Submitted by Larry on
Printer-friendly version

I had some ideas on oxytocin come to me this morning. I was about to type them into my journal, then I thought I might as well put these ones here to see if I can stimulate a conversation on this topic. I'm hoping you'll be able to add to my observations and enrich this topic beyond what have I come up with.

To start with, here are the basics---

We have two chemicals (well, there's more but let's keep it simple. OK?) and these chemicals are like opposites. One called Dopamine is what causes that high during sex. It's at the foundation of every other addiction too. Yes, sex is an addiction. A nice one, but the dopamine's presence clearly indicates that an addiction program is running during sex. That's to make sure we all have babies, I suppose. But, like all addictions, the longer you have sex, the more sex you'll need to get the same high. Eventually, sex stops being as fun and the couple finds that other lovers, a new relationship, temporarily brings back that old sexual high . . . so they split up. This is a good thing as far as creating a widespread genetic pool is concerned but not so good for relationships.

The other chemical is called oxytocin. You get that one from touch in a loving way, not from hot sex. You get it from hugging. Stillness is the key to turning on the oxytocin in our bodies. This chemical is what bonds us together; it produces the 'falling in love' feeling. It's having too much dopamine in our bodies from sex that erases the oxytocin and causes the honeymoon to eventually end.

There's an interesting medical aside here as well. Our nerve cells have built-in receptor sites for various chemicals. There are some for dopamine and some for oxytocin. The more we have sex and the more dopamine is sent to the various nerve cells, the less receptor sites are produced for that chemical. That's why it takes more and more stimulation to get the same feeling of ecstasy from the dopamine. On the other hand, the more oxytocin is sent to the nerve cells, the MORE receptor sites are produced for that chemical. Do you get it? The more we hug in stillness the better it will feel and the more hot sex we have the less fun it becomes.

In other words, reproductive sex alone leads to dissatisfaction in bed while adding hugging and other forms of touch in stillness leads to increased sexual pleasure.

There are some additional conclusions that can be arrived at from this concept. First, that the oxytocin receptor sites are a local phenomena. When you hold hands, it is the nerve ending on your palms which build the additional receptor sites. My wife and I nearly always walk together with her on my left side. When we hold hands, it is her right hand holding my left. If she happens to be on my right side, it feels awkward to hold hands and we inevitably switch back to how we feel more comfortable. Could it be that we've produced more oxytocin sites on the hands which we hold most of the time and that's why it feels more natural to be aligned in that way?

Hugging creates receptor sites on the front of our bodies; Lips would do the same, and so forth.

Second, it is the hugging, as an example, that bonds the mated couple together. The more they touch in stillness, the more attractive they become to each other. I still recall when we were engaged and couldn't say goodbye, so we'd stand outside her parent's house in the dark and hug and kiss for hours. We'd put a blanket over our heads so her parents, who would occasionally look out the window, couldn't tell what we were doing. Ha! Now that I'm almost an empty nester, that idea sounds ridiculous. It would have been better if they HAD know what we were doing instead of guessing.

Since it is the loving touch of our mate that bonds us, it seems reasonable to conclude that the oxytocin receptor sites are person specific. In other words, the flow of oxytocin will be stronger from hugging your mate as opposed to hugging a stranger. Your chests, in some mysterious way, communicate back and forth during a hug and the more oxytocin receptor sites there are which recognize the energy of the other person, the better the flow of energy will be. And the more pleasure you'll feel from doing that. Higher energy flow means more energy blockage will be removed. In the case of the heart center, it means the more open to the world you will become and the more love you can share without your self-made restrictions blocking the way.

Hugging does something to you on a very deep metaphysical level as well. The physical is not cut off from the rest of your being. Mind, body, and spirit are all intertwined into one energy system.

All the life sciences agree that, physically, a human being is an open energy system. Energy is flowing in and out of our bodies constantly, both in the form of life force and intelligent thoughts, coming to us from everyone around us and from us to them. Therefore, the healer's energy and intent is easily transferred to the healee. It is a natural, non-stressful, event, inevitable. Think of it like this---our energy isn't trapped in our bodies like in a bottle; we are more like a ball of light floating in the cosmos; an open energy system.---Healing Touch

Where is all this leading to? Intercourse, the capital of the column of sexual energy transfer. Remember, oxytocin receptor sites are both body part specific and person specific and also that it's touching in stillness and loving intent which creates receptor sites. Intercourse in stillness creates oxytocin receptor sites on the sex organs which is the most powerful way we have of bonding with our mate. There is no other more intimate way to touch.

