Oxytocin: why Women can’t have Affairs.

Via on Dec 6, 2010

Update:  A single dose of the hormone oxytocin, delivered via nasal spray, has been shown to enhance brain activity while processing social information in children with autism spectrum disorders, Yale researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (psychologytoday.com)

Update: uh, half-nevermind (there’s an entire web site devoted to hooking up under-oxytocinized philandering women):

Original article:

The Chemistry of Love.

Plus, Jealousy: why Men can’t handle Open Relationships.

The Love Hormone (which Men have, too).

When women have affairs they become emotionally bonded whether they like it or not, my friend Lisa said this morning. She told me to look up Oxtocin.

On the other hand, Krystal, who wrote an article about the pros of cons of her considering an Open Relationship, points out that while men may want to play around, they also quickly reject the idea upon seeing that, generally, their ladyfriends find it much easier to find partners.

So if women more easily and deeply bond, and men may think they’re more promiscuous, men are also more protective, jealous, insecure, and unwilling to handle the razor’s edge of non-attachment that an open relationship might require.

And so, in the end, we as a society continue to marry, or stay single, or have affairs, and it’s all so messy and silly and sad and exciting.




Story of my life
Searching for the right
But it keeps avoiding me
Sorrow in my soul
Cause it seems that wrong
Really loves my company

He’s more than a man
And this is more than love
The reason that the sky is blue
The clouds are rolling in
Because I’m gone again
And to him I just can’t be true

And I know that he knows I’m unfaithful
And it kills him inside
To know that I am happy with some other guy
I can see him dying

I don’t wanna do this anymore
I don’t wanna be the reason why
Everytime I walk out the door
I see him die a little more inside
I don’t wanna hurt him anymore
I don’t wanna take away his life
I don’t wanna be…
A murderer

I feel it in the air
As I’m doing my hair
Preparing for another date
A kiss upon my cheek
As he reluctantly
Asks if I’m gonna be out late
I say I won’t be long
Just hanging with the girls
A lie I didn’t have to tell
Because we both know
Where I’m about to go
And we know it very well

Cause I know that he knows I’m unfaithful
And it kills him inside
To know that I am happy with some other guy
I can see him dying

I don’t wanna do this anymore
I don’t wanna be the reason why
Everytime I walk out the door
I see him die a little more inside
I don’t wanna hurt him anymore
I don’t wanna take away his life
I don’t wanna be…
A murderer

Our love, his trust
I might as well take a gun and put it to his head
Get it over with
I don’t wanna do this
Anymore (anymore)

I don’t wanna do this anymore
I don’t wanna be the reason why
And everytime I walk out the door
I see him die a little more inside
And I don’t wanna hurt him anymore
I don’t wanna take away his life
I don’t wanna be…
A murderer (a murderer)

No no no no

Yeah yeah yeah

Oxytocin videos:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom


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37 Responses to “Oxytocin: why Women can’t have Affairs.”

  1. Tiffany says:

    If you have never read Still Life with Woodpecker, I suggest doing so. It will answer all questions you may have about love and relationships. If you have read it and it doesn't, reread it
    "Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free."
    — Tom Robbins

    • Evolve Yoga says:

      beautiful and true!

    • Evolve Yoga says:

      also: i've read skinny legs and all" and "fierce invalids home from hot climates", but i'll have to check out "still life with woodpecker". i love robbins!

    • Ella says:

      One of my all time favorite Toms, one of my all time favorite quotes. Here here! Even Cowgirls Get The Blues is my oatmeal cookie dipped in hot almond milk novel though.

      "The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love. "-Tom Robbins

    • johnie B says:

      Gotta find it and read it. I love Tom Robbins.

    • I love that book! What a great quote.


    • Arion999 says:

      Couldn't agree more about the book. As far as this article goes, it has an agenda in it called monogamy. I just finished the book "Sex at Dawn" about a month ago, and nowhere in their research about pre-historical primordial foraging societies were there incidences of murder or injury based on jealousy or possessiveness towards a mate or life partner. The old matriarchial based societies were mostly non-monogamous. The chemical oxytocin is generated by our desire to connect, belong and bond to others. It is not the all powerful evidence that monogamy is our natural state. In the end, these arguments will fall short of the reality and complexity of the human being (anthropos) and Nature.

  2. elephantjournal says:


    Tobye H hmmmm

    Laura B: that just about sums it up, doesn't it?
    as the Pixies would say,
    "we're chained
    chained" etc etc

  3. [...] that I run in, it is hard to find many people who, upon learning that my partner and I are not 100% sexually exclusive, don’t begin explaining their own preference for monogamy with some degree of [...]

  4. Daniel says:

    There are sweeping generalizations and stereotypes here that are not even true for a majority! There are men that can handle NSA sex it and men that can't there are women that can handle it there are those that can't and far more plasticity in both than the social narratives suggest! Lesson: avoid claiming a one size fits all model of life and projecting it as a norm! vive la différence

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Misty Pitcher we think we know what we want until we get it.

    Ana Maria Sierra Steamy.

