A new survey has found that women now-a-days have become more sexually liberated as compared to men, and are engaging in sexual activities with several partners at a younger age.
According to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, women are also leading men in the case of same-sex relationships, with four times as many women now report gay experiences compared to 20 years ago. However, the survey also found that women who have had one or two sexual partners are up to three times more likely than men, to be at the receiving end of sexually transmitted diseases.
One of the survey’s lead authors, Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that the poll clearly shows that the gap previously seen between men and for women has been closing in the last decades.
Come for the romance, stay for the oxytocin. That’s the neurobiological bottom line on monogamy, according to a new study.
Men spritzed with oxytocin, a hormone from the pituitary gland, showed a renewed attraction for the faces of their romantic partners, but not for equally attractive strangers, according to a study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
And the men weren’t just saying so. Their brains were hyped up in areas associated with reward and motivation, according to the study.
“Monogamy is actually quite costly for humans, so there must be some form of benefit,” said Rene Hurlemann, a psychiatrist at the University of Bonn in Germany who led the study. “We’d expect humans, especially males, would disseminate their genes. That would be a very strong evolutionary force driving male behavior. But what drives males to stay in a monogamous relationship?”
The answer may lie in a steady diet of oxytocin that triggers dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward, motivation and addiction, according to the study.
Only about 3% to 5% of mammals form strong pair bonds, and among them, the prairie vole is perhaps the most studied. Monogamous voles, according to those studies, have more receptors for dopamine and have more oxytocin receptors in the cortex and several lower brain areas in the reward loop.
In humans, overtures of social support, hugs, massages and sexual intercourse all release oxytocin. And oxytocin, in turn, has been shown to induce pro-social behavior –- we tend to trust each other and feel more attached to others in response to the chemical.
Hurlemann, who has delved into the mystery of monogamy for years, built the current study on the somewhat surprising results of a previous experiment that showed monogamous men spritzed with this putative love potion tended to seat themselves farther from a potential new mate – an attractive female.
This time, Hurlemann and his colleagues took 20 men who were in long-term and passionate romantic relationships with women, hooked them up to functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners, and showed them photos of their loved ones interspersed with images of an unfamiliar but equally comely stranger, or a house. Some men were spritzed with oxytocin, others with aplacebo. To test whether oxytocin varied only with familiarity, they substituted highly familiar faces for the house images.
Afterward, the men filled out the Passionate Love Scale questionnaire, which showed that their inner Romeo prevailed over their inner Lothario. They were fixated on their current romantic partner.Brain scans added credence to their answers: Images of the familiar partner evoked a higher signal in the nucleus accumbens, long associated with reward, and the ventral tegmental area, an important dopamine engine that drives motivation. That response was strongest for the image of the partner than for any other.
So, do men become addicted to love via oxytocin? The metaphor may not be far off the mark, Hurlemann suggests. The data suggest the mere proximity of a partner — in this case, a photo — could touch off the same reward and motivation circuitry behind addictive behavior.
So, a steady diet of sexual activity, hugs and other forms of physical contact may be enough to override the desire to spread genes, keeping a man at home.
In other words: Keep the home fires burning.
There was a note of caution, however, that may merit further investigation. Familiar female faces didn’t stoke the brain waves as much as the photos of the partner did, but they touched off activity in another area of the men’s brains: the caudate nucleus, which is associated with conscious approach-attachment behavior.
Hurlemann said he is eager to find out whether different neural pathways are behind different types of attachment behavior.
In the meantime, Hurlemann said, “We believe we found a mechanism that could explain why it is beneficial for males to stay in a romantic relationship.”
Oxytocin, in short, may have edited the “r” from “stray.”
By Geoffrey Mohan, November 25, 2013, 4:06 p.m.
My Relationships Resume (Click on link for a copy)
The Relationships Resume gives you the opportunity to let someone know that you are interested in exploring possibilities with them. You can also put it in an envelope, give it to someone and ask them to fill it out for you.
