sex, trust and hormones

Intimacy both requires and ideally engenders trust. And, researchers from Utrecht University in Holland have discovered, both sides of this coin have hormonal triggers. Think of a romantic dinner, with soft lighting and gentle caresses. Those warm, fuzzy feelings are partly the result of a pulse of the hormone oxytocin (also triggered by childbirth and orgasms) that makes a person more trusting. The flip side, researchers found, is associated with testosterone. In women, this hormone is associated with sexual arousal — but also with decreased trust. Researchers believe this makes evolutionary sense: Testosterone spikes in women when they’re most fertile, which is also a time when good decision making about a potential parenting partner is most critical. (Via The New York Times.)