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How to Listen with All Four of Your Ears

New research shows how to get your ears to listen through all their channels.

When we think about communication, we generally divide it into two categories—verbal and nonverbal behavior. But, according to the “four ear” model of communication, we speak and listen through four separate channels. The question is, when you communicate through one of those channels, what will your listener hear? A new study that used behavioral neuroscience to investigate the factors that influence how your message is received focused on the role of the hormonal neurotransmitter, oxytocin. Although it’s based in neuroscience, this study provides an understanding of how to make sure your listeners actually hear what you want them to hear.

University of Munich’s Michaela Pfundmair and colleagues (2016) based their work on the four-ear model theory, which proposes that each verbal message contains four different dimensions of communication:

  1. Factual content: Actual, specific, “mere” information.
  2. Self-revelation: Information about yourself that you wish to share with the other person.
  3. Relationship: Terms that express how you feel about the other person and about your relationship with that person.
  4. Appeal: A request that you are making of the other person.

This model suggests that what you communicate to others depends on which message you hope they will receive. If you want to address relationship issues, that’s the dimension you’ll emphasize. You wouldn’t provide a weather report to your intimate partner when you’re trying to get through a conflict about whether your partner loves you as much as you love your them.

What the recipient of your message hears, however, is less clearly determined. Your partner is potentially listening with all four ears and will have to decide which dimension your message is intended to convey. The weather example is perhaps a little extreme, but consider what might happen while trying to overcome a conflict about how you and your partner handle household finances. Your partner might think you’re providing factual information (what’s in your bank account) when instead you’re hoping that the conversation will lead to more openness and better communication about your finances in general.

communication

Another example, taken from the Pfundmair et al study, involves a communication in which you’re trying to send a message containing an appeal, such as seeing if your friend will watch your cat while you’re out of town for a few days. Your recipient can decide to ignore the appeal and instead figure that you’re simply talking about how much you care about your cat (self-revelation). The authors believe that messages intended to communicate an appeal are the most difficult to get across to produce the desired result. They argue that this is because appeals take the most effort to process by recipients: “Its underlying presumption is a concept of communication as social exchange or even unilateral donor action on behalf of the recipient” (p. 63). The appeal message attempts to create an effect. The listener has to decide whether to help realize this effect. As a speaker, you also know that such messages may not lead to that desired result, so you may not communicating them so successfully.

To determine whether people would be more receptive to appeal messages when their empathy is aroused, the researchers augmented the socially responsive channels in participants by giving them intranasal doses of oxytocin. One of this hormone’s primary effects is to increase empathy. If their empathy is aroused, participants should be more willing to accommodate an appeal message.

To examine the effect of oxytocin vs. a placebo on the interpretation of appeal messages, 43 male participants (with an average age of 30) completed a four-ear communication questionnaire. The questionnaire contained 16 scenarios for which participants were asked to rank-order the extent to which they represented one of the four types of messages. One scenario involved asking participants to imagine that a friend told them about having a fight with his girlfriend. The participant had to rank which of four interpretations they thought the statement communicated. In this example, the message could contain factual content (“I had a fight with my girlfriend”), self-revelation (“I’m worried about my relationship”), relationship information (“I feel that I can talk to you about my girlfriend”), or appeal (“Please listen to me and give me advice”).

Across the board, participants who were given oxytocin ranked the appeal dimension as highest of the four possible interpretations. This finding fit with the belief of the authors that messages that communicate appeal are the most likely to lead to social bonding. Although it’s true that appeals require more effort on the part of the listener, by communicating your desire for help, you stimulate the recipient to respond in a more prosocial manner. The oxytocin worked because it primed participants to hear the message as a request for help rather than a statement of fact.

We can’t routinely give our friends and family members oxytocin to help them focus on our appeals, but we can still learn from this study: By making clear that an appeal is an appeal, you can open the channels of reciprocity between you and the people with whom you interact. For example, if you want your partner to help out more with those financial balancing acts at home, instead of saying how much time you’ve spent (information), let your partner know that you’d like some help. When you communicate more clearly, you make it more likely that your partner’s appeal “ear” will be tuned in to that channel.

