Your sex life is in jeapardy from your own brain chemicals

An antidote for post orgasm depression, addictions and violence against women in couples relationships? Amazing how that can happen without "will-power" or drugs -- all it requires is a decision to walk a new path. The discovery works the amazing changes "by itself". Actually it is accomplished by your body's neurochemistry. Read on.

... but this can turn a sexless relationship around

Orgasm ends the attraction to your lover not just "for now". It sets in motion separation between lovers through a repeat-play of neurochemicals ... both dopamine (the neuro-chemical producing desire) and oxytosin (the pair bonding neuro-chemical) is sharply and repeatedly lowered as prolactin (the I'm-done-here...gotta-go signal substance) rises and will operate on you for a couple of weeks after orgasmic sex. This often cause couples to feel less affection and lower sexual-interest in each other. Can this play out differently? Yes, very much so says Marnia Robinson.

"Recent research on pair bonding suggests that both oxytocin and dopamine are necessary for the feeling of being "in love" - that is, to maintain what scientists call a pair bond.... shortly after orgasm, they both crash leaving lovers at odds, finding fault with each other ... luckily there is a way around this".

Marnia Robinson

One man's story
" I found, non-orgasmic sex "by lucky accident"! For some time leading up to this discovery, I had experienced grueling headaches after orgasm and decided, rather than abstaining, I would enjoy the massaging, playing and giving pleasure to my wife and try to have as much pleasure myself from that as I could, hoping not to go crazy with frustration ... what I found truly amazed me... both of us actually. After only a few times of having sex and not "coming", I noticed a leap in pleasure from this new form of sex (both giving and receiving) than I had actually ever had from the "march to the peak" or even reaching the peak, never mind falling off it post orgasm. Indeed, instead of having a goal (orgasm), I started to have profound fondness for my partners body and the new form of lovemaking itself. I noticed that the rising affectionate feelings, I kept for my partner 24/7 first grew rather rapidly ...After only a few weeks, I discovered that all the pleasures associated with touching and kissing intensified by orders of magnitude, and so much so, that my wife began to see me as a veritable cuddle-junkie -- something I have never been "accused" of being before.
In a way, if we need a metaphor, it was like discovering the intricate pleasures of sailing as opposed to getting into a speed boat that could "get you there" faster but giving you a bumpier, less pleasurable ride. Increasingly I looked forward to the gentle vulva massage and the beautiful dance of motions and feelings even sounds that were associated with it. I completely lost myself in this new feeling and started to avoid orgasms effortlessly. Utterly surprised, I did not experience lack of orgasm as any "loss" after having visited this new territory -- lack of orgasm was now the assurance that I could enjoy the new "state of bliss". I can offer one more metaphore ... our new relationship never closes the doors between us as happens after orgasmic sex. The metaphoric doors are like the double doors you sometimes find between hotel suites. When only the man practices the non-orgasmic love, it leaves his door ajar but hers might still be closed. When both persons practice, there is always a small opening for sex-desire and the resulting feeling is so delicious that it heals just about all ill-feelings. The mutual practice results in a perpetual feeling of being bonded, of feeling connected to one's honey and always a bit horny. [There is a very good neurochemical explanation for why this is healing which is described below]. To finish my experiential description I will say that having an orgasm, which happens from time to time, is now like having a road accident from which it takes time (weeks) to recover."

How can this mans story be corroborated by the brain's neurochemistry?
Piecing together some of the recent research about the neurobiology of sex, we can see a process involving several brain chemicals that impact our feelings, desires, moods and intentions. When we get stimulated by something that attracts us, whether it is visually, or from sound, touch, smell, taste or thought dopamine levels in the brain rise. The stronger the stimulus is, the greater the immediate pleasure (and craving). Sex leading to orgasm, causes an intense seizure-like peak of dopamine. That orgasm-intensity triggers a sudden rise in another hormone, prolactin, which is the "sexual satiation" signal. (Prolactin also fulfills many other functions in the body), The sexual satiation signal tells us to get on with something else in our lives (holding down dopamine for a while). This natural neurochemical adjustment (low dopamine, high prolactin) generates the feeling of: "OK, we are done here".. During orgasmic sex the two neurochemicals relate to each other roughly in this fashion (courtesy of

What happens at the crossroad of red and blue and thereafter is something nearly every adult has experienced. It is the phase of mutual "OK, got to move on". The unlucky ones start talking about controversial issues soon thereafter and sorely regret it. This natural neurochemical cyclehas the effect of putting almost all controversy in a heightened negative light.
Many marriages hit the rocks after a few to several repetitions of this chemical rollercoaster and some survive it by spacing out their sex events, or refusing sex entirely, so as to not experience too much of the subterranean blues ...


Pornography is the business of selling anything sex-related that people for whatever reason have developed a desire for. Most pornographic promotion seems to be about bigger and more sensational orgasms -- in other words how to maximize sex related peak-pleasure. Mathematically when something is maximized, all other related factors, by definition, become dependent variables (and deemed unimportant). Since most people live with feelings of deprivation, one could understand the impulse and urge to get as much pleasure out of a drab existence as possible by maximizing the pleasures we know (alcohol, sex, drugs etc.). Just about everyone who is competing for our money encourages us to pursue such urges without thinking... "buy this and you will get the rush of your life". The real message is "Buy more dopamine, and a fleeting thrill that is not sustainable and will leave you hungrier for the next one." ...

