Most of my life I’ve struggled with intense mood and interest drops I’d get following orgasm. We all know the over-used stereotype of the man who orgasms then immediately roles over and falls asleep. (which there are some biochemical explanations for). My experience is more dramatic. It’s not that I get sleepy so much as I lose temporary interest in most things, including Lady Pagan and submission.
It’s the last two items that are by far the most concerning to me. I’ve always seen my submission as a non-sexual aspect of my personality. The need to look to and get re-enforcement from a strong leadership figure has always been present in my life, and I’ve had both men and women fill that role. My submissiveness does include the bedroom, a relatively new event for me, but I consider that an extension, not the definition of my submission. The idea that orgasm could switch that off, even temporarily, was very confusing.
And my love for Lady Pagan is very multi-dimensional, covering the whole range of definitions in addition to sexual love. Why then should an orgasm have such a dramatic impact? What gives? In trying to find answers, I turned to that faithful research assistant Goggle. I’m not a biochemist, but I’ll try and get it right.
It turns out there are strong biochemical changes that help explanation why many men experience this ‘hangover’. During orgasm and immediately afterward, that are several significant events that occur:
- Dopamine production peaks – This is the ‘get high/feel good’ neurotransmitter that is responsible for most addictions. (in fact, the effects of heroin and orgasm on this aspect of brain chemistry are remarkably similar)
- Dopamine production then plummets – What goes up must come down. Dopamine is also responsible for the sense of connection and bonding we feel with others, especially our partner. Recovery to normal levels can take up to 2 weeks.
- Prolactin production spikes – Creating a tired, fatigued feeling.
- Oxytocin production peaks, then plummets – Oxytocin also contributes to partner bonding. (which probably also leads to a lot of the “I’ll love you forever!!” moans during sex).
- Neurotransmitters require receptors – Which can actually decrease in quantity/efficiency with each peak. In essence you need more to get the same ‘high’.
So, what do I make of this?
I’m more than a collection of neurotransmitters, and my love for Lady Pagan is deep, complex, and not really vulnerable to temporary changes in mood. At the same time, the feelings I have post orgasm are real, have logical explanations, and should be accepted by me as temporary consequences of a wonderful experience.
Things that help boost Oxytocin levels, such as prolonged cuddling, touching, and love-making without orgasm all reduce the ‘drop’ when orgasm occurs, and/or aid in the recovery period. The more of that you incorporate, the better.
For me, doing something deeply submissive immediately after orgasm also has a restorative effect on my mindset. Lady Pagan’s especially creative in this area.
Orgasm control and delay for men seems to have some basis in biochemistry. We already practice orgasm control, but it’s been sporadic, and this is new information Lady Pagan might wish to take into account.
We’ve been working hard on de-emphasizing the importance of orgasms in our play, and this adds more justification.
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