Similarly, when trying to completely understand what others are saying to us, take the extra effort and judge whether you’re receiving an appeal message that’s disguised as one of the other three dimensions. Having more fulfilling social interactions means that we must all try to communicate, and listen, through all four of our ears.

Fulfillment at Any Age        Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.        @swhitbo        Posted Jan 17, 2017    

References

Pfundmair, M., Lamprecht, F., von Wedemeyer, F. M., & Frey, D. (2016). Your word is my command: Oxytocin facilitates the understanding of appeal in verbal communication. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 7363-66. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.07.213

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The Brain Chemicals That Make You Happy (And How To Trigger Them)

by Kaia Roman     February 27, 2016  

When we ask ourselves what makes us happy, we often think of the circumstances, possessions, or people in our lives. In reality, happiness is largely a chemical experience. Four main neurochemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters generated in the brain are fundamentally responsible for creating the sensations and emotions we’ve come to associate with happiness.

This is actually great news. It means even when circumstances, possessions, or people in our lives aren’t exactly as we’d like them to be, there are simple ways we can increase our happy brain chemicals and alter our moods.

I talk about this with my mindfulness students in elementary school, and they really understand the concept. I’ll often have a kid tell me about the rush of dopamine she just got from getting an A+ on her spelling test, or the hit of oxytocin a boy felt from giving his mom a hug.

Here’s how you can do the same.

1. Endorphins

Endorphins are opioid neuropeptides, which means they are produced by the central nervous system to help us deal with physical pain. They also make us feel lightheaded, and even giddy at times. One non-painful (well, not too painful) way to induce endorphins is exercise.

Endorphins are released after both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. In one study, as little as 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill for 10 days in a row was sufficient to produce a significant reduction in depression among clinically depressed subjects.

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2. Serotonin

Serotonin may be the best-known happiness chemical because it’s the one that antidepressant medication primarily addresses. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is naturally triggered by several things we can do each day.

Exposure to bright light, especially sunshine, is one way to increase serotonin. Exercise and happy thoughts also stimulate production of this chemical. Some research has found that a higher intake of tryptophan-heavy foods, relative to other foods in the diet, may do the trick as well.

3. Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter often referred to as the “chemical of reward.” When you score a goal, hit a target, or accomplish a task, you receive a pleasurable hit of dopamine in your brain that tells you you’ve done a good job. But you can also get a natural dose of dopamine when you perform acts of kindness toward others.

Volunteering has been shown to increase dopamine as well as have other long-term health benefits. And some research has even found that it only takes thoughts of loving kindness to bring on the dopamine high.

4. Oxytocin

Mothers may be familiar with oxytocin, the hormone produced in abundance during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s also the high behind MDMA, a popular party drug, which releases oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is primarily associated with loving touch and close relationships.

This hormone provides a multiple whammy of warm fuzzies, by stimulating dopamine and serotonin, while reducing anxiety. To get your hit of oxytocin without popping ecstasy, give someone you love a cuddle. Even a pet will do.

If you’re like me, happiness may at times feel like the unachievable holy grail of emotion. But luckily, our brains and bodies are constantly undergoing complex chemical processes that we can affect with our daily actions. Once we understand how our feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters work, we may be able to trigger them more easily than we realized.


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Why Falling In Love Clouds Our Judgment

By Professor Kimberly Resnick Anderson

The chemicals of a hopeless romantic.

Love is a many-splendored thing. And falling in love is certainly one of life’s most exquisite experiences.

Falling in love makes people feel optimistic, energetic, and euphoric. All good stuff. But it also clouds our judgment, causing us to make impulsive, something risky decisions. So, what’s really happening to our brains when we fall in love?

Many neurochemical changes unfold as soon as we think we’ve met our “soul mate.” It all begins with Dopamine.

