Open Source and Oxytocin
Open Source and Oxytocin

Sex on the First Date

This article not only gets the science wrong, but also illustrates the problems of applying the intellect to behavior that takes place on the hormonal level.

According to the article,

According to new book The Rough Guide to the Brain, sleeping with someone early on can INCREASE your chances of a long-term relationship.

Author and biologist Dr Barry Gibb reckons romps spark chemical changes in the brain that lead to love.

According to writer Bella Battle of the Sun Online, Gibb says that because orgasm releases oxytocin and vasopressin, which are associated with "the build-up of commitment," well, the sooner you start building that up, the better. Now, Battle may be misquoting Gibb. In any case, there's a big science mistake here.

It's true that oxytocin seems to be the hormone that, along with dopamine, causes that deep bond we know as love. But its effect on the two sexes is highly unequal. Estrogen increases oxytocin's effects, while testosterone decreases them. Therefore, after a single night of sex, it's likely that the woman will feel much more bonded than the man. Oxytocin's effects in the male bloodstream fall within minutes; it may take days for them to decrease in a female's.

Moreover, vasopressin seems to be related to bonding in men, sorta. It's likely involved more in the human versions of mate-guarding and nest-defending. That is, once the man feels bonded to his mate, vasopressin will incite him to take care of her. But this response probably happens over time.

Now to part two. Next, Battle asked two experts whether it was a good idea to have sex on the first date.
Sara Hedly, a sexpert, says it's not, because there's still a stigma for a woman to do this. Petra Boynton, a sex researcher, says you should go for it if it feels right.

The first response, based on societal norms, won't be enough of a reason to stop a lot of people. The second response assumes there's no emotional risk.

I wish people would make an informed decision based on whether or not they want to risk feeling bonded to this person.