The Connection Between Dopamine And Sex Drive Exposed
Dopamine, dopamine, dopamine
Dopamine, dopamine, dopamine
Thanks to the number 1 hit (and rather repetitive lyrics) of Dopamine Machine by DJs CamelPhat, the word dopamine has been thrown back into the limelight.
The idea that dopamine is a wild sex-inducing and addictive chemical has long been discussed in the media. And its salacious connections have been teased and manipulated to intrigue readers all over the world. In this article, we’re going to do things a little differently and discuss the role dopamine plays in sex and the brain, using only science-backed research.
We’ll start by explaining what dopamine is, then discuss whether it can supercharge your sex drive and finish with science-backed tips to boost your dopamine levels in a good way.
What Is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that enable neurotransmissions. And neurotransmissions are “the transmission of nerve impulses between neurons or between a neuron and a muscle fibre.” A neurotransmitter is sometimes referred to as a chemical messenger as its purpose is to send messages between nerve cells, like a discreet delivery service driving along four key roads in your brain.
Dopamine is heavily involved in the feelings and drivers of motivation and reward. That satisfying feeling when you’ve accomplished something? That’s usually due to dopamine. Tasted the most delicious burger? That’s your dopamine kicking in. Had super-pleasurable sex? Hello dopamine.
Can Dopamine Supercharge Your Sex Drive?
Help With Sexual Function
There are numerous studies which delve into the effects dopamine and the brain have on a human’s sex drive. And some of these effects can be life-changing. A recent study by the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines looked at the Neurophysiology of erections and ejaculation, they found that “dopamine and serotonin have central roles in modulating erection and ejaculation.” Dopamine was shown to help control their function in a positive way. Indicating that without dopamine, it may be impossible for these areas to function properly. This highlights the importance of having the correct balance of dopamine for optimum sexual function.
An Aide For Sexual Dysfunction
An ongoing US study, Female sexual dysfunction: potential for pharmacotherapy, is exploring numerous compounds that target the dopamine pathways in the brain, with a focus on developing drugs for female sexual dysfunction.
By developing these drugs (including dopaminergic receptor agonists, which are compounds that activate dopamine receptors) they hope to help women who experience a lack of “psychogenic and organic causes of desire, arousal and orgasm” as well as those who suffer from “sexual pain disorders that cause personal distress.” Dopamine could cure low sex drive, however what it doesn’t do is get to the root cause of the sexual dysfunction issues, many of which are due to past experiences and current thoughts. Although it could be seen as a temporary fix.
A Remedy For Low Sex-Drive
The study, Treatment of Delayed Ejaculation and Low Sex Drive reported that “the dopamine agonist pramipexole… is a safe and well-tolerated treatment option to improve sexual function, desire, and orgasm sensation… in men with low sex drive, delayed ejaculation or decreased orgasmic sensation.” They note that, “the sexual reward system is intimately linked to dopamine activity within the nucleus accumbens.” The way the brain utilises dopamine and how the body functions as a result is at the crux of this study and their findings could potentially help those in relationships suffering from a diminished sex life.
How Can You Naturally Optimise Your Dopamine Levels?
A recent study, Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness by John F. Kennedy Institute, found that Yoga Nidra Meditation can increase the release of dopamine in the brain. The study was designed to, “investigate whether endogenous dopamine release increases during loss of executive (thought) control in meditation. Participants underwent 2 PET scans: one while attending to speech with eyes closed, and one during active meditation.” They found “increased striatal dopamine release during meditation.”
Why is this incredible news for you, your brain, your sex drive and your dopamine levels? Meditation is a free dopamine-boosting tool that anyone can do, anywhere. By meditating, you can boost your dopamine levels and your sex drive (if the studies we’ve previosuly discussed are anything to go by.) And we’ve got the perfect app for the job, Rise – Sleep Better. It’ll introduce you to mindfulness meditation, relaxation and sleeping techniques to get you into the dopamine-inducing groove. Talking of sleep…
The role of dopamine and sleep has long been researched and one of those key bits of research comes from the University of CIBERNED in Spain. Scientists discovered that there was a new function of dopamine in controlling sleep regulation and that the act of dopamine in the pineal gland (a mysterious small pea shaped part of the brain) is “central to dictating the ‘circadian rhythm’ in humans — the series of biological processes that enables brain activity to adapt to the time of the day.”
They concluded that dopamine could be an effective mechanism to stop melatonin production when the day begins and to ‘wake up’ the brain. Dopamine’s new role could help researchers to design new treatments to help those with circadian rhythm issues and sleep disorders.
How does this affect your sex drive? Well, quite simply, the more sleep you have, the more your energy levels may be boosted. And the more energy and dompamine in your system, the more chance your sex drive will get an uplift.
Eat The Good Stuff
Marriage and sex therapist Dr. Jane Greer says that when it comes to dopamine, certain foods “increase blood flow and enhance(s) stimulation” and can work wonders for your brain’s dopamine levels whilst increasing sex drive. So what foods trigger the release of dopamine and are a part of the dopamine diet? We’ve listed a few must-eats below:
- Get dark with 90% dark chocolate, which “the body can convert to tyrosine, a key amino acid for creating dopamine.”
- Get fruity (and veggie) with bananas, berries, nuts and artichokes. LiveStrong describes how, “these fruits contain quercetin and tyrosine, both of which stimulate dopamine production.”
- And get your protein fix with products that are laden with amino acids. Protein can help to trigger a release of dopamine whilst being consumed.
Go and enjoy your new found dopamine-drenched knowledge. Hopefully you’ve gained some interesting insights and know how to boost your dopamine levels to benefit you, your health and your sex drive.
Discover our latest articles on brain health, cognitive development and wellbeing:
All information featured in Peak – Brain Training articles are provided for informational purposes only and are not substitutes for medical or physician advice.