Dopamine activates the “reward center” in the brain and is highly associated with pleasure. The awesomeness of chocolate cake or finding the perfect pair of shoes — Dopamine. The thrill of gambling, using cocaine, playing video games, all Dopamine.

Dopamine — The Pleasure Center

All basic drives are associated with increased levels of Dopamine, including sex. Here’s an interesting fact — Dopamine is activated by novelty.

Anything new (a new person, a new place, a new food) increases Dopamine to varying degrees. So, when you meet a new guy or gal that you find attractive and consider to be a potential sex partner (or life partner) your brain gets of nice blast of Dopamine. In fact, when sex gets stale, I recommend that couples do something novel together to spice things back up. That’s why “vacation sex” is typically considered to be more exciting. It’s because you are in a different environment doing adventurous and novel things.

Serotonin, Obsessive Thoughts

Serotonin is another neurochemical that plays an important role when we fall in love. Have you ever met a potential love interest and you can’t stop thinking about them? You can’t sleep or eat because you are so distracted with thoughts of your new beloved.

Have you felt all-consumed, lost focus, daydreamed? We have serotonin to thank for these obsessive, intrusive thoughts. When you’re preoccupied and distracted and you believe it must be “true love,” try to remember that it might be serotonin playing tricks on you! When we are falling in love, the same parts of our brain light up on an MRI as when we are acutely mentally ill.

We really can be “crazy” in love! So, when you are ready to quit your job and move across the country to move in with someone you met online 3 weeks ago, take a time-out and remember that Serotonin may be distorting your typically sound judgment.

happy-chemicals-dopamine-serotonin-endorphin-oxytocin

Norepinephrine — Remembering Every Detail

Another neurochemical being activated when we fall in love is Norepinephrine, which is actually a chemical derived from Dopamine. Norepinephrine increases memory for new stimuli, assisting with euphoric recall.

Have you ever noticed that you can describe every detail of the first night you met your new love interest? The color of her dress, his cologne, the song that was playing when you spotted him, the exact time it was when she walked in the bar? That’s Norepinephrine at work.

This clarity of detail can trick us into thinking that it must be true love. We try to make sense of the intense, powerful feelings. They demand our attention. Sometimes we interpret this intensity as proof of having met our soul mate. I am not saying it isn’t!

I’m just saying we are sometimes overwhelmed by these feelings and this may affect our judgment.

Oxytocin — The Cuddle Chemical

Oxytocin is a key neurochemical involved in falling in love. Oxytocin is known as the “Love hormone,” the “Attachment hormone” and the “Bonding hormone.” It’s activated by all kinds of intimacy, even holding hands or hugging (not just sexual contact).

Try to think back, did a potential love interest inadvertently graze your arm with their hand and it felt like a bolt of electricity? That’s Oxytocin. Oxytocin also activates a sense of calm, satisfaction, and peacefulness. Oxytocin levels increase during breastfeeding.

Any skin to skin contact will activate Oxytocin. You know that “post-coital glow” you experience after sex, that “spring in your step?” That’s Oxytocin. In fact, after an orgasm, Oxytocin levels jump to 5X normal circulating levels and remain elevated for up to 24 hours! Not bad!

Adrenaline — Fight or Flight

Adrenaline is another neurochemical that is activated when we meet someone new that might be “the one.” Have you ever found yourself with a racing heart and sweaty palms when your crush approaches? Has your mouth gone dry when you attempt to speak?

That is Adrenaline flowing through your body. When activated, it can trigger a “fight or flight” response and increase blood levels of Cortisol (a stress hormone). This typically only happens when we are approached by (or near) someone we find attractive or perceive as potential partner (either “long-term”, i.e. forever or “short-term”, i.e. a one-night stand).

So, it’s easy to understand, given all of these physiologic changes, why we convince ourselves that our new partner is perfect for us. We are under the influence of neurochemicals! We are unable to see any of the clay beneath the marble statue.

We have neuochemical blinders on. This exciting, initial stage of love actually has a name. It is called Limerence. It’s defined as the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings.

