Women who get irritable after great orgasms

Marnia's picture
Submitted by Marnia on
Printer-friendly version

Here's an exchange from a forum at Tee Bee Dee (over 40s). A friend on that forum asked me to reply to this post:

Posted: Oct 28, 08 11:36am
I think this [post about sex] is referring more to the stages of relationship and the actual chemicals that are released and go along with the whole lust, attraction, and attachement phases..am I right?

Stage 1 Lust :Phenylethylamine (PEA) is a hormone responsible for the state of euphoria you get the moment you fall in love. At that moment, you produce a large amount and its effects are on par with the feeling of a drug high or partaking in extreme sports. It has been shown that when two people fall in love, their PEA levels are the same. This explains partly why you can spend all night talking or making love. These hormones also activate hyperactivity and reduce your appetite. PEA seems to have a shelf life of about 2-3 years.

Stage 2 - Attraction - Dopamine is triggered by the PEA and reinforces behaviour that gives you pleasure and satisfaction. When a happy event occurs, dopamine sends a signal to your brain which makes you feel as if you’re in a state of euphoria, in turn making you want to relive the experience. It is then that a feeling of “love” occurs. You can never get enough of seeing the other person!

Stage 3 - Attachment- The cuddle chemical or oxytocin is thus responsible for the last and final stage in love, attachment.

Also oxytocin promotes the establishment of maternal behaviour, which is why we become so attached to our partners as time passes on and the first heady signs of love disappear.
The effects of oxytocin are not limited to females. In males moderate concentrations of oxytocin facilitate penile erection and accelerate ejaculatory behaviour.

There is a reverse to this because in high concentrations the hormone may inhibit sexual activity. The male refractory period, the time after ejaculation —during which the male cannot be sexually aroused— is largely the result of oxytocin pulsing into the bloodstream.
So with no orgasm you would have less oxytocin, increased levels of dopamine, and perhaps longer more sustained levels of PEA? which would allow perhaps for a longer "lust factor" like in the beginning of ones relationship? Its this kind
of what you are referring too?

[Here's what I sent him, and below that, the responses he got.]

It’s popular now to use Helen Fisher’s model of lust, attraction and attachment, but experience shows that it overlooks a fourth phase: habituation to an existing partner and attraction to novel partners.

Neurochemical events also govern this fourth phase. Studies on other mammals reveal that as mates grow tired of each other, dopamine (the “lust” neurochemical) is dropping off. Now one’s mate just doesn’t look as enticing. However, dopamine will surge again in response to a novel partner. Drops in dopamine are somewhat paradoxical. They can flatten desire, but they can also make us very susceptible to any cues that will raise dopamine (such as a novel partner).

This phenomenon occurs quite apart from sexual receptivity. Male monkeys surrounded by females made consistently receptive with injections gradually lost their enthusiasm and engaged in less and less sex…but perked up gallantly when the females were replaced with a fresh group who were also being treated with hormones. Studies on this phenomenon in rats reveal that as the male tires of a female (habituates to her) it is because he is producing less dopamine in response to sex with her. The phenomenon has also been seen in females.

When we have children with more than one partner, our children are more diverse, and our genes have a better chance of surviving plagues and radical shifts in natural conditions. This program urges us on to novel partners, which serves our genes – not our relationships, or our happiness.

We can’t fix this weakness in our design with more orgasm, because the surge of oxytocin at orgasm triggers the release of prolactin, which suppresses dopamine (“lust”). The more orgasms, the less dopamine produced in relation to a lover. Therefore, orgasm is not “relationship glue” just because it releases oxytocin.

The actual neurochemical cycle after orgasm goes well beyond the release of oxytocin. Dopamine surges at orgasm, and then drops as prolactin suppresses it. In fact, there is evidence that dopamine is adversely affected after sexual satiation for two weeks. During that time, there are measurable fluctuations in neurochemicals that lower dopamine.

In short, the exhaustion of sexual desire (lots of orgasm) doesn’t bond partners; it pushes them apart. This fact was noted by the Chinese Taoists thousands of years ago. They recommended learning to make love without sexual satiation.

The belief that the oxytocin released at orgasm will strengthen romances is bad news for our unions over the long-term, because we need both oxytocin and dopamine, at balanced levels, to feel bonded to each other. They are the “yin” and “yang” of love. By pushing ourselves toward orgasm, we are actually guaranteeing that dopamine peaks…and then drops, in both men and women. This can change how we feel toward each other for up to two weeks, and can even make novel partners look unusually attractive.

