Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vasopressin Junkies? (RetroPosted)

(Date adjusted to when this should have been written, though I was quite late with it.) 

I enjoy sex. As a topic and as an activity. To that end, I read various Everything About Sex books, from the basic biology on down to the sex magic. I stockpile the random facts that make for great party conversations, the kind that stop the chatter in the whole room as everyone leans in closer to try to figure out what I just said about a penis. I know the pH of cum. I know how to make a woman ejaculate and what that ejaculate is made of. I know most of the myriad parts of the complete clitoris. I know what an os is and why not to ram it. I know why zinc supplements are especially good for men. You know, random but useful facts.

A recent factoid acquisition has sparked a conversation between my partner and I. Turns out, there is a hormone called vasopressin that is released in men during physical, especially sexual, contact. It gives pleasure and promotes bonding. My partner and I have been making jokes about getting a vasopressin fix through cuddling, since we do a lot of that.

Upon further contemplation though, my partner came up with the theory that maybe men are often the physical boundary pushers in relationships with women because the men want their vasopressin fix. They get more of an instant biochemical reward for making physical contact. I said I was not so sure, that it seems to me that there is also a competitive territory-claiming side, as if points are given for certain types of contact, the more intimate and personal the better. I think I even compared it to capture the flag, honestly.

Together, we came up with the idea that yes, society/stereotypes says that men (all men) are playing capture the flag (or Oklahoma Land Rush), but that the enforced myth of stoicism and unflagging put-it-in-a-hole-somewhere virility was probably covering up the emotional need men have of making those intimate vasopressin-rewarded physical contacts. I feel pretty proud of us.

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