Friday, June 17, 2022

What Part Of The Brain Controls Sexuality

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Sex And The Nervous System

Hypothalamus – Human Brain Series – Part 17

Ah sex, we know it. We love it. And here at Intimina, we love to get down to the nitty-gritty science of it.

Examining whats going on physiologically when were having sex, is not only fun to geek out on, but can help us have better sex by knowing how to work with the complexities of our bodies.

That brings us to our topic at hand sex and the nervous system.

What is The Nervous System?

The human body is an incredibly intelligent piece of work. The nervous system is essentially the command center of the body, with a sort of electrical wiring that regulates the brain, skeletal system, organs, and essentially every function of the body.

The central nervous system regulates the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. While the peripheral nervous system connects the CNS to the skin, limbs, and organs including the genitals.

You can see how this complex network is important when it comes to sex.

Sex and Your Nervous System

Given that the nervous system controls so much of how our bodies work, it makes sense that it also has a huge impact on arousal, connection, and experiencing orgasm.

The limbic system helps regulate parts of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating autonomic bodily responses like breathing, blood pressure, and pulse. Thought of as the primitive area of the brain, the limbic system, also plays a role in physical drives and emotional processing and is activated during sex.

When The Nervous System is Dysregulated

So What Part Of The Brain Controls Sexual Arousal

It is known that sex begins in the brain, but it is less known that the areas of the brain destined for sexual activity are greater in the male brain. Does this mean that men and women are destined to enjoy sex differently? The answer is no.

The fact is that in order to have a complete sexual experience, the joint and simultaneous work of almost all parts of the brain is necessary, whether it is a man or a woman.

The occipital lobe is used when you see a very low-cut dress or a T-shirt that marks the biceps. If you place your hands there, signals of what you feel reach the parietal lobe in the opposite hemisphere, warns Norwegian neuroscientist Kaja Nordengen.

The recognition of what you find attractive occurs, however, in the frontal lobe, with the collaboration of the limbic system.

With the help of the frontal lobe, the focus of your attention is concentrated on what attracts you and you pay much less attention to the rest of the things around you. In addition, the activation of different regions of the cerebral cortex are also completely decisive all hormonal changes, which are also controlled by the brain, she adds.

The neurologist at Akershus University Hospital in Oslo, where she received her doctorate in 2014, also points out that while many different regions of the brain work together in a complete sexual experience, it is enough, in fact, to stimulate the cortex in the brain between the hemispheres to produce erections in primates.

Resuming Sex After Brain Injury

Before resuming sex, talk with your doctor. Be guided by their advice, but general suggestions include:

  • Talk about your expectations, fears and feelings. A couple can solve most relationship problems if they communicate frankly with each other.
  • Take it easy, and try not to put too much pressure on yourselves.
  • Focus on pleasure, rather than technique. You may need to change your earlier style of lovemaking for a while. For example, if penis-in-vagina sex isnt possible, experiment with other sexual activities including oral sex and mutual masturbation.
  • Concentrate on boosting the romance in your relationship. Suggestions include remembering to appreciate and compliment each other, offering lots of affection and celebrating special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

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Edcs In Adulthood Influence Sexually Dimorphic Brain Morphology

There is a robust sex difference in the volume of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area, an important brain region for sexual behavior, with male rats typically having larger volumes than females. Exposure to phytoestrogens in adulthood may in part maintain this sexual dimorphism in brain morphology. When male and female rats are switched from a phytoestrogen-rich diet to a phytoestrogen-free diet in adulthood, this sex difference is abrogated .

Together, these data demonstrate that perinatal and adult exposure to EDCs can negatively affect sexual development, reproductive function, and sexual dimorphisms in the brain. Because there has been little systematic investigation of the organizational and/or activational effects of EDCs on these parameters in animal models, it is necessary to further and determine the extent to which E2 and/or ER actions in the hypothalamus mediate these effects.

What Does This Mean For Men With Sexual Dysfunction

What part of brain controls hunger and thirst John K. Young ...

The Northwestern team says a low sex drive, known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, is a common problem among men using certain antidepressants known as SSRIs. Bulun believes boosting aromatase can restore the testosterone-estrogen conversion.

For men experiencing compulsive sexual desire on the other hand, dampening this gene just like the mice may be the answer. The study cautions however, existing drugs which inhibit aromatase can cause osteoporosis, a condition causing the bones to become brittle and weak. Using this new research, Bulun says specific drugs which only target the brain area where aromatase works can avoid these side-effects.

The study appears in the journal Endocrinology.

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The Brain Of Sexual Attraction

A hormonal and cerebral storm is constituted in the most powerful force directed to satisfy the erotic desire. Its objective is the closeness and union of the couple, which will culminate in sexual union, the closest way in which two human beings can be.

This happens by the activation of circuits that carry somatosensory information from the genitals to the brain and thanks to the activation of the hypothalamus, which sets in motion an attraction system through the effect of arousal hormones, adrenaline, and sex hormones, testosterone and estrogens.

