One of the hormones very frequently mentioned by relationship advisers, magazines and online sources for counseling, is Oxytocin. The hormone Oxytocin is secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain, and released from there. The major function of Oxytocin is in women, during and immediately after childbirth. During childbirth, it helps the female reproductive tract relax and ease the baby out by inducing contractions in the uterus. This is an extremely important function of Oxytocin and is also the reason why Oxytocin can be used to induce labor in women who are having difficulty during childbirth.
The other major function of Oxytocin is after childbirth, during lactation. When a baby breastfeeds, this triggers the release of Oxytocin in the mother and helps the milk-secreting ducts contract so that the baby gets milk.
It is evident from these functions of Oxytocin that it plays a significant role in establishing a nurturing bond between the mother and the baby, even at a purely physical level. But the emotional function of Oxytocin is even more significant. A lot of people are unaware of Oxytocin’s role in love and communication. This is one of the reasons it has long been considered the ‘love hormone’ or the ‘hug hormone’. It’s not as if Oxytocin causes love, but it definitely perpetuates the feeling of love. This is because oxytocin release, stimulated by both extended physical contact such as cuddling or hugging, as well as by sexual arousal and stimulation, causes a feeling of ‘love’.
Oxytocin is responsible for the feelings of trust, contentment, relaxation, stress relief, etc. that people often experience when cuddling with their loved ones. This sensation is even more amplified after sex because oxytocin levels are very high post orgasm. The function of Oxytocin in love is that it promotes bonding, reduces caution or mistrust, and improves the strength of the feeling of ‘connection’ that couples feel. And it’s not just romantic love. Oxytocin plays just as important a role in maternal attachment as well. It has also been proved that oxytocin production not only increases ‘love’, but also healing as well. Emotional healing from social anxiety, overall anxiety, stress, insecurity, all are diminished by oxytocin. This function of oxytocin helps explain how being ‘loved’ helps one feel ‘safer’ and more secure. And not just emotional healing. The hormone oxytocin helps promote physical healing as well. There is concrete evidence supporting the fact that higher levels of the hormone actually correlate with better wound healing and recovery, possibly linked to reduced inflammation.
The behavioral influence of Oxytocin has been shown to be even more remarkable in men. It increases loyalty, especially in men. Men who are loyal to their partners may derive this temporarily or continuously from Oxytocin, as they gain an increase in ability to turn away from temptation, so to speak. Fidelity, empathy, and reduced ‘betrayal’ are all part of the function of Oxytocin.
There is also the definite significance of oxytocin in males. Physically, it is found acting both on the seminiferous tubules (contractility), and in the testes. The emotional effects are the same in both sexes, except for the added factor of increasing fidelity in males. This is why Oxytocin has such an important role love and communication, as well as for improving the chances of survival of children in a family unit.
– Third Party Khemcorp Writer