    Dillon Naidoo I've been cheated on several times, does this mean I dated a guy

    Dianne Rohr I believe that oxytocin is the hormone that also spills out into a nursing mother's bloodstream, causing her to bond with the child.

    Victor Omark ‎- women don't know what they want, they only know what they don't want.

    Belinda B You get more oxytocin in healthy,committed relationships than you do in casual ones (esp.affairs) – that goes equally for women AND men. Oxytocin also means you're unlikely to look for an affair because it makes you feel the best of anything out there, and it reduces your stress hormone levels.
    elephantjournal.com, you really need to do some science before you start influencing people with mere opinions.

  6. betterdeal says:

    Both times I've been involved with a woman who told me it wasn't exclusive, that they believed in and practised free love, they both became insanely jealous when I started seeing their friends. Bear in mind they were seeing mine, but oh no, I was being a bastard for being happy in the company of another woman.

    Seems this reductionist shit means as much to actual life as that other reductionist shit, astrology.

    • Miles says:

      I have found the same to be true. Many women talk a good talk but can not live with the consequences.

  7. [...] inevitable. Since the fourth century Plato has discussed human societal bonding. We are mammals and we bond with one another through touch. When we have a sexual relationship this creates a coupling—like it or not—for everyone [...]

  8. [...] genuine. He wanted in the game first. They both had that feeling of love—but as the endorphins or oxytocin faded, Eco Boy felt increasingly nervous. He wanted to say sweet, uncool things to her about how he [...]

  9. [...] more romantic than dopamine response system, serotonin high, and oxytocin effect, right? Unless you’re a science geek, in which case you might think it obvious that falling in [...]

  10. [...] more romantic than dopamine response system, serotonin high, and oxytocin effect, right? Unless you’re a science geek, in which case you might think it obvious that falling in [...]

  11. [...] new study published in Journal of Neuroscience measured the effects of the hormone oxytocin on men who were approached by an attractive [...]

  12. [...] then’s there that whole Oxytocin theory about women and affairs. Not sure about that [...]

  13. [...] a great deal to our understanding of the neuroscience behind love by pointing out some of the basic chemicals that are released into the brain whenever a person feels as if they are in [...]

  14. Krishnabrodhi says:

    This piece has blinders on that keeps it from seeing the ocean of people of many genders that happily participate in open relating. And I would be one of them. I have been actively been in open relationships for over 10 years and have never experienced jealousy with regard to my lovers being with others. And I'm pretty sure I'm not some freakish anomaly. Look farther than the monogamy paradigm and you will find a larger truth.

  15. Anna Killilea says:

    I always fall in love, as a woman, and I love falling in love. My husband isn't jelouse when I do fall in love with another guy (I am dating one right now). It is just part of the agreement – when I date I fall in love. Its great fun. I am less promiscuous than my husband though, because I just don't find too many guys I am willing to date. Sure they want to date me, but as a woman, I am picky, and why settle for mediocre when I have a super sweet and sexy husband at home that I am also in love with. Not everyone is jealous. On occasion I feel it for about three minutes, but usually when he is on a date, I feel super happy and proud. Compersion is real, so real that I try to set him up on dates. ANd then I love hearing about them when he gets home. We are best friends and lovers and husband and wife. I also believe that one can control their love. So I pretty much think this article is bogus, because it is built on the premise that falling in love while having an affair is bad, and I think being in love with more than one person at once is awesome!

  16. David says:

    Or maybe read Sex at Dawn…

  17. Rob says:

    Having been through this, I happen to agree with it all. Open relationships work when there is symmetry. Meaning both parties have lovers. I also agree that it’s much easier for a woman to find a lover than a man.

    The unfortunate truth in my situation is the crumbling of the core relationship. The investment into the primary relationship just doesn’t measure up to what is felt and experienced outside. 15 years up in smoke.

    And it’s not just the sexual side either. Open started out meaning open with everything. But 3 years in, it’s a closed relationship with lovers. Interestingly, our marriage and her lovers are both dissolving. Or is it disintegrating. Call it as you may, I’m happier knowing that she is emotionally unavailable. Our relationship has become that similar to her open…. Unattached. And that’s not for me. But not to say open isn’t. Just simply that the terms and conditions of how ours has evolved isn’t.

  18. lsharabi says:

    haven't read this – just the headline: women do have affairs. i have heard it said that statistically it is quite common so i am confused about this title. fact check titles? anyway, rather reductionist no matter what way you look at it.

  19. elephantjournal says:

    Well, at least we have manners—and guts—we don't go by anonymous names to cover our potty mouths. Thanks for the feedback! ~ Waylon

  20. Johnie B. says:

    I love Oxytocin. Every time I have sex I sleep so good, and I'm not good for anything but just to loll about and feel the chem flowing through my body. I feel alive w/ oxytocin fix.!

  21. Yogini5 says:

    I am the kind of mess that was made for an era of monogamy that won't return …
    I need a ring on my finger first. And I'm divorced. But I know my limits

  22. betterdeal says:

    Your prissy language fascism doesn't address the point, Waylon.

  23. elephantjournal says:

    Being able to criticize intelligently and respectfully is the point I'm addressing, here, anonymous friend of anonymous. ~ Waylon

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