What does neuroscience says about the amorous desire

by Aida Călin

Depending on the circumstances, the condition we are in a certain moment or the loved one we come in contact with, the sexual response may be different from one period to another. A touch, a kiss or a hug can arouse desire or, on the contrary, can inhibit it. What is causing these symptoms so contradictory, often incomprehensible? Why the sexual desire awakens faster or slower, in a certain manner today and in a completely different manner tomorrow?

The nerve centers corresponding to the sexual activity in the male brain are two times higher than its equivalent in the female brain. When it comes to brains, size does matter to differentiate how men and women think, react and experience lovemaking. The researcher Louanne Brizendine states that “men have sexual thoughts more often than women. Compared with women, at the level of the male’s brain the space and processing power allocated to sexuality are double. Just as women are using a 8-lane highway for processing emotions, while men have only a lousy country road, regarding the centre that is processing thoughts about sex, men are endowed with a real airport, while women only have a small parking lot. That explains why 85 % of men aged between 20 and 30 think of something that relates to sex every 52 seconds, and women only 2-3 times a day – or every 3 or 4 hours during their most fertile periods.”

This explains the interesting interactions established between the two sexes. Most often, it is good for men to know that they need to verbalize their desire to make love towards women. And this is required because that need is not among the top concerns of the mind of a woman. On the other hand, for the woman is good to know that a man’s sexual desire is usually bigger than hers and she should seek to keep herself in a “good shape” and the erotically awake – in other words, to be careful at her sexual desire, at what makes it grow and decrease. In this sense it can help to maintain an active state of dynamism and use a number of aphrodisiacs to increase the sexual energy and give it a boost.

Testosterone – the trigger of sexual desire

But what is underlying of the amorous desire? Neuroscience research has shown that the factor triggering sexual desire for both sexes is the androgen called testosterone. For men, it is produced in the testicles and adrenal glands and for women, in the ovaries and in the adrenal glands. For both men and women, the testosterone is the chemical fuel to operate the sexual engine of the brain. When there is a sufficient quantity, it stimulates the hypothalamus, triggering erotic feelings, causing the birth of sexual fantasies and physical sensations in the erogenous zones. The process is similar in women and men, but there is a major sexual difference in the amount of testosterone that is available for the “erotic awakening” of the brain. Men have, on average, 10 to 100 times more testosterone than women (this is the principal male sex hormone) – which is a big difference in the amount of sexual “trigger”.

Even the tendency to flirt is related to testosterone. Therefore the men which are often considered virile have an unmanageable tendency to flirt constantly. Also, the first sexual feeling of girls as well as their first amorous contact correlates with their levels of testosterone. A study of adolescent girls revealed that higher levels of testosterone were related to more intense erotic fantasies and more frequent practice of auto-eroticism. Another study developed on 200 adolescent girls revealed that the increasing testosterone level was a significant predictor of their first lovemaking moment. But if you guys have a constant increase of testosterone, girls have a flood of sex hormones that increase and decrease weekly – thus changing almost daily their sexual desire. This oscillation is closely related to female hormonal changes caused by menstruation. It’s good for the man to know these oscillations in the sexual desire of a woman and understand that they have no direct relation with him, but with the physiological changes that occur in her structure.

But what if the sexual desire is weak? It’s not necessary to resort to synthetic drug treatments, as some might think. There are natural remedies that induce higher levels of testosterone. Teeth chatter, muira puama, and hogweed are some plants that can be successfully used to awaken the amorous desire, as these plants are considered to be a source of natural testosterone.

How to renew and how to keep alive the fire of passion

Sexual desire is an aspect which confuses many because very few men and women know what it means and how it should be addressed. People are rarely aware of how the erotic shiver awakens. Some individuals are amazed when they find that their sexual desire is very unpredictable and sometimes apathetic to stimuli. They persist in wondering why their bodies do not cooperate when their minds are saying: “I would like to live a more intense desire and arousal.”

Others may have very rigorous standards on manifesting erotic attraction. They might think that if there are no signs of arousal they are not ready for sexual activity. Or, on a contrary, it is possible that they may not realize that they have lost sexual desire for their beloved, although these signs are present.

To elucidate the enigma about the sexual appetites the scientists made a series of surveyes on awakening the desire in both woman and man. A group of 500 women and 500 men were subjected to volunteer some unusual erotic procedures. They tested their reactions to various stimuli when they were in a state of incipient excitement. Their erotic desire was amplified as sensations diversified. Several simultaneous stimuli (exciting touch, pleasant odors, voluptuous images …) produced an erotic awakening and a more intense desire. Another aspect that was also stated clearly is that going through new sexual experiences made ​​the desire grow. This is because for many people erotic pleasure is like the forbidden fruit: tasting it, the desire grows.

Researchers have noted that the sun has a positive impact on the brain regarding sexual activity. Therefore, those who are experiencing the diminishing of their sexual desire are recommended to take a vacation on the sea side or somewhere where they can expose to the sun. Changing the place where they are making love, changing the sexual habits and even a change in the usual diet are important factors for the successful awakening of the erotic shiver.

The best thing is that these issues to be addressed from the beginning, i.e. when their appearance is detected. First you need a specialized medical checkup to remove any doubts of possible medical problems. Then address the situation frontally but gently, to ensure communication with your beloved and acknowledge the fact that you need to do something together to revive your love life. The sooner we act, the chances of recovery are higher. If after five years of decline or disappearance of sexual desire, if however we realize that it would be good to do something, it may take much greater effort to reawaken the sexual desire than if we would start after only a few months, or even better, from the very beginning.

Sexual desire is a topic that is often ignored or simply left in the background, although it is an important point of one’s sexual life. Imagination is one of the important factors in stimulating the sexual desire and in keeping alive the fire of passion.

Just like any fire, the fire of desire must be carefully maintained. For the more you add fuel on the fire, the more this fire burns more intensely and for a longer time.

Article originally published on www.venus.org.ro


October 2013

Also available in: Română

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