen is the gas; progesterone the brakes. Well sort of. Progesterone apparently protects against impulsivity, and it is higher during the two weeks beginning with ovulation (the so-called "luteal phase").