Keep in mind that the euphoria associated with falling in love starts to fade within 6-12 months; and by 18-24 months, the transcendental experience is virtually gone. This is not to say that we stop loving or valuing our partner, we’re just no longer under the gripping hold of neurochemicals like we were in the blissful beginning. Aahhh, the good ol’ days.


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8 Ways Science Reveals That Hugging Creates a Physiological Response Equivalent To Drugs

JANUARY 22, 2015 by JOSH RICHARDSON

Hugs make you feel good for a reason and it’s not just the loving embrace that gives us that warm feeling in our hearts. It’s much more. It affects the entire body to such an extent that many scientists claim it is equivalent to the effect of many different drugs operating on the body simultaneously. Even seemingly trivial instances of interpersonal touch can help people deal with their emotions with clarity and more effectively.

1. REDUCE WORRY OF MORTALITY

In a study on fears and self-esteem, research published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that hugs and touch significantly reduce worry of mortality. The studies found that hugging – even if it was just an inanimate object like a teddy bear – helps soothe individuals’ existential fears. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance,” lead researcher Sander Koole wrote in the study.

2. STIMULATES OXYTOCIN

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilizing effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate. The chemical has also been linked to social bonding. “Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding,” DePauw University psychologist Matt Hertenstein told NPR. “It really lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people.” When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

3. LOWERS HEART RATE

Embracing someone may warm your heart, but according to one study a hug can be good medicine for it too: In an experiment at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , participants who didn’t have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to the five beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment.

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4. STIMULATES DOPAMINE

Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Many drugs of abuse act through this system. Problems with the system can lead to serious depression and other mental illness. Low dopamine levels also play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine and hugs are said to adjust those levels. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. MRI and PET scans reveal that when you hugs people or listen to music that excites you, your brain releases dopamine and even in anticipation of those moments. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.

5. STIMULATES SEROTONIN

Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. Loneliness and depression appears when serotonin is absent. It’s perhaps one reason why people fall into gang and criminal activity — the culture brings experiences that facilitate serotonin release. Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

6. WELL-HUGGED BABIES ARE LESS STRESSED AS ADULTS

Want to do something for future generations? Hug them when they’re still little. An Emory University study in rats found a link between touch and relieving stress, particularly in the early stages of life. The research concluded that the same can be said of humans, citing that babies’ development — including how they cope with stress as adults – depends on a combination of nature and nurture.

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7. PARASYMPATHETIC BALANCE

Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centres called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.

8. ENHANCE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Research shows that the hug hormones above are immuno-regulatory. All of this has an even deeper meaning on the way our systems work with each other, including our immune system. his also parallels with the way that hugs promote the relaxation response — they help to change the way your body handles both physical and social stresses, thus boosting your immune system naturally, to do the job it was designed to do!

Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.

Sources:   tinyshift.com    dopamineproject.org   brainhq.com    huffingtonpost.com    npr.org    dailymail.co.uk   nih.gov


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10 Reasons Why Oxytocin Is The Most Amazing Molecule In The World

George Dvorsky

Though often referred to as the “trust hormone” oxytocin is increasingly being seen as a brain chemical that does a lot more than just bring couples closer together.

New research is suggesting that oxytocin plays a crucial part in enabling us to not just forge and strengthen our social relations, but in helping us to stave off a number of psychological and physiological problems as well. But more conceptually, oxytocin is proving to be a crucial ingredient to what makes us human. Here are ten reasons why oxytocin is simply the most incredible molecule on the planet:

1. It’s easy to get

One of the neat things about oxytocin is that you can get your fix anywhere and at any time. All you need to do is simply hug someone or shake their hand. The simple act of bodily contact will cause your brain to release low levels of oxytocin — both in yourself and in the person you’re touching. It’s a near-instantaneous way to establish trust. And the good news is that the effect lingers afterward. There’s even evidence that simply gazing at someone will do the trick — or even just thinking about them. And you shouldn’t feel limited by the human species; it also helps to hug and play with your pets. And for those who can’t produce enough oxytocin on their own, or who feel they could use a boost, the molecule can be easily synthesized and administered as a drug.