Movement during copulation produces dopamine, and that's OK, it's part of sex. but . . . BUT, how much time do you spend copulating in complete stillness? If you're new to this idea of Sacred Sex and are able to put your passions aside for a time, lay quietly together in intercourse for a whole half hour and see what you feel. If you are sensitive to the movement of your body energy then you will realize that 'quiet' and 'stillness' are not very good ways to describe this experience. The longer you lay there, the more energy will be moving between you through your sex organs.

This phenomena is explained in the practice of Jin Shin Do or any of the other practices of acupressure. The typical healing session consists of the therapists picking a couple of pressure points and just holding them fro a period of time. The longer the points are held, the clearer the energy flow between them becomes, moving from one point to the other through the body of the therapist and also through the the client's body---from point to point, clearing the energy path between them. We humans are open energy systems.

Intercourse in stillness works on this same principle. Over time, as you spend at least a half hour each day hugging in stillness and especially when copulated, your body will change it's entire chemistry. When will modern science catch up with the mystics of old and discover that sex, that forbidden and totally misunderstood act of passion, is one of the most powerful tools we have for brining about personal transformation. Those who have practiced Sacred Sex consistently gradually become better balanced, more adjusted and well rounded people. They tend to heal the hurts inside of them and are able to let go of past regrets instead of casting them into their future as fear.

How can intercourse promise so much? We are designed that way. We're also designed to respond to the call for dopamine. It is a choice. It's not a mater of just managing to keep with the program, hoping that some outside influence will force you to reprogram your body to accept Sacred Sex. It is a personal choice. You must really want the experience and the good it will bring to you on a deep level. Your inner desire must allow you to step into the world of Sacred Sex and surrender to it---to let it engulf you and heal you. Become absorbed by it powerful grip and let your mate and you become one in heart and in passion.

Well, I got carried away here. I guess this subject packs a lot of emotional energy for me. I hope I have spurred on some new though patterns for you. How do you relate to these ideas? Let's open a discussion and hash some of this out and learn new things.

I had to look that one up.

I had to look that one up. Wikipedia said that vasopressin receptor sites are in the brain. I'm not interested in that kind of acupuncture so that leaves me with thought as a way to touch these receptor sites.

The important thing

is the reality of the phenomenon itself...not the actual neurochemistry involved...which will turn out to be too complex for any of us. (Said another way...the science will always be fragmented and lagging behind the reality of the experience of mystical union.)

On the other hand, learning a bit about *why* dopamine and oxytocin may be key players in these different experiences is useful - because it helps people to realize that our bodies most likely *do* have the potential for these very different responses to sex...even if it takes time to cultivate the alternative one.

Another gift of science is that it also steers the discussion away from particular religious dogmas - so no one group is "saved" or "chosen." Clearly, if this potential exists in any of us, it probably exists in just about all of us.

However, one risk of discussing things in scientific terms is that the mystical experiences can easily get pushed aside. And they are the real gift. So it's a delicate balance putting science and mystical "clues" together. It didn't stop me, either. WinkCupid has essays from different traditions that seemed to be talking about this more mystical reality in sex between each chapter, while some of the chapters are quite devoted to science.

But you, Sam, have such important insights to share. The (known) science will never match the experiences you speak of, so don't let it hamstring you. (Gary's going to write about why oxytocin isn't the perfect "label" for the experiences you're having.) The phenomena can be described in larger terms...although it's always a challenge. For example, obviously, half the audience just isn't going to get the "puppy thing." *giggle*

In my world view, there are

In my world view, there are no 'chosen' people. As it is below so it is above. In examining the way our physical bodies function through the use of chemistry and so forth, we can get a glimpse of how the unseen parts of Self might function. What is our spiritual chemistry?

You're right

that this is a fascinating area. But I don't think science is yet up to the job of explaining our spiritual neurochemistry fully, despite the interesting clues that are showing up.

On the other hand, when people like you explain their experiences so clearly, it at least gets scientists thinking in larger terms. To the extent that they never ask the right questions, the "answers" they find will be less enlightening.

