By: Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers and Taylor Ulrey
Collaboration and Reference: www.thebabbleout.com/health/oxytocin
Several months ago, a friend of mine told me she had begun having terrible menstrual cramps. I suggested that the next time she was on her menstrual cycle, she try masturbating to orgasm one of the days her cramps were bad. I explained that orgasm releases a brain chemical called oxytocin, which among other things, is a natural painkiller. I described a bit about the miracle of this chemical and all the ways it adds joy to our lives … how this was just another very cool attribute. A few months later she called to tell me a funny story. Her husband walked in on her that morning while she was masturbating. Apparently, that led to a curious conversation between the two of them. He was a bit confused at first. She said my advice worked and the orgasm was great too!
Today’s post is dedicated to this fascinating hormone, Oxytocin,
which is housed in our brain’s hypothalamus. This hormone is one of the important reasons why we all need to make loving touch a significant part of our everyday life. We could all use more hugging, kissing, holding, gazing, and giving and receiving love from those we care about. This concept of loving touch is just as important as a healthy diet and good night’s sleep.
So, what about oxytocin is so fascinating?
First, even though oxytocin is usually associated with women and infants, it is actually present in both sexes. Oxytocin has psychological, physiological, and even emotional effects on humans. And oxytocin doesn’t act alone, it is usually accompanied by it’s two best friends… Dopamine and Serotonin. In fact, oxytocin has the same effects as antidepressant medications in animals!
For women, this neuropeptide stimulates muscles in the uterus to contract during labor, causes milk to come in postpartum, and is responsible for bonding between mother and baby. For men, oxytocin affects the movement of sperm and the production of testosterone. For both sexes, the hormone may affect the arousal cycle, increase feelings of trust, potentially may help reduce stress, may act as a diet aid, and may increase the risk of addiction if our oxytocin systems are not nurtured well enough from birth to three. During the first six months or so of a romantic relationship, oxytocin is at peak levels. This aids in the “falling in love” of the couple.
Emotionally, oxytocin can help decrease feelings of fear and anxiety, and facilitate trust and attachment between individuals,
which is why it is beneficial for couples to engage in acts of intimacy that encourage oxytocin release, like cuddling, hugging, giving and receiving massages, sleeping naked, and sharing orgasms. In fact, when one is sexually aroused, the levels of oxytocin in their brain skyrockets. It also reduces stress by reducing the stress hormone, cortisol. By doing this, the hormone aids in digestion as well. Oxytocin also helps people feel more generous. Finally, the hormone helps with engaging in social interactions.
I think we could all use a little more of this ‘oxytocin-awesomeness’ in our lives. Don’t you?
I invite you to take the 30-day Sacred Sexuality Challenge below by doing “The Whole Being Hug” every day for 30 days. It takes 3 minutes a day. Three minutes unrelated to sex, or anything else … just a luscious, relaxing, present, loving hug.
Come see how this little-but-powerful hug can change your relationship.
Like this exercise? More exercises like this are in Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers’ book coming out this spring. Buy your pre-order copy here now.
If you purchase the book before April 20th and email an image of the receipt to SexGodChurch@gmail.com you will be sent a bonus chapter written only for pre-sale readers with information, ideas and practices you can apply immediately to your life or clinical practice. You will also receive a podcast interview where Tina talks about the book.
If you want to be guaranteed a first edition printing, buy during the presale.
Collaboration and Reference: thebabbleout.com/health/oxytocin
This chapter is to say thank you for your patience and to give you something NOW you can put into use right away!!
This information will not be available after this time. All you have to do is send us a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. While you are waiting for your copy, we will also send you the latest information on new podcasts, interviews, and book reviews as Dr. Sellers travels around discussing her research and the book.
LIMITED SUPPLY … the publisher will likely have to do a second printing because of the small size of their first run. This means that those who wait to purchase their book will likely find themselves not being able to get a copy right away. SO DON’T DELAY!
