Oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oestrogen are
all released during the female orgasm, and they all have a positive effect on
feelings and emotions.
Oxytocin the Cuddle Hormone
Often referred to as the love hormone, oxytocin is a hormone
that’s released in large amounts at childbirth, and is responsible for flooding
a woman’s body with love and stimulating the nipples, ready for breastfeeding. It then continues to play a role in milk production and
maternal instincts and behaviour.
However, it is now also known to be released during
the sexual response,  triggering feelings of love and
intimacy and the desire for bonding, attachment and closeness.
Studies have found that levels of oxytocin in the blood plasma rise significantly during
orgasm,  further supporting the theory that oxytocin is
released during orgasm.
Oxytocin increases the desire many females have for close
contact after orgasm, which in turn promotes feelings of calm, helping to reduce feelings of
stress and anxiety  and promoting relaxation and deep sleep.
Serotonin the Mood Regulator
Serotonin is a hormone produced by the nerve cells and is
responsible for stabilising our moods. It therefore
helps to keep anxiety and depression in check. Low
levels of serotonin are found in individuals experiencing depression,
suggesting that higher levels promote feelings of happiness. It
also plays a role in regulating appetite and sleep.
Studies have shown that the area of the brain that’s
responsible for controlling the release of serotonin become more active during the
female orgasm. These same studies have shown that this
can have a pain relieving effect, revealing that women can actually feel
less physical pain  as a result of
having an orgasm.
Dopamine the Pleasure and Reward Stimulator
Dopamine is a neurochemical, a hormone produced by the
brain, that stimulates the pleasure and reward centre of the brain. It’s connected to feelings of pleasure and enjoyment such
as when eating certain foods, the thrill of certain experiences and the highs
of a gambling win.Lo w dopamine levels are associated
with depression, anxiety, lethargy and a lack of pleasure.
Unsurprisingly then, dopamine is also connected to the
feelings of desire and pleasure experienced during the sexual response and
orgasm. During orgasm, the blood is flooded with
dopamine, reinforcing the positive feelings of pleasure.
It’s also thought that dopamine helps the brain ‘learn’ that
the reward of an orgasm has so many benefits, so that it works on ways to
stimulate this reward further, by wanting more – the so-called pleasure and
reward of dopamine release. This could even help to shape our sexual
Endorphins, the Natural Pain Relievers
Following on from the news that serotonin can help to reduce
pain, the brain also releases endorphins, that are the body’s
natural painkillers. This is
thought to explain why it can feel pleasurable to experiment with otherwise
uncomfortable sensations such as pinching and hair pulling during sexual play.
Endorphins, often known as feel-good hormones, also promote
feelings of relaxed sleepiness and happiness, the familiar feelings of
The Role of Oestrogen in the Female Orgasm – and Beyond?
Oestrogen is an important female sex hormone, responsible
for everything from female sexual characteristics and emotional wellbeing to
bone health. As a woman ages and enters her perimenopausal years, her natural oestrogen levels begin to
decline until the menopause and beyond.
This decline in oestrogen is responsible for the majority,
if not all, of the physical and emotional symptoms of the perimenopause and the
menopause. Physical symptoms include hot flushes,
night sweats, weight gain, muscle mass loss, loss of bone strength and
headaches. Emotional symptoms include mood swings,
brain fog, cognitive difficulty, depression and anxiety.
So it’s clear that it can be a difficult time, with symptoms
potentially lasting a decade or more. Medical
interventions such as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, and natural remedies
including the consumption of plant oestrogens, help to increase the level of
oestrogen in a woman’s body, helping to provide welcome relief from symptoms.
There is new evidence that when a woman reaches orgasm, her levels of oestrogen increase.  This could therefore have significant
consequences for the management of perimenopausal and
menopausal symptoms, without the threat of side effects such as an increased
risk of breast cancer. Studies so far have only been
carried out on premenopausal women, opening a potential research floodgate for
more, much needed, research.