DopamineDopamine is the neurochemical associated with motivation and salience. It plays a role in all of our biological drives. For example, pair bonding registers as rewarding in part because of dopamine.

Dopamine powerfully influences mood, perception and priorities via the brain’s reward system. Too high or too low and we can feel a bit manic, or the reverse.

There’s an eerie thing about dopamine. If it’s chronically too high the brain self-regulates by decreasing receptors for it. This downregulation can interfere with our sensitivity to pleasure.

When this happens, we can wait for our brain to return to normal sensitivity (regain) homeostasis. Or we can force the production of more dopamine using “hotter” stimuli. The latter can further slow the brain’s return to normal pleasure sensitivity. It may even throw us into a downward spiral of dissatisfaction, or perhaps cravings.

Many of the post-climax neurochemical events listed on this site have an impact on dopamine among their effects on limbic tone. These subtle, but very real, brain changes occur without conscious awareness. There’s a way to become aware of them. Contrast how you feel when engaged in excessive stimulation with how you feel when engaged in practices that improve limbic tone. The latter include meditation, exercise, Synergy, healthy diet, etc.

Managing sex carefully may be a way to keep dopamine signalling balanced. This would account for why balance seems to protect sensitivity to everyday pleasures. This, in turn, suggests why Synergy can have unexpected beneficial effects on partnership contentment, cognition, depression, social anxiety, and even easing addiction.

Dopamine and sexual behavior Dopamine and mood, cognition, cravings and perception