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What happens in our body and mind when we have sex?

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It is said that living beings are characterized by be born, reproduce and die. As human beings, it is clear that practically all of our behaviors make sense once we are born and we are relatively autonomous and that most of them can be understood as strategies to circumvent the death. Sex, however, is something optional in our lives, in the sense that it is not a vital necessity and it is perfectly possible to go through an entire existence without having relationships of this type.

When our body asks us for sex

Now, our body has been designed in such a way that living having sex is more comfortable and easier than not having it. Normally, faced with a dichotomous decision in which we debate between the possibility of having sex and not having them, there is something that leads us towards the first option. It is a mysterious force to which Sigmund Freud put the name of libido and that today can be understood from many perspectives. What are these unconscious mechanisms by which our body predisposes itself to having sex?

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The chemical circuit of sex

Having sex significantly alters the blood concentration of certain hormones and neurotransmitters, as well as certain activities associated with love, as we saw in this article.

Specifically, there is a type of substance whose quantity increases significantly: endorphins. Endorphins are often associated with pleasant and relaxing practices, such as the consumption of chocolate and moderate sports, and that is why they are usually considered as a kind of morphine that the body makes itself. However, its quantity also skyrockets dramatically during orgasm, and perhaps that is why sexual intercourse is usually a good way to discharge stress, improve sleep quality and even relieve physical pain. This biological mechanism from which we benefit so much (even without knowing it) acts as a reinforcer so that the same situation will repeat itself in the future.

There is another type of substance, the hormone oxytocin, which, being associated with the creation of affective bonds, could also play an important role in sex. High concentrations of oxytocin in the blood appear during hugs, direct gazes, kisses, and all kinds of culturally modulated expressions of affection. All these situations have the particularity of being associated with the affectivity, but also to pleasure. And, in fact, oxytocin could be part of the responsibility that these expressions of love They can give way to other more intimate activities, since it seems that their concentrations are high during sex.

In addition, some researchers believe that the type of self-esteem of monogamous couples is rooted in the oxytocin released during this type of activity. If expressions of support and affection are frequent and valued by themselves, it is not surprising that, sometimes, they know little and lead to something else.

Some cultural factors

It may be that the motivations that lead to sex can be described starting from the hormones and neurotransmitters that it releases, but The thing is not there. To speak about these chemical processes is to describe a behavior from the inside of the individual to the outside, but we still need to talk about the dynamics that go from the outside to the inside.

All areas of our way of life are drenched by cultural factors, and sex-related motivations are no exception. Human beings are capable of seeking possible sexual relations not only for the immediate pleasure of this activity, but for the ideas with which it is associated.

The idea of attractive and desirability of a person, for example, are essential when talking about sexual attraction and motivations by which our sexual behavior is guided. However, these concepts cannot be explained only from an analysis of the neurotransmitters and hormones associated with sex: their form is strongly influenced by culture. The curiosity about the body of a possible sexual partner, despite sinking its roots in unconscious biological processes, also has one of its basic pillars in the social: hence some parts of the body are sexualized in some cultures and not in others.

Other examples of motivations carved by culture are:

  • An idea of ​​success associated with the possibility of having frequent sex.
  • A show of power.
  • A fun concept that includes some sexual fetishes.
  • The need to improve self-esteem.
  • The search for strong emotional ties and intimacy.

Of course, these motivations can be more or less appropriate and adaptive depending on the context, regardless of the moral from which we start. However, it cannot be denied that there are countless variables with cultural roots that shape our way of understanding sex and looking for situations in which we experience it. It could not be otherwise, since, fortunately, we neither reproduce nor enjoy ourselves in the manner of automatons. And keep it that way!

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