Oxytocin was discovered in 1952. It plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction in both sexes, and during and after childbirth. Oxytocin is a hormone, neuropeptide, and medication. As a medication, it is used to cause contraction of the uterus. Oxytocin has peripheral (hormonal) actions, and also has actions in the brain. Studies have looked at oxytocin’s role in various behaviors, including orgasm, social recognition, pair bonding, anxiety, and maternal behaviors.
Positive social interactions lead to increased release in oxytocin, which has the potential to improve wound healing. Plasma oxytocin increases during sexual intercourse and at orgasm – in both men and women. Oxytocin’s effects on muscle contractibility may facilitate sperm and egg transport. It serves an important role in sexual arousal and sexual receptivity.
Oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security when in the company of the mate. This suggests oxytocin may be important for the inhibition of the brain regions associated with behavioral control, fear, and anxiety, thus allowing orgasm to occur. Research has also demonstrated that oxytocin can decrease anxiety and protect against stress, particularly in combination with social support.
Oxytocin, plays an important role in Increasing trust and reducing fear; and is also responsible at least in part for romantic attraction, romantic attachment and subsequent monogamous pair bonding. Oxytocin may help promote fidelity within monogamous relationships. Oxytocin released into the brain of the female during sexual activity is important for forming a monogamous pair bond with her sexual partner. Hence, it is sometimes referred to as the “bonding hormone.”
Oxytocin may reinforce pro-social behaviors after an initial bond is formed, but may enhance defensive behaviors to unfamiliar individuals. So overall, oxytocin is beneficial because it can either enhance social bonding or promote defensive behaviors depending on the situation. It has also been shown that testosterone directly suppresses oxytocin. This has been hypothesized to have evolutionary significance. With oxytocin suppressed, activities such as hunting and attacking invaders would be less mentally difficult as oxytocin is strongly associated with empathy.
How to Produce Oxytocin Naturally
Adequate production of oxytocin obviously has a lot of general health and mental health benefits. One of my team members says, “Oxytocin is the oxygen of life,” and so true it is… Here are some ways to increase your levels naturally: