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Pondering the gay marriage coverage in the media this week, I was struck by how few people I know who are currently married, or whose marriages have stood the test of time and survived beyond a handful of years. We’re living in a time where a very large number of marriages are ending in divorce, often after a very short time – and while this might be a recent phenomenon, the problems surrounding long-term relationships have always been around. In fact, in the past it was only the difficulty or stigma surrounding divorce that kept many couples together at all! So if gay marriage can breathe new life into a near-irrelevant tradition and re-define what it means to be in a relationship, then why not!

For me, the recent marriage debate has led me to explore the the underlying reasons so many relationships break up – and I think the problem is rooted in the hormonal characteristics of our sex lives. Evolutionally, we’re hardwired to spread our genes widely, making us prone to meet someone, fall in love, mate to conceive a child, and after some time, repeat this pattern with someone new – and there’s an important combination of chemicals that prompts this cycle. The ‘cuddle’ hormone oxytocin bonds us, while dopamine provides the exciting peaks of pleasure during our early sexual encounters. Over time, however, the oxytocin glow fades, and with dopamine levels falling away after sex, longer-term couples can start to experience dopamine ‘lows’ as the body begins to become depleted after regular orgasm. These hormonal swings put a strain on relationships as we experience a kind of biological hangover, and we can begin to fall out of love. Often, people can turn to dopamine substitutes like drugs, food, illicit sex or gambling to redress the balance. Some couples may become more sexually adventurous, exploring more extreme forms of pleasure, or swapping partners to keep dopamine levels up. Others may lose interest in sex altogether and shift their focus to other common interests.

The other important contributing factor for our relationships is that as living organisms, each and every one of us are dynamic bio-energy systems. We each generate our own ‘life force’, often known as ‘prana’ or ‘chi’. It’s the heat or tingling sensation we sometimes feel in our bodies, and this energy circulates around our meridian system, contributing to our overall health, energy and sense of wellbeing. Our sexual organs and their associated ‘chakra’ generate the strongest flow of this energy, and problems can surface if our sex generators becomes weak or blocked, often leading to weakness, lack of vitality and disease. On the other hand, if we deplete our sexual chakra through overuse via ‘traditional’ orgasmic sex, we lose a large amount of bio-energy, again resulting in lower energy levels and a lack of vitality and ‘aliveness’, in addition to the other hormonal fluctuations.

So if we really want to ‘cheat’ our neurochemical conditioning, keep our relationships alive, and maintain our bio-energetic sex function, we need to maximise oxytocin production, avoid the dopamine rollercoaster and minimise the loss of energy through orgasm. And what’s the best way to do this? By indulging in non-orgasmic sex!

In next week’s blog I’ll be exploring this concept further – and I’ll also offer some practical and fun tools for non-orgasmic sex and experiencing all the benefits of this amazing practise.

And remember, if you can’t wait til next week, you can always book an energy-boosting, hormone-balancing session of bodywork with me in the meantime!

In love and light,

Taranga

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