“It’s just sex.”

“It doesn’t mean anything.”

“We’re just having fun.”

Our culture often sends us these messages about sex.  While sex is designed for pleasure, it is also designed for connecting and bonding.  Sex, no matter how “casual” is always more than just sex.

Let’s take a look at the science behind it: 

There are over 100 neurochemicals/neuropeptides synthesized and stored in the human brain.

One of these is called oxytocin. It is produced by the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei of the hypothalamus. Interesting, huh? Much more interesting than that is the fact that oxytocin is a bonding hormone, released during intimate contact (not just sex, even hugging and sleeping next to each other). It does things like create sexual bonding and affiliation, increases trust, reduces fear, and increases social recognition.

A test done on subjects who received oxytocin had interesting results…

Those in the study showed an increased trust and generosity towards others, and continued to trust even after betrayal.  Interestingly enough, they reported no subjective improvement in mood or trust. This means that they were not consciously aware of their changed sense of trust. They also reported greater facial trustworthiness and attractiveness in others.

JR Moorse says, “Bonding hormones explain the remarkable propensity of battered women to return to the very men who abused them.  Our hormonal response to touch, to sex, and to proximity is so powerful it can trump our better judgment about what is truly in our interests.”

Intimacy releases chemical hormones in our brain that bond us to, connect us with, and unconsciously cause to trust the person we are intimate with.

It’s time to think about who we want to be bonded and connected with. 

Stay tuned for more posts about what happens chemically in our brain during sex.


McIlhaney, Joe S., Bush, Freda McKissic. (2008). Hooked. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing.