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Oxytocin and Human Sexuality: Recent Developments

Abstract

Purpose of Review

The purpose of the present review is to outline what is currently known about oxytocin and human sexual behavior. The present review utilizes existing research to outline an important question remaining in the field; does oxytocin facilitate sexual behavior or is it simply a result of the said behavior?

Recent Findings

Existing studies which measure oxytocin by way of blood or saliva reliably find elevations in oxytocin during sexual arousal and following orgasm. In contrast, studies which administer oxytocin intranasally report fewer significant results surrounding arousal and orgasm.

Summary

Existing research has yet to fully understand the function of oxytocin. Because of long-standing questions such as function, future research should pay close attention to the context of sexual activity (masturbation, partnered sex) and the specific types of pairings involved (sex with a long term versus a new partner and same-sex versus other-sex contact). Similarly researchers should carefully consider the mode of oxytocin assessment in consideration of question/s they wish to answer.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Correspondence to Jenna C. Alley.

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Jenna C. Alley and Lisa M. Diamond both declare no conflicts of interest.

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Alley, J.C., Diamond, L.M. Oxytocin and Human Sexuality: Recent Developments. Curr Sex Health Rep 12, 182–185 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11930-020-00274-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11930-020-00274-4

Keywords

  • Oxytocin
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexual arousal
  • Orgasm
  • Sexual satiety