2. A love potion that’s built right in

Often referred to as the “love molecule”, oxytocin is typically associated with helping couples establish a greater sense of intimacy and attachment. Oxytocin, along with dopamine and norepinephrine, are believed to be highly critical in human pair-bonding. But not only that, it also increases the desire for couples to gaze at one another, it creates sexual arousal, and it helps males maintain their erections. When you’re sexually aroused or excited, oxytocin levels increase in your brain significantly — a primary factor for bringing about an orgasm. And during the orgasm itself, the brain is flooded with oxytocin — a possible explanation for why (some) couples like to cuddle after.

3. It helps mom to be mom

But oxytocin isn’t just limited to helping couples come together — it’s an indispensable part of childbirth and mother-child bonding. Oxytocin helps women get through labour by stimulating uterine contractions, which is why it’s sometimes administered (as Pitocin) during labor. It’s been known to promote delivery and speed up contractions. After birth, mothers can establish intimacy and trust with their baby through gentle touches and even a loving gaze. In addition, mothers can pass on oxytocin to their babies through breast milk. And it’s worth noting that fathers can reap the benefits of oxytocin as well; new dads who are given a whiff of oxytocin nasal spray are more likely to encourage their children to explore during playtime and are less likely to be hostile.

4. Reduces social fears

Given its ability to break-down social barriers, induce feelings of optimism, increase self-esteem, and build trust, oxytocin is increasingly being seen as something that can help people overcome their social inhibitions and fears. Studies are showing that it may be effective in treating debilitating shyness, or to help people with social anxieties and mood disorders. It’s also thought that oxytocin could help people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. In addition, given that autism is essentially a social communication disorder, it’s being considered as a way of helping people on the spectrum as well. And lastly, oxytocin, through its trust-building actions, can help heal the wounds of a damaged relationship — another example of how the mind gets its plasticity.

5. Healing and pain relief

Amazingly, oxytocin can also be used to heal wounds (through its anti-inflammatory properties). Studies have also shown that a rise in oxytocin levels can relieve pain — everything from headaches, cramps and overall body aches. Now, that being said, the trick is to get some oxytocin action while you’re in pain — which is not so easy. This is where synthetics can certainly help. Alternately, if you find yourself in physical discomfort, you could always ask your partner for a roll in the hay. So guys, be sure to use this crucial information the next time your significant other declines your advances and tells you she has a headache.

6. A diet aid

Perhaps surprisingly, it can also be used to prevent obesity in some instances. Researchers have observed that oxytocin and oxytocin receptor-deficient mice become obese later in life — and with normal food intake. Scientists believe that the hormone might be responsible for a series of beneficial metabolic effects, both in mice and humans. Moreover, by giving oxytocin-deficient obese mice oxytocin infusions, their weight returned back to normal levels. The mice also showed a reduced glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. This clearly suggests an alternative option for those struggling to keep the weight off.

7. An antidepressant

Oxytocin was first observed to have a connection to depression through its effects on mothers suffering from postpartum syndrome. Researchers found that some new mothers were dealing with depression on account of low levels of oxytocin. In fact, they were able to predict postpartum during the pregnancy if the expectant mother had low levels of oxytocin. Recent studies of blood levels and genetic factors in depressed patients have revealed the potential for treating people with clinical depression, and even anxiety disorders.

8. Stress relief

Not surprisingly, given its ability to alleviate social anxiety and produce feelings of trust, oxytocin has the peripheral ability to reduce stress — which is no small thing when you consider the toll that stress takes on the body. Oxytocin has been observed to reduce cortisol in the body and lower blood pressure. It’s also been known to improve digestion, which is often disturbed by high stress levels. Interestingly, oxytocin and the oxytocin receptors have been found in the intestinal tract; it improves gut motility and decreases intestinal inflammation.

