Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘hooked’

Maura and Nichole don’t know about oxytocin.  But, Matt doesn’t know about vasopressin.  Women are not the only ones who bond during sexual intimacy.

Vasopressin is the neurochemical responsible for the male brain response and synaptic change.  It plays a role in regulating blood pressure and, through its influence on kidney function, regulates fluid in the body.  In relationships, vasopressin works to bond a man to a woman and create attachment to his offspring.

Vasopressin is often referred to as the “monogamy molecule.”  Why?  Because it appears to be the primary cause of a man’s attachment to a woman with whom he shares close and intimate physical contact.  The God who creates and loves life has provided a way for the human race to survive.  This “monogamy molecule” is important not just to create a bond with a woman, but with the children that come from that bond.  In the healthy and selfless bond of husband and wife, children have a greater chance of being raised by two biological parents — both of whom are attached to those children.  Such attachment provides sons and daughters with an increased chance of better health and a more hopeful future.

If Matt is physically intimate with a woman — wisely or unwisely — he can bond with her.  If Matt is unwise in his choice, the bond may lead to a long-term, but unhealthy and destructive relationship.  Bonding may tie Matt to a woman who disrespects or abuses him.  It wouldn’t be unusual for Matt to keep going back to a woman who treats him poorly and, if asked, he wouldn’t know why he does it.  Simply put, vasopressin floods a man’s brain (just like oxytocin floods a woman’s brain) and produces a partial bond with every sexual partner.

Men, like women, can become addicted to the “rush” of sexual intimacy.  But, being sexually intimate with many women places at risk the vital ability to develop a healthy, long-term attachment to one woman.  Studies show that the brain can “mold and gel” so that, in time, it begins accepting that particular sexual pattern as normal.  Such a pattern, however, “seems to interfere with the development of the neurological circuits  necessary for the long-term relationships that for most people result in stable marriages and family development.  The pattern of changing sex partners therefore seems to damage their ability to bond in a committed relationship.”  (p. 43 of Hooked by Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., and Freda McKissic Bush, M.D.)

“The inability to bond after multiple sexual encounters,” writes Drs. McIlhaney and McKissic Bush, “is almost like tape that loses its stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times.”

Matt’s brain is the most powerful sexual organ in his body.  But, in keeping with God’s design, the brain needs to be used, molded and adapted in the right ways — for life — or, with wrong behavior, parts of it will wither and die.  Perhaps, for this reason, God’s Word says in Deuteronomy 30:19-20:

I set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him . . .”

Shame on adults who tempt Matt.  Who open the gates to adventures in sex, but fail to explain his “monogamy molecule.”  Who keep from Matt God’s Word for life.  Who ignore the lesson of the sticky tape.

Read Full Post »

Maura is “hooked,” but she has faith in the Savior of her life.  His Word is real to her.  It will speak to her conscience.  Maura also has a friend who will be honest with her and always remind her why setting boundaries and guarding body, mind and soul is healthy and hopeful.

But, Nichole has faith in the things of the world.  She doesn’t have a friend who will be honest with her.  She, too, is “hooked,” but doesn’t realize it.   Nichole, like Maura and most every other young (or older) woman, doesn’t know about neurochemicals.

Oxytocin is a neurochemical.  It is present in both male and female, but is primarily active in females.  The female body releases oxytocin at four different times.  Take note!  Each has to do with procreation and the care of children.  Oxytocin is released:

  • During meaningful or intimate touching with another person (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During sexual intercourse (Action: bonding and trust)
  • During the onset of labor in a pregnant woman (Action: causes uterine contractions, results in birth)
  • After baby’s delivery (Action: stimulates nipples and produces flow of milk from mom for nursing)

How does the human race continue?  God said that husband and wife would become “one flesh.”  Sexual intimacy results not only in the bonding of two people, but in procreation.  Oxytocin plays a vital role in the continuation of the human race.  With sexual touch, the woman’s brain is flooded with oxytocin.  She wants to be with the man she has bonded to.  Long-term connectedness often results in healthy male-female relationships.  It is actually rare for an American woman in an intact marriage to have sexual intercourse with anyone except her husband.  Such stability is affected by oxytocin.  Think of the significance.  The bonding of father and mother greatly increases the chance for a child to be raised in a healthy, two-parent home.  Such a child is blessed, not necessarily with a perfect home (do they exist?), but with a hopeful environment for becoming all God desires them to be.

The world speaks about the emotions of love.  The emotions of connectedness.  In reality, the desire to connect is more than an emotional feeling.  Bonding is like glue.  And it can’t be undone or ripped apart without great emotional pain.

Whether Maura or Nichole realize it, they are “hooked” to the men with whom they are sexually intimate.  The flow of oxytocin serves to promote trust.  Oxytocin will trigger the bonding process even if a girl hasn’t “gone all the way,” but has kissed and hugged a boy.  For this reason, if he wants to “do more,” it will become increasingly difficult for her to say “no.”  Parents!  Do you know this?  When you allow your thirteen-year-old daughter to spend long periods of time with a boy, you are placing her in serious jeopardy.  Her protective boundary of modesty and inhibition will gradually break down with each kiss, each touch, each pledge of love… even though the boy she’s with has no intention of marrying her or having children with her.

Maura’s confession to me said it all.  “. . . It’s so very strange.  The more time I spend with my boyfriend, the more I need to be with him.”  Does Nichole find herself in the same circumstance?  Before a well-meaning counselor, Planned Parenthood clinic, or parent gets her on The Pill (or whatever), do they tell her about oxytocin?  Do they explain that she’s going to be “hooked” because neurochemicals are doing what they’re supposed to do?

