Beating the Blues in the Boudoir
For generations anecdotal evidence has told us that orgasms will improve your mood. You've been told that and you're own experience has reinforced it as fact. In recent years researchers have pinpointed the exact mechanisms that affect your mood during an orgasm; they are oxytocin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters spike just after you orgasm and you get the full effects of that surge of brain chemistry. Both chemicals benefit you independently, but in unison you get tremendous boons. Also, if you have low levels of oxytocin and dopamine you will get negative effects. These two neurotransmitters put you in a better mood and having an orgasm is an easy way to induce a surge of them.
Introducing the Neurotransmitters
Whenever you have sex you usually find yourself in a better mood. This is because during an orgasm you ride of a wave of hormones that send you into a sea of pleasure and relaxation. The two major forces in that wave are oxytocin and dopamine. Both of these brain chemicals rise up immediately after an orgasm and both of them work to improve how you feel. Dopamine is released anytime you partake in fun and pleasurable activities. It's responsible for the strong sense of pleasure running through your body during an orgasm. Oxytocin plays another role. It's the chemical responsible for your feelings of affection during sex. It cements the bond that you feel with a sexual partner. As these two hormones work in unison your mood will be sent spinning much farther into the realm of happiness than before your orgasm(1). However, dopamine and oxytocin don't have to be combined to be effective. Just looking at what they can do on their own more than proves their advantages.
Oxytocin has long been known as the 'love hormone', however it does more than just foster affection and strong bonds. Oxytocin has a plethora of stress relieving advantages. It even combats the results of stress. Oxytocin is able to lower your cortisol level, decrease your heart rate, and decrease your blood pressure. It also has the astounding ability to directly combat anxiety, leading to additional stress relief. The stress relieving properties of oxytocin have been proven in human experiments, intravenous and nasal oxytocin were used to fight stress. While the stress relieving effects alone would be enough to put you in a better mood, oxytocin does so much more to improve your life. It has been found that supplemental oxytocin will also boost your libido(2). There have been studies that show that oxytocin is able to combat social fears and mood disorders, including unbelievable shyness and clinical depression. In fact, low levels of oxytocin in new mothers can be used to predict postpartum depression. This astonishing hormone also has anti-inflammatory effects allowing it to diminish pain(3). Once you've felt all of these effects it would be hard not to feel happy, but that's not all. You'll also have dopamine pushing a good mood on you after an orgasm.
Dopamine is the reason that orgasms feel so good. This hormone is what regulates the pleasure center in your brain. Dopamine gets released anytime you take part in activities that give you pleasure. Whether it be having sex, eating good food, or taking drugs – dopamine will get released and make you feel euphoric. Actually, dopamine is the neurotransmitter that compels people to seek out pleasure(4). This is because dopamine is a motivator. On a chemical level dopamine is what pushes you to get down to business. It's also the hormone that drives competitive behavior(5). Not only does dopamine give you pleasure and motivate you but low levels of it can have awful results. A depletion of dopamine can lead you to have a difficult time thinking, slow down your reaction time, and worsen your memory. In more severe cases low dopamine might rob you of the ability to feel pleasure of any kind, as well as steal any motivation from you(6). Luckily there is an easy way to induce a spike in both dopamine and oxytocin... the all mighty orgasm.
Having an orgasm is a convenient and easy way to give yourself a spike of both oxytocin and dopamine. This spike in those two hormones definitely leads to a much better mood. Whether it's the dopamine making you feel euphoric or the oxytocin reducing your stress and relaxing you, or a combination of the two, your mood will be boosted after an orgasm. The effects of these neurotransmitters have been proven in laboratory settings. They even go as far as being able to treat mood disorders and social fears. Dopamine and oxytocin are capable of astonishing feats on their own, let alone combined. If you think about how easy it is to induce a huge spike of these wonder hormones, just by having orgasms, then sex or masturbation should be a go to solution for a sour mood.
“How Sex Affects Mood,” accessed on March 20, 2017, http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/health/how-sex-affects-mood-20150127
“Oxytocin Improves Sex, Sociability, and Mood,” accessed on March 20, 2017, http://www.smart-publications.com/articles/oxytocin-improves-sex-sociability-and-mood
“10 Reasons Why Oxytocin Is The Most Amazing Molecule in the World,” accessed on March 20, 2017, http://io9.gizmodo.com/5925206/10-reasons-why-oxytocin-is-the-most-amazing-molecule-in-the-world
“Dopamine Functions,” accessed on March 20, 2017, http://www.news-medical.net/health/Dopamine-Functions.aspx
“Dopamine Primer: How Dopamine Makes Us Human,” accessed on March 20, 2017, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201105/dopamine-primer
“Dopamine: Dopamine vs. Serotonin: Which Is More Important?” accessed on March 20, 2017, http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/04/09/depression-dopamine-vs-serotonin-which-is-more-important/