I'd bet money that oxytocin/vasopressin (which are closely related, but do many different jobs in the body besides promoting tighter pair-bonding) will turn out to be a key player in sacred sex. But oxytocin, for example, also plays mundane roles in labor, and...yes...orgasm (where it seems to spike and trigger prolactin release, which is the sexual satiation neurochemical...at least in rats).

So "oxytocin" is not a useful scientific code word for "all that's good between male and female." It would be nice if it were, but it simply isn't. Vasopressin similarly does lots of "non-love" things elsewhere in the body...like controlling how much water you retain in your system. It's also known as the "anti-diuretic" hormone. Gary's the right one to explain all this, which he'll probably do when he gets around to it.:-)

Safe or unsafe?

Chemistry is 'safe talk'. What if I used crazy metaphysical experiences to explain how we can reprogram our lives? That might make listening to me unsafe. Visions are just a puff of air, possibly. How can they alter our relationships to our mate and others? Hugging and physical reactions like oxytocin receptor sites is a safe approach, it's the known (to an extent). The real Work of the spirit is the unknown, stepping into the potential of creation, losing control. So, to make everyone feel comfortable, we use our physical reality to explain what is going on with Sacred Sex; we keep the curtain drawn least anyone see and understand.

Please take what I write in the spirit of fun, which is truly how I am feeling about typing on the forum. The Internet is limited this way because you cannot see the twinkle in my eye as I think up what I will say next.

More safe talk

Hi Sam,

I like your musings, and as always, I especially like hearing your success stories! In reading your post, I got to thinking about the various ways in which I've tried to explain this practice to others, those who otherwise probably could have cared less. I used to do the whole dopamine/oxytocin presentation, minus the Powerpoint, that is. But I think I have another way to talk about it, a way that seems to be relatively safe, and doesn't lead to the same conversational brick wall that I used to encounter - 'Well, that is very nice, Mari, but I like sex the way it is, so I have no reason to change," or something like that.

To be honest, I don't talk about this all that often, but one of the last times that I did, I started more like this - "Hey, you know they say that we humans are actually not naturally monogamous, only socially monogamous?" It seems that most people know this, you know, it's not some big secret. So, from there I simply just asked what my friend thought would be the means by which this aspect of human behavior would play out. I kinda let her think for a minute, then I pointed out some of the things we talk about here - behaviors associated with sexual satiety - irritation, bitchiness, attraction to other people, and so on. She was quick to agree that these behaviors always enter the relationship at some point. Again, it's no big secret, right? So, then I asked her if she thought there could possibly be a TRIGGER that initiated this process, that separated the goals of our bodies from the goals of our hearts, the latter being to find a loving relationship that lasts. And, yes, this was the big Aha! moment. Then, I talked more about the dopamine/oxytocin function, to the best of my ability anyway.

In five years approximately, this is just about the first person who understood what I was talking about, and I think it had a whole lot to do with my own presentation of the idea - even though, I still know that there are those who will never open their minds and hearts to the possibilities, no matter how safely or eloquently we frame it.

This is a very tricky way to

This is a very tricky way to get them thinking about Sacred Sex . . . and I like it. A very good approach. I was at a dinner with some friends last month and my son-in-law mentioned that I was into Sex Magick---that was his uninformed way of understanding Sacred Sex. I didn't know how to respond. The friend then asked, "Really? Tell me about it, Sam." Now, if you were me, how would you twist this around into a valid description of Sacred Sex? I straightened my son-in-law out later.

You definitely have to start

where people *are*. Nice job, Discordia.

As best I can tell, the ideas at this site overlap with sex magick only very slightly - although some very inspiring people are often lumped in with the sex magick crowd. And even some of the sex magick big names who went right off the rails (Crowley for example) started with some really beautiful ideas. One of them is mentioned at this site: http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/right_marital_living_ida_craddock

My sense is that, in general, sex magick folk are pretty adamant about keeping orgasm in the picture, and forcefully raising the energy upward. Relationship, on the other hand, is not that high a priority. But I could be wrong. Anyone else?

Sex Magick

Well, I'm no expert, but I've always been interested in the occult, and I've certainly learned a thing or two along the way. As far as magick goes, or western esoteric tradition, it is most simply about intention, and I believe this is especially true in regards to the creative process (and creation itself can take many forms). There are many threads of magick, I believe all different methods of harnessing energy from nature, in all its myriad forms. My nickname here, Discordia, comes from a magickal tradition that found its roots in the 1960s, called chaos magick (Discordia being the goddess of chaos and discord), which is kind of a hodge-podge of many other traditions - thereby pissing off the traditionalists. :) However, I'm no practitioner, just an interested observer.