If we want to strengthen our romances, it would be wiser to place the focus on mammalian bonding behaviors (kissing, skin-to-skin, eye contact, generous touch…the behaviors that bond us to our parents and kids). They subconsciously strengthen unions because they, too, release oxytocin…without triggering the post-orgasmic prolactin that shuts down dopamine.

Here are some of the responses:

Posted: Oct 28, 08 11:05pm
Wow...fascinating stuff! I do agree with this forth phase, and what you are describing actually sounds very plausible to me. I have in fact noticed this exact phenomena in my own marital relationship.

I do think people become habituated, and find that I feel closer to my husband when I do not experience an Orgasm on a regular schedule. I actually have found things to feel better when it is more spread out. I also think it sortof keeps the spark alive, I have personally noticed a significant decrease in my attraction and "warm fuzzy feelings" toward my spouse when the "O" is on a constant regular basis, and while I'm very committed and monogomous, I would be lying if I said I had not noticed, flirted, or even been significantly attracted to other men at times. It has been a question for me, one I have really been trying to understand. Why would I find myself significantly attracted to other men when the home fires are burning so strong? It has never made sense to me.

I have noticed though, if given a couple of weeks ..with cuddling, kisses, talking, great eye contact etc, just not orgasm that I feel much more connected to my husband and do not find such a vast fluctuation in my feelings or my sense of being connected or bonded. Hmmm...definitely something to think about.

This also would explain a lot as to why so many people engage in extra marital affair looking for that Dopamine fix again.

Thanks for the info....

carl R Lindstrom
carl R Lindstrom
Posted: Oct 29, 08 3:59pm

Brandythatsall wrote:
This also would explain a lot as to why so many people engage in extra marital affair looking for that Dopamine fix again.

It gets better or worse depending ... nature has set it up so both men and women get a dopamine boost when a new partner is presented (although we may not be able to reconcile it with what we want relationship-wise). Please read about the coolidge effect:http://www.reuniting.info/science/coolidge_effect
But playing and having sex and intercourse without orgasm cheats nature's intent and if you both learn the tricks, that sweet home fire keeps burning just fine !

Michael D Benson

SO, and this is a serious question. There could be a chemical answer to a problem I posted a few weeks. My wife turns into a major bitch on occasion the morning after a night of really great sex. I'm talking multiple oragsms and a 2-3 hour session. And the next morning I am the anti-Christ! If I am understanding this science correctly there could be a chemical reason for her mood swings? Also, could this be the reason that extramarital affairs didn't seem to destroy marriages as much in the world prior to say 1900? Just athought and I would like to hear your response since you have me curious now...Thanks for your input!

Posted: Oct 29, 08 10:26am
Mike, this happens to me too! I wake up in the morning after a great night with my dh and feel like the bitch from hell sometimes....really irritable and moody. Normally I'm a very even queel kindof gal..interesting thought that it might be a neurochemical thing. I
I found this full article and it really pretty much covers this exactly! Pretty interesting I think.

carl R Lindstrom
Posted: Oct 29, 08 3:25pm

MiCheleMyBelle wrote:
I just don't understand why I would choose to not have an orgasm when I'm finally with a person who can actually give me one! I'm not discounting all the scientific data, studies, and all the ancient 'myths' about it. It's actually fascinating, however.....I still feel that I have a lot of years of 'catch up' to do before I CHOOSE to not have one.

Smile If orgasms don't give you any problems like the ones mentioned (loosing attraction to your partner, mood swings, feeling depressed for weeks afterwards etc.) you are one of the lucky ones ... then enjoy it -- don't fix problems you don't have.
Some of us have experienced effects that we didn't know the cause of ...

Posted: Oct 30, 08 9:23am
Nope...sorry to say, but your wife is not the only one. I have always sort of blamed it on hormones, but this is a very interesting twist, that makes far more sense to me.
Although...even with that being said, I don't think I would be able to give the big "O" up totally. What can I say....I'm weak! LOL...

It is good that more people

It is good that more people are realising how addictive and draining orgasm is. Once you get into the pattern of this form of false intimacy; it is very difficult to break out as the reward-system in the brain is fed with the lie that excitable sex is the best way to relieve tension and 'satisfy' each other.

Its a very tough struggle to break out of this paradigm as lust is the most powerful negative force; and is dominant in the world. The fruits of remaining present and inter-connected in intercourse are much greater and worth fighting for.