Does Sex Release Dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating pleasure, motivation, and reward in the brain.

Studies show that dopamine is released during sex and orgasm.

As a result, sex not only feels great, but can also motivate you into action, promote weight loss, trigger feelings of euphoria, give you energy, and boost metabolism even after you’re done doing it.

Does Sexual Intercourse Release Dopamine Image of Woman on Man's Lap

THE SCIENCE OF SEX & DOPAMINE

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, plays a significant role in sexual desire, pleasure, and orgasm.

Studies have shown that dopamine levels increase during sexual activity and orgasm, leading to the enhancement of pleasure and motivation in both sexes.

Drugs that increase dopamine levels in the limbic system, such as amphetamines and L-DOPA, have also been found to increase sexual activity, libido, and orgasm.

Furthermore, Parkinson’s medication L-DOPA has been found to produce erection and improve sexual activity and orgasm in humans.

The release of dopamine during sex, contributes to the pleasurable and motivating effects of sexual activity.

Sex Increases Dopamine & Dopamine Increases Sex

Research shows that dopamine is involved in sexual motivation, desire, pleasure, and orgasm. Dopamine’s role in regulating pleasure, motivation, and reward in the brain, especially during sexual activity and orgasm, has earned it the nickname the “pleasure and reward neurotransmitter” in the limbic system.

The release of dopamine during sexual activity and orgasm increases sexual motivation, desire, and pleasure in both sexes. Research also suggests that dopamine enhances female orgasms and facilitates ejaculation in males (Sayin & Schennck, 2019).

Animal studies have shown that certain brain structures regulate sexual activity through dopaminergic transmission. For example, in one study, the dopamine agonist drug, apomorphine increased the number of ejaculations and the ratio of rats that copulated, when infused into the medial preoptic area of the rat forebrain.

In contrast, the dopamine receptor antagonist, haloperidol, produced the opposite effect when infused into the medial preoptic area, decreasing the number of ejaculations.

Studies like these highlight the enhancing role of dopamine in motivation, desire, pleasure, and orgasm.

Dopaminergic drugs like L-DOPA, which are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, can cause hyper-sexuality, as well as other impulse control disorders like pathological gambling, compulsive eating, and compulsive shopping.

Additionally, some antipsychotic medications that block D1 receptors can decrease motivation, pleasure, and sexual activity.

Studies have shown that dopamine is released during sexual activity and orgasm, which increases sexual motivation, desire, and pleasure in both sexes and can enhance female orgasms and facilitate ejaculation in males.

While dopamine has positive effects on sexual activity and orgasm, it’s important to note that not all effects of dopamine are positive and certain medications can cause negative consequences.

 

Increased levels of dopamine are associated with increased sexual activity, libido, and pleasure. Dopamine is released during sexual activity, particularly during intense pleasure and orgasm.

The release of dopamine is thought to be mediated by dopaminergic pathways that originate from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the brain.

Dopaminergic pathways are known to play a role in the occurrence of pleasure, reward perception, sexual hedonism, and orgasm in both animals and humans.

Drugs that increase dopamine levels in the limbic system, such as amphetamines and L-DOPA, have been found to increase sexual activity, libido, and pleasure, as well as enhance orgasms.

However, it is important to note that excessive dopamine levels can also have negative consequences, such as hypersexuality, impulse control disorders, and other side effects associated with dopamine agonist therapy.

Overall, dopamine plays a complex role in the experience of sexual pleasure and orgasm, and further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action.

Benefits of Increased Dopamine

The release of dopamine in the brain is associated with several health benefits including improved mood and motivation, increased focus and attention, better motor control, regulated appetite, improved sexual function, and improved ability to lose weight

Sources

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Exton NG, Truong TC, Exton MS, Wingenfeld SA, Leygraf N, Saller B, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. Neuroendocrine response to film-induced sexual arousal in men and women. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 25:187–99. [PubMed] []

Heiman JR, Rowland DL, Hatch JP, Gladue BA. Psychophysiological and endocrine responses to sexual arousal in women. Arch Sex Behav. 1991;20:171–86. [PubMed] []

Heiman JR, Rowland DL. Affective and physiological sexual response patterns: The effects of instructions on sexually functional and dysfunctional men. J Psychosom Res. 1983;27:105–16. [PubMed] []

Dabbs Jr, J. M., & Mohammed, S. (1992). Male and female salivary testosterone concentrations before and after sexual activity. Physiology & behavior, 52(1), 195-197.

Exton, M. S., Krüger, T. H., Koch, M., Paulson, E., Knapp, W., Hartmann, U., & Schedlowski, M. (2001). Coitus-induced orgasm stimulates prolactin secretion in healthy subjects. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 26(3), 287-294.

Folgueira, C., Beiroa, D., Porteiro, B., Duquenne, M., Puighermanal, E., Fondevila, M. F., … & Nogueiras, R. (2019). Hypothalamic dopamine signalling regulates brown fat thermogenesis. Nature metabolism, 1(8), 811-829.

Krüger, T. H., Haake, P., Hartmann, U., Schedlowski, M., & Exton, M. S. (2002). Orgasm-induced prolactin secretion: feedback control of sexual drive? Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 26(1), 31-44.

Laaksonen, D. E., Niskanen, L., Punnonen, K., Nyyssönen, K., Tuomainen, T. P., Valkonen, V. P., … & Salonen, J. T. (2004). Testosterone and sex hormone–binding globulin predict the metabolic syndrome and diabetes in middle-aged men. Diabetes care, 27(5), 1036-1041.

Sayin, H. Ü., & Schenck, C. H. (2019). Neuroanatomy and neurochemistry of sexual desire, pleasure, love and orgasm. SexuS Journal, 4(11), 907-946.

Simonds, S. E., & Cowley, M. A. (2019). Speed-dieting: dopamine agonists promote weight loss. Nature Metabolism, 1(9), 851-852.

Stoléru, S. G., Ennaji, A., Cournot, A., & Spira, A. (1993). LH pulsatile secretion and testosterone blood levels are influenced by sexual arousal in human males. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 18(3), 205-218.

Tsitouras, P. D., Martin, C. E., & Harman, S. M. (1982). Relationship of serum testosterone to sexual activity in healthy elderly men. Journal of Gerontology,37(3), 288-293.

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