Right I am back! Sorry for the delay, it will not happen again. Moving on…let’s talk about sex, orgasms, drugs and other things.
So recently I learnt that during the male orgasm, there is activation in the ventral tegmental area of the brain. This part of the brain is part of the reward pathway in the brain, which also includes the ventral striatum and the nucleus accumbens. In simple, during male orgasm, this creates a pleasurable, rewarding feeling in the brain.
The interesting bit is that this is a very similar to activation seen in heroin addicts during a heroin rush, or during a cocaine high. This suggests that drug users, especially addicts, experience an orgasmic response to heroin/cocaine. This is thought to explain why heroin addicts show a suppressed sex drive, because heroine already creates this pleasurable response (Holstege et al., 2003).
In female orgasm, there is a positive correlation with perceived arousal and ventral midbrain and right caudate nucleus metabolism. Furthermore, there was a decrease in orbitofrontal metabolism. The orbitofrontal cortex is involved in behavioural control. So in simple, during female orgasm, women experience a release from inhibition (Georgiadis et al., 2006).
So that was just a lot of information about orgasms. But my point is that sex and orgasms are pleasurable (duh!), so we want to do them again and again and again… etc..
Is it any wonder young people are described as sex crazed?! (why wouldn’t we be when it feels the same as a heroin rush?)
Is it any wonder that love is thought of as a sickness or an addiction?
The idea of love and sex addiction are disputed – although, there is a diagnosis for ‘hypersexuality’ in the DSM-5 – but we all know those couples or friends who suddenly drop out of our lives when they find ‘the one’ and we think of this as obsessive or an addiction. I’m not diagnosing anyone with anything, I’m just saying this obsession over being with a partner, seems like a kind of addiction.
This is not necessarily harmful, but could become so. We all worry about friends and family who become too reliant on one person, just as we would worry if they became reliant on drugs or alcohol. In this way we can see love as a drug.
Love is a drug. We become obsessive over our partner, what they are doing, who they are with. We crave sex. Because these behaviours, being with your partner, and having sex or not (whatever floats your boat), is a great feeling. As you’ve seen, orgasms produce the same brain activation as those experiencing a heroin high.
So I guess that I don’t really believe in love. Many people become very defensive when I say this. But when I say I don’t believe in it, I mean that I don’t think it is this thing that gives people a free pass to do whatever they like. I don’t think it can be unconditional (controversial of me I know!).
I think that what we call love is a biological response. It’s an addiction. It’s a craving. But is that necessarily bad? And why do people think that believing love is a biological response is any less romantic than it being a lovely dovey unconditional kind of love?
Well… it’s a touchy subject I guess…
Love Em x
*credit for my title (punerific) goes to James Gregory.
Male orgasm study
Female orgasm study – top link
Information on love as an addition
An interesting and better written blog about love as an addiction