Love, Sex & Neuro Chemicals

Question From A Reader:

Dear Shafin,

I have found your website a few months ago and read a lot of your articles, which are quite amazing.

I never did have the time to write about a specific problem of mine and i would appreciate your opinion about this. I heard actually so many different opinions about a lot of people and i guess i poisoned my mind.

I am involved for two years with a kind of on and off and on and off relationship, and i feel i cannot leave from this situation. This person has now idea of what he wants and the truth is a lot of things have gone beyond any boundaries. It’s a situation where i got lost and feel i lose my self and there are times i cannot recognize me. The other day i texted him and said “listen, i think it’s best for both of us to sit down and talk, in order to find a healthy track” and his answer was “it’s a good idea but i can’t this week, maybe sometime next week”. I think i have postponed things for a very long time, and the truth is i have been very patient for so long.

I sat down and thought about everything:

The fact that we are not right for each other because there is a bad vibe between us, he is very negative sometimes, does not know what he wants and cannot make a decision. Unfortunately there i one thing that keeps me going back, and i am ashamed to say it, and i don’t know why i keep doing it. It’s the “sexual part” that i really do like but that’s just it, nothing else!

I really want to move on, i don’t have regrets about the two years i have been with this person but i think that this story has reached to an end.

But how, it’s like i need something to shake me, cause i want to stop thinking about him most of the time. It’s like he has this power over me. Many times i tried to leave from this situation, but it was he would come back or i would go back.

I have my own house, a really good job that pleases me, i have no problem of my looks or the person i am in, i love my family and friends and i am always there for them when needed. But i also like my privacy sometimes, to read my books, make a nice meal and enjoy the moment, etc…

I would so much like to hear from you,

Thank you,


Answer From Shafin:

Dear S***

Let me try to give you a simple explanation to your situation:

1. You are right you do need a shake up for you to move forward. We humans are like that. As long as we can remain in the realm of understandable (our comfort zone) we keep doing what’s NOT working over and over and expect different results. Crazy, I know. But that’s how we are. I’ve been there too; sometimes I catch myself even these days!

2. Here is the biology behind your situation (bear with me here, it will make sense):

When we are in love with someone and we are having sex with them, here is what happens in your brain…

First, the part called Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) lights up and releases dopamine (the feel good neuro-transmitter for motivation and reward). Dopamine is addictive and intoxicating. Its presence makes us giddy with pleasure, which is why the lack of it also makes us irritable.

Now it doesn’t stop there. From VTA, the next area that activates is the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc), the area for intense pleasure and also anticipation of pleasure. Over here men get a huge shot of testosterone and Vasopressin (I’ll tell you what happens with those in a bit) and women get flooded with estrogen and oxytocin.

Testosterone makes men aggressive. Vasopressin makes them territorial and protective of their mate and turf. Estrogen on the other hand makes women all feminine and loving, and oxytocin is the bliss chemical that makes them float in pleasure and bliss.

Now here is where the magic happens… (pay attention here)

After NAc, the next section that activates is the Caudate Nucleus (CN), which is the area of the brain that memorizes the look, feel and identity of the person who is giving the pleasure. The more pleasure you get from this person, the more regularly you get the pleasure, the more chiseled he gets in your long term memory.

What does that mean? It means you will not only seek this person over and over for giving you your shot of dopamine + oxytocin but also you will reject others from coming close to you. Why? Because your brain has memorized the identity of the one specific person from whom it wants its drugs from. It’s nature’s way of increasing our fidelity.

So what is the solution? To solve any problem you need to understand it first. Understanding a problem is 50% solving it. So now you know that your body is addicted to the happy drugs that it believes it can get only from this one person. You need to change that. It’s not going to be easy but at least now you know why it’s happening.

My suggestion:

1. Start dating other people, even though you will probably not like it first. Remember the brain is stuck on this one guy. Let it be. Ignore it like a pebble in your shoe. Its there, nothing you can do for now, so just dance.

2. Remember when you’ll try to stay away from him you will feel a tremendous pull. Normally you’d think its love for him or you miss him. Now you know you are actually missing the dopamine. Your brain is craving the happy drug to feel good. Distract yourself in times of this withdrawal syndrome. Go watch a fun movie. Go out with friends. Eat some chocolates, they cause dopamine release in the brain. Eat almonds, same thing, not as quick as chocolate, but same effect.

