Supplementing the enigmatic love molecule, might be just what you need to spice up your sex life this Valentines Day, but in this unromantic age of Tinder and hookup culture it’s much more useful as a biohack for meaningful monogamy.
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a hormone produced mainly by the hypothalamus (an almond sized region of the brain located close to the brain stem that links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland). Oxytocin is released either directly into the blood via the pituitary gland, or to other parts of the brain and spinal cord. Although probably best known for its role in childbirth and breastfeeding, research has shown that oxytocin may have many far-reaching effects for both men and women in many areas of their lives, particularly when it comes to relationships and emotional involvement.
The Orgasm Neurotransmitter
Oxytocin plays a major role in sexuality. Men and women release oxytocin during sexual intercourse and orgasm; in fact, it is responsible for orgasms. In men, the higher levels of Oxytocin, the better quality of erections and ejaculation intensity. Women often experience higher levels of oxytocin during sex than men, especially if they’re lucky enough to have multiple orgasms.
A Sex Biohack?
All the guys reading this and at least some of the ladies are at this point asking…
Will it make sex better? Hotter? Longer? Wetter? Harder? Louder?
Unfortunately, the studies are inconclusive on this point. It’s difficult, if not impossible to accurately quantify the subjective quality and enjoyment of sex. In the studies Oxytocin doesn’t seem to outperform a placebo.
This 2015, randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trial, conducted in Austria examined the effect of on-demand intranasal oxytocin on female sexual function and activity. The study had a duration of 22 weeks and the participants were 30 postmenopausal women with sexual dysfunction. The trial results showed that the administration of both oxytocin and placebo enhanced sexual function and symptoms of depression in women over time with no treatment, sequence or interaction effect.
Although, the study design raises a few questions, to quote the researchers:
We acknowledge several limitations to our study…
…the instruction to attempt sexual intercourse and/or masturbation at least twice weekly may have enhanced the motivation of participants extrinsically, thus leading to increased sexual frequency and satisfaction…
We also acknowledge the limitation inherent in a study design based upon self-evaluation questionnaires in which history is self reported and therefore subject to recall bias.
I think the point they’re trying to make is that the quality of sex has a lot to do with the mindset you’re bringing to the bedroom.
In this case though, the Austrian study had a response, from those women’s intimate partners. The goal was to assess the sexual function, quality of life and depression in those men. It was an open prospective cohort study which again lasted for 22 weeks. Eventually, it was indicated that female treatment with either oxytocin or placebo for sexually dysfunctional women significantly improved male’s sexual quality of life and there was also a slight amelioration in the frequency of intercourse, arousal, desire, satisfaction.
So whether it was the Oxytocin or just the placebo effect, it made everyone happier.
If you’re looking for something to spice up your sex life or give your woman multiple screaming orgasms that will wake up the neighbors supplementing Oxytocin is not guaranteed to do that. What I would do is add Oxytocin to a date night stack of some other libido promoting herbs like Yohimbine or Testogenon along with of course a lot of foreplay and romantic flare.
So should you supplement Oxytocin for Valentine’s Day?
Most of human clinical trials dosing Oxytocin were using it to treat different dysfunctions. Unless you are struggling with with autism, depression or social anxiety you wouldn’t really want to supplement Oxytocin regularly. Many Nootropics or smart drugs have an episodic effect (you take them and feel something, fast) and some have a cumulative effect (it has an effect over time) but supplementing Oxytocin is kind of unique in that it creates an associative effect, here’s what that means…
If you supplement Oxytocin you’ll become more closely bonded to whomever or whatever you’re doing and it’s half life in your system is short, less than a couple hours.
So you wouldn’t really want to dose Oxytocin before commuting to work, cleaning your house or going to do jury duty. You would want to dose it if you knew you were going to be spending some quality time with someone important.
So dosing some Oxytocin before a romantic evening (like Valentine’s day), weekend getaway or honeymoon would likely instill greater lasting desire.
Olfactory biohack: If you wanted to potentiate this effect, I would try to add a distinctive scent to the time together. Our olfactory memory strongly associates scents and smells to emotions and feelings. So maybe wear some special cologne or perfume or rent an Airbnb with a wood burning fireplace.
A Loyalty Biohack?
Interestingly a 2012 German study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that Oxytocin was correlated to how men in monogamous relationships responded to other attractive females. It’s abstract concluded:
Together, our results suggest that where [Oxytocin] release is stimulated during a monogamous relationship, it may additionally promote its maintenance by making men avoid signaling romantic interest to other women through close-approach behavior during social encounters. In this way, [Oxytocin] may help to promote fidelity within monogamous human relationships.
So supplementing Oxytocin is maybe a good idea for men with a penchant to cheat on their spouses!
Not many of the human clinical trials reported how otherwise healthy, normal people react to Oxytocin, so here’s some instructive insights from Biohackers around the internet.
A cheerful Redditor shared some great insights on it’s subjective effects:
It it currently about a year and a half since I first tried oxytocin.
Ways I use it: – Inter-nasally – Sublingually – Inhaling from ultrasonic nebulizer Typical dose for me is 5-10IU
During most of the year I only used it periodically, say just a few times a month if at all. For the last two months I use it more often, almost everyday (though sometimes in doses as [subjectively] small as 1IU).
All effects I perceive are of course very subjective as I am aware of oxytocin’s possible effects. Hope my self-observation would help somebody.
