“Communication is to relationships what breath is to life” – Virginia Satir

Sex Chemicals

The role of neurochemical secretion in the brain during orgasm

Before, during and after sexual intercourse (and intense sexual play) we use not only our bodies to create pleasant sensations, in fact it has been said that the biggest erogenous zone is she skin and the most powerful part of a climax lies in fact in the brain.
During sexual play we therefore use body movement, euphoric recall and fantasy to induce an increased release of neurochemicals. They reach optimal levels (minutes) just before orgasm and then surges through the brain and from there to the body as follows:

  • Norepinephrine is released when we get excited to heighten the intensity of our excitement.
  • Serotonin is the feel good hormone is a natural buffer against depression and stress and is released during foreplay and afterglow as well as during the climax.
  • Dopamine is the chemical that is released to increase a surge of pure pleasure and is released in huge amounts when the pleasure pathway in the brain is activated through either natural (sexual) stimulation or for example the use of psychoactive substances.
  • Adrenaline is released to give energy, motivation and a bit more stamina /jolt.
  • Endorphins are body’s natural painkillers and creates clam, relaxation and numbs pain during and after climax. It’s very common to end up crying after sex. This is caused by a combination of endorphins being released and heightened emotions.

– Oxytocin is also called the love/cuddle or attachment hormone. This is secreted in both men and woman before, during and after, but much more so in woman. From there the strong need for most woman to first acquire a form of safety and attachment for sex to be truly pleasurable. Secretion just before Orgasm is 5 times its normal rate of secretion.

– During and post climax, 30 parts of a woman’s brain is activated including those responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction and memory. Woman produces more oxytocin during orgasm than men. This is key to bonding, increased levels of empathy and lowers a woman’s guard, making them vulnerable to falling in love. The brain does not know if you are having sex with a one night stand or with the love of your life and will secrete oxytocin irrespective which is another reason why many woman may mistake casual sex for something more meaningful.

  • Prolactin helps to induce sleep and restfulness and is secreted much more in men than in woman. This gives the man a chance to “recuperate” before the next opportunity for sex and it also also explains why men tends to fall asleep quickly after climaxing whist woman prefer to cuddle after sex (due to over secretion of oxytocin in woman).
  • Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.

Once the process of neurochemical release is on the way, it becomes harder to stop sexual play and often ends only once climax was reached for both parties.
There are many reasons why this powerful chemical mix may not be secreted and not result in climax, some of which are:

1. One or both partners are experiencing memories in the body or mind that induces trauma (called body memories). Automatically the body’s survival process kicks in and hijacks the sexual play process, often leading to dissociation/ distraction/ and disconnection (fight, flight, freeze or friend).
2. One or both partners are using medication or illicit substances which blocks or over activates the body’s natural activation of neurochemicals.
3. Physical pain which leads to discomfort and interruption of the process.
4. Physical inability to complete the process.
5. Any form of anxiety which may trigger the over secretion of adrenaline (which only intensifies the initial anxiety) thus blocking or neutralizing the other chemicals like oxytocin, endorphins and serotonin.

The psychology of orgasm and sex
A lot of sexual health research focuses on what’s happening physically. For many people— especially women — the mind plays a key role in achieving orgasm. While male brains tend to focus on the physical stimulation involved in sexual contact, the key to female arousal seems to be deep relaxation and a lack of anxiety. MRI scans show that, during sex, the parts of the female brain responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion start to relax more and more, reaching a peak at orgasm, when the female brain’s anxiety and emotion are effectively closed down.

Elmari specialises in the following:
  • Sexology
  • Individual Psychotherapy
  • Clinical Hypnotherapy
  • Sex therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Relationship/Marital Enrichment
  • Pre-marital Counselling
  • Conflict Resolution and Effective Communication Skills
  • Divorce Counselling
  • Trauma Counselling

The diagnoses and treatment of male and female sexual dysfunction, eg
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Libido differences
  • Sexual Pain Disorders:
    Vulvadinia ext
  • Inability to reach orgasm
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Ejaculation control and timing
  • Sexual behaviour disorders
  • General Sexual Problems
  • Sexual Enrichment