Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Every once in a while, science makes discoveries that are so poetic, we wish we had made them ourselves. Take oxytocin, the "love hormone." Recent studies using an inhaled version of this neurotransmitter — which is naturally released during sex, childbirth, and other love-centric activities — have indicated the hormone might be effective as a treatment for eating disorders. But, the magic of oxytocin doesn't stop there. It turns out that a hit during sex can increase your sexual satisfaction and even make your orgasms more intense.
In a new study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, 29 healthy couples in long-term relationships were given either an oxytocin nasal spray or a placebo before sex. The couples who took the hormone reported orgasms that were more intense than usual. Further, many of the women in the study who received oxytocin said they felt more comfortable sharing their sexual desires with their partners.
There's definitely some sweet logic to the finding that the hormone that brings us closer together can intensify the pleasure we feel when we're with the one we love. But, this result is especially interesting in the context of recent research suggesting that women are less likely to orgasm during casual sex. Although the study's authors acknowledge that further research is needed to pinpoint exactly why oxytocin intake resulted in better sex, findings like this imply there's some sort of hard-wired connection in our brains between emotional intimacy and physical pleasure (and possibly even orgasms). While that might be kind of a no-brainer to many, it's nice to think that, when it comes to sex, intimacy really does count for something. (LiveScience)