3. Go for a vacation somewhere far away if you can. And DO NOT talk to him on the phone while you are out there. Meet new people.

4. Be creative and figure out your own solution, now that you understand the problem a bit better.

Finally, before I end today, here’s a bit of good news for everyone: in a week or two I will be launching a totally free video course called “The Psychology of Attraction”. It will be a crash course on attraction, seduction, evolution and much more. Look out for my email that should reach your inbox sometime in the next couple of weeks (fingers crossed) 🙂  Also if you want to ask any specific questions on this topic, write it in the comment below, I will take the top questions and answer it in the upcoming video course.

Till then, spread the love and make this world a little better today!


Shafin de Zane, CHT, MH, MNLP
Hypnotherapist, Author, Spiritual Coach

40 thoughts on “Love, Sex & Neuro Chemicals

  • A wonderful analysis. I think this is required by all lovers specialy when they are broken heart. This can save their health and may be a little wealth also. but one thing is quite difficult that it takes time to select good friend or partner who is rely caring or loving as in most of the cases compromise is made under the shelter of so called love and when actual test is performed mostly the failures happen and the loosing party suffer who do not have stand by arrangements. Finding a solution in emergency may be quite difficult and risky but if one have the expectations of the limited level the shock so received can be easily absorbed. ANY HOW POINT ADVISED BY YOU IS OF VERY MUCH USEFUL AND PRACTICALLY Adoptable. Appreciated

  • Yes, Shafin, you have hit the nail right on the head. It is a natural trait with all humans that they tend to continued to stay in their "zone" and seldom venture outside. his venturing out is a difficult part, and once done, they can see things from a totally different perspective and improve the situations in life.

    That this person, whose mail you have quoted in your post, is unable to move out of her "zone" and since she is unable to do so, she continues to crave for whatever it was that she derived in that relationship, which according to her does not carry any meaning now. The moment she steps out, she will be a different person vis-a-vis her feelings towards this relationship. And for that whatever you have suggested is the best possible remedy.

    Stepping out of this "zone" is not as difficult as it sounds, just a little persistence is all that is needed. The desire to DO IT.

    Thanks for a very interesting discussion and explanation from you. I enjoyed reading and mulling over it.

  • so is falling in love just an addiction to Dopamine + etc or is there something more to the love bit and the Dopamine addiction is just the lust part?

    • Saying that falling in love is nothing but dopamine addiction would be a bit like saying we love driving cars just because of the rush that comes from racing on a highway. Of course, racing is a rush, but thats not WHY we drive cars. Another way to say this would be that without the gas, no matter how great a driver you are, your car will not move. Yet, it isn't the gas that's driving the car, not even the engines, it is a unique consciousness in the drivers seat that's providing the direction and making the car go. Similarly, dopamine is necessary for that heady feeling of love. Its the petrol of love, so to speak. But its just the support mechanism, not the driver, not the reason, not the cause.

  • I found this explanation very interesting as I can identifiy with it quite well.
    It is to do in relationship in general not only the ones I had sex with.
    I have been used being treated like a dog in a poor country for so long( as a child I mean) that as soon I was experince the feeling of love from someone I was stuck to that person like chewn gum given in so much power of mine, needing the person to be around me all the time and if I was on my own I was so uncomfortable that I didn't want to anything without her if the person I was with was of a sex relationship and I had been dumped. I had so much pain on me that I could not bare it.

  • Such a well defined and scientifically explanation why some get hooked on sexual activities in the absence of emotional attachment. Just the pleasure of it as a matter of craving of one extraordinary experience with another person that not usually being regularly felt with regular partner or lover.
    If cannot be handled right, homes and families can be ruined by such craving of extraordinary sexual adventurism.
    With the explanation and advise provided such state of sexual addiction can be broken so, normal life and the morality of anyone who treasures self respect and family will not be at stake unless mental discipline is not open ended.

    Thanks Shafin for the very clear explanation of the matter as well as the solutions you shared.

  • Shafin, this is really an interesting explanation from 'biological' point of view and I do believe the programming pattern to our subconscious mind from our environment also plays an important part , so your suggestion on the 'interrupt pattern' would be the best solution to disturb the release of certain hormones! Anyway, thanks for yr great article.

    • No. Disturbing the release of hormones is often difficult and in most cases un-advisable. My "interrupt" solution was to the person who realizes she is in the wrong relationship but cant get over it due the influence of the hormones. My goal was to clarify to her that what is holding her back is not genuine love but quite likely an addiction to the feel good chemicals. In this case, the solution is to try to get the same "happy drugs" but from other more healthier sources.

