Is too much Serotonin a mood killer?

In Daniel Bergner’s latest book, What Do Women Want, I learned something new about what might be going on when women try to be sexual but find themselves distracted by thinking about other things. We often hear from them that while they were in the midst of trying to be sexual, they couldn’t turn down the voice in their head, you know that voice that reminds them about mundane things like taking out the trash and taxes!

Bergner explains the phenomenon this way, “Serotonin’s virtues go beyond keeping depression at bay. The neurotransmitter also allows the brains frontal lobe, more precisely the frontal cortex, the region for planning and self-control, to communicate effectively within the organ, to exert what’s known as executive function. Serotonin reduces urgent need and impulse; it facilitates sensible thoughts and orderly actions. The problem, though, is that if serotonin is too strong in relation to dopamine, a women making love is likely to find herself thinking about the next days schedule rather than feeling overtaken by sensation and craving. But with serotonin and dopamine in the right balance, erotic energy will neither be displaced by tomorrows to do list nor permitted to fracture into chaos. With the frontal lobe and the libidinous core in harmony, desire can have both form and force.”

In his book, Bergner is actually quoting Jim Pfaus, a neuoscientist at Concordia University. As Pfaus explains, female desire is a very complicated and somewhat nebulous thing to try to decipher. There are so many components at work simultaneously. What I liked about this discovery is that an aspect of what a woman may be fighting is chemistry. Women frequently blame themselves when they have this experience. The truth is the fault may really lie in what is happening chemically and I think it is important to know that.

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