In the News

Friends for Life: An Emerging Biology of Emotional Healing

patient and visitors

...the emotional status of our main relationships has a significant impact on our overall pattern of cardiovascular and neuroendocrine activity. This radically expands the scope of biology and neuroscience from focusing on a single body or brain to looking at the interplay between two at a time. In short, my hostility bumps up your blood pressure, your nurturing love lowers mine. Potentially, we are each other's biological enemies or allies....

Published in the New York Times: October 10, 2006

Synchronizing sex: Time to harmonize your hormones

[We would suggest that there's more to the story than this article implies.]

How many nights have you spent on your side of the bed awake with passion, while your partner couple in bedis curled up next to you deep in sleep? Or maybe you're the one who's OK with having sex every week or so, while he's looking for it every other day.

You used to do it all the time. What happened? Has the thrill packed up and gone? Not necessarily. The problem is that you've got what therapists call desire discrepancy -- you're out of sync sexually with your better half.

Spray makes for better sex

[We believe this type of product has hidden risks, due to the inherent addictiveness of sex - which may be the most important contributor to women's declining libido.]

couple hugging
Monash University has developed a spray to help younger pre-menopausal women better enjoy intimacy.

The university's Professor Susan Davis says many women in this category have reduced interest and enjoyment from sex because of low testosterone levels.

It's Just Mechanics

by Ziauddin Sardar

(from the New Statesman, 1 January 2005)

2005: The decline of sex - Viagra is just the start: we'll soon have pills that make you feel deep love and video games that give vibrations. Ziauddin Sardar on the masturbatory society

Is your sex life normal? The question was raised recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Tell us, the show asked its 20 million viewers, what turns you on, what turns you off, and what makes good sex.

The problem with such questions is that there are no "normal" answers. The normal is problematic because our ideas about sex have changed fundamentally. What constitutes normal is constantly refurbished. Its boundaries shift rapidly, and continue to shift. So what was abnormal yesterday - say, pornography - becomes normal today. And what is shunned today (say paedophilia) may just as easily become normal tomorrow.

Wired for Love: Studying Physiological Reactivity in Married Couples

By Keith W. Harris

University of California, San Francisco

Few researchers employ physiological measures in their studies of marital interaction. The scarcity of physiology studies in the marital literature is more likely due to lack of training and resources than to lack of interest. More importantly, it seems possible that couples researchers have underestimated the contributions that physiological measures can make to their overall understanding of marital functioning. The goal of this article is to familiarize members of the Couples SIG with the marriage and physiology literature and to perhaps inspire some to broaden their studies of couples to include measurement at the physiological level.

Orgasm akin to a shot of heroin

shooting heroinAMSTERDAM - According to Groningen professor Gert Holstege, an orgasm is akin to a shot of heroin and his findings could assist in the production of a so-called orgasm pill.

Holstege said the interim results of his study - which showed that an orgasm and heroin have a similar effect on the brain and could be thus similar experiences - could have positive consequences for those who have difficulty having sex, such as the elderly, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday.

The Rijksuniversiteit Groningen professor said researchers used a so-called PET scan to conduct the investigation and sought willing volunteers to have sex inside the scan.

Effect of Marital Conflict on Healing

To Heal or Not to Heal

Comparison of blisters on stressed individual and non-stressed individualSmall differences in marital strife made big differences in the healing time.

Most people think a good marriage will make you happy. But can a good marriage keep you healthy, as well? In "To Heal or Not to Heal," researchers at Ohio State University explore links between the psychological health of a marriage and the physical health of the couple.

Medication Nation

by Mark White for Ecologist

Too fat, too thin, too sad, too happy...Whatever the problem Biotech is developing a vaccine or a pill to cure us. Mark White examines the consequences of a world where all our worries can be medicated away

brain drugsIt may be known as 'retail therapy', but the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association will recognise being a shopaholic as a clinical disorder. At Stanford University, trials held on the SSRI anti-depressant Citalopram concluded that the drug was a 'safe and effective treatment for Compulsive Shopping Disorder'.