How Orgasmic Meditation Makes You Smarter
by Mark Gottlieb Apr 29, 2014
A study by the University of the Nederlands published by Oxford University found that oxytocin enhances both creative and social intelligence while causing a decline in analytical intelligence. I want to examine these findings from the standpoint of what is known about oxytocin as a neurohormone, and then demonstrate that OM (Orgasmic Meditation) as a source of oxytocin is the much preferred way to enjoy these and the many other benefits of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is known as a neurohormone, a neurotransmitter, a neuromodulator, and a neuropeptide. These designations serve as categories to describe a great many of oxytocin’s attributes. However, another category less commonly mentioned is oxytocin’s role as an “Antagonist” to certain dopamine receptors. Receptors on nerves come in two types, “Excitatory” and “Inhibitory”, designations that indicate the role of the receptor in its enhancement or inhibition of nerve activity. Oxytocin has one receptor, which is excitatory. Dopamine has five receptors, two excitatory and three inhibitory. An antagonist in hormonal terminology is something that blocks the uptake of the hormone by the receptor without stimulating the receptor, and by extension, the nerve to fire. Oxytocin is an antagonist to the two less common of the three dopamine inhibitory receptors.
Dopamine is believed to be heavily involved in cognitive activity. Early studies of oxytocin did not find a correlation between oxytocin and cognition. The study by the University of the Nederlands is significant because it demonstrates by means of psychological testing that oxytocin has a role in cognition as mentioned above, i.e. it promotes creative thinking and social intelligence, and decreases analytical thinking. I believe it does this by means of its role as an antagonist to the dopamine inhibitory receptors mentioned above. Why? How?
By acting as an antagonist to the two less common of the three dopamine inhibitory receptors, oxytocin serves to biases the action of dopamine towards its excitatory receptors, i.e. more neural activity takes place on the neurons that have the dopamine receptors mentioned above. This enhanced neural activity is suggestive of divergent cognition, or creative thinking. With more neurons firing, more neural connections are made and the range of ideation is increased. It suggests expansive thinking, creative thinking. Analytical thinking, on the other hand, suggests judgment and a ruling out of options, a honing in on the solution to whatever is being considered. It is also known as convergent cognition. By blocking the two less common of the three dopamine inhibitory receptors, this constraining influence of dopamine is decreased, i.e. there are fewer opportunities for judgments that rule out options to hone in on problem solving.
Social intelligence makes use of the above characteristic of oxytocin as a dopamine antagonist, as well as oxytocin’s role a neuromodulator to its own receptors. Oxytocin receptors are found in the nerves of the retina of the eyes. Recall that oxytocin has one receptor that is excitatory. When oxytocin is delivered by the blood to the nerves in the retina, the nerves more readily fire. Their sensitivity to visual stimulation is enhanced. More visual information comes through. With more visual information coming through, social intelligence is enhanced. There is more information available with which to evaluate situations with people with whom contact is being made, and more cognitive activity, as mentioned above, to use the information creatively. Women have more neural development around their vision centers and are able to see and recall in greater detail. Living at 1080 as I did, I got great pleasure out of watching turned-on women, women who OMed regularly and had higher than usual baseline levels of oxytocin, communicate. They noticed each other with their full attention using the ultrafine sensors of their eyes enriched with oxytocin to pick up visual cues I could not see and only hope to one day understand.
Having said all of this, what happens to individuals who have an oxytocin deficit, individuals who may not OM, who may not have sex, and who may not be touched or hugged? With a decline in the availability of oxytocin, its role as an antagonist to the dopamine inhibitory receptors mentioned above, declines. This may lead to a biasing toward constrictive, overly convergent thinking. Such people may be inclined to overly analyze situations, going over and over the same situations in their minds. They may feel as if they are in boxes they can’t get out of. They may obsess. They may be prone to depression. With less oxytocin available to the nerves in the retina of the eyes, vision may be distorted, perception may be confused. It is possible that things not there may be seen.
What I am suggesting is that people who have low baseline levels of oxytocin may suffer distortions in their perceptions that characterize some types of mental illnesses. It is not by coincidence that articles about oxytocin are appearing in which oxytocin is thought by some psychiatrists to be a treatment for mental illnesses such as schitzophrenia, autism, and a range of addictions including heroine, cocaine and ethanol. While early, one-time treatments involving single doses of oxytocin appeared optimistic, treatments with multiple doses of oxytocin failed to give evidence of improvement for these illnesses.
Desensitization and Nasal Sprays
Why this happened is complex. To understand it, I will take you along the path I followed. In a study of oxytocin appearing in the journal, Biological Psychiatry, it was found that when small, monogamous animals called prairie voles were given multiple doses of oxytocin adjusted for their size, they no longer remained monogamous and the females lost interest in caring for their young. Oxytocin receptor desensitization was suspected as a cause. What this means is that after receptors are desensitized, they are no longer available for use. Normal functions dependent upon oxytocin suffer. The receptors are not there to accommodate the normal uptake of oxytocin. Oxytocin receptor desensitization occurs as a result of exposure to high levels of oxytocin for sustained periods of time. Desensitization may be temporary, or with exposure to higher levels of oxytocin for longer periods of time, oxytocin receptor desensitization may be permanent. How much oxytocin for how long?
