A new study published in Journal of Neuroscience measured the effects of the hormone oxytocin on men who were approached by an attractive woman.
Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone. At birth, this hormone is released by the mother and it literally bonds the parents and child for life.
Oxytocin is increased during acts of appreciation, generosity, service, touch, hugging, massage, gratitude, and emotional connections with others.
Oxytocin is sometimes called the “Hugging Hormone” or “Trust Hormone,” because it naturally increases during physical touch, hugging or cuddling. Interestingly, research has shown that while oxytocin levels will rise sharply during an orgasm, they also fall very quickly. Hugging will also raise oxytocin levels sharply, but the levels will stay up for hours after a good hug.
In this study conducted by Dr. Rene Hurlemann at the University of Bonn, a group of men inhaled an oxytocin nasal spray. Some men were single and others in a committed relationship. Forty-five minutes later they were approached by a beautiful woman.
As the women moved closer and closer, the men were asked, at what point the space between themselves and the woman was “ideal,” and when the space between them became “slightly uncomfortable.”
Interestingly, the single men who got the oxytocin allowed the women to come closer and actually moved toward the women. But the men in committed relationships who got the oxytocin kept their distance and did not feel comfortable letting the women come close.
The researchers concluded that when a trusting bond has been made in a relationship, oxytocin reinforces that bond, indicated by the fact that committed men who got the oxytocin were made uncomfortable by the approach of a new beautiful woman. The single men had no previous relationship bond and felt comfortable with a closer proximity.
Oxytocin increases the feelings of trust between family, friends, and loved ones. In rodents, oxytocin is involved in pair bonding and mating for life. In humans, researchers believe oxytocin may support healthy monogamous relationships in humans. They think it could impact fidelity in a good way and act as a love potion, keeping those in committed relationships committed to each other.
In addition to oxytocin being the “bonding hormone” it has one more unique property. The more you trust, hug, give, appreciate, touch and bond with others, the more oxytocin is produced and the more easily it is produced thereafter.
With oxytocin, the more you give, the more you get!
So, to build lasting and trusting relationships —keep hugging. Every hug “seals the bond.”
Journal of Neuroscience. Nov 14, 2012
Ed: Kate B.