Tag Archives: marnia-robinson

Sex Without Orgasm Could Lead to Healthier Relationships

One solu­tion to the “wide­spread dis­har­mony in intim­ate rela­tion­ships” is to “change the way you make love”, pro­motes Mar­nia Robin­son, sug­gest­ing that through ‘con­ven­tion­al sex’ we keep our dopam­ine and pro­lactin levels “uncom­fort­ably high or uncom­fort­ably low”. Instead, to ensure a stable rela­tion­ship (through a more stable neuro­chem­istry), we should prac­tice ‘con­ven­tion­al orgasm’-free sex with our part­ners.

The point is that con­ven­tion­al sex can play hav­oc with your neuro­chem­istry. Your dopam­ine levels will be uncom­fort­ably high or uncom­fort­ably low.

This is why the ancient Taoists and oth­er sages through­out his­tory have recom­men­ded mak­ing love without con­ven­tion­al orgasm. By avoid­ing the extreme highs that over-stim­u­late the nerve cells in the prim­it­ive brain, you also avoid the tem­por­ary lows that accom­pany recov­ery. You keep your dopam­ine levels with­in ideal ranges. This pro­duces a sense of well­being, which pro­motes har­mony in your rela­tion­ship.

Con­clud­ing with:

Both low dopam­ine and high pro­lactin make your world look bleak—and increase your crav­ing for bet­ter sex or new part­ners who would raise your dopam­ine levels (and set you on anoth­er addict­ive cycle of highs and lows). Togeth­er these neuro­chem­ic­als prob­ably account for the “end of the hon­ey­moon,” which nearly all couples exper­i­ence with­in a year of mar­riage. To heal the under­ly­ing prob­lem, you may just have to change the way you make love.

Robin­son has writ­ten a more access­ible ver­sion of this essay for The Huff­ing­ton Post, say­ing

As I learn more about the effects of sex on the brain, I real­ize it makes sense to take into account how recently, or intensely, we have cli­maxed. It appears that fre­quent, or espe­cially intense, orgasm can cre­ate tol­er­ance (a need for increas­ing stim­u­la­tion to achieve future orgasms). It can also lead to sati­ety and habitu­ation, which may show up as sub­con­scious irrit­a­tion, out of sync libidos, per­form­ance demands and insec­ur­it­ies. And it may pro­mote the use of risky sexu­al enhance­ment meas­ures as lov­ers try to over­come their built-in bio­lo­gic­al brakes with force. […] Per­haps we are pres­sur­ing ourselves to reach unreal­ist­ic bench­marks.

Addendum: Being one who is par­tic­u­larly fond of charts and lists, I rather liked the author’s Feel­ings & Beha­viours Asso­ci­ated with Vari­ous Dopamine/Prolactin Levels chart.
Robinson’s essay, with­in the open­ing few para­graphs, men­tions one of my all-time favour­ite and most dis­cussed exper­i­ments con­duc­ted on rats.
I wouldn’t mind get­ting Dr. Petra Boyn­ton’s opin­ion on all of this.