9. Increases generosity

In what could be seen as either a good or bad thing, oxytocin has been observed to increase generosity in humans. Evolutionary biologists, particularly those who subscribe to the selfish gene theory, have long struggled to understand why people sometimes share or give away things — often at a personal cost. But several lines of research have connected oxytocin to feelings of empathy. In one study that required persons to share money with a stranger, infusions of oxytocin were shown to make some subjects as much as 80% (wow!) more generous than those on a placebo.

10. It’s what makes us human

In other words, all the above. It’s clear that we really wouldn’t be human without it — we would simply lack the ability to be the social, caring species that we are. Now, it should be noted, however, that, while oxytocin increases in-group trust, it produces the opposite feeling for those in the out-group — so it’s not the “perfect drug” some might proclaim it to be. That being said, oxytocin plays a crucial role in forging our ability to spark and maintain relationships, while endowing us with the ability to empathize, trust, and even love one another. Without it, we would be something significantly less than what we are.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and hug someone!

source: io9.com


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11 Reasons You Should Be Having More Orgasms

The Huffington Post    By Renee Jacques    Posted: 11/05/2013 

Clearly, we don’t need to convince you to have sex. It’s hard-wired into our brains to propagate the species. And anyway, it feels pretty awesome. But here’s more good news: Having an orgasm could help improve your health.

One of the main reasons orgasm feels so good is because your brain releases the pleasure hormone oxytocin when you climax. Oxytocin is also called the “love hormone” because of its important role in facilitating social bonding between humans. Most of the following points revolve around the release of oxytocin. Read on to discover eleven ways achieving an orgasm can make your life so much better…

1. Orgasms relieve stress.

In sexologist Beverly Whipple’s book, “The Orgasms Answer Guide,” she cites a study done by Carol Rinkleib Ellison in 2000, in which Ellison interviewed 2,632 women between the ages of 23 and 90 and found that 39 percent of those who masturbate reported that they do it in order to relax. Whipple says this is all because of oxytocin. When someone orgasms, she explains in her book, “the hormone oxytocin is released from nerve cells in the hypothalamus (a region of the brain) into the bloodstream.”

“Orgasm relives tension as oxytocin stimulates feelings of warmth and relaxation,” Ellison herself wrote in an informational report compiled by Planned Parenthood.

Additionally, research gathered in a study by scientists at Groningen University in the Netherlands found that when women experience an orgasm, the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear and anxiety, shows little to no activity.

2. An orgasm could make your significant other less likely to cheat.

Researchers in Germany decided to conduct an experiment in 2012 testing the power of oxytocin. They believed that high doses of the “love hormone” would cause men to consider going outside of their relationships, so they gave oxycotin to a group of (heterosexual) men and introduced them to a very attractive woman. The subjects were asked to determine when the attractive woman was at an “ideal distance” or an “uncomfortable distance.”

Those who took oxycotin and were in monogamous relationships ended up distancing themselves about four to six inches farther than those who took oxytocin and were single. The researchers hypothesized that instead of oxytocin causing coupled men to cheat, it instead compelled them to hold on tighter to the bond they have already formed with their girlfriends.

3. The female orgasm could make men focus better.

There is so much power in the orgasm that an organization in San Francisco, called One Taste, is devoted to the practice of “orgasmic meditation,” in which two partners focus on achieving the female orgasm. Recently, actress and former Playmate, Karen Lorre, revealed to HuffPost Live that she has 11 orgasms a day due to One Taste’s new meditation practices. Even men have claimed that they receive health benefits by just pleasuring a woman. In a New York Times article on One Taste, a man confessed that “fixing his attention on a tiny spot of a woman’s body improves his concentration at work.”

4. Orgasms could help with insomnia.

Would you rather take a sleeping pill or have a mind-blowing orgasm to help you catch some Zzs? We think we know the answer. In her book, Whipple cites another study done by Ellison in which she reported that 32 percent of 1,866 U.S. women said they masturbate in order to facilitate falling asleep.

