My scientific approach of valentine’s day

Dear Bloggers,

When Love Blossoms
Romantic love, is not an emotion.
Rather, it’s “a motivation system, it’s a drive, it’s part of the reward system of the brain.”
It’s a need that compels the lover to seek a specific mating partner.
Then the brain links this drive to all kinds of specific emotions depending on how the relationship is going.
All the while, the prefrontal cortex is assembling data, putting information into patterns, making strategies, and monitoring the progress toward “life’s greatest prize.”

Love also hurts.
A recent study where 40 percent of people who had been dumped by their partner in the previous eight weeks experienced clinical depression and 12 percent severe depression.
It is estimated that 50 to 70 percent of female homicides are committed by lovers and spouses.

Divide love into three categories involving different brain systems:

1) Lust (the craving for sexual gratification), driven by androgens and estrogens;

2) Attraction (or romantic or passionate love, characterized by euphoria when things are going well, terrible mood swings when they’re not, focused attention, obsessive thinking, and intense craving for the individual), driven by high dopamine and norepinephrine levels and low serotonin; and

3) Attachment (the sense of calm, peace, and stability one feels with a long-term partner) driven by the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin.

“I think the sex drive evolved to get you out there to get looking for anything at all,”
Romantic love, is developed to focus one’s mating energy on just one individual while attachment works to tolerate this individual long enough to raise children as a team.

Romantic love, is a stronger craving than sex.
People who don’t get sex don’t kill themselves, she said.
On the other hand, it is not adaptive to be romantically in love for 20 years.
“First of all, we would all die of sexual exhaustion."Not surprisingly."

When Love Fades
High levels of oxytocin and vasopressin may interfere with dopamine and norepinephrine pathways, which may explain why attachment grows as mad passionate love fades.
The antidote may be doing novel things together to goose the two love neurotransmitters.
Meanwhile, elevated testosterone can suppress oxytocin and vasopressin.
There is good evidence, Dr Fisher said, that men with higher testosterone levels tend to marry less often, be more abusive in their marriage, and divorce more regularly.
The reverse can also be true.
If a man holds a baby, levels of testosterone go down, perhaps in part because of oxytocin and vasopressin going up.

“Have you ever been dumped by someone you really love?”
An equal number also dumped someone who really loved them.
Getting dumped makes you love the person harder, a so called “frustration attraction.”
Psychologists also refer to “abandonment rage” and “frustration depression,” which may paradoxically work to hasten the relationship’s end.
Then comes resignation and despair, where the brain’s reward system begins to realize the you are never going to get what you want.
Despair may seem counterproductive, but it is in essence “a failure of denial” that allows us to see the world for what it is and sets us on the road to finding a more suitable partner.

Love at Risk
“Sex, Sexuality, and Serotonin,” antidepressants may jeopardize romantic love.
As well as high dopamine and norepinephrine, she said, romantic love is characterized by low serotonin.
Low serotonin would explain the obsessive thinking attached to romantic love.
For example 95 percent of the day and couldn’t stop thinking about your loved one. This kind of obsessive thinking is comparable to obsessive compulsive disorder, also characterized by low serotonin.
Serotonin-enhancing antidepressants, will lower the emotions, including the elation of romance, and suppress obsessive thinking, a critical component of romance.
These antidepressants also inhibit orgasm, clitoral stimulation, penile erection (“the entertainment system, as I would call it”), and deposit of seminal fluid.
From an anthropological perspective, a woman who can’t get an orgasm may fail to distinguish Mr Right from Mr Wrong.
Seminal fluid contains dopamine and norepinephrine, oxytocin and vasopressin, testosterone and estrogen, and FSH and LH.

Without an orgasm, said Dr Fisher, men lose the ability to send courtship signals. Said one man, who lost his motivation and self esteem as a result, “I just stopped dating.”
Ironically, because antidepressants inhibit depression, patients may lose their ability to send an honest clear signal for social support and (for those with mild depression) lose the necessary insight to make hard decisions (the failure of denial factor).

When Sex Goes Right
If I research what goes on molecularly during arousal and orgasm: Testosterone drives sexual activity in men.
Testosterone also affects women, plus estrogen and progesterone, associated with permissivity and receptivity, respectively.
These three hormones help maintain genital structure and function.
Dopamine is tied into sexual desire while norepinephrine is related to subjective excitement.
During orgasm, oxytocin levels rise.

When Sex Goes Wrong
I mentioned that serotonin can dampen sexual desire and excitement.
It can also deaden sensation, leading to vasocongestion (“blue balls”).
Prolactin can have a negative impact on sexual excitement.
Risk factors for sexual dysfunction include being at least 50 years old, married, less than college education, not employed full time, tobacco use, higher doses of antidepressants, concomitant meds, co-occurring ills known to cause sexual dysfunction, prior history of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction, history of little or no sexual enjoyment, and regarding sexual functioning as not or somewhat important.

In patients with depression, that figure is 70 to 80 percent.
Depression itself rarely causes sexual dysfunction, Dr Muskin explained.
Untreated depression, however, often causes a lack of interest in sex, and disrupts intimacy.
The reality that getting well is more important than sexual dysfunction.
Patients and their partners, he said, may need to reconfigure how they have sex. Arousal may need to be at a higher pitch before intercourse, and orgasm need not be linked to the act.
Although Viagra may improve erection, it doesn’t help much with libido and orgasm. The following natural treatments, he said, show promise: Rhodiola (an arctic plant that works for both men and women, may work on dopamine, helps libido and boosts energy); Ginko biloba (for impotence in men and maintains erection); Gingseng (appears to work on dopamine, so woman can benefit too)

Love from Potion Number 32
“Valentine’s Day cards usually depict Cupid’s dart as the messenger of love.
New scientific research, however, shows that a key messenger molecule, rather than Cupid’s dart, is responsible for female sexual receptivity.
Hmmm, how can a normal man stimulate the woman of their dreams into a sexual driven animal?

The Old Sailor,


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