Here my observations: – The first minutes after onset there is very natural feeling of calmness that lasts for half an hour or so. I can fall asleep like a baby during this time if its evening. I can compare it to the naturalness of sex (not the same feeling of pleasure, but that understanding that this feeling exists millions of years). It is exactly opposite to the feeling of fear. Imagine you being a baby in the hands of mother. This feeling doesn’t come every time. Mostly while at home or during wandering in a park. – I became [much] less sensitive to outside stress factors like different claims to me from people around. The desire to argue disappears. – It becomes easier to decide to do something important like making the job done (similar to 5htp for me, this somehow intersects decision making and serotonin) – After few hours or so (sometimes even 10-12 hours) it increases sexual desire. I never read about this effect and it goes like this literally every time for me. – The sex is way more engaging. I feel my girlfriend and her state better. I am acting more active. I feel more confident in what I am doing. Definitely, sex is an area where oxytocin effects are seen most clear to me. What’s really important for me is that I have a desire despite hard day and similar factors.
Some other observations: – That’s particularly interesting. I feel the desire for social communications. That’s quite an important topic so I’ll describe in detail: I am a kind of ambivert person. I can easily find a common ground with a wide range of people but I have quite a limited circle of trusted friends. I don’t participate in social networks like facebook. I used twitter back in 2008 but eventually deleted my account. So this two months on oxytocin were interesting. I really felt a desire to be involved in some kind of social activity but the common ground with most people around is not the one I’d like to stand for too long. So I signed up for twitter, Reddit, periscope etc. but only one took my attention and guess what exactly? Yeah, Reddit is a wonderful place where I feel comfortable. I think that me writing this post is a direct effect of oxytocin.
Something else I find important and relate it to oxytocin: – It makes you judge less and be less radical. For example, I was on a very strict diet for a year, had a philosophy behind it ect. but just after oxytocin something switched in my brain. I am now on a (way less strict) diet. That was a year ago, so not an effect from long term use.;
I once gave oxytocin to my mother and that was something I still can’t understand. I told her everything I knew about this substance, that it is quite safe etc. The dose was 5IU inhaling through nebulizer. I took the same. Few minutes after intake I started to feel very strong depersonalization. The one similar to psychedelic intake. My mother obviously felt the same. She wrapped herself into a blanket and in her words started to feel herself like a 7 years old girl. That lasted for 10 minutes but even after 30-40 minutes (and even until the end of the day) she was unusually playful. She liked this experience because she asked me to give her oxytocin few more times. Later experiences were without this exact effect however. I have no idea why this happened. I even think it is somehow related to this mother<->kid oxytocin bonding that’s widely described.
I’ve used oxytocin subq. 500mcg daily for 3+ months. Definitely helped with social anxiety, fear reduction in talking to females. Trust, and bonding increased. I didn’t get the negative side effect of increased dislike of outside groups.
The feeling from the Oxytocin was different. It’s like I could be nervous, calm or somewhere in between, but whatever my state I wanted to be social. The thoughts that were running through my mind were “Wow, think of the possibilities of forging relationships with my coworkers”. Normally, I don’t feel this way at all.
This American on Longecity.com noted it’s antidepressant properties:
I’ve gotten pretty good at using my endogenous oxytocin capacities, though I do need a bump to bring me back from utter social despair from time to time. I’ve certainly gotten stronger emotionally, though not in the sense that I’m not emotional, just that I stick to my own emotional agenda and don’t get side tracked, distracted, misdirected or sucked in to emotional nonsense. I feel more confident in supporting my opinions and the disruption to my usual thinking capacities has largely vanished as I’ve gotten more accustomed to using it and I’ve resolved more conflicts in the two ways of thinking.
Interestingly a Russian no fapper found Oxytocin to be very helpful in his battle with porn addiction:
I bought intranasal Oxytocin and what I found is that I felt no effect of it once I used it. However, I also did not feel any desire to masturbate or to look at porn since I started using it. Normally it works this way. You feel a little bit bored, not an ease and you take two puffs. Then, you find that the idea about looking at porn is no more irresistible and you can actually wash it away. You also find that you don’t feel that much bad anymore. In other words, you don’t feel anything once you take it, simply because you become normal. And this is also what happens when you speak with your close friends or your girlfriend.
If you’re a guy really struggling with making it through a few days or weeks of no fap Oxytocin is maybe worth trying, although I’d first recommend some self discipline promoting smart drugs like Piracetam or Oxiracetam.
A Midlife Crisis Biohack?
Dr. Larry Young on the described it humorously as something that might help a person or a couple going through a stereotypical midlife crisis because it improves the sense of relational bond, improves sexual arousal, weight loss and apparently makes you tanner as well.
Usage & Dosage
You can take it orally, intranasally, intramuscularly or intravenously. It seemed like most of the human studies administered it orally or intranasally, so I would do it that way unless you really enjoy poking yourself with needles (how you spend your romantic evenings is your business!)
It comes in a little one milliliter liquid ampul and I would just dose it orally under the tongue and then wash it down with a beverage.
Personally I don’t like intranasal dosing, it just feels weird to me and vaguely reminiscent of waterboarding. Although, there’s likely a little increase in absorption taking it nasally. You lean your head back or lay down on your back and slowly deposit the drips in your nose.
So you might want to try doing it both ways and see if there’s much subjective difference
- 1 milliliter daily if dosing orally
- Half milliliter daily if dosing intranasally
Unless you’re using it to treat a condition, use it sparingly and episodically.
As far as sexy time supplements (or marital interventions) go it’s pretty affordable and relatively benign (side effects are rare).
Given its ability to fortify emotional connections and fuel feelings of intimacy and desire culminating in powerful orgasms, for those couples willing to really work on rekindling romance supplemental Oxytocin is the nearest thing to a love potion.