Have you ever had a hook-up that, while just a hook-up, had your knees shaking the next day just thinking about it? You’ll grin at yourself thinking of all the dirty things you did, and you feel the dreaded heart pangs, and you just can’t get that person off of your mind. I fucking hate that shit. I spend the next day in a long-term post-coital haze. I usually spend this time reading celebrity magazines, and I try to get a mani/pedi, and I shower like 10 times hoping that if I can just get the smell off of me I will be way less likely to remember it, and therefore be 10 times less crazy.
It never works.
You know what the number one pain in the ass is when a lady like me tries to casually date men? Attachment.
Attachment is a funny thing, because rarely do we have control over it. Rarely do we get to pick whom we are attached to. I am not going to pretend to claim that women have this higher capacity for attachment than men, because for one, the science is fuzzy, and for two, gender-based generalizations make me feel icky. What I can say for certain, is that my brain is keen as all hell on producing oxytocin and giving me a swift dose of it whenever I sleep with someone, which makes the whole slutting around thing way less awesome. I do indeed have a higher capacity for attachment than the men I sleep with.
What’s responsible for this madness? It might be this little thing you may have heard of called oxytocin.
Oxytoxcin is often nicknamed the “cuddle chemical.” I know, right? According to Katy Sukel (1), it’s a polypeptide hormone produced in the hypothalamus. It acts like a neurotransmitter and is basically responsible for a whole lot of stuff involving the female reproduction system, although men produce it as well. Oxytocin production is triggered by a number of things. Cuddling, looking at a baby, and according to Sukel, even micro social interactions like Twitter can give you an oxytocin boost. Oxytocin is also that motherfucker that is a huge part of the reason we are capable of “pair-bonding” (or as I experience it these days, that can’t pull yourself away from your cell phone while waiting for that douchewipe” to text you back feeling).
Let’s make up a scenario. I will meet a guy. He seems physically attractive, but not even my “type.” There are serious things that I find unattractive in this man, but he is Attractive Enough. His personality leaves something to be desired, but like we said–attractive enough. Since we’re being all science-y, he probably has some nice smelling pheromones, right?
Anyway, I sleep with this guy. Sex isn’t even that good, but I apparently got hot enough for my brain to be flooded with annoying sex hormones. Who can’t I get off my mind for the next two weeks? Mr. OkayLookingNotThatInterestingMediocreSex. All I want to do is bang this guy again, but this guy and I had an arrangement of casualness, and it’s not happening fast enough for my oxytocin-raddled brain to handle it.
Often times, the only thing that cures it is sleeping with someone else who is just as unexciting.
So, imagine how powerful oxytocin really is when you genuinely like a person, and perhaps even get off with them. This is how people end up falling in love. It’s quite beautiful, except for when you really don’t want to fall in love.
The problem with this scenario is no one is at fault. My sexual partners cannot be faulted for sleeping with me when things were clearly casual, and I was honestly, completely, totally genuinely presenting it as such. I cannot be faulted when biological shit goes on in my brain making everything involving this person anything but casual.
So what the hell is a girl to do? Has science figured out a way to hold back this obnoxious neuromodulator from getting in the way of momma gettin’ her sugar? It seems like a terrible idea even if they have, because for all that it’s shitty for, it’s responsible for some other really amazing things. Oxytocin is also why I am not a narcissistic, pathological sociopath. It’s why I’ve been lucky enough to love those I have loved with ferocity. It’s, according to a study by Marazzitti, et al. (2), “The Power of Love” incarnate. Apparently, positive social interaction when wounded triggers oxytocin production that actually helps you heal faster. All you need is love, indeed.
Except I don’t need love. Love, in the romantic sense, is the last thing I need, but I want to get off. How do I avoid this shitshow called emotions?
I mean, the answer is quite simple in that there is no answer, and I obviously don’t want to avoid emotions altogether. Emotions are half the fun when you hook up with someone you actually like, so there’s always that. And I leave you with this final study to remind us of how great emotions are, and how wonderful human interaction and all that crap can be when it’s not in the way of harmless, casual, sexy-times. So says Huey, et al.:
” Related to, but not to be confused with, douchebag, douche or douchenozzle. Douchewipe is the action of wiping oneself after douching. In other words, not even significant enough to be a douche, but more of an afterthought. And yes, this is the person you are waiting to call you back.
1. Sukel, Katy. Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships. (2012). New York, NY: Free Press.
2. Cited in Gouin, J.P., Carter, S., Pournajafi-Nazarloo, H., Glaser, R., Malarkey, W.B., Loving, T.J., Stowell, J., and Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (2010). “Marital Behavior, Oxytocin, Vaspressin, and Wound Healing.” Psychneuroendocrinology 35(7), 1082-1090.