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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sex on Sunday: Premarital Relationships and Emotional Bonding

By Garry Knight from Bromley, Kent, England (In Love)
[CC-BY-SA-2.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons
Did you know?

According to Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., and Freda Mckissic Bush, M.D., authors of Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children, powerful neurochemicals triggered by sex are at work in the process of emotional bonding. The release of oxytocin (for women), and vasopressin (for men), is stimulated by close physical contact and results in durable emotional ties. What's more, these chemicals don't care if the contact occurs within the context of a relationship that the participant considers valuable or long term.

Oxytocin in the neurochemical that is released during breastfeeding, and bonds a woman to her baby. That same chemical is released in women during intimate physical contact, especially sexual intercourse. The connection created tends to be long term, and to result in significant emotional pain when broken. Strikingly, oxytocin doesn't stop at emotional bonding; when a woman engages in sexual activity with a man, oxytocin also causes to have feelings of trust in him.  Again, oxytocin doesn't care if this bonding or trust is wise; it just creates it.

Francesco Hayez 008
Francesco Hayez [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Nature's system does not let men out of this double edged sword. Intimate physical contact causes the release of the neurochemical vasopressin in men. Vasopressin has remarkable structural similarity to oxytocin, and creates powerful emotional bonding of a man to his mate and their children.

These bonds are a masterful plan for creating and sustaining long term monogamous marital and parenting bonds. Simple physical contact can take part in the process of bonding of mother and father to one another, and each to their children, for a lifetime.

Those same bonds are disaster for single youth and adults who are engaging in intimate behavior, even short of sexual intercourse, with a string of partners. Not only can they cause a person to remain in a relationship that is unhealthy or potentially harmful, but they can create a series of "partial bonds" with multiple people as an individual moves from one temporary relationship to another. Further, the authors cite scientific evidence which suggests that a pattern of "hooking up" and breaking up with a string of partners may interfere with the development of brain circuits necessary for long term monogamous relationships.

The creator had a plan and produced an excellent design.  It seems best for us if we follow it.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. ~Mark 10: 7-8


For interested parents and others, Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children is a treasure trove of information regarding recent breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience, and how they can be applied to help singles and youth avoid life-changing mistakes.

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