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They'll all fall

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Stroking produces love hormone

The following comes from the RedNova News article "Being Stroked Calms Stressed Women Down":

Scientists say that an affectionate stroke of the back or neck may be of far more benefit to your beloved than other forms of relaxation, such as being left in peace in a foam-filled bath.

Caressing a woman - and it is only women, not men, who benefit - in a non-sexual way can lower her blood pressure as much as a dose of prescription drugs.

Researchers believe regular stroking may soon be viewed as a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, as popular as stress-busting aromatherapy and massage.

It has long been acknowledged that stroking a dog or cat - what zoologist and people watcher Desmond Morris calls an outlet for 'practical and comforting ancient primate grooming urges' - can lower its owner's blood pressure.

But new research suggests the one receiving the petting - in ancient times, the ape having its fleas removed - can benefit even more. While stroking has no perceptible effect on a man's blood pressure, gently touching a woman can enhance a relationship simply by reducing a woman's stress levels.

Experts studied 59 heterosexual couples, and say it works best if it is not part of any sexual activity, as sex can raise blood pressure.

In experiments at a US university, the woman was asked to sit in a 'loveseat' for 10 minutes while she watched a clip of a romantic movie and her partner stroked her hands, neck or back. The woman's blood pressure was measured before and after and it was found that stroking stimulated the brain to secrete a chemical called oxytocin which slows the heart down. On average, the women in the study produced 20% more oxytocin, a calming hormone, after the stroking.

Men did not show any oxytocin increase after similar contact, suggesting testosterone may blunt the hormone's effects.

Kathleen Light, a psychiatry professor at the University of North Carolina's school of medicine, which led the research, said, 'It is a new finding for humans. When a man strokes or hugs his partner it seems to stimulate an increase in levels of oxytocin which tends to lower blood pressure.' The team found the benefit of stroking was far higher than holding hands, lying together or maintaining eye contact.



Oxytocin - "a calming hormone", eh? To quote an article from "The Marriage Bed (Sex And Intimacy For Married Christians)" - one of the first references on Google:
Touch causes our bodies to produce a hormone called oxytocin. Not only does touch stimulate production of oxytocin, but oxytocin promotes a desire to touch and be touched: it's a feedback loop that can have wonderful results. Oxytocin makes us feel good about the person who causes the oxytocin to be released, and it causes a bonding between the two persons.

and

Oxytocin plays a significant role in our sexuality too. Higher levels of oxytocin result in greater sexual receptivity, and because oxytocin increases testosterone production (which is responsible for sex drive in both men and women) sex drive can also increase. Moreover, this hormone does not just create a sexual desire in women, coupled with estrogen it creates a desire to be penetrated (that is, it makes her want intercourse).

With this, you can reword the article: Stroking her will push her state towards where she falls in love with you and the state where she beds you. Usually, it will do this more than a sexual touch.

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