This question was answered in the journal, Frontiers of Neuroscience, which came up with a value of 10 nanomoles per liter for 4.2 hours to give a temporary desensitization of 50% of the oxytocin receptors. The gram molecular weight of oxytocin is 1007 grams. So the figure quoted corresponds to about 10 to the -2 micrograms of oxytocin per milliliter. The cerebral spinal fluid in the brain has a volume of 150 milliliters. Therefore, 1.5 micrograms of oxytocin in the cerebral spinal fluid for 4.2 hours would yield a 50% desensitization of the oxytocin receptors on the neurons in the brain. Oxytocin is administered in units called International Units, or IU. One IU is equal to about 2 micrograms. Therefore, an average of 0.75 IU for 4.2 hours yields temporary desensitization of 50% of the oxytocin receptors. What is shocking about all this is that the typical dose of oxytocin used for subjects involved in research is 24 IU delivered by nasal sprays.
To better understand this, it was important to know how the cerebral spinal fluid, and what it contains, is produced and drained from the brain. As mentioned earlier, the cerebral spinal fluid has a volume of 150 milliliters, and 550 milliliters of it is produced in 24 hours. From these numbers, it is possible to develop an equation that gives the concentration of oxytocin at any time following the delivery of a known amount, which I did. After four nearly sleepless nights re-learning mathematics, I realized I was dealing with a first order differential equation. Three separate methods to get the exponent converged and the equation was found to be: m(t) = mExp(-0.152778t), where “t” is the time in hours following delivery, “m” is the initial amount of oxytocin delivered to the cerebral spinal fluid, and “m(t)” is the amount of oxytocin at any time “t” afterwards. I get off on this stuff!
What I was able to calculate from all this was that an initial dose of just over 1 IU would produce an average concentration of 0.75 IU in the cerebral spinal fluid over 4.2 hours, the 50% temporary desensitization criteria. Bully! A landmark study by the University of Bonn and the Max Plank Institute published in the journal, Nature, looked at the levels of oxytocin from nasal sprays that were in both the cerebral spinal fluid, by means of spinal taps; and levels of oxytocin in the blood stream, by means of blood samples. From this study, it appears that at least 10%, and possibly much more of the oxytocin from nasal sprays goes to the cerebral spinal fluid. This would correspond to 2.4 IU delivered to the cerebral spinal fluid with an average concentration of 1.8 IU for 4.2 hours by my mathematical model. This is much higher than the 0.75 IU average concentration for 4.2 hours for 50% desensitization.
OM and Conventional Orgasm
What all of this shows, is that nasal sprays, as they are presently used, may cause oxytocin receptor desensitization. Yet, there are tremendous benefits from oxytocin awaiting the delivery system of choice. I maintain that that delivery system is OM! While I do not know of data for the average quantity of oxytocin produced by an OM in either the cerebral spinal fluid or the blood stream, there is data for oxytocin levels in the blood stream produced by conventional orgasm. In the book, “The Science of Orgasm”, by Dr. Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers University, conventional orgasm increases oxytocin levels to a factor of 5 times the baseline level in the blood stream, which is about 1 IU.
Applying the value of 10 nanomoles per liter of oxytocin to the 5 liter volume of blood in the blood stream, I found that the desensitization level was at least 25 IU, not knowing the half-life of oxytocin in the blood stream. Therefore, conventional orgasm produces 5 IU of oxytocin, whereas the desensitization level is 25 IU. Clearly, the levels of oxytocin produced by conventional orgasm are a factor of 5 below the desensitization level and possibly much lower. Each OM would in all likelihood be similar to conventional orgasm in the quantity of oxytocin it introduces to the blood stream, a quantity that is likely to be well below the desensitization level.
Critics of OM may argue that many back-to-back OMs could in theory reach oxytocin receptor desensitization levels. However, this is a very narrow outlook that fails to take into consideration the role of brain plasticity in the creation of new neural connections with new oxytocin receptors in appropriate environments. Brain plasticity is based on the finding that the environment we encounter induces changes in the brain in response to it. New neural connections are formed in response to the stimuli from the environment, and old neural connections that no longer serve a functional purpose in regard to these stimuli, cease to be used. Oxytocin, which is described as the hormone of love and bonding, by its characteristics suggests that environments fostering love and bonding would induce the formation of neural connections with new oxytocin receptors on many of these neurons. With new oxytocin receptors being formed in such environments, the impact of oxytocin receptor desensitization, if it were to occur, would be minimized.
In actuality, a beautiful consideration arises from this. This consideration is what I call the “Love-OM Synergy.” A synergetic system is a system where the components are mutually enhancing. I maintain that the practice of love and the practice of OM are synergetic. People in loving environments are likely to develop more and more neural connections with oxytocin receptors, as mentioned above. People who OM and love will produce more oxytocin to activate these oxytocin receptors and enhance the love they present to the world. This love will ultimately be reflected back to them, thus producing more neural connections with more oxytocin receptors, continuing the upward cycle of “Love-OM Synergy.” Furthermore, people who OM will by their nature encourage others to OM, thus extending the cycle of “Love-OM Synergy” to others, who may further reflect back a loving and OMing environment to each other. May all of us who OM participate in the realization of this cycle of “Love-OM Synergy.”