Why? No one knows for sure, though some researchers and sex therapists theorize that the release of other neurochemicals, like endorphins, can have a sedative effect, reported Self.

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5. A man’s orgasm could (maybe) make a woman less depressed.

A controversial study of college students in relationships at the State University of New York in Albany showed that women who had sex without condoms had fewer signs of depression than women who used condoms or refrained from sex, even when researchers controlled for relationship status and other personal factors.

What does this mean? Semen, resulting from the male orgasm, could be an effective antidepressant for women. That said, unprotected sex is NOT something we’d recommend — after all, an STD or unplanned pregnancy can surely also contribute to depression, along with other medical and social risks.

The lead psychologist of the study, Gordon Gallup, told New Scientist that he believes the reason semen has the potential to lift a woman’s mood is because of the several mood-altering hormones found in it. Gallup said that most of these hormones were found in the women’s blood shortly after ejaculation.

6. Orgasms help alleviate pain.

“There is some evidence that orgasms can relieve all kinds of pain — including pain from arthritis, pain after surgery and even pain during childbirth,” Lisa Stern, a nurse practitioner who works with Planned Parenthood, told Woman’s Day. That’s thanks to pain-relieving oxytocin and endorphins, reported MSNBC contributor Brian Alexander. Alexander cited research from Beverly Whipple, who found that women’s pain tolerance and pain detection increased by 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively, when those women masturbated to orgasm.

7. They could help men get over their colds faster.

A study at a German university studied 11 men who were asked to masturbate until completion. Blood was drawn continuously throughout the process, and it was discovered that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of “killer” cells called leukocytes. This means that when men are sick, an orgasm could initiate components of their immune system that could help them get over that bug sooner.

8. Steady orgasms could help you live longer.

In 1997, a group of researchers in Wales decided to look into the relationship between orgasms and mortality. They studied the sexual frequency of 918 men between the ages of 45 and 59. They evaluated those who died from coronary heart disease and discovered that those who had two or more orgasms a week died at a rate half of those who had orgasms less than once a month. The researchers concluded that “sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men’s health.”

While women’s orgasms have not been studied as extensively, Howard S. Friedman, PhD, and author of “The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life,” decided to look into research conducted on couples. He cited a marital satisfaction study conducted by Stanford psychologist Lewis Terman in 1941, looking at the sex lives of 1,500 Californian couples. Terman recorded the frequency of orgasms these women had. Twenty years later, Friedman and his colleagues studied the death certificates of each of the women in Terman’s study. What they discovered was that the women who reported a frequency of orgasm during intercourse tended to live longer than those who reported being less sexually fulfilled.

9. Orgasms will also stimulate your brain.

Orgasms sure get your blood flowing, and that doesn’t exclude blood flow to your brain. In August, Rutgers researchers Barry Komisaruk and Nan Wise, asked female subjects to masturbate while lying in a MRI machine that measured blood flow to the brain. When the females orgasmed, it increased blood flow to all parts of the brain while allowing nutrients and oxygenation to travel to their noggins as well.

10. Orgasms could keep you looking young.

Forget Botox, just have an orgasm. Dr. David Weeks, a British consultant clinical psychologist and former head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, spent 10 years quizzing thousands of men and women of differing ages about their sex lives. He discovered that those between the ages of 40 and 50 who reported having sex 50 percent more than other respondents looked younger. While this study does not explicitly state the specifics as to why orgasms could make you look younger, Weeks says this could be because intercourse releases the human growth hormone, which makes skin look more elastic.

11. They just get better as you age.

There’s no reason to stop having sex when you get older. In fact, you are more likely to enjoy it even more as you enter old age. A study in The American Journal of Medicine found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age. Researchers from the University of California studied 806 women living in a planned community home. The study measured the sexual activity of these women who had a median age of 67 and were all postmenopausal. The findings reported that sexually satisfaction actually increased with age, with approximately half of the women over 80 years old reporting sexual satisfaction almost always or always. So, never stop having orgasms!