  • Great answer from shafin but isn't it all part of the malady of attachment that has come to plague mankind? We get so psychologically attached to things, people, events etc. that it becomes herculean a task to liberate ourselves. Attachment, it must be remembered, is a fundamental detterence to growth. There are other higher levels of pleasure than physical sex and once these other levels are explored, the less enslaved we become to physical/sensual gratifications.
    The more we are able to detach from those things that are anthetical to our spiritual advancement, the better and peaceful in mind we become.

  • With all this been said, how then do you truly know when you are in love and its not just the "hormones" speaking and making wrong decisions for you.
    It is important in cases when individuals mix the two and end up marrying someone they do not love.

    • Unfortunately, you don't. It is the hormones that make the falling in love part so delicious. The only solution is time. Usually this "honeymoon period" lasts about 1-1.5 years in most cases, after which we begin to see all the "ugly sides" of the person. The best combination then is a strong doze of common sense + paying attention to our friends and family who can see the picture more clearly than us + a minimum of one years intimacy before you make any serious commitments. The hormones are great, but they don't last. After that, its mutual respect and real friendship that keeps love alive.

  • Ola, Dear friend Shafin.

    My knowledge about Human Behavior and Bio-Chemistry is superrficial. Well, your explanation on this matter was very interesting and convincing.
    I hope that Mr. S*** can follow your suggestion!
    Thanks for excellent class!

  • Dear Shafin

    I want to ask you.
    is there any reason why nature acts like that?
    is it for us to learn lessons or advance in life?
    We usually atractt situations in which we feel familiar…even they are not positive for us… what is love then…

    • Monogamy is a fairly un-natural system for us humans. Which means we are not entirely polygamous like monkeys or chimps but we are not entirely monogamous either like prarie voles. The history of our mating behavior is complex and varied. I will cover more about all this in my upcoming program.

      Nature acts like that because it increases fidelity. The hormone support that last 1-1.5 years is just enough to conceive a child and see it through its first few months of infancy during which time the mother needs most support. Staying together increases chances of the infant to survive.

  • Shafin, If you did not exist,you should be invented.You're great ! In that case,which comes first,the egg or the hen?Love or chemistry?.Love your work!

    • Thanks Christina! Love or chemistry? Love is the driver in the car who is going to the airport to catch a plane, chemistry is the gas that fuels that car.

  • Dear Shafin,__It's an excellent article! I've enjoyed each and every word of your writing. I believe this article must help me solve my present problem.Thanks!

  • Love rules without a sword, love binds without a cord. Blessed are those who give without expectations of any returns for they shall not be disappointed for the lack thereof. Karma brings people and things together. Its not easy to break the karmic ties one has with another without the help of a 'Guru' like Shafin. Listen to his advice. A mirror principle is helpful sometimes too. What wrong you may be seeing in the other person could be your reflection.

  • What about a situation where your partner even though professes to love you but has lost the feeling to make love to you because there is another person there. Is it possible to make that feeling come back? How do you do that since the two of you are still together and have not broken up.

    • Excellent question with no easy answer. Good news is my next training program is about becoming a master of romantic relationships. I cover this problem and the solution to it in great detail. Something to look forward to 🙂

  • Hi Shafin, thanks for the explanation. It made sense and I think we all need to understand the biology of relationships. You answered for a female experiencing this kind of addiction, but is it the same for a male?

  • Thank u Shafin for being in my inbox again so I can read your interesting answers to the questions people ask. I have long passed that age but I still learned a lot. When I feel a little better I tell about Bali where I stayed a month with my daughter and grand daughter! Out of this world.! Till then, thanks again, Namaste Garry

  • It is a basic knowledge, that us mere humans are scared to step into the unknown, we rather bare the cross, and not lose our comfort zone.SAD, sad indeed!

  • Hi Shafin and thanks for making things clearer – even if I now understand a bit of the "mind/body mechanism" it is still hard, but as you are saying that is a part of the game…

    What I wonder is how can we understand or explain the other part here, i.e. S***'s partner. What mechanisms play the role when he is behaving rather badly and being impolite ? I have an idea that he knows he is not in a good relationship either, but he continues down the bad track….
    Is it dopamine that is keeping him doing "bad things" to his girlfriend as well ?