The cruelty is this.  Our culture removes all the boundaries.  It encourages sexual activity among boys and girls.  Then it washes its hands by saying, “We explained how to do this safely.”  But, who turns off the oxytocin?  Maura has difficulty breaking with the boyfriend who isn’t good for her because she has bonded with him.  Nichole has been in several intimate relationships.  She has “hooked up.”  Has “friends with benefits.”  All seems so casual.  So harmless.  So sophisticated.  But, oxytocin is at work.  Every time that Nichole and her “friend” break up and she moves on to a new sexual partner, a bond is being broken.  This is emotional.  Painful.  Sometimes paralyzing.

In truth, being sexually intimate with one person, breaking up, and being sexually intimate with another is like a divorce.  Repeating this cycle again and again places a girl in danger of negative emotional consequences.  Nichole doesn’t realize it, but she is acting against — actually fighting — her own body and the way she was designed to function.  Eventually, damage is done to her brain’s natural connecting or bonding mechanism.

Sexual intimacy, as Maura has discovered, is addictive.  But, she has the hope for change in God’s Word and the honesty of a friend.  What does Nichole have?  Who will speak on her behalf?  Who will guard her body?  Mind?  Soul?

(Source: Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children  by Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., and Freda McKissic Bush, M.D.)

Read Full Post »

Maura, a young and spirited woman, invited me into her life.   She seems to welcome the experience of age and expresses the need for a “mother” figure.  Maura is intelligent.  More mature than most her age.  She has a tangible dream and works hard in college.  Maura displays all the normal feelings and emotions that come with being female.  But, there is more.  Wisdom speaks to Maura through her conscience.  The answers to my questions consistently reveal that Maura delights in all things of God… but, she is “hooked” to her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend’s words of love cause Maura to feel special.  He has demands.  She tries to please.    The warmth of his embrace encourages her loyalty.  But, his lack of commitment makes her vulnerable.  She isn’t sure how he really feels about her because his attention is easily distracted away from her.  She hopes the relationship will change.

Time passes between our visits.  We have talked at length about our identity as creations of God, so every now and then, I remind her of her value by mail or text.  Maura almost always responds with a request: “Can we get together?”  At lunch or on a walk, she brings me up to date.  She is busy with work and studies.  When the conversation turns to relationships, Maura smiles when she talks about her dad.  “I’m happy when I’m with him.  I feel safe at home.”  But, when I inquire about her boyfriend, Maura’s smile always fades.

During our last visit, Maura seemed less confident.  More sad.  She uttered not one positive or hopeful word about her boyfriend.  “So,” I asked, “why do you stay with him?”  Her shoulders drooped.  She stared past me for a few seconds.  Sighed.  Then shuttered.  “He isn’t good for me,” she confessed.  “But, it’s so very strange.  The more time I spend with my boyfriend, the more I need to be with him.”

The honesty of our friendship compelled me to take a deep breath… then look into her eyes.  “Maura, you’ve fallen into a bad habit.  You’re hooked.”  Tears that flowed were evidence of the tug-of-war for Maura’s heart.  Mind. And soul.

Maura is “hooked” not because she is uneducated, but because she is wrongly educated.  The culture has told her: “We are sexual from birth.”  (What does this mean?)   Maura is “hooked” not because she missed out on “Sex 101” but because she was encouraged at a young age to “be comfortable with” her “sexuality.”  Maura is “hooked” not because she is rebellious, but because she followed the rule: “Be responsible by practicing safe sex.”

Planned Parenthood-style sex education instructs in the act of sex, sexual fantasy, contraception, abortion, self-pleasure, gender role stereotypes, sexual diversity, HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases.  Maura’s well-meaning school, counselors, and adult mentors probably followed SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.) guidelines, thus believing they had provided everything Maura and her peers needed to know.

Sex education seems comprehensive, doesn’t it?  Would appear to reveal all the facts, right?  Then why is Maura, like countless other young women, in conflict with herself?  Why is her soul troubled?  Does her heart ache?  Are her thoughts confused?   Because, observe physicians, psychologists, and biologists, some vital information has been kept from Maura and her generation.  I agree.  Truth has been withheld.  That truth is: Male and female are different.

Militant feminists deny this difference.  They’ve been working feverishly to repress this difference so that women can shed their role of “helper” and, instead, compete with men.   So, everything girlish and womanly is minimized, managed, and sadly misguided.  No one informed Maura that her female brain predisposes her to yearn for love, understanding, connection, and communication.  No one informed Maura that her chemistry promotes attachment and trust of her boyfriend.  No one told Maura that her female wiring causes her to take risks by overlooking her boyfriend’s shortcomings.  Maura’s unique physiological vulnerability to intimate behavior was never explained because that would be a “gender stereotype.”

Maura knows her relationship isn’t what it should be.  As a Christian, she knows it isn’t what God desires for her.  But, even if she wasn’t a Christian, she would sense that something was wrong.  What is wrong is that educators in “sexuality” have failed girls and boys.

As a “helper,” I have promised not to fail my young friend by fooling her.  Or manipulating her.  There is one truth for Maura… and all the rest of us.  It is the truth of our design.  Divine design.  This design by God is evidenced by our anatomy.  Pure biology and scientific study.

Sure.  This messed up world complicates everything.  We may be “hooked” into harmful relationships.  But, Maura matters.  So, we are discussing a new life — unhooked and set free.  Set free to be all she was created to be.

(Recommended reading: You’re Teaching My Child What? by Miriam Grossman, M.D.)

Read Full Post »