However, when it comes to having good feelings, Maslow's assertion that every good "being-value" [justice, beauty, kindness, power etc.] can only be defined in terms which include all other good "being-values". Every attempt to maximize something good is therefore bound to fail since it inevitably and mathematically starts to include exposure to the bad "being-values" [injustice, cruelty, ugliness, coldness etc.]. For example, maximizing wealth and power when it means going over dead bodies becomes a pervertion (a clue to the president's rating in 2007?). So does maximizing "justice" without compassion and empathy. So does just about any attempt to maximize a good thing ... we know how humour can be perverted into incessant joking, how order can become nitpicking, how intelligence can become awful MENSA snobbery. In fact, every good value can be perverted by attempts to make it "the best ever".

It appears that sex follows the same line. Orgasm is the completion of attempted fertilization and as it appears also the completion of courting behaviour. After this it is "off to the next mate" in what is known as the Coolidge effect.

There is a way around this says Marnia and others who have found a working strategy to have sex deliberately without orgasms. I say deliberately because there is a big difference between this pursuit and being left without an orgasm while pursuing one.

Amazingly, with non-orgasmic sex (we have no good name for it yet), the pleasure stays in the high area without going over the cliff ... and your brain is bathed in a balanced combination of neurochemicals, a key component of which appears to be oxytocin or the "cuddle hormone."


Of course, there is more to it than that but oxytocin and dopamine together may create the sustained cuddle phenomenon, Marnia explains. Thanks to avoiding the high/low cycle of orgasmic sex, couples "mechanically" stand an excellent chance of maintaining the "in love" feeling throughout their relationship. Indeed oxytocin - the cuddle hormone - is inherently nonviolent. It is designed to bond through mutuality, and not through abuse or selfish pursuit of gratification. Typically when dopamine falls off and prolactin shoots up the "honeymoon feeling" is over and it may seem that we are being pushed toward separation by brain chemicals over whose effects we have very little or NO control. Once we have done what nature seems to have selected as the most effective method to procreate our species, we are programmed to lose interest and go elsewhere to spread our genetic material.

Marnia Robinson has written a book and several essays on our mating programme from several angles, giving it depth and context. She does it in ways that make it unnecessary to repeat it here -- please go to the prolific for more.

Just one final comment about couples who stay together in situations where nature incites them to move on and find new partners. Of course there are other sources of dopamine than sexual attraction (even if you wouldn't know it judging by the super-narrow and pervasive focus of Hollywood). It seems that the initial physical attraction needs to be followed by a full range of attraction to many other positive "being-values" for the bonding and pleasure to prevail - and stay strong enough to counteract the mating message of "we are done here".



What wife and husband team Marnia Robinson and Gary Wilson eloquently describe, in both relational and scientific terms, is a way to subvert the rather cruel nature-design strategy for maximizing the population survival and growth. (Growth, which by now is kind of obsolete -- aren't we numerous enough on the planet?).

They say on the fear of losing the sexual pleasure:

"Contrary to what you'd expect, there's no sexual frustration or feeling of "missing out on something." Quite the opposite....we make love a lot more. Everything about our life is immeasurably better as a result of being in love and staying in love."


falling in love is a bit like the prince and princess falling in love and living happily ever after see:

You guessed it -- it is not about marriage

See the very instructive video clips at


With Karezza (one tradition of non-orgasmic sex), satiety is never known, and the married are never less than lovers; each day reveals new delights….The common daily sarcasms of married people are at an end, the unseemly quarrels have no beginnings and the divorce courts are cheated of their records.
Alice Bunker Stockham, MD in "Karezza: Ethics of Marriage". Full text available:


Both low dopamine and high prolactin may make your world look bleaker - and increase your craving for more thrilling sex or new partners who would raise your dopamine levels (and throw you into another addictive cycle of highs and lows). Together these neurochemicals probably trigger the "end of the honeymoon," which nearly all couples experience within a year of marriage. Many people who discover the unexpected pleasure of non-orgasmic love, also soon notice that all other methods of getting dopamine up or restoring it when it is low (like drugs, alcohol, pornography addictions, etc.) begin to fall away by themselves!

Symptoms associated with excess prolactin

Loss of libido
Loss of libido
Mood changes / depression
Mood changes / depression
Hostility, anxiety
Menopausal symptoms,even when estrogen is sufficient
Infertility !?
Signs of increased testosterone levels
Decreased testosterone levels
Weight gain
Weight gain
Intercourse may become painful
because of vaginal dryness
Peripheral vision problems
Infertility, irregular menstruation
Gynecomastia (growing breasts)

So does this mean that we are entirely run by sex hormones and brain chemicals, which would invalidate the whole premise that our feelings are situational information? No I don't think so. It suggests that we are under the influence of nature's design to a large degree, but that is information in itself. Once we know it we have the option of choosing healthier attractions. Once we have experienced an attraction that gives us a coherent, pleasurable direction, we will recognize the costs of going against it. I'd say that is the cure for addictions.

Questions, comments an additional thoughts can be sent to