    Thanks for spending your time and effort into this and giving us the opportunity to learn more, you are a fantastic teacher :).


  • An excellent scientific description and it says everything what happens in a sexually driven relationship. Devoid of it where would you be? What value you place. I trust in a relationship there are more than one person more often than not behaviour tends to be reactive and cause need to be explored.However honest one may be one could be misconceived about your own goodness. So otherside of the story could be helpful

  • Dear Shafin,
    lovely article and explanation. I really love your clarity of thoughts n opinions on relationships in life.
    What i want to know is, how do you explain this phenomenon of people wanting to be with someone so madly and badly but as soon as they find that particular person is hooked by them, they lose interest in him/her and start taking interest in someone else. Its like conquering one territory and then going after the next venture ..Is it some kind of an anti-Dopamine phenomenon taking over?
    And mind you these people are very honest and loving but they simply lose the zest for that particular person they feel has fallen for them.
    Is love always about excitement or freshness?

  • Wow, ladies and gents… I have been reading all of Shafin's work for a long time and for me as a top dating coach – this resonated with me on a HUGE scale! My reaction was 'WOW'

    This advice is far superior even to what my own advice would have been on this exact topic so I have to give praise where the praise is due!


  • I am in the same situation as above except that I am married and have kids.
    So I feel I cannot just get up and leave. So how do I handled these repeated
    crazy situation. She is Untolerably jealous, and have absolutely no sense
    of humour and I cannot make any jokes with her. She takes everything serious, and insults me. After a couple of hours she will talk to me as if nothing happened.I am married to a nut case.
    She cannot and will not accept her faults. she thinks she is always perfect. What do I do?? how do I react when you cannot speak out for fear of another outburst.

    • Hello Paul! People who live together have a reason to do so because they both need to grow, co-create, release fears, denials = resistance. As long as you keep fearing, keep feeling insulted (actually it's your own inner guidance system that makes you feel so) to let you know that you have to stop struggling in order to feel better and get out of that place, as long as you keep negative thoughts in your mind, your struggle never ends. I know what i am talking about because i have been myself in a soul mate relationship which did not seem to lead me anywhere else but to my inner growth. So, if you start looking at her as your own mirror-reflection, it will start get better! You're in charge. She knows who she is, that's why she is not willing to accept her faults .. You see those faults in her, she does not .. but I am sure that we all need a change which eventually leads us all back to home, to our heart! REDEFINE your relationship:) For the heart the only option is LOVE! and to feel love, you have to FEEL connection WITHIN you no matter where or with whom you are living. Love your Heart, Feel it and it will get better:)

  • Awesome post. I am in a relationship like this – and I realize I am addicted to the sex. He doesn't treat me like the other men who want to date me. I am the classic "booty call" but I fantasize he is in love with me too and he will end up being my boyfriend. I am allegedly hot and lots of guys who want to go out with me, and I do, but am always longing for the lover. I am going to kick the addiction. How can you know true love? How can I find someone who wants me and I also have amazing sex with? Why does this always happen? I sometimes wish I didn't like sex so much.

  • Hi Shafin

    I have a very deep emottional attachment to my ex boyfriend of 7 yrs to whom i was almost married in 2004. But circumstances in my life such as trying to get a divorce from a man who did not want to give me one after 8 yrs of separation and wanting him not to spite me wrt my child if he found out about thi relationship caused a strain on the reln as i was trying to keep it secret until getting divorce an d joint custody. I had no idea thta my boyfriend had a biggg problem with keeping our reln secret adn he said i did not tell him why i was doing it although i thought i had .
    He tried to propose ro me 3 times in one week in june 2003 but the proposal never happened because of stressful circumstances in my life. I really love him and want to get married to him since then and my feelins have not diminished in te least. He ended up getting fed up and left in 2004 and says he cannot go through that agin when i ask him to come back. We are not in contact anymore.
    The problem is i am verrrrry depressed and keep having all these memories taunting me and regrets of not seeing what was going on with him. I feel like i messed up everything and we could have been married yrs ago.
    I believe he is my soulmate and i dont think i can ever be happy with anyone else like i was with him.
    How can i forget about him…hypnosis or anything. I cant seem to do it on my own.
    It is destroying my life and health.
    Please help if you can

    Thank you


  • The latter effect appears to shift in late adolescence and onset of early adulthood (18–19 years of age); however, despite this trend, age tends to bring a greater desire to drink for pleasure rather than coping in both boys and girls.

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