by Marie-Claude Boisvert, Chief Editor
Sunday morning, 11:32AM, sitting between Justine and Raphael, my spinach Benedict eggs steaming in front of me, I listen to their usual run down of yesterday’s big night out. Raphael has spent the night with one of his many conquests, while Justine wisely returned back home to find comfort in the arms of her lover. She constantly shouts at Ralph that he is “one hell of a bastard”, to use her exact words. She accuses him of playing these girls, even though they are clearly aware that he is not looking for anything serious.
– Hellooooo!!! Even if you are not interested in a relationship, you get attached when you GIVE YOURSELF like that!
– GIVE YOURSELF? GIVE YOURSELF! Calm down, we are in 2017, sex doesn’t mean anything anymore…
– What do you think about that, sunshine?, they both ask me.
– Ummmmm… Good morning!
Why do men and women often see things so differently? I agreed with Justine AND with Raphael. At the age of 27, despite my faith in gender equality, I needed to admit that we are different, at least biologically speaking.
Sexual appetite is something we all feel, a primitive need, but what really happens in our bodies? Men and women are programmed to secrete several hormones that create the sexual appetite, which pushes us to reproduce ourselves, to preserve HUMANITY. Of course, both men and women are secreting dopamine (the passion hormone) and oxytocin (the hormone of attachment) during the act of sex (see our article on love) yet we do it differently.
Men have a tendency to release much more dopamine, especially at the time of orgasm, giving them a sensation of absolute wellbeing, which creates a kind of addiction to this sensation. Dopamine, accompanied by a low level of serotonin, is responsible for obsessive behaviour; people with an obsessive-compulsive disorder often have a low level of this hormone. This pleasant physical perception leads us to want more. Men will be seeking to feel it again and again. When it comes to sex, the pleasure is much more related to the physical part then the emotional one. Men usually concentrate their energy more on what they physically feel in order to reach an orgasm. It is one of the reasons why men are more distant from their emotions regarding sex. Of course, the psychological part is present but generally at a lower dose.
Women, on the other hand, tend to release much more oxytocin during sex, again especially at the time of the orgasm. This hormone leads them to get attached more to the other person.
Slowly, by secreting oxytocin more and more, they feel an attachment to each other, wanting more, seeking more and more attention other than physical. Reaching an orgasm for a woman goes beyond a physical sensation, the mind must be there. Be careful, I’m not saying that a woman must be in love to reach the seventh heaven. No! However, the body and the mind must be aligned in order to completely let it go.
Although after sex, lying next to each other, we again have different hormones coursing through our bodies. The limbic region of the brain is activated for both men and women; creating a sensation of happiness and fulfillment. After all, sex is good! The statement that sex is so important in a healthy relationship holds true. The dopamine and the oxytocin that two partners release lead them to be closer to each other, to be more in love, more complete.
It is also these little hormones that play with our bodies that cause us to react differently in the post-sex glow. After a strong orgasm, the man feels the equivalent of a dose of two to three milligrams of Valium, plunging him more quickly into deep sleep. The woman, on her side, can feel the equivalent of three times the effect of morphine during an orgasm, preventing the effect of pain. Some women may also release extended endorphins that can cause them to cry.
Despite several studies on the subject, researchers still do not understand why more hormones are released for one person than another.
Pensive on the subject, my two friends look me straight in the eye, waiting for my answer.
– Umm, I don’t really know, we are all different. Some girls think like you Raphael, some guys think like you Justine. Perhaps Plato was right and we are all the same, looking for the same things and reacting in the same ways to sex.
My two friends looked at me as if I was a kind of extraterrestrial being. Satisfied with me not getting on anyone’s side, they resumed their conversation as if I was not there.
I plunged back into my breakfast, continuing to believe that despite all of this rational thought and talk on hormones, I still dare to believe that each person is unique, and that each person will eventually find someone that is right for them…