Work and career compatibility is important. It is important to discuss the type of work or career that partners see themselves doing. Some questions to ask yourselves include:
- What does work mean to you?
- Is work a means to provide for a family, or is it a source of personal fulfillment?
- Is it more important to have a high paying job or to be satisfied with making less money in order to have fulfilling work?
If either partner has a career that is demanding, and requires a lot of time and focus, it is important to discuss how each feels about this, and how it will be handled. It might not be as necessary for partners to have similar careers as it is that both have a vocation they are committed to. If one person has work that keeps them past the typical 9 to 5 work schedule, while the other person is home on the couch waiting for his or her partner to come home, it could create potential problems.
Body clock has to do with the time of day people are more active. People have different times of the day that they are more alive. Some people are day or morning people, whereas others are night people. The time of day a person was born may play a role in this.
If one partner is asleep most of the time that the other is awake, it may lead to partners feeling lonely and may result in an unhappy and unfullfilling relationship or marriage.
It is important to know this about the person you are choosing as a mate and if there are differences in this area, discuss how you will reconcile this.
Physical compatibility includes attractiveness, chemistry, sexuality, and health. People tend to date and marry those who they perceive to be similar to them in physical attractiveness. Dissimilar physical attractiveness can create an imbalance, giving the person who is more physically attractive more power in the relationship.
Some people might place a great deal of importance on physical attractiveness, while others may do so to a lesser extent. Some believe that the kind of person one is, is more important because a good person can actually become more physically attractive—just as an attractive person who is not a good person can become less attractive.
An African proverb: Beauty comes from within.
- Aggression, dominance, territoriality—safety, survival, procreation
Mammalian (Animal Brain)
- Emotional involved in acquisition of food for feeding, reproductive behavior, for procreation essentially survival of the species
- Source of language, use of symbols, reason and logic processing culture and traditions
- The source and foundation of moral and social behavior
- The Vehicle through which divine consciousness executes its enlightened will
- The Vehicle through which divine consciousness interfaces, interjects and redirects will
Fu-Kiau (1994), in Time in the Black Experience, explains that for Africans everything—institutions, systems, and processes—follow a time process, which is the “unlimited and ongoing process of events throughout the universe through the power and energy of Kalunga, the supreme force. Planets undergo cosmic time, earthly beings undergo vital time, and nature undergoes natural time; and even social systems and institutions undergo a time process that consists of four stages. As shown in the figure above, these four stages include conception, birth, maturity, and transformation and death.
THE STAGES OF DATING
Just as everything goes through the four stage time process, so too does dating and mating.
Conception–”Cooking or Hot Stage”
This is the stage when two individuals meet. After meeting the person, conception is the thought that “I would like to get to know this person better.” If one already knows the individual, conception is the thought of the person as someone that one would like to get to know for possibilities as a potential partner. It is at this stage that one might consider starting to date.
The birth of the relationship is the stage at which individuals make a commitment to explore each other at deeper levels for the possibility of a permanent relationships or marriage.
This is the period when the relationship is maturing and individuals decide to become engaged for marriage.
At this stage the individuals are now undergoing a transformation. It is at this period that the individuals decide to move the relationship to a higher level, which may mean marriage. If both individuals do not seek permanency, then it can mean the death of the relationship—at least an intimate one. If the individuals decide to marry, although the relationship continues to mature, it begins a new process, that also goes through the four-stage time processes with different challenges, many of which evolve around how to coexist under marriage.
Many through the stages too quickly–going through all the stages in the “hot” stage. What tends to happen is that we move into physical intimacy without emotional, mental and spiritual intimacy. Because we do not allow for the natural unfolding of getting to know the person, it kills the possibility for a relationship to develop.
Are you moving though the stages too fast?
Source: African American Relationships, Marriages and Families: An Introduction, Patricia Dixon, Ph.D.