Duke University Study: Sex Can Be A Religious Experience

Apparently screaming Oh My God is like a form of worship. How is sex like going to church? It sounds like stand-up, but it’s actually science.

The so-called “love hormone,” oxytocin, which occurs naturally in the body and is released during sex, boosts spirituality, according to research from Duke University. The study suggests that when you increase lovemaking, life gets more, well, divine.

For guys, anyway.

Men, as with everything, came first on the research agenda. In the males-only study, published in the online journal, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, subjects were given either oxytocin or a placebo. Those who got a dose of the “love hormone” reported a greater sense of spirituality shortly after taking it and a week later — even men who hadn’t previously made faith part of their experience. Participants on oxytocin also experienced more OMG positive emotions during meditation, said lead author Patty Van Cappellen, a social psychologist at Duke.

“Spirituality and meditation have each been linked to health and well-being in previous research,” Van Cappellan told Duke Today. “We were interested in understanding biological factors that may enhance those spiritual experiences. Oxytocin appears to be part of the way our bodies support spiritual beliefs.”

The “love hormone” affected subjects in varying degrees. Those with a gene called CD38, which regulates its release in the brain, had a much more amplified response.

Oxytocin has proven to be a rich source of study. It has previously been linked with boosting empathy, trust, social bonding and altruism. It’s also been associated with promoting weight loss in men.

Oxytocin, which is also stimulated during childbirth and breastfeeding, operates somewhat differently in men and women, noted Van Cappellen. Oxytocin’s effects on women’s spirituality still needs to be investigated.

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