I think that the western tradition of sex magick and the more eastern-ish tradition of karezza are similar in that they are both sex rituals that involve intention, both rituals that honor the spiritual power of sexuality, as more than a mere carnal act. However, sex magick deviates at that point, because it also sees the act of climax as part of that power, as a source of energy to be redirected into some grander purpose. And, of course, we here see it as a deterrent to that. What kinda turns me off to the western tradition is that they often get very caught up in the purely esoteric side, and forget that humans also have a biological function. An example perhaps would be blaming a nicotine addiction entirely on an evil energy or spirit, and ignoring the actual physical impact of addiction. I think it is this style that makes it more difficult to explain that orgasm has a negative physical effect. And trust me, I've thought about this - I had a big crush on an occultist. Wink

One thing, though, I have to say about most magicians is that they are generally very supportive of what other people are choosing to do with their bodies, whatever form that takes - meaning, very few of these people would accuse us of being "weird." They are generally very open-minded, but like many of us, very set in their ways.

Psychic Meridians

Oh, you really shouldn't have posted that one because I'm sorely tempted to add to it. Hmmm . . . should I?

Let's talk about something I call psychic meridians. Just as we have acupressure points all over the body which are found along the 12 meridians of Chinese medicine, there are energy points in your aura which are connected by meridians. Since these points in your aura are called psychic spheres by some, I'll call these lines in the air psychic meridians. Now, be patient and I'll get to the sex magick, OK?

One way to clear your typical acupressure meridians is to place a finger on two of the points and hold them there for a few minutes. This sends energy through the meridian between the two points which are pressed, clearing any blockages there. The same is true of the psychic meridians. If you touch two psychic spheres, one with each palm, and hold them there, the energy will clear. You may have heard that illness begins as a disturbance in the aura then manifests itself in the body next. If that is true (and I believe it is) then clearing the blockages in the aura should be a more effective way to prevent illness than using acupressure points.

You can touch these spheres with just your mind for an even stronger result. By the way, this is what the charismatic Christians are doing by raising their hands into the air and being "slain in the Spirit". Anyways, I was experimenting with this, holding my hands up to touch the spheres with just my mind. I happen to be holding my wife in bed and being very quiet. The longer I held the spheres, the more energy I could feel flowing through me and between my wife and I. I felt an emotional orgasm coming and held on to see what would happen. At last it broke lose and went on and on. I lowered my hands mentally and the orgasm stopped. I raised them back up and the orgasm continued.

From this, I learned that touching two of these psychic spheres generates a lot of energy. Note please, for those of you who don't know, these kind of orgasms are not connected in any way to ejaculation or the single female orgasm. Also, if you keep the energy directed away from your groin area, no orgasms come. Instead, your whole body fills with energy---to the point of making you shake all over eventually.

I asked myself one day, "What would happen if I repeated an affirmation as I held onto two of these spheres?" I discovered that your aura will then clear itself of the blockages which are associated with that affirmation. I would touch as many pairs of spheres as I knew about so that I was sure to energize the ones which held the energy associated with the affirmation. Doing this during sex, with or without the emotional orgasms, ups the amperage of the energy flow thus doing a better job of balancing and clearing.

So there you have it---sex magick without orgasm. The Masonic rituals are partly based on these concepts without the sex part. This is in no way my main focus.

Yes!

Sam, I think that is exactly right. Exactly. I think I would also hesitate to conclude that there are no sex magick practitioners that do not also practice sex magick without orgasm. I'm sure that they exist out there, but probably have different explanations for the experiences than we have here. Thank you for sharing these experiences. :)

Chakras

I believe that shaking hands is a form of sex magick or even a sincere smile. It is said that sex energy is what powers the body in a general way. Sexual orgasms as we see them in this world are a selfish act no mater how much we are trying to give our love away in bed. It is felt by the one receiving, the one seeking. As our human bodies evolve, the orgasm will flow between both partners so completely that they will not be able to tell who's orgasm it is.

A few years ago, a friend was explaining the Kabbalah tree of Life to me in ways I had never head before. He said, "Sam, there are two trees of life, one inside the body and one outside."

"No way," I replied.

"I'll prove it. You can reach up and feel the Sephiroth hanging in the air if you know what you're looking for. Put your arm to a square, just one is enough to feel the energy. Square your arm so that it's straight out to the side, like in a courtroom, and then slowly bring your arm and palm forward, maybe a foot forward. You will feel your palm come up against resistance, similar to the like-ends of two magnets being forced together. Or, raise you arms up with straight elbows like reaching for something on a high shelf. There's a big one right in front of you called the Eye of Heaven. You'll find two more to the sides right above the first two which you felt with squared arms. There are six Sephiroth on each level, circling your body.

My friend then helped me find the top Sephirah, the Kether of this outer tree of life. It is high above the head at the point where you can barely reach with your outstretched fingertips and extended arm. "This is possibly where the shape of the wizard hat came from," he explained. He had a copper coil like a crown except the ends didn't touch. When worn, it did things to your energy field. I thought to myself that I would make a wizard hat and surprise him. I started with a cone made of cardstock the right height so that the tip would be touching my Kether Sephirah. Then I braided 45 feet of wire, two copper and one brass, and wound it around the hat about ¾" apart. I placed a golden ring at the tip for added mass.

I expected some kind of energy experience but wasn't sure what. I went out to my porch and sat in meditation. I often meditate nude and so that morning I wore no clothes. The sun felt good. I put on the hat and quieted my mind, becoming a passive observer. The first sensation I detected was that my perineum began to tingle. The thrusting channel is one of the "strange flows" which transverses the center of the body from the perineum to the crown and beyond. My next sensation was that my sex organs woke up or became aroused. This state continued through the whole experience. About ten minutes later, my heart began to beat harder, pounding in my chest like a wild banshee. Energy filled my heart center. Ten minutes later, my head began to feel slightly energized, especially at the Third Eye. Then the whole experience came to an end like the hat had turned off. I wore it off and on after that during meditation. It always filled me with energy but that sequential waking of the thrusting channel never repeated itself.

The energy flowed up as far as it was free to travel. When it met resistance, it stopped. According to Ra, shapes such as cones and pyramids naturally draw cosmic energy up through them, from the bottom or larger end and out the top or tip. This is what I experienced while with this hat. It was a tool which pulled the energy through my body, through the hat, and out the tip. I had become part of the hat.

Sex energy works the same way. The experience you have will depend on what chakras you have cleared. Will your energy flow upward just to the solar plexus and stop before the heart during sex? Then you are open to that point. Will the heart be filled with energy during sex? What about the higher chakras? If they are open, then the sex energy will move through them. Where you have blockage, the sex energy will stop. Let's not call these sensations orgasms, that is too narrow of a description. The word orgasms is so tied up with what people feel during reproductive sex that it has become useless as a way to describe these other sensations.

The heart filling with energy during sex is delicious. Many of you are feeling this during Sacred Sex, during the times of stillness. You are opening your heart chakra even further by doing this. Many of you are feeling sensations from sex energy moving into the higher chakras as well, you may not recognize your feels for what they are.

Here's something I wrote a while ago. I'm hoping that the above wandering descriptions will help you understand what it is saying. This is based on personal experience and what I learned from studying Ra. For those unfamiliar with chakras, each has a color associated with it---red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, from bottom to top. Please note that the phrase near the end, "The Red Light sent his vital energy into her potential for growth" is not referring to ejaculation. Ejaculation sends the energy out of the body and stops the whole process of feeling the sex energy ascending up through the chakras. The vital energy needs to move upward THROUGH the body to allow these sensations. Stillness, a quiet mind and body, and slow deep breathing, are also requirements.

Looking into a pool of water, you see your reflection. To know your Self. You see reflected in others your own Self. You can see beyond the surface into the subconscious with some effort. Finally, you see your True Self, or God, reflected there.

1st, know Self, 2nd, accept Self, 3rd, become the creator or open the gateway into Intelligent Infinity.

The ground is the Red Light, the base level. The I Am level, being aware in a simple sense. The Orange Light is water, the womb, the navel, a place of growth and expansion. The Yellow Light is Self Awareness, the concept of time emerges. Self will. Personal power. Contracts. Thinghood.

