One Night Stands: 3 Surprising Ways Your Brain is Affected

Does casual sex exist?

Countless times I sit across from men and women as they share their sexual portfolios—they mention choices that mean nothing and are completely in the past. As I watch the same people wrestle with trust, forgiveness, and commitment, I can’t help but wonder: do those choices really mean nothing? Are they truly in the past? If they are meaningless, why do I continually see people struggle with the ramifications many years after the choices have been made? 

Do one night stands last more than one night?

The truth is, one night stands and casual sex leave an imprint that’s carried with us long after the morning after. When we try to convince ourselves that sex is a casual act, we are going against God’s intentional design for sex. Our brain, and our body, gives us cues to God’s original purpose for sexual union.

  1. Men and women can have different emotional attachments after one night stands

Each person takes away a different emotional attachment. For men, their sexual drive leads them into a physical attachment, which then turns into an emotional one. For women, the possibility of an emotional attachment leads them into a physical one. This can create greater feelings of guilt and depression in women after they have a one night stand because their initial reason for having a one night stand is immediately broken.

  1. One night stands can damage our ability to bond with one another

When two people have sex, the brain releases a neurochemical called oxytocin, a chemical that creates feelings of bonding between two people. When we have casual sex with multiple partners, our brain becomes confused and puts up barriers in order to protect itself. Initially, the brain will continue to produce the neurochemical due to its natural drive to do so, but over time the brain will harden itself to the chemical in an attempt to protect itself from the emotional pain of losing that bond.

  1. Our body remembers things we often seek to forget

When our body is inflicted with pain, a scar or mark is often left as a result of the incident. Long after the initial pain is forgotten, a mark is left as a reminder of the pain that occurred. In the same way, there are chemicals in our brain that carry imprints of what our body has experienced. When we exercise, our brain releases dopamine, and our brain becomes conditioned to remember that exercise. If you were to stop working out for a period of time and then return, your brain would remember the pathway it created and you would remember how to complete the exercise. When we have an intimate relationship after a period of making sexual choices that “mean nothing,” our brains can remember something that happened years ago and trigger a negative memory.

Our brain is the largest sex organ we have and it is crucial to understand its workings in order to have a fulfilling and intimate sex life. If you ever find yourself looking for a safe place to speak further about past choices you’ve made, I’d invite you to reach out.

~ becky

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