Dear Lady Monster,

I'll start to be FWB with a guy, then I develop feelings for him (usually after we spend the night together). He does not reciprocate, he is not emotionally available. Is it just me? I don't really want a relationship, I want to be casual, but my emotions get in the way. What's wrong with me? Why can't I just keep it simple and have sex and not get emotionally attached?

----Noticing Strings Attached


Dear NSA,

Thank you for your question.


I'd like for you to stop blaming yourself, and to quit asking the question, “What's wrong with me?”. Instead, when you and a man begin to reveal your personal interests and want to have a more intimate experience with each other, ask him about his emotional availability. Be honest with him about the connection you want.


Do you want to only see him once a week, once every two weeks? How do each of you feel about spending the night together? Does cuddling have to be involved? Are you the jealous type? When does jealousy become part of the equation? How much control do you still need to have in a relationship? How honest is he about the connection he wants?


When you think of “Why am I reacting this way? I wish I could react differently.”, stop for a minute and think of it as a chemical reaction. Besides being intelligent, emotional creatures, human beings are also biological. Many of the things we do and feel are based on complex chemical reactions, synapses firing in our brains, flowing through our bloodstream, outward to nerves and muscles. Get back to basics and think about what is happening to you on a prime level.


When a couple has sex and cuddling happens after, oxytocin may be released and a bond between partners can occur. Sometimes the bonding that occurs is one-sided. It's chemical, a physiological reaction between biological entities. Whether the couple does actually bond together or not is complex and a chemical reaction can be involved.


Oxytocin is a hormone that is created in the hypothalamus of the brain and released by the pituitary gland. Stimulating the nipple can stimulate the production of oxytocin in women, and breast milk production in new mothers. The oxytocin then flows into the breast milk to bond the baby with the mother. It is responsible for feelings of bliss and comfort whether when falling in love, getting a hug or cuddling after sex.


Oxytocin is released during sex for both men and women. It has a role in erection and orgasm. However, a man only releases oxytocin when he orgasms with a partner he's in love with. The uterine contractions that occur when a woman orgasms stimulates the production of the hormone. These contractions can also help sperm to reach their destination. The reason for the release of this hormone is not fully understood. Some researchers propose a correlation between oxytocin levels and orgasm intensity.


Scientists are still trying to figure out how exactly it works. One hypothesis is oxytocin slows the activity of the brain's fear center, the amygdala, thus easing stress and anxiety. The results of the hormone are subtle, making testing difficult.


Oxytocin supplements have been created and are administered for a variety of symptoms, ailments and disorders like PTSD, schizophrenia, autism and Asberger's Syndrome. The optimum route of delivering oxytocin is intranasal, via spray (Pitocin). However, the most common use is for women in labor, to assist with the pain of uterine contractions and to facilitate breastfeeding.


Experiments with men, include administering the hormone to increase trust and generosity. Scientists also try to find out if oxytocin is more prevalent in men who are monogamous. These experiments have yielded positive findings. Oxytocin can create unconscious biases in favor of a partner. A prior study by the same researchers, in fact, found that men in monogamous relationships who were given oxytocin actually kept a greater distance from an attractive associate, compared with single men.


Two human studies within the past 5 years, support the hypothesis of the involvement of oxytocin in romantic relationships. There are higher levels where the couple is bonded and it has increased couples' positive communication.


Oxytocin also helps reduce pain, stress (reducing cortisal levels), and is released during several different regular activities. Showing compassion, giving someone something for free or making a donation, listening to soothing music, laughing, spend time with someone with a phone call, a walk, a hug – all of these activities release oxytocin and make us feel good.

The key is for both people involved to feel equally good. When the feeling isn't mutual, there's no forcing oxytocin to be released. It's either there or not. Enjoy the time you share together, allow a bond to form or find someone who is receptive to your brand of oxytocin.


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