Oxytocin is Love

Oxytocin is Love

For thousands of years scientists and self-appointed gurus have tried to define what love actually is and what creates it; by the simplest possible definition love is the chemical oxytocin.  Oxytocin stimulates reward receptors in the brain creating the impact of positive mental reinforcement and comfort.  This is in slight contrast to the large levels of dopamine released within the throes of toxic purely passion based relationships, whereas oxytocin facilitates more of long term status quo most commonly referred to as monogamy.

In a German study conducted at the Bonn University Medical Center, they found that oxytocin plays a direct role in males that feel comfortable and happy remaining in a long term monogamous relationship.  By showing subjects pictures of other women as an experiment and using their long term partner as a control, they were able to determine that the release of oxytocin prompted by the long term partner is indeed one of the primary catalysts that fuels monogamy.

In many circles, and especially in modern times, people are made to defend their decision to remain monogamous with one partner throughout the duration of their lifespan on Earth.  Others claim that nearly all species that exist on this planet are non-monogamous and that sticking with just one partner throughout a lifetime is not only unnatural for the species of human beings, but it also not beneficial for the survival of the species in any way whatsoever.

There are many facets to that claim, because monogamy very obviously would provide more protection for a newborn seeing as how two adult members of the species would be there to defend the offspring from danger.  Opposition would claim that a pack of the species could provide that same type of defense for the offspring, and that restricting oneself to one sexual partner has no direct correlation to the propagation of the species.  But that is not necessarily true when stress and other mental amalgams of existence can come into play.

Since oxytocin is a chemical release providing sustenance to the reward centers of the brain, it can not only sustain monogamy, but simultaneously relieve stress as well which is the primary cause of nearly every health problem and complication.  Some of the clichés that are heard everywhere throughout the world exist for a reason, and “Love conquers all” is no exception.  This is of course in reference to the long sustaining love that continuous releases of oxytocin create over a monogamous partnership in a lifetime.  Oxytocin monogamous love is not the same as what Twitter tells people to fight for when they are ruining their life trying to “Form prayers to broken stone,” as T.S. Eliot would say.

Another claim may be that since oxytocin is indeed a chemical, it could render certain skeptics to put forth a claim that it is not a genuine thing but moreover a chemical addiction.  Like a drug addict looking for their next fix, the monogamous male enacts thoughts to release more of the oxytocin they so desperately crave.  Whether chemical love differs from the idea of love itself is of no matter, because it is the happiness derived within the choice to love that releases oxytocin.  So it is either a circular argument or something worth believing in, the choice rests upon the shoulders of the individual.

Editorial by Michael Blain

Medical News Today

5 Responses to "Oxytocin is Love"

  1. Catherine Roux   February 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for the article, interesting. I’m pasting a quote from Researcher Barbara Fredriikson PHD from her fascinating book LOVE 2:0, that affirms what you have written above:
    LoVe begets LoVe:
    Positive connections with others create neural coupling, or synchronous brain activity between people.
    With repetition, positivity resonance also produces structural changes in the brain, for instance, rendering the threat-detecting amygdala more sensitive to the calming influence of oxytocin…research shows how LoVe re routes the neural wiring of your brain, making it more likely that you’ll have healthy habits & healthy social bonds in the future. Through brain plasticity too then, LoVe begets LoVe.
    LOVE 2:0 BARBARA L FRIEDRICKSON, PHD. P58

    Reply
  2. Mike Kirsch   November 26, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Can we synthesize it and make it a drug?

    Reply
    • Jack Siler   November 26, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      By this researcher’s standards, love is what can be measured, i.e. sex. So that’s already in pill form called Ecstasy. Or Spanish fly, or absinthe, etc.

      Reply
  3. Matthew   November 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Evolutionary advantage is not just in how it affects individuals. Monogamy likely is simply a system for greater social stability and health, and that benefits everybody, if indirectly.

    Reply
  4. Jack Siler   November 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    How incredibly stupid. A TV set that’s not turned on is just a chunk of wires and plastic. That’s like finding a steering wheel and saying it’s a car. So-called scientists have really gotten into identifying physiological mechanisms in the last decade or so and presenting them as – Love? A major 20th Century activity was to discover the mechanism of behavioural actions and delude the public that they had the “cause” of the behaviour. Appallingly short-sighted.

    Reply

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