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.
Both low dopamine and high prolactin make your world look bleakâ€”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. [â€¦] Perhaps we are pressuring ourselves to reach unrealistic benchmarks.
Addendum:Â 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.