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Does Oxytocin (or any other bonding hormone) increase more so for women than for men after sex?

Someone told me that it increases 4-fold for men and 12-fold for women (unconfirmed).

Is there any observable or scientific relationship between sex, Oxytocin and the desire for a monogamous relationship with a sexual partner?

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3 Answers 3

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Like with the rat monogamous pair bond study a similar experiment was done with monogamous Prarie voles where they found similar results. Women naturally Have more neurological receptors in their brains for oxytocin. The rise in oxytocin comes from blood level measurements so when people say oxytocin rises through orgasm they mean it rises in the blood stream. So oxytocin the neurotransmitter or hormone? When Looking at oxytocin in the brain we only see it under an MRI scan highlighted in a certain area. As far as men men's bodies excrete record high levels of a hormone called Vasopressin which they call the (monogamy) hormone during orgasm and after sex. Testosterone mutes oxytocin in the bloodstream but testosterone increases vasopressin meaning for a man vasopressin is like Oxytocin. Estrogen increases oxytocin but progesterone mutes it. To answer your question women are not wired to bond to something that doesn't have biological capability to bond with her back. The mass media is trying to make it seem that way. Humans and many other mammals release bonding hormones during sex and mating. Oxytocin and Vasopressin are key and both men and women release them.

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Welcome to Bio.SE. Could you perhaps add some references to support your answer and to allow interested people to do some further reading? –  AliceD Mar 13 at 4:08

Does Oxytocin increase more so for women than for men after sex?

Answer: Yes, Oxytocin level shoot up for female after sexual. It is highest at orgasm, which is the main cause women could have multiple orgasm.

Someone told me that it increases 4-fold for men and 12-fold for women (unconfirmed).

Answer: The level of oxytocin actually increase 5 times during sexual intercourse. Though some online article claim the male and female level as much you said, but it is not confirmed in humans.

Is there any observable or scientific relationship between sex, Oxytocin and the desire for a monogomous relationship with a sexual partner?

Answer:

Take a look at this experiment done on people to test Bonding:

Bonding is an important part of human romantic relationships, and research has suggested OT as a possible mediator of this effect. A 2005 study by $Grewen\ et\ al^{4}$. found that couples who reported a greater amount of partner support showed higher baseline OT plasma levels. These couples also showed higher levels at 4, 7, and 10 min following warm partner contact. For women, OT levels increased sharply 7 min following warm partner contact, regardless of partner support, while male levels remained unchanged. This study demonstrates a relationship between supportive romantic bonding and OT, and shows that warm contact has a greater physiological effect on women than on men.[1]

A very famous study done on rats confirm that Vassopressin and Oxytocin is actually the reason behind monogamous relationship.

Almost a decade ago, Thomas Insel, Director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Emory University, and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of Maryland implicated vasopressin and oxytocin in controlling the preference for particular partners in both male and female prairie voles. These investigators found that giving a male vasopressin causes it to stay with its mate, whereas blocking this hormone prevents a pair-bond from forming. The scientists saw similar effects in female prairie voles, with oxytocin determining the extent of pair-bonding. In contrast, the administration of these substances had no influence on social interactions in the promiscuous montane voles. Surprisingly, vasopressin and oxytocin are naturally found at similar levels in both prairie and montane voles.[5]

Source:

[1]. The role of oxytocin in mating and pregnancy

[2]. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Relationships/Hormones#Oxytocin

[3]. The role of oxytocin in relation to female sexual arousal.

[4] Grewen, K.M., Girdler, S.S., Amico, J., Light, K.C., 2005. [Effects of partner support on resting oxytocin, cortisol, norepinephrine, and blood pressure before and after warm partner contact](Effects of partner support on resting oxytocin, cortisol, norepinephrine, and blood pressure before and after warm partner contact.). Psychosom. Med. 67, 531–538.

[5] http://www.smart-publications.com/articles/oxytocin-the-real-love-hormone

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It is still unclear from your answer if any science supports that the human woman experiences more than the man, or is just neurologically 'wired' to respond to sex differently (see @caseyr547 answer). The first link provided was fascinating; however, the claims were not documented and the article was selling Oxytocin as a supplement. Could you clarify or support your statement "The level of oxytocin actually increase 5 times during sexual intercourse." -- is this 5 times more for the woman than the man, or just 5 times more in general over baseline for both sexes? –  NETANEL Jul 29 '14 at 15:43

I want to clear up something the other answer omit. It doesn't matter how much the comparative differences are between the oxy levels of men and women. This is because we are basically two entirely different subspecies concerning our neurology. The effects of biochemistry on each system are going to be significantly different.

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