Oxytocin mania

November 15, 2012

A new research study shows how Oxytocin nasal spray can make men in committed relationships lose interest in other women. The pop science news wires all have articles summarizing the study. io9 has the best-written piece I found: Oxytocin keeps committed men away from attractive women.

Many articles suggest, half-jokingly, that famous unfaithful men be dosed with Oxytocin to suppress their nonmonogamous urges. OK, joking or not, let’s not go there. Giving people experimental therapies to alter their sexual desires to fit contemporary social norms? Could there possibly be a downside there? Am I the only person watching American Horror Story season two?

The Week has a pretty good article about the study: Can the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin keep men from cheating? It includes this tidbit:

When oxytocin is administered as a spray, says Hurlemann, “what we actually simulate is a kind of post-coital posture.” The hormone presumably makes men in committed relationships think, why “approach another woman when you’re in a post-coital situation? It doesn’t make much sense.”

So the Oxytocin nasal spray creates a simulated post-coital feeling without the actual coitus? Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to get my Oxy blast the old-fashioned way.

Slate ran an excellent piece of Oxytocin skepticism a while back: One Molecule for Love, Morality, and Prosperity? subtitled “Why the hype about oxytocin is dumb and dangerous”, by Ed Yong. If you’re only gonna click through to one article in this post, go with the Yong.

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