During sexual activity, powerful hormones are released in the brains of men and women that produce lasting bonds with their partner. The most inf luential bonding neurohormones are oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin is a bonding hormone released during childbirth and nursing that causes the mother to bond with her infant. It is also released during sexual activity and acts as emotional super glue between partners.1 Both men and women have oxytocin and release it during sexual activity, but women are more affected by oxytocin and men by vasopressin, another bonding hormone released during sexual activity. Vasopressin helps a man bond to his partner and instills a protective instinct toward his partner and children.2,3
This bonding effect of sex, due to the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, can be compared to duct-taping a couple’s arms together. Imagine ripping off the tape and using the same piece of duct tape to wrap the girl’s arm to a new guy’s arm. After switching partners a few times, particles of skin and hair left on the tape reduces its stickiness. The same is true of sex. Research suggests the ability to bond and produce oxytocin is damaged by stress hormones released during break-up. Just like debris on duct tape, previous sexual experiences reduce the ability to bond correctly. Oxytocin levels can return to normal if sexual activity is stopped and time is given to address physical and emotional healing.4 That is why it is benef icial to refrain from getting into a new relationship for a year or two and commit to save sex for marriage.
Conversely, imagine the duct tape was never removed. The duct tape would begin to feel like a part of the arm and the adhesion would be strong.5 When a couple waits until marriage to have sex, and remains faithful to each other during marriage, oxytocin and vasopressin increase the biological bond between the husband and wife.
1Brizendine, Louann, M.D. The Female Brain New York: Broadway, 2006, 37. | 2Leckman, J.F., Mayes, L.C. “Preoccupations and Behaviors Associated with Romantic and Parental Love: Perspectives on the Origin of Obsessive –Compulsive Behavior,” Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 8, no.3 (1999): 635-65. | 3 ibid. | 4 Keroack, Eric, M.D. “Oxytocin: Is This Nano-Peptide a Chemical Type of Human Super Glue?” 2006. | 5 Ibid.