This is Your Brain On Orgasm.

This graph was produced for publication in a best-selling book Between the Sheets by Marnia Robinson (wife of neurologist Gary Wilson), summarizing the brain scans Gert Holstege.  After downloading the image from this site, I enlarged the image and clarified the text.

People think that sex can be used in moderation, like coffee or candy, yet what Holstege definitively proved is that orgasm is profoundly addictive and is no different on the neurological level than shooting heroin.  (1)  

Getting the orgasm rush

As it is noted in the Robinson article, there's more to this graph.  The neurochemical hangover that comes with any addictive activity, has only one way out - getting another fix.  If you wanted to restore your dopamine levels within this period, you'll have to find another partner to have sex with.  The same partner will not work - that'll only bring you up to the orignal level and only in peaks (as seen  in the graph).  As the Coolidge Effect dictates, the same partner cannot give you your next rush - your fix.

Many people will argue against orgasm's massive addictive qualities by obfuscation.  They'll pick very mild drugs and say, "If there's a grey, then there's no black and no white."

We get a slight "buzz" from coffee.  There are stimulants, there are things which destabilize the mood somewhat.  But do these things produce the effects that you see above - a 2-week neurochemical hangover, within which the subject will be crazed for another fix?  Some have noted that for males, orgasm causes a split-second blackout and is a near-death experience.  Older men and often times farm animals will die having sex.  Try that with a cup of coffee!

As sex is not a substance, but rather a behavior, it is not listed in the Merck index which has addictivity and toxicity ratings.  But since Holstege's scans, we have a new scientific standard by which to judge if something is addictive or not.

Finally I'd like to note that prolactin is related to "man-boobs", arthritis, obesity and other ailments.  Prolactin isn't "good for you", so to speak.  And it inhibits reception of testosterone (inhibits androgen), the manly hormone.  So we also have proof that men are feminized to an extent by the orgasm, and that sex would indeed affect athletic performance and other health indicators.


A note on studies: 

Unfortunately this research only narrowly describes the subjects - only their personal body, their mind - and in only a short time frame.  In reality, sex doesn't just happen - it takes a much broader mental process to get it.  And after sex there are far-reaching emotional and social effects as well.  I could exaggerate this by pointing out that this graph would be as much the same for a pedophile as it would be a housewife, though it does illuminate why most marital arguments occur after sex.

And also the narrowness of scientific reports and their reliance on funding also makes them highly suspect to being overturned on this or that level.  Scientific reports - though provided here - are not a sound basis for opinions.  First and foremost you should ask yourself, "How often do I worry about my partner, or worry about getting one?" "How do I feel about myself, my partner or my life immediately after sex?"   "How often have I experienced repercussions from sexual behavior?" etc.  Your experience should be the first guide, and through meditation and religious practice you can become more sensitive to the true nature of that experience.

Those who are out-of-tune with their minds and bodies, often would require some sort of book to disprove what they think they should be feeling.  They k nit very careful webs, picking up only the tiniest, narrowest of research into a question, and cherrypicking what fits their worldview.  Their worldview is in large part created by their addictions.  We see depictions of people being tempted by a tiny satan whispering in their ear.  What is that voice?  Who is talking when we hear the voice of temptation?  On a psychological level, the voice of temptation is the sound of addictive urges.



1. N.b., "Parallels are drawn between ejaculation and heroin rush" in Brain Activation during Human Male Ejaculation, Gert Holstege, Janniko R. Georgiadis, Anne M. J. Paans, Linda C. Meiners, Ferdinand H. C. E. van der Graaf, and A. A. T. Simone Reinders.  
Also see The emotional brain: neural correlates of cat sexual behavior and human male ejaculation,  Holstege G, Georgiadis JR.: "PET-scan results on human ejaculation have revealed that the meso-diencephalic transition zone is particularly and strongly activated. This region includes the so-called ventral tegmental area that is also known as a 'reward area.' For example, it is also activated during a heroin rush."  [Holstege's previous work was doing PET brain scans and neural analysis on heroin users.]