Another thing I've been thinking a lot about lately is whether one of the big challenges in relationships is that the sex isn't "thrilling" anymore. Think about it. It seems based on our biochemistry that the recipe for loss of sexual desire would be to have sex with the same person in the same setting in the same ways and all with the complete approval of society. Contrast that with the rush people might have when thinking about starting an affair. Or two teenagers making out and being deathly afraid of being caught. Or even the porn addict who is also nervous about getting caught (adrenaline rush) and excited about the novelty of "new" partners.
It seems like a lot of what Marnia teaches is to basically condition ourselves to not want the thrill anymore. And perhaps that simply the only way for us as humans to be able to maintain long-term monogamous relationships. But I do wonder if it's the only way. At a certain point, this all feels like asceticism and while we might be trading in the intensity of dopamine surges for the good steady uncurrent of oxytocin there's something there that's ultimately all about overriding our inherited neurochemistry. It's a little like people who get on a health kick and tell others that they like the taste of lettuce more than that of chocolate cake. Is that really the case or have they simply conditioned themselves to feel this way (assuming they're not simply lying!)?
It seems like even if you're able to pull back from dopamine surges (through abstaining from orgasm) that you still have a linkage in your brain with one type of experience (e.g., sex in a risky place or with a novel partner) and the intense emotions you felt. My concern is if that's the case and a similar situation presents itself in the future (e.g., the opportunity to cheat on your partner with someone new) will you be able to override those feelings? To go even further, will the oxytocin promoting bonding activities form new neural pathways in the brain that now link up more pleasurable emotion to being intimate with your existing partner than to seeking a new partner.
This seems to be what is being suggested by Marnia's work but I'm not sure she has ever gone so far as to say this (I've only read Cupid's Poisoned Arrow so perhaps there's something in Peach Between on the Sheets on this front). I have a high degree of sexual energy and have been unfaithful in past relationships and want to do everything I can to make sure I am 100% faithful to my existing partner. That's why this topic is very interesting. I do know that the thought of having sex with someone other than my partner excites more than I would like it to (although that of course doesn't mean I will act on it). The good news is that now after reading about The Coolidge Effect, evo psych, etc. I understand why that is the case. However, what I haven't found much of is prescriptive options for solidifying a monogamous relationship (other than the bonding behaviors).