Oxytocin and a Woman’s Love

Ron Guhname (not his real name) a.k.a. the Inductivist (not his real name either) pointed out a interesting passage from the book “Why Women Have Sex”, by Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss….

Diane Witt, a researcher at Binghamton University, proposes that the release of oxytocin can be classically conditioned to the sight of certain people. Recall the Nobel Prize-winning Russian scientist Pavlov and his dogs. Dogs salivate when they are exposed to food–it plays an important role in the digestive process. Pavlov began ringing the bell every time he fed his dogs, and after a while the sound of the bell alone caused the dogs to salivate. The dogs had been classically conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell. Witt believes that, in a similar way, oxytocin can be classically conditioned to be released by the brain with exposure to certain partners.

For example, a woman meets someone and on the first date she decides he doesn’t match up to her ideal–Clint Eastwood–but he’s still acceptable enough to date a few more times. Eventually she decides to have sex with him–and oxytocin is released, so she experiences that “oohhh so good” feeling. After having repeated sex, and oxytocin releases, with the same man, she forms a conditioned association. Pretty soon, just seeing the guy can cause her brain to release oxytocin–without even having sex. Suddenly “Mr. Acceptable Enough” becomes “Mr. Can’t Live Without.” Some researchers believe that prolonged attachment with a given person actually causes chronically high levels of oxytocin and its close hormonal relative vasopressin, which could feasibly help maintain long-term relationship bonds between women and men.

Of course, as Ron Guhname points out, she has to be “into you” in the first place.

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