The Big “O” Hormone

When we are tenderly touched by another human being, a wonderful hormone called oxytocin is released.  Then what happens?  We feel good about the person who touched us, and we crave even more touch from the same person.  It creates a powerful, relationship-building upward spiral.  The more we’re touched, the more we want to be touched, and the more touching going on, the more oxytocin is produced.  It’s like a powerful magnet drawing us together with greater and greater force. 


Oxytocin is exponentially more effective when coupled with estrogen (which women produce far more of than men), which explains why women form such a deep emotional bond with their sex partners and have a more difficult time “letting go and moving on” than men do when a relationship crumbles1.   This also explains why women place far more weight on the “emotional/spiritual” side of sexuality than on the “physical/mental” side.  We simply fail to recognize that it’s the “physical” side that results in such a strong emotional connection in the first place.


Oxytocin can be triggered by emotional cues such as the glance of a lover or the sound of a loved one’s voice.  These cues can create stars in our eyes, fireworks in our mind, and swarms of butterflies in our stomach.  This hormone increases testosterone production in both men and women, which sends our sex drives into high gear, and oxytocin levels skyrocket to the highest levels when women experience orgasm2.   As our nipples and genitals are stimulated, even more oxytocin is produced, which creates an overwhelming desire for sexual intercourse and orgasmic response, which creates more oxytocin, and so on, and so on.  If you want to reignite the flame of marital passion, oxytocin is just the fuel you need.


So the next time you feel like you are hitting a sexual wall and you can’t imagine “giving in” to his sexual advances, simply determine to climb over that wall instead.  You may very well experience what many other sexually confident wives experience on the other side of that wall — absolute euphoria.


Be aware that oxytocin production (or the lack thereof) can also work against your sex drive.  If this hormone isn’t being released in your system regularly, you may feel an overwhelming temptation to withdraw emotionally and physically, creating a downward spiral in the relationship.  Perhaps you or your husband are not satisfied with how often you experience “the big O” (orgasm) or how often you desire to engage in any sort of sexual activity, but the real culprit may be that you don’t get enough of the “big O” hormone (oxytocin).  If a woman isn’t touched regularly enough outside the bedroom, she may find that she is violently opposed to being touched inside the bedroom.  A vicious cycle is created, as she is no longer open to the very touch she needs3.   The remedy for not feeling like you want to touch or be touched by your husband, therefore, is to touch anyway.  Go through the actions, and your feelings quickly catch up.  Oxytocin production ensures this will be the case. 


I would never be so cold as to say to a woman struggling with her sexuality, “Get over it, and get naked!”  But I’ll let you do the math.  One naked, oxytocin-producing man plus one naked, oxytocin-producing woman equals one intimately connected couple. 



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by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008.  All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.