“Masterfully integrating psychology and theology, Sellers gives us a groundbreaking, razor-sharp view into conservative Christian culture and its shame-inducing sexual ethic. As a psychologist, I am impressed by the precision, validity, and robustness of her research. As a theologian, I am grateful for the Christian sexual ethic — rooted in justice, mutuality and an infinitely relational God — that she introduces. As a millennial who grew up in the conservative Christian purity culture that Sellers describes, the practices in this book lit my pathway to greater freedom from shame and more authentic connection to God, myself and others. I hope that therapists and Christian leaders — pastors, parents and youth workers — will read this insightful book with an open mind.”
– Christena Cleveland, Ph.D., Duke Divinity School, author of Disunity in Christ – Uncovering the Forces that Keep Us Apart
“Most clinical programs – whether they are based in psychology or marriage and family therapy, social work or medicine, pastoral counseling or any number of other fields in the “helping professions” – do not adequately prepare trainees to work with individuals or couples who have been indoctrinated with Church-driven messages of sexual guilt and shame. As a therapist and educator, I have struggled to find resources that help guide clients on a path to healing and growth – and to do this in a way that simultaneously embraces their sexuality(ies) and religious/spiritual faith. The wisdom and counsel that Dr. Tina Sellers offers in this book should be in every training curriculum, on every providers’ bookshelf, and in every couple’s home.”
-Tai J. Mendenhall, Ph.D., LMFT; Couple and Family Therapy Program, University of Minnesota
This book is powerful medicine for anyone who has ever suffered religious shame about sex. You will find compassion for your dilemmas of conscience, wisdom regarding the teachings of the church, and best of all—explicit practices for opening your mind, nurturing your heart, touching your body, and celebrating the spirit of all that is truly erotic.
-Gina Ogden, Ph.D., LMFT, author of Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy, The Heart & Soul of Sex, and other books
Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers’ provocative book addresses the sex-negative doctrine in the conservative Christian church that instills in many people deep shame about their body and discomfort with the opposite sex, making them ill-prepared for marriage. Showing how notions of Christianity and sexuality are complementary, Dr. Sellers offers both therapist and lay reader examples of working with clients to heal the soul-body split, reduce shame, and deepen a couple’s loving connection.
-Stella Resnick, Ph.D., Couples and sex therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. and author of The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love
“This book is a practical and yet deeply theological path towards healing for those wounded by a shame-based purity culture. Dr. Schermer Sellers researched and written a roadmap towards a sex-positive Gospel ethic of intimacy. I will be recommending it to pastors and counsellors and teachers everywhere.”
– Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith
“This is an enlightening, well-written, and a clinically useful book on the problems and potential of conservative Christianity for clients dealing with sexual problems. Tina Schermer Sellers is uniquely positioned to make this unique contribution to therapy for a population often misunderstood by clinicians. Whether you’re new to the field or highly experienced, I promise you’ll learn a lot.”
-William J. Doherty, Ph.D., professor, director, Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project, University of Minnesota; author, Take Back Your Marriage.
Synopsis: This book is the first of its kind written to help people of faith who have experienced religious sexual shame. This shame and trauma come as an inadvertent byproduct of the sex-negative sexual ethic of conservative religion. Based on ten years of research, it explains what happened in the formation of the Christian church, the recent purity movement, and how American culture can compound the problem. It goes on to reveal a sex-positive ancient Hebrew story that was buried in Christian history and the sex-positive gospel ethic that was never developed. Finally, it offers a four-step model for healing religious sexual shame, and actual touch and non-touch exercises to bring healing and intimacy into a person’s life. The book is appropriate for clients, patients, therapists, clergy, physicians, and those who train sociology students, therapists, sex therapists, clergy or primary care physicians. It also is a text that would function well in a book group or study group and for those who want to explore the impact of religious sexual shame and those who want to heal or help someone else to heal. It is sensitive to those who grew up in conservative church environments, while simultaneously providing adequate information for the provider that may not be familiar with that culture.