The pleasure of sex arises from many factors including the release of neurochemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine, which flood the system during orgasm, as well as the sense of connection communicated by touching, massaging, and cuddling. Given the enormous variability in activities that people find arousing, there is no one way to be sexual. Men are especially stimulated by visual imagery, and about 90 percent of young men report using pornography with some regularity, often because they lack a partner or don't know how to bridge the differences in sexual appetite and interest that can occur between partners in the absence of discussion of their sexual pleasures. Many people engage in behaviors that were once perceived as atypical, such as dominance play and anal intercourse. Researchers know that flexibility in sexual repertoires is healthy and generally enhances relationships; they regard a specific behavior as problematic only when it creates harm or distress for one or both partners or when the behavior is compulsive—that is, it becomes the only means of arousal. "Sex addiction" is a label often used to suggest excessive interest in sex, but studies show it may be more related to the moral/religious environment in which a person lives.
"At first, many were understandably cautious about my Nike-style approach to their sex life; the 'Just Do It' advice ran counter to everything they had believed about how sexual desire unfolds...I could often see the relief on people's faces when they learned that their lack of out-of-the-blue sexual urges didn't necessarily signify a problem. It didn't mean there was something wrong with them or that something was missing from their marriages. It just meant that they experienced desire differently."
For Dopamine, which enhances mood and confidence, try basil, black pepper, chillies, cumin, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Acetylcholine helps improve alertness and focus so try all-spice, basil, peppermint, sage and thyme. GABA, a natural anti-depressant, is found in alcohol, so just one or two glasses of red wine will do the trick. Serotonin boosts happiness and relaxation, so try turkey, bananas and chocolate.
At least for humans, this most basic of acts is anything but basic. As the pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey put it, the only universal in human sexuality is variability itself. From attraction to action, sexual behavior takes many forms. Human interest in sex is not a matter left to chance but more a built-in imperative; survival of the species depends on it. The decks are stacked in sex's favor, as a passport to bonding, to intimacy, to pleasure, and even to human growth and healing. Bodies and interests change over the course of time, and the complexities of physiology and psychology mean that most people experience a sexual problem at some point in their lives. Although sex can be one of the most difficult topics for partners to discuss, it's one that also stands to draw couples closer together. The moral and political implications of sex vary greatly from culture to culture, and even within cultures and over time; still, there is agreement on one certainty: It's why we're alive today and what future generations depend on.
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