We look up at the beauty of the sunset or sunrise. It is attractive for us, a draw. It is looking into Heaven. We see reflected there, just as in the pool of water, visions of what is unforgiven. And then it opens and Heaven is seen and felt. This is a gateway into Intelligent Infinity. We look up at the canopy of stars at night in awe. This too is a draw. And a view of God is felt. Both the sunrise/sunset and the starry canopy are gates, passing through the heart and into the potential of eternity.

The heart is the center of Love, of compassion. The hug is a key to waking this up. You can hug God in vision, you can hug your lover in the act of sex, or in a warm and endearing manner, you can hug all of creation, or hug each and every heart which you encounter, one at a time. The more people you can hug simultaneously, the stronger the returning current of love will be. Hug one and you hug all. It is accumulative. This is the Green Light.

A lesson emerged from this and then ran its course into experience, springing to life in bed as they lay side by side. She turned onto her side and cupped his groin in her had and said, "You are the seed of life."

He replied by placing a hand on her belly and saying, "Here is potential for growth."

Touching his upper abdomen, she said, "Here is the possibility of great power."

"And here is your well of love," he said as he rested his ear on her chest, listening to the beat of her heart.

Touching his throat, she said, "And this is the storehouse of your future wisdom."

Lifting himself with his arms, he pulled himself up so that he lay on top of her, then kissed her forehead and said, "Here lies the magic of your intuition."

And lastly, they each touched the other's crown and said together, "This is the gateway to God."

With arms wrapped around each other, and aligned thus---groin to groin, belly to belly, solar plexuses together, heart to heart, neck to neck, ear to ear----they lay in peace until passion took them away into an unconscious will to join in lust and a bonding of hearts. Their aura boundaries collapsed and they became one in power, in love, in wisdom and vision. Then the stargate opened into Intelligent Infinity and their now unified spirits soared upward out of their crowns into the unseen, the unfathomed, into the potential of creation. They became a god and a goddess.

The Red Light sent his vital energy into her potential for growth which soared into his seat of self awareness. This awareness, in turn, was filled with her love, and her passion then filled with his understanding, which she perceived with her insight. The Red Light had slowly transformed into Violet as it shot out of their crown in mutual adoration. They twisted and merged with the other's potentials within the unknown, within a timeless, spaceless existence. Then the moment was past and their spirits drifted downward, like a newly formed snowflake, full of grace and life, settling back into their physical bodies. They had slept, as it seems. He opened his eyes first and kissed her lips as he rolled off her. She looked over at him with a smile.

From red to orange to yellow to green to blue to indigo to violet. From the infinity of infrared, through the spectrum of color they call life, and passing on again into the infinity of ultraviolet. All is One.

Rambling science

Great post Sam. Lots of good advice and wisdom. I do have some comments on the science.
Often it feels as though the more I learn about the neurochemistry, the less I know, but here goes (“the human brain will never understand the human brain”).

In a lot of our material we discuss neurochemicals – and what may occur when levels rise or fall; and nerve cell receptors - and what may occur when their numbers (density) increase or decrease (up-regulation or down-regulation).

What often gets left out or missed is what’s really important biologically: the nerve cell firing. An “electrical” impulse traveling along the entire length of the nerve cell.
It’s the impulse that creates our experience, not the neurochemical, nor the receptors it binds to.

Actually, the model is several interconnected nerve cells firing in unison creating our experience. A group of interconnected nerve cells (a few to millions) that fire together is called a pathway, or circuit. So it’s not a single nerve cell firing, but many that produce our experience, or mood. A particular pathway may be a memory, or control a bodily function like respiration, or help set your baseline mood, or, you name it.
Maybe there’s a pathway for enlightenment, we just need to activate it.
Maybe for there’s a pathway for love – love definitely involves the reward pathway (a very well studied pathway).

Here’s The Simplified Model:
A neurochemical (dopamine) attaches to receptors just for it (dopamine receptors) on a nerve cell, and the nerve cell fires an impulse that travels to the end of the cell, causing it to release neurochemicals onto the next cell. We experience whatever that particular circuit has to offer.
Impulse>>>neurochemicals>>>receptors>>>Impulse>>>neurochemicals>>>Impulse…..

