How Do Hormones Affect Intimacy?
Modern Age | Feb 13, 2023
Hormones regulate every process in your body, like metabolism, sleep-wake function, and body temperature. Did you know hormones also play a role in how you experience intimacy, influencing basic sexual desire, attraction, and attachment?
An understanding of hormones and intimacy can help you navigate the stages of love and lust—and even pave the path to a more satisfying sex life. Below, we break down the relationship between hormones and intimacy.
Getting to Know Your Hormones at Every Stage of Intimacy
How do hormones affect intimacy, exactly? It depends on the stage. There are three basic stages of intimacy: lust, attraction, and attachment. Each one is regulated by its own set of hormones.
The lust phase of intimacy, also called the desire phase, is driven by the need for sexual satisfaction. You might experience it as that animalistic "gotta have 'em now" feeling. The biological goal is sex, not emotional connection.
The lust or desire phase is predominantly regulated by two hormones:
Testosterone: Testosterone increases sex drive in both men and women, although the effects are more powerful in men.
Estrogen: Estrogen likewise drives the desire for sex and physical closeness. It also plays a valuable role in vaginal health.
The attraction phase might be what you think of as the honeymoon phase of a relationship. The lust and attraction phases can be linked, or they can occur independently of one another.
While testosterone and estrogen play a role in every phase, the attraction phase of intimacy is particularly regulated by three hormones:
Dopamine: Dopamine creates sensations of ecstasy. It's also linked to focus, which helps explain why you zero in on that one person when you're feeling attracted to them.
Norepinephrine: Norepinephrine is associated with the body's biological fight-or-flight response. When combined with dopamine, it boosts energy and creates feelings of euphoria.
Serotonin: Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite, among other basic functions. The hormone declines during this phase, which can help explain those sleepless nights you may experience early on in love.
The attraction phase can last for a few months and then fade—or it can lead to the attachment phase. In this stage, you might experience feelings of comfort, calm, and security.
The attachment stage of intimacy is regulated by two main hormones:
Oxytocin: You might see oxytocin referred to as "the love hormone." It helps forge bonds between individuals, creating feelings of calm and security.
Vasopressin: Vasopressin encourages bonding and creates feelings of happiness linked to a particular person. Basically, it makes you want to be with that person, not just anyone.
Harnessing the link between hormones and intimacy
Fulfilling, caring relationships are part of a happy and healthy life. Everybody wants—and deserves—to experience intimacy. Hormones play a big role in allowing us to establish intimacy and form the connections that lead to those relationships.
Unfortunately, hormones aren't always consistent. As we get older, the way our bodies regulate hormones changes. For example, as we get older, our production of testosterone (for both men AND women) starts to decline, so you may experience a decline in sexual desire or find that sex is less satisfying than it used to be.
The good news? There are steps you can take to get a handle on your hormones. At Modern Age, we offer our Aging Wellness Assessment, examining psychological, physiological, and lifestyle factors that are impacting your hormones. Our panel examines more than 55 wellness markers, including those associated with energy, metabolism, and sexual wellness.
Based on that assessment, we can optimize your age to help you achieve more energy, less stress—and better sex. Our tailored hormone therapies can help with various symptoms impacting intimacy, from low sex drive to lack of sensation.
For more information on how it works, book your free consultation today.