Its release is accompanied by a modification of the mood with a feeling of well-being, optimism and euphoria. It is associated with behaviors of anxiety, obsessive or lacking judgment and objectivity in the evaluation of the loved one.

The entire system is triggered by certain stimuli such as an erotic image -, which is accompanied by an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, metabolic changes that increase muscle capacity, and changes in the blood that increase the disposition of oxygen. Changes in the sexual attraction phase overlap the next: romantic love.

The complexity of love goes beyond the structures and neurotransmitters involved in your experience. However, with the help of neuroscience, we can get closer and closer to deciphering such an abstract concept.

Fraternal Birth Order Effect

The effect does not mean that all or most sons will be gay after several male pregnancies, but rather, the odds of having a gay son increase from approximately 2% for the first born son, to 4% for the second, 6% for the third and so on. Scientists have estimated between 15% and 29% of gay men owe their sexual orientation to this effect, but the number may be higher, as prior miscarriages and terminations of male pregnancies may have exposed their mothers to Y-linked antigens. In addition, the effect is nullified in left handed men. As it is contingent on handedness and handedness is a prenatally determined trait, it further attributes the effect to be biological, rather than psychosocial. The fraternal birth order effect does not apply to the development of female homosexuality. Blanchard does not believe the same antibody response would cause homosexuality in first born gay sons â instead, they may owe their orientation to genes, prenatal hormones and other maternal immune responses which also influence fetal brain development.

The few studies which have not observed a correlation between gay men and birth order have generally been criticized for methodological errors and sampling methods.J. Michael Bailey has said that no plausible hypothesis other than a maternal immune response has been identified.

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The Nerve Endings That Take Part In An Orgasm

Theres a huge amount of nerves in the genital regions. These nerves send information to your brain about what youre experiencing. Each of these nerve endings causes different effects inside us. Even the clitoris by itself has more than 8,000 nerve endings! So just imagine the heaps of different sensations women can have, and the amount of processes going on in your brain during an orgasm!

These genital nerves communicate with other, bigger ones. And then those send that information to your dorsal spine. From there they go to your spinal cord and continue on to your brain. The nerves the play the biggest part when it comes to transmitting an orgasm are the:

  • Hypogastric: it sends signals from the uterus and the prostate .
  • Pudendum: it sends signals from the uterus and the prostate .
  • Vagus: it sends signals from the cervix, uterus, and vagina.

The 13 Reasons We Have Sex

How Our Brains Control Our Sex Life | Studio 10

The hypothalamus of female rodents has greater levels of methylation than males: that is, more genes are suppressed. Giving such females testosterone postnatally reduces this. In other words, some of the methylation markers are removed, releasing those genes to become active. Such females behave more like males. Furthermore, giving a drug to little males that prevents de-methylation results in them behaving more like females.

In seems that the brain may develop with a number of genes in the neurons of the hypothalamus suppressed: If this is left unaltered, then the individual will develop as a female. This agrees with the long-standing view that the “default” condition is female. However, testosterone is able to remove selected methylation tags, thus releasing genes that determine male-like behavior. Now we need to know exactly what these genes do and, even more difficult, why they should specify gender. But its a start, and this breakthrough may be a door to a much greater understanding of how sexuality develops and what influences it.

Of course, theres another major question: Does this apply to humans? From what we know, we can prophesy that it likely does, but that sexuality in humans in all its forms will also be greatly influenced by social and experiential factors to an extent, perhaps, not so apparent in other speciesbut which may also involve epigenetic events.

A more technical account can be found here.


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The Central Mechanisms Of Sexual Function

The management of erectile dysfunction has changed dramatically in recent years, as advances in molecular biology have given us a better understanding of the erectile process as well as the pathophysiology of erectile disorders. Until relatively recently, however, most research in ED focused on peripheral neurophysiology and on the local tissues of the penis, leading to the development of highly effective treatments such as penile injections and sildenafil. There has, however, been growing interest in the role of the central nervous system in the control of erectile function, and researchers have begun to develop medications that target these central mechanisms. The first of these agents is apomorphine, a drug that has been used for over a century for the treatment of Parkinsons disease and other disorders. Researchers began evaluating apomorphine as a potential treatment for ED in the mid 1980s, and it is currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration. Unlike sildenafil, which acts only on tissues in the penis, apomorphine acts directly on the brain.

An erection is a carefully orchestrated series of events controlled by the CNS. We now know that the penis is under the complete control of the CNS, both during sexual arousal and at rest. As our Working Group colleague William D. Steers has noted, any disturbance in the network of nerve pathways that connects the penis and the CNS can lead to problems with erections.

What Part Of The Brain Controls Attraction

The part of the brain that controls attraction is the frontal lobe with the collaboration of the limbic system. With the help of the frontal lobe, the focus of your attention is focused on what attracts you and you pay much less attention to the rest of the things around you.

The old drive to procreate is necessary for survival and must be wired in our brains. Now, scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in the United States, have discovered an important clue about the neurons involved in that wiring: a small group of neurons that are sensitive to sex hormones in the hypothalamus of the mice are specialized in inducing rodents to notice the opposite sex and trigger attraction.