If it were this simple we could say - neurochemical X leads to experience/feeling Y – end of story.
As we all suspect, it’s a lot’s more complicated, for example:
1- On average, each nerve cell is receiving messages (neurochemicals) from 25,000 other nerve cells
2- Each nerve cell sends its message to 25,000 other nerve cells
3- There are hundreds of different neurochemicals
4- At least 100 billion nerve cells in the brain
5- Add to this hormones entering the brain from the blood, attaching to receptors, bringing about more effects

Much of the science we write about focuses on the reward circuit, which (I would guess) contains millions of nerve cells and trillions of connections (synapses). On top of this, many complex brain circuits feed into the reward circuit. Several different neurochemicals act upon the reward circuit, but dopamine is the major player. Oxytocin is another.
(Both dopamine and oxytocin have multiple and complex effects in the brain, and throughout the body – so we are only talking reward circuit)

A key point:
In pair-bonding mammals (like humans and voles) BOTH oxytocin and dopamine are necessary for bonding. It’s thought that a rise in oxytocin triggers dopamine and activates the reward circuit. To fall in love, to stay in love, both neurochemicals need to be acting on the reward circuit. They are synergistic, not opposing. Yin and yang?
Oxytocin>>>Dopamine>>>Reward circuit activation
Yes, sex is addictive… but so is love. Love is dependent on reward center activation, and painful when the object of your love is removed. Addiction and withdrawal.

So I don’t view it as too much dopamine interfering with oxytocin bonding effects. I see it as too little dopamine in the reward circuit to maintain a strong bond.
For example, when a bored (irritated, out of love, etc.) couple interact, their dopamine (in the reward circuit) is flat-lining. They no longer find one another rewarding
We often discuss here 2 causes of this dopamine drop-off:
1-The post-orgasmic drop in dopamine leads to lowered reward circuit activity (unless you find something or someone novel to stimulate it)
2- Not enough bonding behaviors = lower oxytocin during interactions. Which fails to stimulate dopamine release.

So it always comes down to balanced or moderate levels for both oxytocin & dopamine. The 2 preceding behaviors are important players.
We can’t equate a specific neurochemical with a specific behavior or feeling, or mood. Just one example – oxytocin and female voles:
Three groups of voles were injected with 3 different amounts of oxytocin (2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg). Then measured 1) how long they parented pups, 2) whether they went for one partner, or for several partners.
2mg – Didn’t care much for pups, but wanted to hang with one partner
4mg – Lots of nice parenting, but went for several unfamiliar partners
8mg – No parenting, and really liked strangers

I also want to comment on oxytocin receptors and skin. Many tissues outside of the brain have oxytocin receptors. But as far as I know sensory nerve endings in the skin is not one of them. The changes you experience through touch occur in your brain and maybe the spinal cord. Neurochemicals are released, leading to new or stronger synapses between nerve cells. Perhaps creating new circuits. We could all use a new circuit or two.

To put it another way, we all have pretty much the same number (and types) of sensory nerve endings in our skin – it is set. For example, I teach bodywork. As a student progresses their sensitivity to what they “feel” increases. It can be very slow, or almost immediate. As they become more sensitive, nothing is changing in their fingers. Its synapses are changing in their brain.

I’ve rambled on far too long,
gary

Clicking the Amygdala

This was VERY informative! What I've been doing is to use the little information on neurochemicals that I've gathered from the web and tried to understand what is going on without further study. I picked this approach because using body chemistry seems more concrete or 'safe' to the general reader. But this approach isn't concrete to me. What I see and feel are not nerve cells but energy flow and the effect that has on our consciousness. So, energy should be my frame of reference when discussing the effects of Sacred Sex.

The idea that a feeling or experience is the result of a circuitry engaging is fascinating to me. I read a book by Neal Slade that teaches how to "click the amygdala forward". This directs the brain's circuitry into the frontal lobes and thus, over time, builds new nerve pathways into it. The clicking is done by envisioning the amygdala and touching it on the front side, like flipping a switch or touching it with a feather. At the same time, it directs the brain's attention away from the reptile brain. I'm not at sure what is really happening in the brain or elsewhere, but I can feel the effect. Last summer, I was experimenting with clicking and arousal. I found that if I clicked forward when aroused, my mood immediately flipped over to affection and giving love. Hugging became more important for a while. When I used clicking forward during sex, it brought me off the high caused by typical sexual behaviors to wanting to cuddle.

Have you heard of clicking the amygdala and what do you think of it?