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Trust Cancels Fear
December 8, 2005 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Trust-Building Hormone Short-Circuits Fear In Humans Oxytocin, a brain chemical recently found to boost trust, also suppresses the activity in the amygdala where fear is generated. This could be a breakthrough for those who suffer from any type of social avoidance disorder.
posted by sultan (23 comments total)

 
How can I trust they won't just give me a cyanide pill?
posted by furtive at 5:48 PM on December 8, 2005


How long till there's an aerosol dispenser for used car yards?
posted by pompomtom at 5:50 PM on December 8, 2005


Haha, I can just see it now. Kids in dark venues, listening to music nobody understands, going around just trusting everybody. What else can we synthesize? This could get fun.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 5:51 PM on December 8, 2005


Isn't Oxytocin the same hormone that nursing and recently-post-partum mothers produce like crazy? Maybe it's to keep them getting terrified at the daunting task of raising offspring?
posted by Asparagirl at 6:01 PM on December 8, 2005


Oxytocin is also present in seminal fluid, which could explain why c*cksuckers are so friendy and genial.
posted by mds35 at 6:01 PM on December 8, 2005




Here is the article because I don't think the link works.

Semen acts as an anti-depressant

Semen makes you happy. That's the remarkable conclusion of a study comparing women whose partners wear condoms with those whose partners don't.

The study, which is bound to provoke controversy, showed that the women who were directly exposed to semen were less depressed. The researchers think this is because mood-altering hormones in semen are absorbed through the vagina. They say they have ruled out other explanations.

"I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms," says Gordon Gallup, the psychologist at the State University of New York who led the team. "Clearly an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease would more than offset any advantageous psychological effects of semen."
Suicide attempts

His team divided 293 female students into groups depending on how often their partners wore condoms, and assessed their happiness using the Beck Depression Inventory, a standard questionnaire for assessing mood. People who score over 17 are considered moderately depressed.

The team found that women whose partners never used condoms scored 8 on average, those who sometimes used them scored 10.5, those who usually used them scored 15 and those who always used them scored 11.3. Women who weren't having sex at all scored 13.5.

What's more, the longer the interval since they last had sex, the more depressed the women who never or sometimes used condoms got. But the time since the last sexual encounter made no difference to the mood of women who usually or always used condoms.

The team also found that depressive symptoms and suicide attempts were more common among women who used condoms regularly compared with those who didn't. The results will appear in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

And Gallup told New Scientist that his team already has unpublished data from a larger group of 700 women confirming these findings. In this study, the always-use-condoms group were more depressed than the usually-use-condoms group, suggesting the discrepancy in the smaller study was a sampling error, he says.
Alternative explanations

But is it really the semen that affects women's mood? The researchers say they looked at alternative explanations such as whether women who seldom use condoms took oral contraceptives, how often they had sex, the strength of relationships, and the possibility that having a certain type of personality influenced the decision to use condoms. But none of these factors can explain their findings, they say.

In fact, the results aren't a complete surprise because semen does contain several mood-altering hormones, including testosterone, oestrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinising hormone, prolactin and several different prostaglandins. Some of these have been detected in a women's blood within hours of exposure to semen.

The question many people will ask is whether oral sex could have the same mood-enhancing effects. "Since the steroids in birth control pills survive the digestion process, I would assume that the same holds true for at least some of the chemicals in semen," Gallup says.

"I understand that among some gay males who have anal intercourse, it is not uncommon to attempt to retain the semen for extended periods of time," he adds. "Suggesting, of course, that there may be psychological effects." But further research will be needed to confirm whether exposure to semen through oral or anal sex really does affect mood in heterosexual or homosexual partners.

But why should semen have such an effect? "It makes no sense to me for this phenomenon to have evolved," says Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. But Gallup counters that men whose semen promotes long-term mood enhancement might have more chances to indulge in sexual activity.
posted by sultan at 6:25 PM on December 8, 2005


Men everywhere volunteer to make women happier.
posted by caddis at 6:35 PM on December 8, 2005


Maybe in that study it didn't have to do with the seaman but rather the feeling of trust that condom-less coitus cultivates. (Out of my element.)
posted by I Foody at 7:07 PM on December 8, 2005


"Social anxiety is the fear of social situations and the interaction with other people that can automatically bring on feelings of self-consciousness, judgment, evaluation, and criticism."

uh... except most of the time, you ARE being judged, evaluated, and criticized. Especially by people who make their livings by evaluating and judging and deciding that you have a personality disorder. If you ain't abnormal, they don't get paid.

Therefore I advise everyone reading this to suck as much cock as they can. An apple a day....
posted by merelyglib at 7:26 PM on December 8, 2005


I dunno. You can trust someone not to trip you, but still fear that he's talking about you. Probably about how to improve your mood.
posted by booksandlibretti at 7:29 PM on December 8, 2005


Spit 0 - Swallow 1
posted by furtive at 7:49 PM on December 8, 2005


I think I exude the opposite of this.
posted by scarabic at 7:51 PM on December 8, 2005


Having listened to Rush for years, and knowing about his oxy habit, I am now experiencing cognitive dissonance. Someone help, please.
posted by kozad at 8:02 PM on December 8, 2005


Merelyglib: social phobia isn't about whether or not other people are actually judging you. It's about having a debilitating fear of judgement from others to the point that you avoid social contact as much as possible and in may not even leave the house.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:08 PM on December 8, 2005


Kozad: Oxytocin vs. Oxycontin
posted by 4easypayments at 8:10 PM on December 8, 2005


Yes, I understand that 4easypayments. I was perhaps being more glib than I should have. However, I don't believe that avoiding social situations is necessessarily a sign of illness. If you are unable to leave the house, then that might be a sign of pathology. However. I believe that social phobia is WAY overdiagnosed. And admit it: sometimes people DO judge, and sometimes those people are in a position to effect your reputation, and therefore the way you are perceived socially, or at work. Actually, I'll go farther than that: evaluating others is normal. Judging others is normal. Being aware of that, and perhaps even being a bit paranoid about it, is appropriate. Also, I wonder about that word 'debilitating.'

(and....the semen thing. d'you think that may be why they call the boys gay?)
posted by merelyglib at 8:22 PM on December 8, 2005


mmm... man voles...
posted by ginbiafra at 8:58 PM on December 8, 2005


Huh.

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posted by Ryvar at 9:29 PM on December 8, 2005




"I understand that among some gay males who have anal intercourse, it is not uncommon to attempt to retain the semen for extended periods of time," he adds.

File under: Things I Never Wanted to Learn
posted by agregoli at 7:31 AM on December 9, 2005


4easypayments: OK, no more drinking and blogging for me.
posted by kozad at 9:23 AM on December 9, 2005


Therefore I advise everyone reading this to suck as much cock as they can.
posted by squirrel at 4:41 PM on December 9, 2005


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