Scientists' Research

Abstracts on sex, orgasm, and mating

Romance Genes

Garver-Apgar

Could Cupid's arrow be laced with secret instructions for decoding someone's DNA? As this ScienCentral News video reports, researchers have found a connection between romance, genetics, and even a couple's sex life.

Opposite Attraction

Love is a mysterious thing and never easily explained. Now an evolutionary psychologist has shown that true romance requires a special kind of chemistry. Literally.

"I think that these findings really get at one of Cupid's tricks," says Christine Garver-Apgar of the University of New Mexico. "We don't know all of his tricks but this study is one of the first studies that gives us a specific mechanism to define romantic chemistry. It tells us what it is about two individuals that just makes two people crazy about each other."

Dopamine and Oxytocin

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argumentDopamine and oxytocin are both needed for bonding. In this research, the link between the two is made clearer than ever. Dopamine induces the release of oxytocin in the reward circuit, and reinforces sexual activity (stimulates erections in rats).

A Real Sugar High?

Sugar addiction cakeis more than a trite expression people use to describe their sweet tooth. A pattern of fasting and overloading on sugary foods may foster dependence, according to a study published in Obesity Research.

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.

Prolactin: An integral player in hormonal politics

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By Jeremy P.W. Heaton, MD

Prolactin's close relationship to other hormones and neurotransmitters vital to sex, life, and aging merits review. Although prolactin hypersecretion occurs infrequently, its recognition provides an opportunity to treat a fundamental cause of sexual problems.

What is interesting about prolactin (PRL)? Most urologists know it only as a bit player in the androgen and erectile dysfunction (ED) arena. It is considered problematic (should the PRL levels be routinely measured in men with ED?) and is usually associated with alterations in desire or libido (although this is more legend than fact). We are inclined to forget that PRL plays similar but mirror image roles in female reproductive medicine, with the addition of eponymous roles in lactation.

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.

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