This study, led by Garret D. Stuber, associate professor of Psychiatry and Cell Biology and Physiology, and Jenna A. McHenry, a postdoctoral research associate in Stubers lab, identified a hormone-sensitive circuit in the brain that controls the social motivation in female mice.

These neurons essentially take sensory and hormonal signals and translate them into motivated social behavior, explains Stuber, who is also a member of the UNC Center for Neuroscience.

The findings, detailed in a paper published in Nature Neuroscience, provide insight into the neural roots of opposite-sex social behavior in mammals and may also be relevant to certain psychiatric illnesses.

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Men Think About Sex All Day Long

A recent study at Ohio State University of over 200 students debunks the popular myth that men think about sex every seven seconds. That would mean 8,000 thoughts in 16 waking hours! The young men in the study reported thoughts of sex 19 times per day on average. The young women in the study reported an average of 10 thoughts about sex per day.

So do men think about sex twice as much as women? Well, the study also suggested that men thought about food and sleep more frequently than women. Its possible that men are more comfortable thinking about sex and reporting their thoughts. Terri Fisher, the lead author of the study, claims that people who reported being comfortable with sex in the studys questionnaire were most likely to think about sex on a frequent basis.

Roi Analyses: Relationship Between Extracted Gmv From Clusters And Gender Roles Self


In subsequent exploratory analyses, we investigated whether the identified GMV clusters were significantly related to the participants self-concept of gender roles. VBM ROI gray matter analyses were performed on clusters emerging from the heterosexual> homosexual and the reverse contrast and masculinity and femininity scores from the BSRI questionnaire. Mean parameter estimates were extracted using MarsBaR and entered into SPSS 20 analyses . Partial one-tailed correlations were performed between GMVs and gender identity scores with age, TIV and handedness as covariates of no interest.

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Neurons Specialized In Social Behaviors

When these tiny beacons reached the mPOA, they ended up highlighting neurons in the VTA that express a gene called neurotensin.

Analyzes of these neurons in the VTA showed that most of them also express estrogen receptors and therefore are susceptible to rises and falls of ovarian hormones in the fertility cycle of the female mouse, also known as the heat cycle.

The scientists continued to study this specific set of mPOA neurons in live mice, which was a considerable challenge. Microscopy techniques that allow imaging of brain cells in awake mice generally cannot visualize anything deeper than a fraction of a millimeter below the surface of the brain, but mPOA is several millimeters deep.

To avoid this problem, Stubers team used tiny tubular lenses connected from their microscope to the mPOA.

Using a technique known as two-photon calcium imaging, he was able to visualize the activity of mPOA neurons in awake female mice. To improve the precision of the technique, the researchers used mice that had been genetically modified so that only their neurotensin neurons could be imaged in the mPOA.

With our setup, we could take pictures of the mice a couple of times a week and each time find the same cells that we previously recorded brain activity from, says Stuber.

This suggests that certain neurons in the brain may be specialized to prefer social rewards over non-social rewards and that social signal processing is sensitive to circulating hormones, McHenry summarizes.

Actions For This Page

  • Brain injury can change the way a person experiences and expresses their sexuality.
  • Common problems can include reduced sex drive, difficulties with sexual functioning and behaving sexually at inappropriate times.
  • Talking about sex can be embarrassing, but it is important for the person with brain injury and their loved ones to discuss the various problems and seek professional advice.

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Brain Regions Mediating Human Sexual Behaviour

Table 2 shows the key brain regions mediating human sexual behaviour based on a review of the human literature examining the effect of neurological insult on sexual behaviour, and recent functional neuroimaging findings that complement this research. Six main regions, and their associated sexual functions, are identified, including three subcortical and three cortical regions. The subcortical regions comprise: the septal region, involved in the mediation of pleasurable response and orgasm, the hypothalamus, mediating neuroendocrine and autonomic aspects of sexual drive with possible involvement in sexual orientation and the ansa lenticularis and pallidus, implicated in the mediation of sexual drive. The cortical regions comprise: the frontal lobes, mediating the motor components of sexual behaviour and the control of sexual response, the parietal lobes, specifically the paracentral lobule, involved in genital sensation and the temporal lobes, in particular the amygdalae, implicated in sexual orientation, sexual drive and disorders of sexual function .

Table 2Key brain regions mediating human sexual behaviour

Key brain regions

Men Are More Open To Casual Sex

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One study conducted in 2015 suggests that men are more willing than women to engage in casual sex. In the study, 6 men and 8 women approached 162 men and 119 women either at a nightclub or at a college campus. They issued an invitation for casual sex. A significantly higher proportion of men accepted the offer than women.

However, in the second part of the same study conducted by these researchers, women appeared more willing to accept invitations for casual sex when they were in a safer environment. Women and men were shown pictures of suitors and asked whether or not they would consent to casual sex. The gender difference in responses disappeared when women felt they were in a safer situation.

The difference between these two studies suggests that cultural factors like social norms can have a big impact on the way that men and women seek out sexual relationships.

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