The Case Against Orgasm?!! What?!!

Yes, even orgasm is not without peril!  So as it is turning out the notion that orgasm is safe and healthy may be a little less black and white and more in a grey area.  (like so much of sexuality!)  I am reading the book "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow" by Marnia Robinson.  It is convincing me that everything we are being told about sexuality is much different than reality.  Much of the argument is steeped in neurobiology that goes a little something like this:
Guy likes girl, girl likes guy.  Guy gets surge in dopamine and testosterone due to prospect of mating with novel mate.  Girl gets surge in dopamine and estrogen at guy's pursuit of her.  The bigger the pursuit, the bigger the dopamine build.  Tension heightens, they have vigorous sex with orgasms and ejaculation.  Guy's prolactin surges and he falls blissfully asleep.  Girl's testosterone surges, she would like more.  She cajoles him into more, he obliges.  Both experience drastic falls in dopamine 12 to 36 hours post sex.  Both become cranky, anxious, jittery.... basically they are going through withdrawal like any other addiction.  He becomes an insensitive asshole, she becomes a nagging bitch... Two weeks later dopamine receptors recover, they exhibit loving behaviors and do it all over again.  Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, real life is not as simple as this short synopsis of the book.  It is well referenced and makes a great case as to all the reasons our brains get hijacked when we begin having sex with someone.  Hence all the talking about it with girlfriends and siblings ala Sex in the City.  We need someone with their rational brain still functioning to give us feed back!  (yet we frequently ignore them until we hit rock bottom!)   According to one fMRI based study the male brain ejaculating looks no different than a heroin addict getting a hit. (apparently the study subjects had to hold their head very still and not move while their partner serviced them inside the MRI machine!  Lots of practice before attempting the imaging!)

Fortunately, the authors have some recommendations to avoid the roller coaster's dramatic ups and downs.  The technique they recommend is called Karreza (What?).  It is basically a sexual technique that involves slow lovemaking, caresses, cuddling, and avoidance of orgasm by both sexes.  This prevents the massive release of dopamine that eventually drives couples apart and in search of other mates.  In other words by not seeking satiation it is easier to stay together and avoid our neurobiological programing to spread our genes far and wide.

This concept is not really new and interspersed in the book are vignettes from other traditions such as taoism and tantra which also advocate for avoidance of orgasm except for when conception is desired.  Many comment that they feel even greater satisfaction with their relationships as it promotes bonding behaviors that stimulate oxytocin release rather than dopaminergic highs.

Pretty interesting huh?  Here is a link to the website for those interested.  The book so far is excellent, stay tuned for more insights.  I am learning alot!